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Hot and Tasty Recipes for Festive Times from Delicious Life Stars

by  Wanda Hennig on November 29, 2013
Hot and Tasty Recipes for Festive Times from Delicious Life Stars

Do you celebrate Christmas or Kwanzaa? How are you going to celebrate this year?

Did you know that Christmas and Kwanzaa weddings are trending? And that you don’t have to tie the knot to be inspired by what brides and grooms are putting on the menu.

Has it crossed your mind to add “spice up our love life” to your holiday plans? Did you know that the gastrosexual “man in the kitchen” is a trend that’s getting trendier? Have you thought of paying a festive season visit to Lisbon or South Africa? Or considered including truffles with your Christmas fare?

And what about eating raw food at Christmas? Or spicing up the holiday table with a poetic blend of Baptist and rap traditions? Or infusing some magic into your turkey, duck and chicken to transform it into a wondrous “guaranteed to impress the hell out of everyone” bone-free turducken?

To give you some holiday cheer and inspiration by way of new ideas to incorporate into your celebrations, we checked in with all the Delicious Life stars interviewed during 2013. Here are some of their best, most delicious and enlightening shares.

Delicious Life in 2013 kicked off with ideas for readers set on getting slimmer and healthier. To this end we shared Wisdoms from the Goddess of Raw, Nwenna Kai, author, wellness entrepreneur, food activist, coach, health advocate and Lincoln University adjunct professor.

When we checked in with Nwenna last month, she said the most exciting thing in her life right now is the baby she’s expecting. “My husband and I see it as the best Christmas gift possible seeing that a baby symbolizes transformation, unconditional love and new beginnings — all gifts in themselves.”

Nwenna went on to share Seven tips guaranteed to make this a festive, healthy, and happy holiday season. Take them if you want. Your gift:

  1. Stick to eating healthy as much as possible. Whether the food is raw or cooked, choose fresh food, low-fat, preservative-free. Choose foods with ingredients that you can recognize and pronounce.
  2. Choose to eat in season. Indulge right now in mandarin oranges, persimmons and pomegranates.
  3. Encourage your family to make pumpkin or apple pie fresh from scratch using raw ingredients.
  4. Make festive smoothies with the family. Use frozen cranberries or fresh raw nut milk for a base.
  5. Gather and crack raw fresh nuts around a fireplace with family and friends.
  6. Juice together as a family. Choose your favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables.
  7. Create the best kale salad you can come up with. Make it centerpiece for the family holiday dinner.

Next in 2013, we romanced the exotic, erotic ‘black diamond’ truffle and shared facts and predictions about this exotic culinary offering. The next Napa Truffle Festival takes place from January 17 – 20, 2014.

Meanwhile, forget the truffle oil. Go get yourself a truffle. According to Napa chef Ken Frank, one of the best ways to showcase the flavor of fresh truffle is with eggs. Whole fresh eggs stored in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours in a tightly sealed jar with a fresh truffle become infused with an incredible amount of truffle perfume. Think deviled eggs with a difference.

We went on to savor the flavors of Lisbon’s authentic culinary heritage. Interested in knowing how they savor the holidays there? Click through to Ten Portuguese Christmas recipes and get cooking!

Next we looked at Spring Wedding Trends with special reference to the culinary. Checking back in with our favorite wedding planner, Lisa Smith, she tells us Christmas and to a lesser degree Kwanzaa weddings are trending as more couples plan their nuptials to coincide with a time when family and friends are traveling “back home.”

“The menu for a Kwanzaa wedding is typically soul food with turkey and okra, muhindi (corn, symbolic of children and our future they embody) and mazao fruits, nuts and vegetables, symbolic of African harvest celebrations. Chicken and lamb are also popular.”

Smith says holiday weddings are typically more extravagant when it comes to breaking norms and culinary variety. “You’ll see things like pumpkin spice, cranberry sauce, sugarcane baked ham with spiced apples and pears, cranberry flavored soft drinks, spiced nuts and more.”

Smith says with her family being spread all over the country, “We come together at Christmas to celebrate over an elaborate spread with that includes soul food, Creole and Cajun treats and French and Mexican food selections that reflect our diverse family histories, traditions and background.”

Important at this time of year, she adds, is to remember to incorporate “couple time,” “love time” and special “love foods” to balance holiday stress and keep romance glowing. “During the Christmas season couples are so busy shopping and preparing that they can forget about each other.”

While preparing for the office pot luck, how about preparing a romantic dinner thinking back to that first dinner date? “Or plan to go back to that special restaurant you love.

“And Christmas is a great time to catch stop all that shopping and take in a movie. Be sure to grab a big box of popcorn, hold hands and sneak a kiss.”

Remember, she says, to “slow down, share a nice glass of Champagne and don’t just toast the New Year. Toast and celebrate the love you share all year.”

We took you on a world culinary adventure with a cheese focus in our May issue and having said that, if you’re into cheese and want to know more about it, the eighth annual California Artisan Cheese Festival takes place March 21 - 23, 2014.

Readers loved our Hot, Hunky and in the Kitchen: The Gastrosexual Man column. And speaking of the gastrosexual trend, according to Dr. Ian Yeoman, professor and futurologist at the University of Victoria, New Zealand, expect to see it grow.

“Food is the new rock n’ roll in which men express their masculine identity,” he says in a chapter he shared with Cuisine Noir from a book he’s currently writing.”

“The kitchen for the male has become the ‘new battle of the sexes‘— somewhere to be better and to outdo their partner. It is also a place to escape, away from the drudgery of everyday life and the pressure of work. To men, the kitchen is the equivalent of a spa treatment — or somewhere to create a masterpiece,” he has found while doing new research.”

All of which promises that we’ll see more men in the kitchen; more home dining; and more focus on culinary travel because many of the men who become passionate about cooking are inspired by what they eat and learn when they travel abroad.

Talking about gastrosexuals, Oakland Raider’s VoodooMan Michael Lambirth is one. In the summertime he gave us his BBQ sorcery, tips and tricks.

But his true specialty is his holiday turducken — a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, in turn stuffed into a deboned turkey. You’ve most likely heard of it, even if you haven’t been lucky enough to savor one — or better still, make one.

“When I decided to make one for the family, I looked online to see how to debone the birds and create the dish and you know, it was really pretty easy. There are YouTube videos and good instructions,” says Lambirth.

Different people use different stuffings and the layered poultry can be grilled, roasted, baked or barbecued. The amazing thing is, it comes to the table looking like a turkey — but then you can slice through without ever hitting a bone. Make it your holiday bird this year — or should I say birds?

We broke the silence on the American lamb trendwith what proved another hugely popular column — and lamb is another option to consider when it comes to holiday feasting. American lamb, of course! For inspiration, search around for recipe options, cooking suggestions and videos on the American Lamb website.
 
We then took readers into Africa on two consecutive months, first to share South African celebrity Chef Citrum Khumalo’s vision for an out-of-Africa cuisine; then to let Cuisine Noir readers know why you should put Durban on your South Africa travel itinerary.

Click through to either of the links for truly African inspiration for your holiday table. Meanwhile, know that there will be lots of the local equivalent of barbecuing going on in the southern part of Africa at Christmas time being the summer season.

And hopefully if people cook their turkeys with trimmings, influenced by the country’s Colonial past, the birds will be served cold and with salads.

San Francisco–born performance poet and foodie Raven, who now lives in Ireland, told us (see From gumbo to haggis and creating new poetic traditions) that Christmas with his family in the U.S. was a gumbo occasion complete with singing and laughter and food.

In Ireland he does like the Irish — with as much singing, laughter and food thanks to the extended family of his Irish wife.

While Irish Christmas dinners traditionally feature a roasted goose, these days a family will typically do baked ham, roast turkey or roast beef; sometimes seafood or chicken; more often than not potatoes in some form and always Irish soda bread.

Raven’s memories of Christmas include his grandmother holding forth with prayer and song. “My grandmother was a Baptist but now, few family members or friends are religious. I still think though, probably because I’m a poet, to mark the occasion with words. You want an emcee or a rapper who can speak like a preacher. You want it to be poetic. You still want the song.”

“I think there’s a lot one can do to create new and appropriate traditions based on the old. I think it’s something I want to do. I think it’s a very good idea.”
                       
However you celebrate the holidays, Christmas, the festive season, Kwanzaa — and whatever new traditions you create or incorporate — Delicious Life wishes you good times.

Wanda Hennig

Wanda Hennig

California–based Wanda Hennig is an award-winning food and travel writer, a blogger and a life coach. full bio

Website: www.wandahennig.com

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