What could be more “Americana” than a holiday recipe using Cranberries? I found this one, titled Cranberry Upside-Down Cake with Orange Custard Sauce, in a cookbook compiled by Assistance League of the Bay Area, Houston, Texas. The book is titled Settings on the Dock of the Bay and was published in 1999.

I have a deep appreciation for cookbooks compiled by Assistance League and Junior League chapters. The books are beautiful to begin with, and the recipes are outstanding. The proceeds from the sale of these books always go to philanthropic projects in the communities where the organizations exist. I like that my purchase helps make a difference in someone’s life.

Watch the cookbook shelves in your local thrift stores for books by these two groups that are so much a part of our “American-Way”. Newer releases can be found at large bookstores like Barnes
and Noble.

Ingredients:
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1/8 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries
1 ¼ cups flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
½ cup milk
1/3 cup currant jelly, melted
Orange Custard Sauce (below)

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Directions:
Spread 3 tablespoons butter on the bottom and side of a 9-inch round cake pan. Sprinkle ½ cup of the sugar evenly in the bottom. Cover with the cranberries. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Beat the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and remaining ½ cup sugar in a mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and orange zest and mix well. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beating constantly at low speed until just combined after each addition. Pour over the cranberries and smooth the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until brown. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate. Brush with melted currant jelly. Serve with Orange Custard Sauce.

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 (1-inch) piece vanilla bean
3 (1/2 x 3½ -inch) pieces orange zest
6 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Directions:
Bring the milk, half-and-half, vanilla bean and orange zest to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain into a bowl. Beat the egg yolks in a mixer bowl. Add the sugar. Beat for 3 minutes. Add the strained milk mixture and mix well. Pour into a saucepan. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until thickened over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Stir in Grand Mariner. Let stand until cool. Pour into a sauceboat to serve.

This next recipe is for a Glogg, an authentic Swedish spiced wine, perfect for those cold nights ahead here in our north county! And guess what—it uses cran-apple juice cocktail! For those party-goers who want something cool, try the recipe for Cranberry Punch.

Ingredients and Directions:
For this body-warming drink, bring 3 cups cran-apple juice cocktail, 7 cups dry red wine, ½ cup sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 whole cloves and orange rind strips to just below a simmer in a large saucepan. Cook for 1 hour. Strain and ladle into mugs. Can be prepared ahead and served warm.
Happy Holidays—Enjoy your turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, Waldorf salad, relish platter, hot rolls (with lots of butter), wine, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, mincemeat pie, and on and on and on. And yes, have a slice of that Cranberry Upside-Down Cake with Orange Custard Sauce, while you’re at it!

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