Although a lot of my holiday menus are similar to what my mother served, my Easter menu is quite different from hers. My mother always served her Thanksgiving menu, but with roasted chicken instead of turkey. On Easter, the centerpiece on my table is a ham.
I love pairing ham with macaroni and cheese. I also like to serve ham with green bean bundles, deviled eggs and fruit tea, all of which I've written about in previous blogs.
I do add one fall element to my menu: Cranberry Orange Relish. This is an unusual side dish to make at Easter since fresh cranberries aren't in season. However, the relish goes great with ham and provides a refreshing burst of fruit flavor.
I'm a late in life cranberry convert. I love cranberries so much now, I enjoy eating them year round. I buy extra bags when they're in season and store them in the freezer. That way, I can make this -- or any cranberry dish -- during the year.
In addition to fresh cranberries, you'll need a food grinder or food processor to prepare the relish.
Rinse the cranberries under cold water and drain them in a colander. If you're using frozen berries, don't thaw them ahead of time.
Wash an orange and cut it into eighths. You're going to use the whole orange -- including the peel -- which gives the relish more flavor. If you're not using a seedless orange, be sure to remove any seeds.
Peel, core and slice an apple into quarters. I use a Granny Smith apple which is tart. You can use a sweeter apple such as Gala, Red Delicious or Rome or something in between, such as Baldwin, Cortland or Jonathan.
Grind the fruit into small pieces. If you're using a food processor, be careful not to pulse it too much. You don't want the relish to be runny. Depending on the size of your grinder or food processor, you might need to grind the fruit in batches. I grind each fruit separately and combine everything in a mixing bowl.
Once the fruit has been ground, stir in a can of crushed pineapple and sugar to taste. Cranberries are acidic and when combined with a tart apple and pineapple in its own juice, the relish isn't very sweet. I add 1 1/4 cups sugar, but you can add more or less to suit your taste.
Put the relish in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. I make the relish a few days ahead of time. Not only does this save me time, it also gives the ingredients time to blend.
The relish can be made two weeks ahead of time and stored in the freezer. Take the relish out of the freezer a day or two before serving and let it thaw in the refrigerator. If the relish is runny when it's thawed, drain it before putting it in a serving bowl.
If you've got cranberries in the freezer, you might want to add this relish to your Easter menu. If you don't have any cranberries, you might want to buy some this fall and keep them in the freezer. This relish makes a great side dish all year round which is a good reason to keep cranberries in the freezer.