View Full Version : International Holiday Cuisine

11-18-2015, 04:56 PM
Anyone have a delicious international recipe for the holidays? We are very bland, traditional American cooks. I'd like to start introducing some new flavors and see if it sparks some interest in DS. He loves to "cook." ;)

I never really learned how to cook, but I swear I can follow a recipe. Apparently, I choose the absolute worst recipes from the Internet.

11-18-2015, 05:14 PM
Hmmm. Not sure if this is what you had in mind - its not holiday recipes, per se. But its international *lite*... and friendly for your DS4. (We used this book when DS was in K, learning about food from around the world. Emeril's There's a Chef in My World!: Recipes That Take You Places: Emeril Lagasse, Charles Yuen, Quentin Bacon: 9780060739263: Amazon.com: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Emerils-Theres-Chef-My-World/dp/0060739266/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447883959&sr=1-3&keywords=emeril+children%27s+cookbook)

I like that it doesnt use any ingredients too exotic, and the flavors are softened.

Are you looking for Hanukkah food? Matzah ball soup, and potato pancakes with apple sauce? That stuff English people eat for xmas? I have a Romanian friend who cooks a yummy sweet bread with dried fruits for xmas.

Heres a list of Diwali recipes, but Id be pretty hesitant to try authentic ethnic food on kids. Diwali Recipes | Diwali Dinner Menu | Deepavali Dinner Menu Ideas ~ Indian Khana (http://www.indiankhana.net/2013/10/diwali-recipes-diwali-dinner-menu-deepavali-dinner.html)

I think Chicken Mole is a popular mexican xmas dish, but I dont think its for novice chefs.

Oh, that emeril book has a recipe for the thai coconut lime soup... tom kah gai. Mmmm.

11-18-2015, 05:58 PM
Yum I love mole!
I'm getting more and more suspicious of food bloggers, which is where I get most of my recipes. Oooooooo that picture looks yummy... Then, bummer. I donated all of our cookbooks to the library when I was prego with #2 on a huge nesting jag.

11-18-2015, 06:10 PM
Tamales....xmas favorite for us!!! I have great memories of Grandma, Mom and Aunts making em and gossiping about everyone's personal business in Spanish, so the kids couldn't listen. To this day, I understand Spanish....but don't speak it very well.

TFZ, can I piggy back on your question and specifically request Udon????? Udon is a fun, easy, kid-friendly choice.......don't know about the holiday aspect, though. And I don't mean Ramen :)

11-18-2015, 06:30 PM
Yes I would be interested in Udon, too. DS will basically eat anything noodle based.
Yum tamales. How do you make them? Have a good recipe to share or link? DH would get into some Mexican holiday yumminess.

11-18-2015, 06:37 PM
Tamale Recipe (http://www.sonofthesouth.net/tamales/Tamale_Recipe.htm)

Grandma didn't use recipes, of course. But my mom and two aunts checked this online option for me and a few cousins and said, "Sure, give it a try...looks pretty close."

I've followed it, and yeah, it's pretty spot on! I keep it bookmarked and make them twice a year. It makes a lot, and they freeze nicely :) Add some mole on top if you want.....mmmmmmm

11-18-2015, 07:05 PM
Those look sort of smaller than most Tamales Ive seen, ML. Not to go all Ron Jeremy on you. But. Do yours come out that thin? (Those look like theyre not more than an inch or so wide. Like taquitos, more than tamales.)

Not judging, just asking. ;)

11-18-2015, 08:12 PM
Unless you get some huge ass corn husks....yeah, they are about 6 or so inches long and about 1 1/2 inch wide. Depends on the husks really, but you could fill them a bit more if your disapproving eyes are too accustomed to American restaurant portions. ;) Lol!!

Okay, so here's the thing.....it's a ratio thing. Meat to masa, when you're assembling. Most restaurants give you a big masa bomb.....stingy on the meat, kwim? Just like in the tutorial, I go easy on the masa. Remember it puffs a bit when being steamed. That's what I grew up with.

11-19-2015, 09:33 AM
LOVE tamales. We did some Diwali things last week because my kid finally can handle more spice. (It's a gradual thing, spice-introduction. I realize I have the highest tolerance for heat in my house and I am the cook so...too bad, tender tongues. Just kidding. You have to at least TRY a bite or two.)

Back to Diwali: Basically I made a saag paneer and something pakora-like. Have to say the NYTimes Cooking (http://cooking.nytimes.com/68861692-nyt-cooking/1426955-diwali-main-dishes) site is my go-to because they're really well-tested and try to get you to step outside of your old East Coast white person comfort level indicative of the typical reader of said paper.

Anyway, yeah, when DD was your son's age we did a lot of homemade sushi. She was the bomb with rolling. Swear she was a stoner in her last life. So those little hands can really do some great things, so little wraps (anything ravioli-ish like pakoras or pasties or the beloved tamales) or mini bites/canapes, things with toothpicks, all = FUN kid food.

Not sure about "holiday" but thinking more what your kid can do.

11-22-2015, 01:26 AM
This post is a bit OT but,
This thread reminds me of my childhood. My dad was an amazing cook. While our neighbors had traditional 'American' meals, my dad was always looking through cookbooks to find recipes from around the world. (Mexican was a favorite at our house and all the neighborhood kids wanted to come over when he cooked Mexican food. This was the early 70's in the Midwest - not to much diversity in our area.)

Anyway, on Christmas Eve he typically made a meal from a different country. It wasn't necessarily their Christmas menu. Some of the years he made - Hungarian, Cajun, German (his family heritage), Slovak (my mom's family heritage), Mexican, Swedish, etc. We had open house on Christmas eve so my parents had a lot of friends stop by and enjoy the food throughout the evening. I really miss those times and for many years got a bit down over the holidays. It took me years to accept the fact that my family will never have those types of celebrations and that we need to find our own traditions. (I don't like cooking, am an introvert without many friends, and we have very little family.) So, our traditions are simple and, in contrast to my entertaining loving parents quite boring, but my children still love them.

11-22-2015, 02:58 PM
When I was decades younger, I was private cook in a convent. The pay was crappy, but I loved that job. The sisters had three large drawers filled with cookbooks from all over the world (literally), but my favorite was this big "Food History of New Orleans"-type cookbook. They broke the city down by cultures that had contributed to the character of the city (French, English, Italian, German, Native American, African American, Creole, etc.), gave a little history of the cultures, had a couple of oo-la-la recipes from the well-known restaurants of New Orleans (like beignets!), and then lots of recipes from various contributors. There was some awesome recipes in that book.

You might want to check out used book stores to see what's on their shelves. Especially regional books. Definitely books from 'women's leagues'. I can remember losing hours sitting there at work, sifting through all the cookbooks, and making lists of all the recipes I wanted to try. Cajun liver wasn't the biggest hit, but there's were dozens of recipes that were. :)

Happy cooking!

11-22-2015, 03:39 PM
Libraries also have a lot of cookbooks. In my family Christmas Eve was always Shabu Shabu. My dad lived in Japan for a while and my mom is italian. Italian tradition is seafood on Christmas Eve. Shabu Shabu is basically fondue in fish broth - cook up vegetables, fish, flank steak in the fish broth - then dip in ponzu sauce and eat over rice. On Christmas we always make homemade ravioli. My grandma's ravioli mix is stew beef simmered in red wine with onions and garlic for at least 2 hours, then pour off the broth from that (save to use for the sauce over the ravioli). Then add spinach, parmesan to the meat mixture and grind up in the cuisinart (before cuisinarts my grandma used to use a meat grinder). That mixture goes inside the homemade pasta. Makes me happy just thinking about it.

11-22-2015, 04:55 PM
Okay now I'm starving and all we have is tuna pasta salad or soup!

Murphsmom- DH did a stint working in New Orleans for Mardi Gras sometime in the 90s. He still talks about it all the time. I've never been, but I've heard about the food many times!

HG- That sounds delish for Christmas Eve! We would love that. As long as there's rice or noodles on the plate the kids will be fed, haha.

11-22-2015, 05:01 PM
Fwp, thanks I'll check out the ny times site. DH is the one who loves spice in our house. He gets about 20 jalapeņos every week and grills them and puts them on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. He never has to share his food with the kids. Maybe that's why he does it!

dbsam, that's a nice memory. I wish we had some friends that did an open house around here! I'm happy to bring a dish to a party, but it's so stressful hosting!

11-22-2015, 09:19 PM
dbsam, that's a nice memory. I wish we had some friends that did an open house around here! I'm happy to bring a dish to a party, but it's so stressful hosting!

Well, my dad was a bit controlling of his kitchen and his menu...no one brought dishes. But bottles were always welcome ;)

Typing that up last night made me think of a lot of old memories. On New Years Eve, my parents had fondue with us kids. After fondue, they would go out with all their friends. Sometimes, all the kids form the various families would sleep over one house around the Xmas tree. I hated sleepovers, but I loved the New Year's eve sleepovers.

My parents also participated in some amazing progressive dinners. I wish I had a group of friends or neighbors to have those dinners. I would be fine making the cocktails, appetizers or desserts and have someone else make the main course.

A few posts have brought up cook books. Every Saturday morning my dad poured through his shelves of cook books making his weekly menu. Then he went grocery shopping and out for a shot and a beer before coming home to cook. When they moved down to Florida he gave most of his cook books to my sister. He was so disappointed when he heard she sold them in a garage sale. They had all his notes on the recipes.

Sorry for all reminiscing. The holidays tend to bring up memories and we are down at my parent's house now; it is so strange without him - he passed away nine years ago. He loved hosting any sort of party.

11-22-2015, 10:17 PM
My BF and I were just discussing all the fun that our parents had with parties, progressive dinners etc. Both of our mom's worked so they were busy, but somehow these parties always happened. It makes me sad that we are so much more fragmented now as a society.

11-22-2015, 10:48 PM
Yeah, lots has changed since our folks were the "parents"....the fact that drinking and driving is frowned upon now, makes it harder for the merriment....ah, memories! LOL!! ;)

Seriously though, fragmented is a good word.

11-22-2015, 10:53 PM
Yeah, lots has changed since our folks were the "parents"....the fact that drinking and driving is frowned upon now, makes it harder for the merriment....ah, memories! LOL!! ;)

Seriously though, fragmented is a good word.

People also move so often now.
My parents grew up with their friends, then they all moved to the neighboring town and most lived in the same neighborhood. It made things much easier.

I don't care for most of my neighbors and have no desire to socialize with them...maybe I'm just grumpy!

11-23-2015, 07:44 AM
Lol yes! Drinking and driving! If I want to go somewhere DH has to stay home with the kids or else it's $15/hr for a babysitter. There goes my des. driver. I was dd for all of my pregnancies. Now all the prego people I know are either too big/tired/don't want to be the only sober one or not someone I'd want to be trapped at a party with.