Saturday, December 24, 2016

Vegetarian Christmas Cooking: 20-Minute Tamales, Sea Salt Granola, TCV BBQ Dry Rub, and Hickory Smoked Hot Sauce

Surprise, surprise: we're not that skilled at finding the 'perfect gifts' for everyone. Each year at the height of holiday shopping craziness, it quickly becomes clear that we just need to rely on what we enjoy doing and get to cooking a lot of our gifts. It's rainy and gray here in Memphis this Christmas Eve, and we're going to be in the kitchen for a while today, so here's what we're making!

On Thursday, we were on a late-night hunt for corn husks, and with a little help from the awesome and super-enthusiastic produce guy at the Mendenhall Kroger (our third stop) in East Memphis, we found them on a low shelf and snagged them along with mushrooms, masa, and onions so we could make our 20-minute Tamales

Oh, and Curb Market in Midtown has the best dried peppers, Sparkling River Hickory-Smoked Poblanos, and they unbelievable in tamales, soups, grits, beans -- in anything, really. We bought a bunch for us and some for a few other pepper-obsessed folks we know. 

Versions of our Sea Salt Granola made their way into both of our cookbooks, The Chubby Vegetarian and The Southern Vegetarian. The funny thing is that while we have it as an extra on top of a salad and also a pear dessert in the books, we usually just have it right out of the container as breakfast with yogurt, berries, and honey or a quick snack by itself. (Our cousins gave us a big jar of sorghum this year, and we were thrilled since lately, we often sub it in for brown rice syrup in our granola recipes.)

This week, we also made kind of a Stone Soup-style vegetable-and-pasta soup for friends with kids and included a baguette, parmesan, and our favorite chocolate-covered peanuts so they could have dinner taken care of one night. We need to work on a recipe for vegetable soup for y'all in January when everyone's trying to eat vegetables and be all healthy, but in the meantime, here are a ton of favorite TCV soups we really like. We'll be working on a new white bean soup recipe for Christmas Day along with our usual cornbread. 

For a family party in Mississippi last weekend, we gave everyone TCV BBQ Dry Rub, and we made our Hickory Smoked Hot Sauce for those who've been hinting that they needed another bottle of it. We're excited to work on getting these seasonings available for purchase in 2017, and we'll keep you posted on the process as we figure it all out. 

Y'all, we hope you have a beautiful holiday with the people you love! Please let us know in the comments what you'll be cooking. 

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