Modern Cosmopolite

It’s impossible for me to throw food away.

I don’t say this to brag or as a point of pride, but by way of apology. If anything, it’s more of a character flaw than anything else. My stubborn belief that anything can be made delicious with the right treatment drives many of my most questionable creations, as I tell myself, “someone likes this stuff; I must simply be doing it wrong!” Granted, I don’t think that ketchup cookies are necessarily right but it certainly did transform a condiment I’m not fond of into a genuinely tasty dessert.

That’s where cranberry sauce comes in. Whether it’s spicy or citrus-y, raw or slow-cooked, I don’t want it on my Thanksgiving table. Maybe I’m missing something but I don’t think it fits with the other flavors. It’s either too sweet or too tart and nothing in between. Don’t even get me started on those jellied monstrosities, clearly imprinted with the rings of the tin can from which they emerged.

Regardless, I always find myself making a batch and thus, having leftovers to be disposed of. By “dispose,” I mean “repurposed,” of course. While I would typically think of cakes or muffins, I’m craving something cooler, quicker, and easier this year.

Enter: The Cranberry Cosmopolitan Smoothie

Inspired by the cocktail of the same name, otherwise known as “cosmo” for short, it works especially well for my usual approach simmering cranberries in orange juice to make the classic sauce. Add in a touch of lime and you have the full compliment of flavors. The original drink gets its punch from a shot of vodka and triple sec, but it’s easy to omit these for a healthy, non-alcoholic option. In fact, this blend is probably a good antidote to such a rich meal.

Tips and Tricks

If you’re not the sort to save everything or end up with excess cranberry sauce, I’ve got you covered. Substitutions are a snap!

  • Cranberry sauce: Use plain fresh or frozen cranberries, and consider adding a touch of agave or maple syrup to taste, since they’ll be much more astringent, especially raw.
  • Bananas: Some people can’t stand bananas in smoothies which is perfectly fine! For you lovely folx, might I suggest using frozen peeled and sliced pears instead? They’ll have a similar sweetness, creamy texture when blended, and more mild flavor.
  • Orange juice: If you want to keep the party going straight through to the new year, don’t let me dissuade you. Go ahead and replace 1/4 cup of the orange juice with triple sec.

Cheers, to Thanksgiving leftovers, and being thankful that nothing goes to waste!

Continue reading “Modern Cosmopolite”

Pavé the Way Forward

This may be a hot take, but I think it’s perfectly fine to skip the Thanksgiving roast, as long as there are potatoes on the table. Mashed, roasted, sauteed, or fried; it’s simply not a harvest feast without some form of spuds. In fact, go ahead and invite more than one to the party. There’s always room for another starchy side.

What Is Potato Pavé?

Some call them “thousand layer potatoes” or “15 hour potatoes” thanks to TikTok, but their roots go much deeper than that. Similar to hasselback, accordion, and tornado potatoes with their endless crispy layers, potato pavé have been around for centuries. These golden bricks of pressed, creamy potato, take their name from the French word for cobblestone. Historically reserved for the tables of fine dining establishments, their time-consuming preparation is too demanding for any old weeknight dinner, but well within reach for a special occasion.

How It’s Made

To create this masterpiece, you’ll layer these paper-thin potato slices in a meticulous mosaic, infusing each crevice with rich coconut milk and sriracha-spiked bee-free honey. The whole assembly is baked, then weighted down to compress and bind the strata into compact tiers, still delicate but stable enough to slice. Traditionally, it’s then fried or seared in hot oil, but I prefer the ease of the air fryer, browning the edges to a crispy, grease-free finish.

If all goes according to plan, you get the best of all worlds: A buttery interior with sheets of silky-smooth potato puree, and crunchy sides that could put breakfast hash browns to shame. Mixed within that textural symphony, the sweet-heat flavor contrast hits all the high notes.


This is definitely a more advanced recipe, best prepared ahead of time and practiced before the big event, if possible. It all comes down to technique, with a pinch of food science.

Can I use sweet potatoes or purple potatoes instead?

  • No, I’m afraid not. They’ll become completely smooth in the center, which is also lovely, but not the same experience as you’d get from a multitude of distinct layers.

Can I make potato pavé without a mandolin?

  • You can, in the sense that it’s physically possible and I can’t stop you, but I absolutely do NOT recommend it. Unless you’re a master chef or sword-fighting ninja, there’s no way to ensure completely consistent, wafer-thin slices across three pounds of potatoes. This is absolutely critical for success. To be honest, I should have cut mine even thinner than what’s pictured too.

What do you do with the scraps?

  • If you’re not satisfied by simply eating them as snacks while you work, the excess trimmings can be added to soups or stews, mixed into stuffing, or even sprinkled on top of salads.

Serving Suggestions

Naturally, potato pave would be right at home with the other side dishes, but they could also be served as a starter before the main meal. Include a garlicky aioli for dipping and think of them as bundles of crispy French fries! For a more elegant serving, use them as a separate first course, surrounded by a pool of chestnut puree, gravy, or herbed vegan butter.

If there’s one dish you invest concerted time and effort on this Thanksgiving, make it the potatoes.

Continue reading “Pavé the Way Forward”

Galette It Be

Halloween decorations may still be gently swaying in the breeze, playfully teasing the onset of fall, but every serious cook and baker knows the truth: It’s game time.

Thanksgiving Menu Planning Starts Now

November marks the official start of The Holiday Season, replete with Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas cookies, and all the festive snacks in between. Now is your chance to map out a plan to maximize your meals with minimal effort. As such, the grand meatless entree is always a key consideration, prone to sending experienced hosts into fits of anxiety. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a frozen roast at the grocery store, but given the opportunity to prep this far in advance, I’d implore you to consider a more thoughtful, homemade main dish.

Meet Your New Holiday Centerpiece

Rich with the heady umami flavor of Sugimoto shiitake mushrooms, this free-form pie folds silky caramelized onions into roasted garlic and sliced mushroom caps, celebrating the interplay between sweet and savory. Time, not skill, is the most essential ingredient in making this Caramelized Onion & Shiitake Galette, which is why I wanted to put it on your radar, post-haste. As an edible ode to the season, each slice embodies an ideal tapestry of autumn’s earthy, naturally comforting tastes and textures.

Why Pie?

Close your eyes and imagine the sound of flaxen leaves crunching beneath your feet. That’s the essence of this pastry foundation; crispy, golden, and somehow instantly nostalgic. As your fork glides through its layers, there’s a satisfying resistance, followed by a buttery surrender that melts into a crescendo of intense flavor from the filling.

Enhancing Inherent Sweetness

Garlic and onions are both remarkably sweet ingredients when treated with care. Cooked low and slow, the natural sugars come to the fore, caramelizing and intensifying like straight-up vegetable candy. What really sets this filling apart are the shiitake mushrooms, already known flavor enhancers, that are soaked in woodsy apple cider rather than plain water. Sugimoto koshin shiitake have broad, flat caps, perfect for slicing into meaty ribbons that mimic the shape of the onion strings. Their edges crisp gently in the oven, amplifying the whole experience. Subtly tart, with a splash of balsamic vinegar thrown in for good measure, crafting the perfect bite is all about balance.

But What About The Protein?

If you’re worried about fending off pointed questions from “concerned” family members about your protein intake, fear not. You can easily pack in the plant-based protein in a number of ways:

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

No one wants to spend the holiday in the kitchen while the rest of the family gets to relax around a crackling fire. Lay out your agenda days or weeks ahead of time to simplify the whole process, and make sure you get to enjoy the occasion too.

  1. Make the pie crust first since it needs to chill. You can prep it up to 6 months in advance and store it in the freezer. Simply thaw at room temperature before rolling.
  2. Prep the filling up to 5 days in advance. Simply transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.
  3. Once assembled, the unbaked galette can be loosely covered with plastic wrap and frozen on the sheet pan for up to 1 month. You can bake it directly from frozen; just increase the bake time by about 10 minutes.
  4. Leftovers, if you have any, can be stored in a covered container for up to 3 days. To reheat, pop individual slices into the toaster oven at 350 degrees for 8 – 12 minutes, until hot and crispy.

Fall For This Autumnal Comfort Food

As you stand on the threshold of the holiday season, looking ahead at all the festive meals to make and share, remember that the best meals unfold slowly, with care and creativity. As such, a holiday entree like this caramelized onion and shiitake galette isn’t just sustenance; it’s a celebration of textures and flavors that captures the essence of autumn. May its rustic beauty, with a golden, flaky crust and rich, earthy filling, be the beginning of a joyous Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, or any festive occasion.

Continue reading “Galette It Be”

Pumpkin Cheesecake That’s Better Than Pie

Did you know that somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 million pumpkin pies are baked every year?

According to the American Pie Council, 1 out of 5 Americans has eaten an entire pumpkin pie by themselves. I’m going to hope that those people took at least more than one day to complete the task, but again, I’m not here to judge. You do you; it is a vegetable, right?

If you want a pumpkin pie you can feel good about consuming in mass quantity, I’d like to suggest something a bit more wholesome than the conventional approach, at least in terms of ingredients. Though this gorgeous ode to the autumn classic tastes even more decadent than the original, it’s a superfood-packed healthy choice by comparison.

What makes this pumpkin cheesecake the best recipe ever?

Oh, let me count the ways. It’s…

  • Vegan
  • Dairy-free
  • Eggless
  • Gluten-free
  • Raw/no-bake
  • Keto
  • Paleo
  • Refined sugar-free
  • Zero cholesterol

Skip the packaged and processed goods to create an even more compelling treat, truly worthy of a special occasion.

Cashews make up the bulk of this creamy filling, blended with maple syrup for a more balanced, flavorful sweetness. You get plenty of lemon tartness, like tangy cream cheese but fresher and brighter, livening up the humble squash flavor of canned pumpkin puree. Though optional, the candied pumpkin seeds on top really elevate each slice to a whole new level, providing contrasting crunchy texture to cut through decadent, silky-smooth slab.

Even if it’s too late to amend your Thanksgiving menu, keep this one in mind as the winter holidays grow near. Pumpkin isn’t going out of season anytime soon.

Continue reading “Pumpkin Cheesecake That’s Better Than Pie”

Top 10 Vegan Thanksgiving Entrees

Since the beginning of time, vegans around the world have faced the same three questions from otherwise well-meaning friends:

  1. Where do you get your protein?
  2. Don’t plants have feelings too?
  3. What can you eat for Thanksgiving?

That’s a lot to unpack, not due to the complexity of the topics, but the fact such uncertainties still exist in our day and age. For all those still wondering, let me give you the abridged version:

  1. Plants.
  2. No.
  3. Plenty.

Of course there’s much more to it than that. Thanksgiving, a keystone holiday deeply entrenched in tradition, deserves deeper thought. Even an omnivorous feast takes weeks of preparation, so why shouldn’t a meatless one command the same careful planning? Now is the time to gather your recipe inspiration and believe me, I have a real veritable cornucopia of options to share.

Sides are simple so let’s focus in on the main event. Vegan Thanksgiving entrees tend to stump even seasoned pros, so there’s no shame in seeking help. Before you buy a frozen roast from the grocery store, consider the full spectrum of possibilities that are vegetable-focused, protein rich, and infused with all the freshest flavors of the season. It doesn’t have to be a big production to be worthy of a celebration. Having any homemade plant-based main dish on the table is a reason to be thankful.

Top 10 Vegan Thanksgiving Entrees

Think it's hard to eat vegan on Thanksgiving? Think again! Here are the best meatless mains for Thanksgiving dinner to feed a hungry crowd or a small, intimate gathering.