Dear Foodie: I Messed Up My Holiday Dinner.

10 Nov

Dear Foodie

Dear Foodie:
2007 was the year of a disastrous Thanksgiving. I don’t know how I messed this up. I tried to fry a turkey and almost burned my terrace, I over cooked the green bean casserole and the only good but predictable item was a plain mashed potato dish. I am bored of traditional Thanksgiving food but scared to go exotic, in fear of burning my house down. Got any safe and unique Thanksgiving ideas?
Turkey Day Disaster

Dear T.D.D:
Considering that the first Thanksgiving meal between pilgrims and Native Americans did not include pumpkin pie and green bean casseroles (they ate venison and wild fowl), who’s to say you can’t go completely eclectic. We did our homework and found what other countries are eating. The following dishes are from Nigeria, India and Spain and we combined them to create one worldly Thanksgiving Menu. Click Here for Recipes, enjoy! Menu below…
  • NigeriaIsu (Spiced Boiled Yams) and Dodo (Fried Plantains)
  • IndiaCurried Lentils and Kale Greens and Palak Alu (Spinach with Potatoes)
  • SpainPollo en Salsa de Jerez (Chicken in Sherry Sauce, alternative to Turkey) and Pera en Vino Tinto (Pears in Red Wine, dessert)

Our Turducken Recipe is another fun way to spice up Thanksgiving!

Isu (Spiced Boiled Yams)
2 pounds yams, peeled and thickly sliced (regular yams can be used in place of African yams)
½ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
Cayenne pepper, to taste 

Place the yams in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover them.
Add the salt, garlic clove, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Drain the yams and remove the garlic clove and discard it.
Place the yams on a platter and drizzle the butter over the top.
Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper (be careful, cayenne pepper tastes very hot) and serve. 

Dodo (Fried Plantains)
4 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced
Vegetable oil, for frying
Salt, to taste

Heat oil in a large frying pan.
Place the sliced plantains in the frying pan and fry, turning as needed, until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels.
Season with salt and serve hot or warm. 


Curried Lentils and Kale Greens
1/2 cup lentils; brown
1 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon raisins; dark
4 whole cloves
1/2 small yellow onion; thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup diced potato
2 cup (1 small bunch) kale
2 tablespoon plain nonfat yogurt; for topping

Rinse and soak lentils in water for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove stalks and spines from kale; rinse well and tear leaves into bite-size pieces. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil and stir in curry powder, raisins, cloves, onion, salt, pepper, carrot and celery; return to a boil. Add remaining water, and return to a boil. Add lentils and potato; return to boil. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes.
Place kale on top of lentils, cover and cook until reduced by half, about 5 to 7 minutes. When done, lentils should be tender but not mushy.
Remove from heat. Gently stir to combine kale and lentils. Transfer to bowls. Top each serving with portion of yogurt. 

Palak Alu (Spinach with Potatoes)
1 lb new potatoes
1 bunch spinach
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cummin
2 fresh green chillies, slit and seeds removed
1 teaspoon salt to taste
approximately 1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Scrub the potatoes well and cut into small cubes.
Wash the spinach in several changes of water. Discard tough stems and put into a large saucepan with just the water that clings to the leaves. Cover and steam for 10 minutes or until tender, then chop roughly. Do not discard any liquid in pan.
In a large frying pan heat the ghee or oil and fry mustard and cummin seeds until mustard seeds pop. Cover pan or they will fly all over the stove.
Add turmeric, coriander, cummin and the chillies.
Add potatoes, stir and fry for a few minutes, then add salt and about 1 cup water, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Add spinach, stir, cover and cook for 5 or 10 minutes longer.
Sprinkle nutmeg over and serve.


Pollo en Salsa de Jerez (Chicken in Sherry Sauce, alternative to Turkey)

1 chicken jointed
4tbsp olive oil
1/4lb ham (slices)
1 large onion
1/4 lb mushrooms
1/3 cup sherry
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper 

Heat the olive oil in a casserole dish and add the chicken pieces and cook until they are browned
Chop the onion and ham and slice the mushrooms
Add the onion, ham and mushrooms to the casserole dish and sauté for 5 – 10 mins
Pour in the sherry add the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper
Cover and simmer until the chicken is tender (approx. 20 minutes) 

Pera en Vino Tinto (Pears in Red Wine, dessert)
6 pears
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups of red wine
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cups water

Place the pears in boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes then remove from the water and place under the cold tap. When the pears are sufficiently cooled remove the peel
Meanwhile put the sugar, wine, water and cinnamon stick in a pan over a medium heat when it starts to boil add the pears and simmer slowly until the pears become soft
When the pears have softened remove them from the liquid and place them in a glass bowl
Leave the liquid simmering a bit longer until it reduces then pour over the pears
Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream

Good Luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: