While the weather outside isn’t quite yet frightful in the Pacific Northwest, our kitchens are still a delightful place to honor the holiday season. Be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or simply the winter solstice, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate this December, and plenty of recipes to accommodate.
From appetizer to dessert, here is a list of five of our favorite recipes to usher in the festivities.
This iconic braided Jewish bread is typically reserved for special occasions, and is a great place to venture into the wonderful world of bread making. This foolproof recipe walks you through all the steps, from mixing, to rising, to kneading, to rising, to shaping to braiding, to baking. While it may seem intimidating, there are fewer tasks more satisfying than making bread from scratch. Add your own spin by including spices such as cinnamon or cardamom, nuts or chocolate chips.
Groundnut stew, otherwise known as peanut soup, is a staple of West African cuisine, often eaten in celebration of Kwanzaa. It ranges from thick to thin, spicy to mild, few to many ingredients. Regardless of content, it is always earthy, rich, grounding, and delicious. This recipe from the famous Moosewood Restaurant is a thicker vegetarian version that boasts a modest amount of spice, while this recipe utilizes chicken and rice to complete the dish. Regardless of your choice, prepare yourself for your new favorite winter warming soup.
Another typical Kwanzaa recipe, jollof rice is a flavor packed one pot dish that is believed to have originated in the Senegambia region of West Africa. While most families will have their own version, the common ingredients to preparing this is a base sauce called obe ata, which is a blended combination of onions, garlic, chilies, tomatoes, and often curry spices. This video is a great place to start familiarizing yourself with jollof rice, with the recipe here.
This Hanukkah brisket recipe requires braising to deliver a savory and juicy main course. This technique uses an initial quick “dry” heat on the stovetop to sear the meat and coerce out the flavors, followed by a low-and-slow “wet” heat in the oven in a bath of onions, garlic, tomato, fennel red wine vinegar and beef stock.
Whole Wheat Christmas Cookies
There are unique Christmas food traditions celebrated all around the world, and even favorite recipes from every state, but none is more popular than the Christmas cookie. This recipe offers some suggestions for natural dyes to brighten your icing, and substitutes refined white flour for whole-wheat flour, giving these cookies a bit of fiber and B vitamins to keep you going through the holidays.