Cranberry Sauce with Persimmon

I've never really had a chance to go all out cooking wise for Thanksgiving. When I was a kid, growing up, we'd all go to my grandparents house in Gig Harbor, pull out the gold silverware, and have a huge pre-made feast for 10 people. I was never really interested in anything other than turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and rolls, because nothing was ever too home made. When my grandparents moved to Arizona, we changed up our Thanksgiving plans. One year my sister was away at school, and my parents and I decided to do Thanksgiving anyway. My brightest memory is hearing the smoke alarm go off, seeing the turkey on fire in the oven, and instead of helping, my first instinct being to army-crawl to my room to grab my camera and my mom yelling "LEANNA! Your camera?! REALLY!?" The next two Thanksgivings I spent at my boyfriend at the time's family's celebration (involving a flaming turkey of a whole other kind--deep fried). Last year we did a beyond vegan Thanksgiving (think only vegetables, 2 T olive oil/person, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs.....that's IT) so I didn't get a chance to cook a traditional meal. This year, finally, I would be able to cook......for 3 other people. But, me being me, I cooked 5 pounds of mashed potatoes; 3 of sweet potatoes; pumpkin pie from scratch; and green beans with caramelized shallots, bacon, and pepitas anyway! Then I bought a huge bag of cranberries...then I got a few persimmons in my CSA box...then I ran across this recipe, and it was fate!

Cranberry Sauce with Persimmon

3 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/8 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon orange zest, chopped
1/2 cup honey
1 fuyu persimmon
1/4 cup sugar or to taste
Bring the cranberries, wine, water, spices, zest, and honey to a boil over medium heat in a saucepan. Stir frequently, until most of the cranberries pop open. 

Meanwhile, peel and cut the persimmon into 1/4 inch cubes. Turn off the heat and stir in the persimmon. Taste. Add sugar or more honey to your desired sweetness. 

Let cool to room temperature and then store in a tightly sealed container in fridge to "gel".


Easy Veggie Recipe #2: Vegetable Stir Fry

Sooo... I've been reminded that I've really slacked on this whole veggie recipe thing... but I've been moving! And sick! And it's the holidays! Yada, yada, yada...

Here's my way of easing back in.. a super easy, super versatile "recipe" that doesn't really involve a recipe, just a formula!

Stir fry is the easiest way to use up all your vegetables, or leftover rice, leftover pasta, whatever.. really.

My favorite combination is 1-2 crowns broccoli (sliced 1/2 inch thick from top to bottom of trimmed stem), 1 yellow bell pepper (thin slices), 1/2 onion (half moon style), 2 stalks celery (sliced on the bias), 2 medium carrots (sliced on the bias), and sometimes we add mushrooms or sliced water chestnuts. Also, we like to serve over rice, rice pasta, udon, or yakisoba, and top it with bean sprouts, or sesame seeds. If we're in the mood, we fry up some tofu or some chicken (or use leftover chicken).

The basic formula is to heat some sesame oil*/olive oil mixture in a wok until it's rippling, and cook whatever is going to take longest first. If you're doing a protein, cook it first, then set it aside while you finish the rest. I always start with the onion for flavor, let it wilt a bit, then add the harder stuff: broccoli/carrot/celery and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add softer stuff: peppers, mushrooms, and cook until crisp-tender, 4-5 minutes ish. Add the protein back in, add a 1/4 cup chicken stock, and cover for about 2 minutes to let everything warm through and steam finish. Season with soy sauce, stir fry sauce, or hot sauce. Serve by itself, or over rice or noodles. Top with bean sprouts and/or sesame seeds.

Like I said, it's not really a recipe. Just use whatever you have, and make it to your liking. Some good additions: red pepper flake, sriracha, brussel sprouts, tempeh, tofu, hoisin sauce, etc... Just whatever you have on hand.

*Sesame oil is worth it. It's expensive, but the flavor is worth it. You can use 1 tablespoon sesame oil mixed with one tablespoon of another oil, to make it last longer.