Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I love planning and cooking for it. I have been hosting it for almost 20 years, but since Thanksgiving is the only time I usually prepare a turkey dinner, I consult my favorite guide to help me to stay organized: Rick Rodger’s Thanksgiving 101. He has such good ideas for keeping lists and telling the reader how to keep things as stress-free as possible so you can enjoy the day. I couldn’t plan my holiday without it. I highly recommend it to anyone who is new to hosting or wants a more organized holiday. My husband and son brine the turkey each year and my husband makes pie crust. The rest of the meal is mine to organize, assign out, and/or cook. A family member suggested we do away with the antipasto platter. No way! Instead of mashed potatoes this year we are having potato gratin. Sweet potato soufflé is a must, along with stuffing, gravy, a bread, vegetables, a salad, and a cranberry relish. I always make a standard fresh cranberry relish chopped in the food processor with sugar and fresh orange, but also like to try one other new variety. I have made varieties that include cherries, apricots, pineapples, and pears. This year I am using prickly pears and pluots. My local Mexican market has beautiful green and red prickly pears that are exceptionally sweet. I also have the last of the local red pluots from the farmers market. The combination is delicious, and the color is a lovely, cherry red that will complement any holiday table for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Cranberry Prickly Pear and Pluot Relish
1 (12 oz.) bag fresh cranberries (3 cups) rinsed
1 c. sliced pluots (4 medium)
2 large red prickly pears, peeled, sliced, and pressed through a sieve for a seedless pulp
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of kosher salt
Place all ingredients in the food processor and pulse until smooth. Pour into a mason jar and chill overnight, allowing the sugar to completely dissolve. You can freeze for a month. Makes 3-1/2 cups.