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!
Every year as Thanksgiving gets closer I look forward to trying out new ways to serve cranberry sauce. This year I chose a cranberry sauce flavored with cinnamon and maple syrup. I also added a little brown sugar instead of white sugar to give it a little something different. The sauce turned out excellent and the flavors of maple and cinnamon were delicious together! I served this alongside my Thanksgiving staple, Gingered Cranberry Sauce, so I got a chance to compare and contrast. I liked both a lot and they each complimented the turkey perfectly.
I’ve been looking for a versatile sauce for meats and stirfries. This recipe is all about the marinade which is sweet, savory and a little bit spicy. The sauce is deceptively simple, but yields complex flavors. It’s also versatile since I’ve made a few stirfries with it to delicious results! This recipe is great for those who love Korean BBQ but don’t eat red meat. I used a whole chicken (6 pieces) and marinated them for a few hours before grilling.
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!
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.
Chili pastes are probably my favorite condiment so I knew once I read about Sambal Oelek I had to try it. I really enjoyed the Thai Red Curry Paste I made a while back as well as my usual go tos, Moroccan Harissa and Korean Gochujang. I was looking forward to trying out a new chili paste and thankfully this new one did not disappoint in the least! Sambal Oelek is a Southeast Asian chili paste that varies from country to country but generally consists of red chilies, shallots, ginger, garlic, lime and lemongrass. The mixture is then ground up and can be added to soups, noodle dishes, meat marinades, etc. The paste was very spicy but had wonderful flavor. I loved the combination of the sweet, spicy and citrusy flavors. I have a feeling this will go well with a lot of different dishes!
Before making this recipe, I questioned using fish sauce in a way that didn’t involve heating it up before eating. I had never eaten fish sauce “raw” but I thought I would give this recipe a shot. Nuoc Cham is a simple dipping sauce made with chilis, garlic, lime juice and of course fish sauce. When all of those ingredients combine it results in a surprisingly mild sauce (and no food poisoning!). It was perfect for the grilled lemongrass chicken and I bet it would be great with spring rolls too.
I came across a recipe for this Vietnamese-style cashew dipping sauce over at Steamy Kitchen. It looked awesome so I knew I had to give it a try. I ended up doing a few things differently from the original recipe but it turned out really well! You could easily change the sauce’s flavor by using peanut butter to use with other recipes. I used chili oil and sriracha to change things up a bit and I thought it tasted great! My favorite part was the combination of the garlic and hoisin sauce with the cashew butter. It was a match made in heaven!
Gochujang is a fermented chili paste made from red pepper powder and is used in a lot of Korean dishes. The great thing about this recipe is that it makes a lot and can be stored for up to a year in the refrigerator. It isn’t too hard to make, but it does take some time to acquire the right ingredients. I could not find soybean flour/powder at the local grocery store so I bought it at an asian market instead. Malt powder is the same thing as “malted milk powder” which can be found at the grocery store. Glutinous rice powder is the same as rice flour and I bought the “mochiko” brand which worked nicely. I am letting the jars sit out in the sun for a few days to ferment and age properly. Right away, the gochujang had a nice spicy and sweet flavor so I can only expect it to get better with age.