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CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Will pumpkin spice cut it in 2020?

If a dusting of chai, nutmeg or pumpkin spice signals Autumn in steamy Southeast Texas, bring it on. Readers have been sharing pumpkin spice alerts here for years, so let’s make the rest of 2020 a fragrant one. It’s also cookbook season, so keep checking here for holiday gift-giving ideas and festive spreads.

           

Pumpkin Spice Alert

The demands of 2020 are surely to up the pumpkin spice factor this year. Sugar Plum Chocolates is doing its part by releasing Pumpkin Spice Almonds coated in comforting cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.

Simple as that and much better for you than other seasonal treats. Keep some in your bag through the season. Just a few will be really satisfying. Sugar Plum Chocolates has a white chocolate option that is unwrapping an artwork of culinary angularity. Each corner you snap offers a melt-in-your-mouth Pumpkin Spice Latte experience with natural pumpkin spice and espresso flavors. It’s packaged for fall fun with little leaves, boots, acorns, etc. adorning the package.

Try to make it last all week long. I dare you. www.sugar-plum.com

 

Red

“Wowza” is a word I saw on Red, one of those seductive big gourmet bars sold away from the regular candies. You deserve good chocolate, and Red was a welcome taste in my week. Labeling of 50 percent less calories in the dark chocolate and 40 percent less in the extra dark chocolate are other lures to these no-sugar added recipes. A diamond is part of branding and the finest Cote d’Ivoire cocoa beans shine in facets as you break off scores made with a company mission to “guiltlessly deliver perfectly sweet moments to those who strive to live an active, healthy lifestyle as well as those who appreciate losing themselves within decadent moments.”

See, you don’t have to sign a contract or anything to go to the gym afterwards, though we may not all resemble the shapely silhouette stamped among the gluten-free/no-GMO announcements. It’s commendable to check our your chocolate’s stance and info@chocolette.com tells of “Earth-happy processes.” There’s milk chocolate, too and I crave every level of cocoa these makers offer.

 

CHRISTMAS COOKBOOK IDEA: Forks Over Knives Family

Health has got to be a family affair these days. No more Moms nibbling on rabbit food while appeasing everyone else with greasy fare. If everyone can’t come together with joy for the slicing and dicing of meal prep, then let them simply rejoice when served Chinese Noodles in Ginger Garlic Sauce and Avocado Toast-ada.

Times have changed and they are delicious. The Forks Over Knives movement is plant based and believers would prefer to lift their forks for healthy foods over surgeons lifting scalpels over sick bodies. Learn to nourish everyone you love from pregnancy on with this book subtitled “Every Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy Kinds on a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet.”

Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederman, MD have complied research, tips and really fun recipes I wouldn’t hesitate to order on a menu. Now I can make them myself.

Savoy Cabbage with Mushrooms and Sesame Seeds, Polenta Tempeh Casserole and much ado about lentils are within these pages. Also, much dessert. Chocolate Bliss Balls is one of many uses for date paste, so here’s the recipe for that:

Some cooks use dates as a main sweetener and it saves time to have it ready as a paste. Keep half of the batch in the fridge and freeze the other half in a mason jar to keep it at the ready:

 

Date Paste

1 pound pitted dates (about 4 cups)

1½ cups boiling water

Place the dates in a wide, flat-bottomed container such as a saucepan and add the water (the dates should be partially to completely submerged). Cover the container and soak for at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours.

Transfer the dates and the soaking water to a food processor and blend into a smooth paste.

Storage: Transfer the paste to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or in the freezer for 4 to 5 months.

 

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie pumpkin spicing everything within reach. Reach her at darraghcastillo@icloud.com