nam pla prik

bird chiles

Some friends recently gifted us with a bag of fresh Thai bird chiles. They’re amazingly hot! We can only manage about two in a stir-fry (and even that gives everyone in the kitchen a sneezing fit), so it didn’t look like we’d make it through the bag before they started to spoil, which would have been a terrible shame. One afternoon when I was spending some time in the kitchen I threw together a batch of nam pla prik to use some of them up.

nam pla prik

Easiest recipe in the world, as long as you wear rubber gloves. Take about half a cup of stemmed bird chiles and finely chop them. Scrape them, seeds and all, into a clean jar. Pour fish sauce over to cover. Keep in the fridge indefinitely, adding more chiles or fish sauce as necessary to keep the sauce going. Use as a condiment for anything that needs a little extra salt or spice.

I just ate a lot of this dribbled over steamed broccoli with a squeeze of lime. More than a little heat, especially if you get the seeds, but so very good.

The joy of cranberry sauce

cranberry sauces

One of the things I like about spending Thanksgiving with our Kansas City relatives is the wide assortment of cranberry sauces. I grew up with basic boiled cranberries and sugar, and I still consider that the most elemental form of cranberry sauce. I know plenty of people swear by the canned stuff, but it makes me think of canned beets and (sorry to all you canned-cranberry-or-beet eaters) I just can’t do it.

But the other kind – the sauce in the pretty glass dish in the picture – is my personal favorite. I still make the boiled kind for everyday, but for Thanksgiving I have to have this. I don’t know Aunt Sheryl’s personal recipe, but when I make it myself I use the Joy of Cooking‘s Uncooked Cranberry Relish recipe. It’s very simple, just put into a food processor and grind up:

  • 4 cups cranberries
  • 1 whole orange
  • 2 cups sugar

That’s it! It’s fresh, bright, tart and fantastic with turkey and stuffing. Joy says to let the whole thing “ripen” for a couple days before eating – doesn’t seem strictly necessary, but maybe it makes it even better, who knows?