There are so many ways to tinker with the traditional cranberry sauce for the holidays, the options feel practically endless! This time for Thanksgiving I decided to take it up a notch by adding bourbon and vanilla extract to the cranberries. You can’t really go wrong with bourbon, right? Something about the flavor came through the nose more than the taste buds. You could smell the bourbon and vanilla, but you tasted the flavor of the cranberries. Similar to wine, you could say that these cranberries had a “nose.” I loved the way these cranberries came out and they will definitely become a holiday staple!
This salsa is a great last minute recipe and can be a go-to for anything tex-mex. One week day I didn’t have much in the pantry and this salsa was born. If you have diced tomatoes and a can of Chipotle peppers in adobo you are already on your way! Add spices and chopped cilantro and you have a fresh salsa without a lot of chopping and prep work. The spicy and smoky flavor goes great with beef tacos, quesadillas and eggs.
Continue Reading →
Homemade peanut butter is a great alternative to buying it from the store. You can’t get much fresher than grinding up your own peanuts! If you have a food processor you already have everything you need to make your own. This recipe takes it up a notch with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It makes for a great seasonal recipe and goes perfectly with sliced apples. I must confess that the numbers given for the salt, honey and spices are approximate. Feel free to use more less as desired. This recipe is excellent with chocolate and any jam you can think of. Or you can drop all pretense and go to town with a tablespoon. I definitely won’t judge you!
Continue Reading →
Although Summer is pretty much over you can still enjoy the Summer’s bounty by making your own jam for the coming winter months. It’s been a while since I have made my own jam and I was excited to try a new flavor. While raspberry, strawberry and blackberry are staples in my pantry I decided to go with something a little different like this cherry jam. Making jam is really easy and at it’s most basic it’s boiling fruit and sugar together. I like to use a little pectin and lemon juice to make sure my jams are nice and thick. To get rid of the foam on top, add a pat of butter into the mix but that is optional as well. I just skim the foam after my jam reaches a full boil. The combination of the vanilla and cherry flavors were delicious and I have been enjoying it on toast with black tea every morning!
Continue Reading →
The holidays are over and the doldrums of January are here: time to liven things up and pretend it’s summer, right? This salsa is a great addition to any taco recipe. It goes great with fish, chicken, pork and beef so it’s pretty versatile! Pickling the corn is easy–all you need is some vinegar and lime and it will pickle in the strong acids. I jarred it for a few hours and all the flavors melded together. It ended up being a nice counterpoint to the richness of the creamy queso and the savory meat of the tacos I prepared. Another benefit of pickling: if you seal the salsa in a glass jar it will keep for about a month!
To go with the batch of Veggie Dumplings, I wanted to make the perfect sauce to go with them. I read about Momos and how they are frequently paired with a tomato based sauce so I settled on a sweet and savory chutney. I loved the flavor of this sauce. The combination of spices and herbs with the acid from the lime and apple cider vinegar was so delicious. The best part was that it didn’t take long to make this and most of the ingredients I already had on hand. It made me want to double the recipe and just have it as a snack by itself!
This salsa is a wonderful way to play on the flavors in both Moroccan and Tex-mex food. The salsa is moderately spicy with flavors that come from the sweet preserved lemons and chopped mint leaves. It’s so simple to put together if you already have a batch of preserved lemons pre-made in the fridge. The mint is wonderful in this recipe and creates a nice counterpoint to the heat that comes from the peppers. Since the preserved lemons are quite salty I wouldn’t recommend adding any more salt to the recipe. I used this salsa to go along with the Moroccan Chicken Tacos and it turned out really well!
To accompany the batch of Moroccan Chicken Skewers and flat bread I wanted to make a few sauces that would go along with the main courses as well as complement each other. The three I settled on was a refreshing Mint and Cilantro sauce, spicy Harissa, and a cooling Yogurt Lemon sauce. They complemented the chicken and flat bread and were perfectly balanced with each other. These different sauces allowed me to play “choose your own adventure” of sorts which made eating fun. Not only did the types of food and sauces matter in the experience, but the order played a key role in it too (not exactly a new idea in the historical record of food but a fun thing to experience at home by accident).
Since each sauce had a different “purpose” it stands to reason that each sauce affected the other ingredients differently as well. The easiest comparison to make would be dipping the chicken in the yogurt sauce vs. the harissa sauce. The yogurt enhanced the lemony flavor of the chicken and helped cool off its spiciness. The Harissa sauce is made of chilies and instead invigorated the chicken’s spicy seasoning. This seems obvious now, but I really wasn’t expecting how different the “experiences” would be. I came to notice that I enjoyed pairing the chicken more with the yogurt and mint sauces, and the flat bread with the harissa. Later I realized I probably did this to help balance things out a little bit in terms of spiciness. Although I also spooned generous portions of mint sauce and yogurt sauce on the bread as well so who knows really. This was one of those meals that I had a lot of fun making and eating. I loved all three sauces and I still can’t decide on a favorite!
Cranberry sauce is my favorite condiment/side dish on Thanksgiving. I really like the more creative tricks to the traditional recipe. My favorite so far has been a Gingered Cranberry Sauce, but I have tried a variation with Pinot Noir which was also very tasty. This cranberry sauce is infused with pure pomegranate juice (no cocktails please) and the combination is pretty much perfect. The pomegranate juice has a slightly sweeter flavor than the cranberries so it’s a great way to make the sauce sweeter without adding additional sugar.
When I came across the recipe for corn esquites salad I took one look at it and knew I had to give it a try. This salad is basically Mexican elote which is roasted corn on the cob seasoned with cayenne, butter, mayonnaise, and cotija cheese. The corn in this recipe is cut off the cob and pan roasted until the kernels char and caramelize. Then the corn is mixed with the elote ingredients, garlic, lime, jalapeno, and cilantro. I decided to kick it up a notch and add sliced tomatoes and avocado to the salad. It was so tasty! The combination of ingredients was sweet and spicy from the corn and jalapenos yet creamy and tangy from the lime juice and cotija cheese. It ended up being the perfect topping for tacos!