“By November 24, giving thanks can start to feel like a command performance rather than a genuine act. Your social-media feed is all gratitude, all the time (#30daysofthanks!), and you’re up to your googly eyeballs in turkey-themed craft projects. It’s OK to feel jaded. “You can’t turn on gratitude” just because it’s Thanksgiving, says Robin Berman, M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the author of Permission to Parent. In fact, peak holiday season may not even be the best time to make it a priority. “Gratitude happens in quiet pauses and moments, not when you have a giant to-do list and you’re racing around,” she says. So how do you embrace the season sincerely? Ten experts are here to help. Let’s do this, November.” …
-Jenkins, Elizabeth. “How to be grateful (when you really don’t feel like it).” Real Simple, November 2016
I came across this about holiday gratitude, while waiting on line at Target to splurge on tile spray, sponges, and lunch bags and felt it’s something we could use right about now. Not specifically about Thanksgiving gratitude as intended, but more about tolerance for each other and to embrace each others’ differences.
After reading a few sentences I clung on to the words looking for some sort of reprieve from the confusion I’ve been feeling the past couple of days about our election — merely some thoughts lately, that you may or may not share in common. Despite differences of opinion and actions that divide us, anger at those who project a voice different than mine for the same opportunity to be heard doesn’t do our country any good. Collectively, we need tolerance to make this a peaceful country for the sake of our future generations. As I try to embrace this turn of events I am going to hold on to thoughts of gratitude and the fact that in this country we can voice our opinion (a freedom my parents fled to from communist Russia in 1972) and to live in a country with freedom of speech and the right to vote is a blessing.
As someone who keeps it much about cooking here, I didn’t want to brush it off with another Thanksgiving recipe pretending nothing has happened; clearly it stirred me enough to write about but there is no other country I would rather live in, no matter how diverse, because the grass is not always greener on the other side, which brings me back to that article about being grateful, even though I don’t really feel like it — a reminder that life has taught me to seek the silver linings amidst some very dark clouds.
One final thought before moving on to sweeter things: one can hate because of political stakes, like those who have before us, or for a belief, or race, or gender, or sexual preference, or religion, or whatever else we don’t see eye to eye on, but who benefits from this in the end, and what purpose does it serve humanity? Despite the outcome, we live in a land with constitutional rights that cannot be overthrown by one person alone. Let’s not let a four-year run divide us further or drain our spirits. Besides, 2018 is right around the corner, as in midterm elections, where a third of the Senate changes hands and a time where our voice can count. Meanwhile, as Hillary poignantly yet admirably said in her speech: I am going to have an open mind and give him a chance, because what the heck else can I do at this point, and hope to be surprised come 2020. I will leave my thoughts at that. For dessert sake, that’s why we’re here right?
I updated this recipe from Ina Garten, a recipe I adapted a couple of years ago that needed a facelift. Don’t get me wrong, it was good before but I wanted to make it easier, faster, with less sugar, grain-free (paleo), egg free, without the need for a stand mixer or sacrificing flavor. Now it’s better than ever in half the time.
The texture is different this time, more of a heavenly mouthfeel reminiscent of a Tarte Tatin that I don’t think anyone will argue about. I also cut out some extra ingredients that we can live without (after tasting it); things like ‘sour cream’, orange juice, orange zest, extra 1/2 cup of sugar, and eggs (for those new here, we discovered my oldest can’t tolerate eggs, but you could certainly use them without affecting the result.) which happens to also make this a vegan dessert should you happen to need it for a diverse potluck.
The flavor of the cranberry and apple is vivid now that it isn’t competing with orange zest or juice. I originally served the cake as is but thought it would be even more festive with a generous sifting of confectioners’ sugar, which strangely enough reminded me of snow, something we don’t ever get here and it’s been 90 degrees lately but do fondly remember while living in New York. The cake doesn’t really need it, I just thought it would be fun.
With or without a heavy snowfall of sugar, it’s a zippy cake full of bright flavors to bring some cheer, some good conversation, and love to the table because at the end of the day love conquers all and that I will always be grateful for. Big hugs to you and thank you for you.
- You will need a 9-inch pie dish
- ⅔ cup canned coconut cream or milk (mix well)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 80 grams (1/2 cup) cassava flour
- 40 grams (1/3 cup) tapioca starch
- 2 tablespoons psyllium husk (not flakes)
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries, stems removed and rinsed
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced small
- ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- ½ cup cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) organic palm shortening, melted and moderately cooled
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- raw sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Measure canned coconut milk then add apple cider vinegar to it. Do not stir, set aside.
- Combine flours, psyllium husk, cream of tartar, baking soda, kosher salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl, sifted well.
- In another bowl, combine cranberries, diced apple, brown sugar, cane sugar, orange extract, melted palm shortening and vanilla extract. Stir to combine well then add the coconut milk mixture. Add in flour blend and combine until flour blend has been fully incorporated.
- Pour and spread out the batter evenly into the pie dish. Sprinkle the two tablespoons of raw sugar then bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the fruit has bubbled around the edges and the top looks like a thin film of pie crust. Since ovens vary I am giving a 10-minute spread; begin checking at 50 minutes then every couple of minutes, if needed. Mine was ready at 54 minutes.
- Serve at room temperature with a
siftof confectioner’s sugar.
- Non-Paleo GF Flour Blend: sub flours above for 1 cup of your favorite GF all-purpose flour blend (I have used Bob’s Red Mill in the past)
- Other apple options: Jonagold, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, and Pink Lady.
- The cake can be made up to 3 days in advance, refrigerated, and also freezes well when wrapped tightly in plastic wrap then transferred into a large freezer-safe container. Shrink wrapping a few times didn't preserve the cake as well as I expected. Freeze up to a month.
- For Vegan: Not all confectioner's (powdered sugar) is vegan. Wholesome Sweeteners or Imerial brand are vegan options and made with tapioca.
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