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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Flip for Cranberry Upside-Down Cakes

Cranberry upside-down cakes are a pretty, seasonal, and homey dessert option for the fall and winter.

This cranberry upside-down cake is even better the next day for breakfast, says folprivate. The cranberry upside-downer from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan is fabulous, says toveggiegirl. lfossett agrees, saying it's "pretty and a crowd pleaser."

This cranberry-walnut upside-down cake is "tasty, relatively easy and looks nice in a rustic way," according to Divamac, while rockycat says Laurie Colwin's Nantucket cranberry pie (which is actually a cake) is "very homey but simple and easy."

Board Link: cranberry cake?

Overheard on the Home Cooking Boards

"I just made my first attempt at pancetta. Turned out awesome, the best I've ever had."

"Homemade eggnog is a different animal from store-bought. The beaten egg whites will rise to the top of the nog, even after folding them in, giving you a nice frothy head. Ladle a bit of it on top of each serving."

"I like casseroles because the flavors have a chance to meld and mingle. There's something delicious about having the noodles or rice pick up and absorb the flavors of the sauce which you don't get when you put sauce on top."

Overheard on the Boston Boards

"You may be familiar with this jelly from the little gelatin candies that come in a small cup and you suck out after opening a foil top."

"Scenester It Places—people are there for the fabulousness more than the food; it often has a kind of meat-market vibe."
-MC Slim JB

"Joe was working the bar and the plate of four pieces of chicken, garlicky mashed potatoes and gravy, and vinegar-tangy porky greens was the most comforting hug of Southern-fried love you could want on a drizzly night."

Does Kimchee Go Bad?

How long does kimchee last? It doesn't go bad for a very long time, says Humbucker, if it even goes bad at all— it just gets more sour and pickled-tasting over time.

"Whether fresher or older kimchee is better is a matter of personal preference," says Humbucker. "Sour kimchee is often used as an ingredient in other dishes, but I like a more sour and pungent kimchee even for eating straight, so the older the jar the better. To accelerate the fermentation process on a new jar, I leave the kimchee outside unrefrigerated for a day or two, making sure to loosen the lid and put the jar in a bag in case the liquid bubbles over."

hannaone agrees: "I prefer very fresh (salad like) while my wife and sons prefer aged and sour." hannaone has never had an issue with kimchee going bad—it just gets more and more sour.

It is possible for kimchee to go off, though. "Whether or how soon kimchee will go bad probably depends on the recipe used," says hannaone, especially if it contains rice or other flour as an ingredient. luckyfatima thinks it does go off, and has noticed it acquires a yeasty taste and smell when it's too old.

luckyfatima's tip: "If you are using the kimchee in recipes, like kimchee dumplings or kimchee fried rice and you have very sour old kimchee and don't want your dish to come out sour, sprinkle some sugar on it."

Board Link: how long does kimchee last

Just Like Your Cantonese Mama Made

Great Taste Bakery & Restaurant, a place called out this summer for its wonderful spicy fried pork rib plate, is apparently continuing to crank out wonderful homestyle Cantonese chow.

y2000k, who grew up in Hong Kong, says Great Taste is her "go-to" for Cantonese. Best stuff in the joint: "out of this world" beef brisket and beef tendon, available in noodle soup or in a curry with rice. y2000k is also a fan of the hot pot rice, "only listed in Chinese banners posted on the walls, NOT on the printed menu." The Chinese sausage hot pot rice was "nostalgic," with the prized crunchy rice on the sides and bottom of the pot. Better order it only when you have a little time though: an order takes 30 minutes.

y2000k also notes that the Chowhound-approved dim sum is made in-house by the chef.

Great Taste Bakery & Restaurant [Chinatown]
63 Beach Street, Boston

Board Link: Great Taste Bakery & Restaurant Chinatown

Your Dog Eats Better on Thanksgiving than You

This one made us laugh. Wag Hotels, a posh boarding kennel that bills itself as a pet "resort" in Northern California, is offering a full Thanksgiving dinner for dogs staying there for the holiday. The meal, created by pet food company VibraPet, includes:

• Hand-Pulled Boneless Skinless Turkey With A Light Turkey Glaze
• Honeyed Yams
• Apple and Cranberry Stuffing
• Steamed Green Beans
• Pumpkin Pie Puppy Pudding

"People don't want to feel guilty that they're having a fabulous meal and their dog is not!" says Kristen Green, publicist for Wag. The actual dog Thanksgiving meal is pictured above. The sprig of rosemary is a nice touch.

The Best Granola

Jim Leff recently tasted some of the top Chowhound-recommended packaged granolas—price no object—and found some killer stuff. Made to Crave's gluten-free Maple Pecan Granola was "toasty, and the only granola with a really long, seductive aftertaste," says Jim Leff. "One of only two granolas with serious depth."

Farmhand's Choice from Early Bird Foods was "a voluptuary experience; sweet, salty, flavor-packed, and so glisteningly greasy that it almost tastes fried!"

Udi's Hawaiian granola was a "deep, three-dimensional granola, this one with particularly beautiful balance between cereal and add-ins," says Jim Leff. "All the latter (especially the sheets of dried coconut and terrific hit of ginger) are of exemplary quality." And Udi's Original variety has great texture and a "very adult, dry flavor and aroma (smells like Korean barley tea)."

Meanwhile, Jim Leff is all granola-ed out. "That's the problem with these ambitious mass-tastings," he says. "You learn a lot, but applying the knowledge is unthinkable for a good long while."

Board Link: Gigunda Granola Tasting Results

Balls of Joy

Pani puri, crisp little pastry balls filled with potatoes, onions, and chickpeas, are a bit of a rarity on typical curry-laden Indian menus. They're more of a chaat, the small snacks meant to be ordered a few at a time. But they've been featured lately (both as a special and on the buffet) at the Kebab Factory, making ScubaSteve curious about where else they're available.

Chaat is best found at "the sketchy window in the back of an Indian grocery store," says gujubond. Try Indian Food and Spices in Trolley Square in Framingham. They also have housemade jalebi (an Indian fried sweet) , "one of the best snacks I've had all year," says galangatron.

Indian Food and Spices [MetroWest]
855 Worcester Road, Framingham

Board Link: ISO Pani Puri

Overheard on the General Topics Boards

"After cleaning up garlic purée off every surface in the MW, I figured out how to tame the beast. I now put the head in one of the veggie bags that you get in the produce section of the supermarket, and the explosion and flying garlic is confined therein ... Great way to get quickly cooked garlic for addition to things that you don't want the sharp uncooked taste. And it is fun ... BAM!"

"When it's getting cold outside, my mind automatically turns to Shan brand Haleem."

"We had a Southern Feast at a restaurant last night. For the three of us it was less than $30 ... and it was slap-your-mama fantastic!"

How to Make Holiday Punch with Erick Castro

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