Culinary Corner: Holiday Edition

Peruvian hot chocolate
Peruvian hot chocolate
Ella McNamee

The best part of the holiday season is the food. Different areas around the world make a variety of entrees, desserts and drinks to celebrate the holidays. Here in the United States, we are used to gingerbread, decorated cookies and candy canes. However, in other countries around the world, people enjoy other foods during the holidays that in the United States we would not normally eat. Here are 6 different recipes, one from each continent, that are made during the time of the holiday season that families in the United States can incorporate in their own meals. The recipes include spiced hot chocolate, lentil soup, butter tarts, goat stew, pavlova and sufganiyot.

Spiced Hot Chocolate from Peru: Mexico, Peru and several other countries in South America are famous for their Spiced Hot Chocolate that is made during Christmas time.

Ingredients: 4 cups milk, 1/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp. cornstarch, 1 tsp. Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp. chipotle powder or chili powder, pinch of nutmeg, pinch of cayenne, optional toppings: whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate syrup, and/or chocolate shaving.

Steps: Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until simmering, stirring often. Remove from heat and serve with optional toppings.

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Lentil Soup from Italy: Lentil soup is a mix of vegetables in a pot that is commonly served in a New Year’s dinner.

Ingredients: 1 onion, chopped, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 carrots, diced, 2 stalks celery, chopped, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 can crushed tomatoes, 2 cups dry lentils, 8 cups water, 1/2 cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced, 2 tablespoons vinegar, salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Steps: In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano and basil; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes then bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste with pepper or salt and more vinegar if desired.

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Butter Tart from Canada: Many families in Canada make these during Christmas time. A butter tart is a small pastry with a filling of butter, sugar, syrup and eggs.

Ingredients: 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup butter chilled and cut into pieces, 1/4-1/2 cup ice cold water, 1/2 cup soft butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar packed, 1/2 cup corn syrup golden, 2 eggs slightly beaten, 1 tsp vanilla and a pinch of salt.

Steps: Sift flour, salt and sugar together and blend the butter in using a pastry blender, then add cold water a little bit at a time until the dough starts to hold together. Press dough into a disk shape and roll it out, then cut 16 4-inch circle and put them in muffin cups, and refrigerate. For the filling, mix butter, brown sugar and corn syrup, then add eggs, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Fill the shells with filling and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes.

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Goat Stew from Western Africa: An African main dish many people eat during the time of Christmas is goat stew. The goat is slow cooked with lots of delicious spices and flavors including curry, onions, ginger and garlic.

Ingredients: 2 ½-3 pounds goat meat cut in small pieces, 1/2 cup cooking oil, 1 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 teaspoon minced ginger, 1 medium onion sliced, 4 Roma tomatoes diced, 3– 4 teaspoons curry, 1 teaspoon white pepper, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, 2 tablespoon parsley, 2 green onions sliced, 1 scotch bonnet pepper adjust to suit taste buds or replace with any hot pepper and 1 tablespoon Bouillon Maggi.

Steps: Boil goat meat with salt, pepper and some chopped onions in a medium pot until tender for about 60-90 minutes. Add ¼ cup oil to the pot and brown the goat for about 5-10 minutes. Then, add the chopped onions, ginger, and garlic to perfume the oil and meat, continue frying the meat for 1- 2 minutes. Next add tomato diced tomatoes, curry, white pepper, smoked paprika, hot pepper and fresh thyme. Stir frequently to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pot. Add salt and bouillon according to preference with about 2 cups of stock. Bring to a boil and let it simmer to blend all the flavors. Approximately 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally adding water as needed. Finally add green onions. Adjust seasonings, sauce consistency with water, stock and salt.

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Pavlova from Australia: A common desert that is made during the Christmas season in Australia. This creamy, meringue cake is usually topped with fresh berries and whipped cream, however toppings vary based on family traditions.

Ingredients: 4 egg whites, 1 1/4 cups white sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1 pint heavy cream and 6 kiwi, peeled and sliced.

Steps: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper that has a  9-inch circle drawn on it. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly. This should leave a slight depression in the center and then bake for 1 hour. In a small bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; set aside. Remove the paper, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream, and top with kiwi slices.

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Sufganiyot from Israel: Jelly filled, fried donuts from Israel called Sufganiyot are a popular dessert that many people eat during Hanukkah.

Ingredients: 1 1/4-oz. envelope active dry yeast, 3-4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup sugar, 2 large egg yolks, 1 large egg, 1/2 cup warm whole milk, 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, 1 tablespoon brandy, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 6 tablespoons unsalted butter.

Steps: Combine yeast, 1 Tbsp. flour, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and 2 Tbsp. warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand until yeast starts to foam, about 5 minutes. Whisk in egg yolks, whole egg, milk, orange zest, orange juice, brandy, if using, salt, vanilla, 2 cups flour, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar for 2 minutes. Add 6 Tbsp. butter 1 piece at a time, mixing well between additions. Gradually add remaining 2 cups flour, mixing until mostly combined. Knead dough and let it rise for an hour. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 3/4″ thick and allow dough to rise some more. Heat vegetable oil to 350F and fry dough for about a minute per side. Pulse jam in a food processor until smooth and scrape jam into piping bag fitted with 1/4″ tip. Insert tip into top of sufganiyot and gently fill until jam just pokes out of hole and dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

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Evelyn Lowen, Reporter
Evelyn Lowen is a senior reporter in her third year on The Sentry. She enjoys writing for all sections, particularly the Style section. Evelyn plays travel soccer outside of school and spends her free time hanging out with friends as well as her cat and dog.

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