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Thursday, December 22, 2011

For the love of cranberry

Cranberry sauce with turkey is the holiday equivalent of pineapple on pizza.  You like it or you don't.  One of the great dichotomies of life.  Since I'm dedicating a whole post to cranberries, I think you can guess which side I favour.

[found here]

For years I thought canned cranberry sauce was a-mazing.  Sweet, tangy, easy, there.  That was before I was doing any of the cooking.  A few years back I took to making the sauce from scratch - which is dead easy.  Boil a cup of sugar and a cup of water, add a bag of cranberries and cook til the skins split.

Last year, I came across a more involved cranberry sauce recipe in Sweet Paul Magazine.  I knew I had to try it!

"Sauce" is an understatement.  This stuff is called Spiced Cranberry Apple Relish and is just as fancy as it sounds.  But fun to make!

Chutney ingredients

First, dice up the cranberries - I threw them in the food-processing attachment of my immersion blender and a few minutes later:

Minced cranberries

Citrus really makes this recipe zingy (zest and juice of oranges and lemons).


Grated fresh ginger adds the eponymous spice.

Cranberry apple chutney

Bit of sugar tames things down a bit:

Cranberry apple chutney

Just Us organic sugar

And the final product.  Cranberry lovers rejoice!

Cranberry apple chutney

Best enjoyed with turkey and all the trimmings.  Happy holiday eating to all of you, cranberry lovers or not!

Turkey dinner

O, Christmas Tree

This Christmas brings a few firsts.  First Christmas living back on PEI (after all those years away), first Christmas in our own home, and more to the point of this post, first real Christmas tree!

We started the season with only nine Christmas ornaments.  The nine ornaments worked well last year, when we had nothing to decorate but our philodendron.  But, thanks to some gifts, some sales, and some last minute DIYing, I think we've been able to fill it out nicely.


[Santa from a French craft fair, from the world-traveling brother-in-law]

Sou'wester snowman

[Snowman, Atlantic style]


[From a couple of donkeys]


[Labrador souvenir]

First Christmas in the new place!

[A gift from Mike's mom]


[DIY with feathers and empty Christmas balls]


[A mummer, souvenir of Newfoundland]

Pinecone on a spruce tree

[More DIY - pine cone, a hook and some hot glue]

Snow doc

[A gift from my mom]


[Souvenir of Europe - handmade in the Czech Republic]

The trunk may be crooked and the ornaments few, but to me it's the most beautiful tree.  The scent fills the house.  It really brings on the Christmas spirit!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

NYC... the food

You may remember my recent visit to NYC from my last post. I had to make a separate post about my dining experiences there.  Despite spending only three nights there, the trip was so packed full that one post couldn't do it all justice.

I will preface the post by saying that I don't have pics of all the great food we had.  Meeting up with three girls you see only once a year leads to a lot of great conversation; food blogging was taking a bit of a back seat.

Our hotel was near Times Square.  By the time we had all arrived from our various destinations we needed to head somewhere close by to eat.  One of the girls mentioned Junior's.  The original Junior's is located in Brooklyn and claims to be the home of the best New York cheesecake.  I have to say, the cheesecake was pretty great as far as cheesecake goes!  Unfortunately I don't have a pic, probably due to the instantaneous feeding frenzy my tiredness at the late hour.

(On an obscure note, the restaurant was founded by Harry Rosen.  But not this Harry Rosen.)

I do have a pic of another great menu item - the brisket:


A combo of NYC traditions:  beef brisket with au jus, served on potato pancakes with a side of applesauce!  The beef was moist and tender (which is saying something for a cut of meat like brisket) and the "bun" was hot and crispy.

Next up is a spontaneous street-sweet:  mini cupcakes!  They were bite-sized and so tempting.

Mini cupcakes

How tempting?  Let's just say this was on our way to breakfast!

mini cupcakes

So hard to choose.  #firstworldproblems

Probably the most famous NYC "restaurant" we visited was The Soup Man.  

The Soup Nazi

You may recall this place from Seinfeld.  "No soup for you!".  They actually sell t-shirts with that saying...

As you'd expect from the reputation, this guy is serious about his soup.  Actually, he seems to be pretty serious about everything, particularly the right way to order the soup.  The rules are printed on a large sign, and there are even handy marks on the sidewalk to help you out.

Soup Nazi

Now, for the soup.  I had to have the lobster bisque.  Fantastic.  

no soup for you!  ...soup for me!

You may have gathered from the pics (or remember from Seinfeld) that the "restaurant" is actually a lunch window on the street.  You can't eat soup standing up, so we headed to a nearby park to enjoy it.  The meal includes fresh bread, fruit, and a chocolate.  Lovely lunch!

The last meal I have to share with you was more 'Euro' than 'Big Apple'.  We had a decadent breakfast at the Le Pain Quotidien location in SoHo.  

petit dejeuner

Check out this meal.  A bread basket with four of their rustic/traditional breads, boiled egg, gruyere, organic apple juice, and cappuccino.  Yum.

The number of places to eat in Manhattan is almost incomprehensible to a girl used to the selection in Atlantic Canadian cities.  I recommend reading some online reviews ahead of your visit to have a short list of nearby restaurants.  Otherwise it's hard to know where to start!  

Any NYC restaurant favorites?  Please share in the comment section!