Have a Spicy November

BY: Brian Rayburn
last updated 11/12/2013
Have a Spicy November

If there was ever a month made for cooking, November is it! Although many fresh veggies are gone, the family is arriving...

Have a Spicy November

"Come a little bit closer, hear what I have to say"
Neil Young, "Harvest Moon"

If there was ever a month made for cooking, November is it! Although many fresh veggies are gone, the family is arriving...

November is definitely a 'comfort month.' As the days shorten and turn colder, heaters are switched on and fireplaces lit. Soups and stews make their appearance more often and homes smell of their nourishing warmth. Sweaters begin to appear, for better or worse and goodies abound like hot cocoa and pumpkin pie and of course, the loosening of the pants.

November is also the time of year to break out old family favorites and recipes handed down through generations. Don't be afraid to experiment this holiday season (not necessarily one the day the in-laws are in town for dinner) but there are plenty of ways to spice up Grandma's old favorite.

You can add seasonal flair easily with a sprinkle, shake, or drizzle - no need to reconfigure the recipe. It's easier than you think.

  • Cinnamon - Try adding ground or chipped pieces into your coffee grounds before brewing. Saigon (Vietnamese) and Ceylon are both great varieties for coffee.
  • Cranberry is a divisive flavor - win some folks over this holiday season with a variety of options using Cranberry Balsamic Vinegar.
    • Cranberry Balsamic Vinaigrette - 2 parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 part Miami Valley Spice Traders' Cranberry Balsamic Vinegar, pinch of sea salt. Combine salt with balsamic and then add oil. Ingredients can be mixed by shaking in a cruet or whisking in a bowl.
    • Cranberry Chicken - Whatever you would make per person, double it for the second recipe for the leftovers. Marinate chicken liberally in balsamic for no more than 15 minutes. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes depending on volume. You can also grill or roast if desired. Enjoy with sides like stuffing or green beans (try adding almond slivers too.)
      Cranberry Chicken Leftovers - Shred remaining chicken and use with a wrap, slider bun or sandwich pairing with any one of the following condiments: mustard, mayo, additional balsamic vinegar.
  • Sage is a great holiday flavor. It pairs well with turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, and so much more!

In the hustle and bustle of the season, entertaining, cooking, cleaning, rinse and repeat, keep in mind that great flavors make great memories. A home-cooked meal draws people together where they talk, share, and laugh - it's always a bonus when the conversation evolves from ooh's and mmm's to "What is your secret ingredient?" and "You've got to send me this recipe!" Whether you're making Grandma's favorite or going out on a limb with a new dish this year, take a moment to be thankful for the food you have this season and those you share it with. Have a spicy November.

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