You heard it here: cranberry is the new pumpkin! I am pretty much ready to put these little red super-berries in everything I make from now until Christmas. I love the depth the tart flavor of cranberries adds to desserts, and they’re great in savory dishes, too.
This recipe is so easy–just two ingredients, and you end up with two delicious and giftable condiments. The cranberry maple syrup would be great on pancakes, but I’m also thinking about incorporating it into a festive cocktail. I’ve already used it as the base for another dessert (involving chocolate) that would make a great gift, so stay tuned! If you want to be really prepared, make a batch of this now and just stash it in your fridge. I promise you won’t be sorry you did!
The cranberry compote is also delicious, and less sweet than the syrup for those of you who don’t want to get a toothache. I used some to make a parfait with yogurt and pecans this morning, and it was amazing. (Holiday parfait–it’s a thing! A delicious thing that rhymes!) You could also spread the compote on toast or even serve it with pork chops.
I had so much fun watching and listening to the cranberries pop while I was making this recipe. It’s more subtle than popcorn, but still great. I tried to make a video of it to post on Instagram, but it turns out I don’t know how to do that. Anyway, it made me think of the song “Get It Poppin’” (warning: explicit lyrics) from ten years ago–it’s a completely ridiculous Fat Joe song where he asks the ladies what they’re gon’ do, and they say “I’ma get-get-get it poppin!” over and over again. So, yes … that song has been stuck in my head since I made this. Still totally worth it, though!
When I lived in Houston, I loved to stop at El Rey Taquería for a big bowl of their tortilla soup, which was packed with chicken, shredded cheese, corn, avocado, and crispy tortilla strips, and also called caldo tlalpeño. The restaurant is open until 3 am on the weekends, and has a drive-through. I miss living the easy life in H-town, with all the drive-throughs, cheap prices, and delicious Mexican food! I decided it was time to make my own caldo tlalpeño up here in the frosty north.
A little research revealed that caldo tlalpeño and tortilla soup are not really the same thing. Tortilla soup usually has tortilla strips in it (shocking, right?), and caldo tlalpeño often has chickpeas and other vegetables like chayote. This is my version of the soup, which combines the best of both worlds. If you can’t find chayote (I found mine at the Vietnamese market), you can use zucchini instead or leave it out.
I was invited to a Hanukah party last night, and needed to bring a dessert that was nut-free and vegan. I wanted to bring a traditional Hanukah dessert, but soon realized I didn’t know of any. I guess I never really made it past the mountains of latkes at my family’s Hanukah celebrations. A quick search revealed that oily, fried foods like jelly-filled doughnuts are often eaten at Hanukah, but I wasn’t about to fry up a big pile of donuts to be eaten hours later. I also don’t really like jelly-filled desserts; I feel that jelly belongs at breakfast. Since I had dreidel and Star of David cookie cutters, I decided Hanukah sugar cookies would have to be traditional enough. I also got out my snowman and snowflake cookie cutters, since winter is almost here.
My next task was to find a great vegan cookie recipe. Since the cookies had to be nut-free, I soon realized it would be very hard to make them gluten-free as well. So, these cookies are a total gluten bomb. I promise to be back with more gluten-free eats very soon!
I’m on a really big soup kick right now. It’s so comforting to sit down with a bowl of soup on a chilly fall day, especially a soup that’s both kinds of hot: warm and a little spicy. The only problem with soup is that it sometimes takes a while to make. Not this one, though. You can have this soup on the table in less than 15 minutes! It’s a deliciously creamy, warmly spiced fall soup that has a depth of flavor not usually achieved in super fast recipes. If you have a well-stocked pantry, you can whip up this soup at a moment’s notice. It’s great for lunch when paired with a big salad, and would also make a great Thanksgiving starter!
I used homemade chicken stock made from a rotisserie chicken for this soup. It was my first time making chicken stock, and I’m so glad I took the time to do it! It made the whole house smell wonderful, and I felt like I was being really frugal. I froze some of the stock in an ice cube tray, so now I have a bag of homemade stock cubes to use to make sauces and other recipes. This recipe will also work with store-bought stock, though–the real flavor star here is the curry paste.
To make the soup vegan or vegetarian, just omit the fish sauce or use a splash of coconut aminos instead. The soup will still be nice and flavorful with just the curry paste, stock, and pumpkin. You can even omit the sunbutter or almond butter if you’re out, but it adds a nice richness to the soup.
Did you know there was once a molasses flood in Boston? A five-story high molasses tank exploded on an unusually hot day in 1919 and surged through the North End, destroying a fire station and leaving a path of sticky destruction in its wake. Some say that when the weather is really warm, you can still smell the molasses on the city streets almost 100 years later.
I was fascinated by the molasses flood as a kid and did a report on it in elementary school. I think that was the last time I thought about molasses, though, because I almost never cook with it. But, while making a failed batch of pumpkin bread over the weekend, I ran out of honey and needed another sweetener. The molasses in the back of my cupboard seemed like just the thing, and it was (the pumpkin bread only failed because I asked Ben to watch it for me, and it ended up baking for almost three hours). Molasses has a spicy flavor that goes really well with pumpkin, and contributes to this ice cream’s rich orange color. I did a little research and there seems to be some debate as to whether molasses is truly paleo, but I’m sure that this ice cream would still be delicious if you added more honey instead, or even tried maple syrup.