CULINARY CAPERS – November 2019

– Southgate Star

If you like easy recipes, you will LOVE the two shared by Joni  Bologna of Allen Park and Melva Bonis of Grosse Ile. 

   Joni’s Fresh Cranberry Relish is not only super simple to make, but it also keeps refrigerated for two months, so it can be served on  Thanksgiving and at other holiday meals … if it’s not gobbled up before  then. 

The Allen Parker has been making the relish for over 30 years and advises against using a substitute for the most important ingredient: Grand Marnier, because nothing can replace the French liqueur, she said.

Instead of paying $30 or more for a bottle of the liqueur, though, consider instead buying an airline-size mini (minis are hard to find, but are available at Discount Drinks for about $3.50).  And since you will need only two teaspoons, you may not want to invest in a large bottle. Otherwise, search the internet for Grand Marnier substitutes, which include frozen orange-juice concentrate. 


  • 1 package (12 ounces) fresh cranberries
  • 2 medium-sized Pippin or Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered and cored (I used Granny Smith)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
  • 1½ cups chopped walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Wash and dry the cranberries, then chop in a food processor.  Turn the cranberries into a large bowl, then chop the apples in the food processor and add to the cranberries.  Stir in the sugar, marmalade, lemon juice, Grand Marnier, chopped walnuts and cinnamon. That’s it. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate overnight. The relish will keep for 2 months refrigerated. Always stir before serving.

Melva’s Awesome Red Grape Salad is so special that even people who don’t like grapes love it, Melva said. She got the recipe from her son-in-law’s mother, Beryl O’Dea of Oxford. After making the recipe myself, I know why it has become a favorite wherever Melva takes it.  For Christmas, you might consider substituting green seedless grapes for half of the red.


  • 3 pounds red grapes, washed, dried well and set aside
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar

Melt the butter on a dinner plate or shallow dish in the microwave oven. Remove the plate from the oven and add the pecans, tossing until combined. Return to the oven and microwave for 1 minute.  Remove the plate and toss the pecans again. Return to the oven and microwave an additional 1 minute, then set aside to cool. Meanwhile, place the cream cheese, granulated sugar, sour cream and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat until well combined. Fold in the grapes and turn the mixture into a serving dish. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar and the chopped pecans.  Refrigerate and enjoy!

Reader likes Sugar-Free
Triple-Chocolate Cake 

EVELYN:  I made the Sugar-free Triple-Chocolate Bundt Cake yesterday for my son’s birthday. He is disabled and diabetic. The cake came out fantastic. I had to use two Bundt pans because one was not large enough. Not a problem because then we can keep some here, and I am taking the other to my son’s today. Keep up the good work Chris Jakubek of Grosse Ile.

Hi, Chris: Thanks for writing and including your telephone number. We agree that the cake is surprisingly delicious for being sugar-free. When I baked it, I used a 10-inch Bundt pan, which was just right, but I like your idea of using the two smaller ones.


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