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  • Writer's pictureMai

My grandmother growing up always ate sweet and savory things combined together. Flavors my young self didn’t really appreciate or understand. Teta would eat avocados with jam or Labaneh with honey or dibis (often grape molasses). But as I got older, these flavors stayed in the back of my memory, I developed my palette to truly enjoy this combination too. Here is a simple holiday treat of creamy Labaneh crostini topped with my cranberry and Seville marmalade compote and finish with a drizzle of olive oil. But as opposed to my fresh cranberry recipe (on my website) i actually cooked the cranberries for this crostini. My daughter Julia caught on to this idea early on but her sweet and savory combo consists of one bite tacos and one bite ice cream or cake. I will stick to my teta ‘s palette because teta knows best. We don’t always have to come up with new recipes, repurpose exiting ones to truly enjoy what’s in season is so fun too.

For this recipe I cooked down the relish:


  • 1 orange peeled and diced

  • Zest of the orange

  • 12 Oz fresh cranberries washed

  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom

  • Add 2 tbls of Seville orange marmalade **, you can also add marmalade or maple syrup or honey. Adjust the sweetness to your liking

  • 1 baguette sliced and toasted

  • honey and olive oil to drizzle

Directions for this cooked version:

In a heavy pot add the cranberries, diced orange, and marmalade, mix to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and turn the heat down to low and simmer until all cranberries burst, stirring often. If mixture is too dry add few tablespoons of orange juice at a time. Simmer for 20 minutes until mixture is bubbly. off the heat add the orange zest, and orange blossom water. Stir to combine.

let mixture cool before you top you toasted crostini with labaneh and then a dollop of the cranberry relish. Add a drizzle of honey and olive oil to finish.

This salad combo hits all of my favorite flavor notes. Sweet, savory and tangy if I can accomplish this flavor profile in every meal I will retire naaa kidding. This flavorful Holiday

Salad is full of flavor and texture. Fresh firm fuyu persimmons , fresh citrus, crispy and slightly bitter radicchio that’s complemented by the earthy beets and fruits, crunchy toasted pistachios, and salty feta cheese. Running out of adjectives here lol. but the dressing is prob my fav part. I make a jar full and leave it in the fridge. Its a tangy-sweet fresh pomegranate and sumac vinaigrette. That compliments all the sweets and slightly bitter flavors that are going on in the Holiday salad


* 3-4 cups baby kale and or arugula

* 1 cup radicchio chopped

* 2 fuyu persimmons cored + cut into wedges

* 2 blood oranges peeled and thinly sliced

* 3 Roasted beets cut into wedges

* 1/2 cups fresh pomegranate seeds

* 6 ounces Greek feta cheese

* 3 tbls chopped pistachios

Pomegranate sumac dressing

* 1/4 cup 100% pomegranate juice

* 1 tablespoon honey

* 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

* salt + pepper to taste

* 1/2 tsp of sumac

Mix all together in a jar to combine

Toss with salad right before serving

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  • Writer's pictureMai

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Long ago, a tradition started in our family that after we put up the Christmas tree, we watch a Christmas movie and sip on homemade hot chocolate. Some traditions just take off perhaps due to the fact that this hot chocolate tastes like melted chocolate bars and the kids absolutely love it. In my family, hot chocolate is a luxury of cold weather and Christmas time. A cup of warm and drinkable chocolaty goodness (Who wouldn’t love that!) This drink is so luxurious that it doubles as dessert and a small serving goes a long way. Did you know that hot cocoa and hot chocolate aren’t exactly the same thing!!! Although they both are chocolate drinks, hot chocolate is thick, with a faint balance of sweetness and bitterness from the dark chocolate but hot coco is made entirely with coco powder. This homemade treat only requires a few ingredients and a few minutes on the stovetop to warm up a cold evening. Leave a mug full for Santa this week he's going to need the extra chocolatey boost, toys are on the line here friends!



2 cups milk I used 2/%

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (you could also just use milk)

1/2 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (start by adding half a cup and work your way up. All depends how chocolaty you like it

1/4 cup dark chocolate chopped

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (start by adding less if you like it less sweet.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tsp espresso powder (optional)

a pinch of salt

1 cinnamon stick

Serve with: Turkish floss*, whipped cream and candy canes


  1. In a medium sauce pan, pour milk and heavy cream and cinnamon stick. Heat over medium-high heat (be sure to watch it carefully - you don't want it to boil or scald!).

  2. Slowly add the coco powder, and the espresso powder if using to the milk mixture and whisk until completely combined.

  3. Reduce heat to medium, add in sweetened condensed milk and stir until completely combined. Reduce heat to low, add the chopped chocolates, and salt whisk until its completely melted and mixture is creamy, simmer for 3 more minutes.

  4. If hot mixture gets too thick, thin out with more milk.

  5. Remove from heat, add in the vanilla and serve in individual mugs.

  6. Top with whipped cream, ground cinnamon, and additional chocolate shavings, or a shot of booze or espresso.

  7. This mixture can stay in the fridge for a few days.

Turkish floss or Pişmaniye (peesh-MAHN-ee-yay) is an ancient Turkish sweet that dates back to the 15th century. It is also called "fairy floss," "string halva," "stretched halva." Pişmaniye resembles cotton candy but it has a different texture and a deeper flavor. Unlike cotton candy, this specialty candy contains flour and butter, and the sugary mixture is pulled into thousands of fine, crumbly strands. These strands are gathered into bite-sized balls and boxed like candy. Pişmaniye comes in several varieties and it is sold plain or chocolate, topped with ground pistachios or walnuts, and flavored with vanilla or cocoa powder.

Did you know:

Although hot cocoa and hot chocolate are both hot drinks made with milk and flavored with chocolate, but what makes them different is actually the chocolate.

Hot chocolate: must be made with chocolate and a little cocoa powder

but Hot Cocoa can be made entirely of cocoa powder and sugar.

Hot chocolate is usually richer, made often with whole milk or even cream with a thick, texture almost like a dippable drink.

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