Cranberry Relish

I love cranberry sauce just as it is.  But when we were making trade items for the November Food Swap, I figured plain wouldn’t cut it.  Researching cranberry relishes, chutneys and sauces is overwhelming!  I ended up combining elements from a couple of recipes.  Some of the seasoning comes from a chutney recipe.  It doesn’t really taste like an Indian chutney, but it has a little bite from ginger and some mellow sour from the balsamic vinegar.  The slightly chunky texture that comes from using the food grinder gives it textural interest but leaves the relish spreadable.  If you don’t have a food grinder, a food processor would work as long as you don’t overprocess and end up with a paste.

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Vegetarian Chili

Much vegetarian chili is unsatisfying to me.  Maybe it’s beans in vaguely chili flavored tomatoes.  Or maybe it’s tvp or seitan, and I’m not absolutely crazy about those.  But I didn’t have any alternative, so I kept trying different versions.  This one has a chili-like texture provided by the split moong dal.  If you can’t find those, French lentils should work as well.  Korean black bean paste gives it a depth that spices alone don’t.  When I reheated some leftovers, I added a half tablespoon of butter for a little richness.  If you don’t mind the calories or fat, give that a try.

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Chili Seasoning Spice Mix

Spice blends are so useful, particularly when time is short.  Many premixed blends in stores can be bland, too salty or just stale.  In any case, it’s nice to customize blends to one’s own taste.  One of my recent obsessions is the quest for a good vegetarian chili that has a authentic texture and rich flavor.  This chili mix came out of that quest.

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Kim Chi Grilled Cheese

When I saw this Fried Egg Kim Chi Sandwich with Bacon on Tasting Table, I knew I had to come up with a vegetarian version.  Kim Chi and a fried egg on bread?  What’s not to love?  Of course, the bacon provides smokiness, so how to do that in a veg makeover?  We were getting ready to try the smoked cheeses, so the natural answer was a strong smoked cheddar.  We simply layered a slice of that cheddar, a fried egg and strong kim chi on whole grain bread and fried it in a pan until it was melty.

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Sublime!  The original recipe included a tart mayonnaise.  A bit of mayo mixed with lemon zest would be good, if you want to gild the lilly.