Recipes for Obscure Holidays

November 2011 Lavinia Rookwood

Well, now that we know about all these holidays, we should celebrate properly...with food! So get out your aprons, prepare your cleaning spells and give the house elf the day off, and let's make some cooking magic of our own!

Stay At Home Because You Are Well Day

Chicken and Broccoli Soup

This is actually a recipe my grandma taught me not too long ago. And hey, every stay at home day should be celebrated with chicken soup..or grilled cheese.

  • (1) 16oz frozen bag of chopped broccoli
  • (1) small whole chicken (if you want to save time, you can get a pre-cooked chicken)
  • 4-6 cups of chicken stock (this is definitely adjustable to how soupy you like your soups, just a head's up, if you decide to use noodles, you may want to up the amount)
  • (optional) 4 oz bag of broken pasta
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Onion and garlic powder, again to taste

This is a fairly basic recipe, as most soups are. If you're using uncooked chicken, you'll want to cook it first, not only to make sure you won't get sick, but to add more flavor, this is why I prefer to roast my chicken. (Leftover chicken works well too!). You can spice this however you like, but I generally prefer lemon, herbs, and pepper on mine. If using a precooked chicken, then you can skip to the next step. Which is breaking the chicken down into pieces, removing the bones and skin; once it's broken down, you get your big pot down and pour your stock into it, bringing it up to a low boil, at which point you add your broccoli and pasta. Let this cook about twenty minutes at simmer (with a lid), long enough to cook the broccoli and pasta through and get those flavors incorporated. Add your chicken and take a taste of your soup, adding the seasonings listed above. Don't jump ahead with the seasonings without tasting, I've ruined a few dishes because I didn't account for the salt from other ingredients and added too much.Stock, especially premade, can be notoriously salty, so you may not want to add any. If you have other spices you like, you can add them as well (I haven't tried it yet, but red pepper flakes would be awesome in here). Cook another 15-20 minutes, checking it periodically. And you're done. You can do a final check for seasonings, but all you need is a bowl and maybe some crusty bread or crackers on the side.

Bathtub Party Day

What does this have to do with fish tacos and queso fresco? Well besides fish being a likely culprit to upgrade from a fish bowl to a bathtub, queso fresco is sometimes also known as Bathtub cheese. due to some people making it at home guessed it, a bathtub! Just a head's up, I would advise buying cheese from a store or from someone who knows what they're doing, because cheese is easy to mess up and can make you sick.

Fish Tacos with Queso Fresco

  • 2-4 fillets of a firm fish, like tilapia or halibut
  • (1) 8 oz container of Queso Fresco (if you can't find it, feta is a good substitute)
  • 4-8 wheat or corn tortillas (there's a definite texture difference, and I find corn to be a somewhat acquired taste)

Marinade for the fish

  • 1/2 cups of extra virgin olive oils
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, or 1 tablespoon powder
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest (don't throw that lime away just yet!)
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander (if you can find it, if not you can use oregano, not the same taste but close enough)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Avocado Cream

  • 2 large avocados
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (see, told you to keep it!)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh garlic or 1 tablespoon powder

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade, and taste it for seasoning. Adjust if needed, and then coat the fish in it (You want to taste the marinade before you put on any raw ingredient). Let it marinate it anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour before you start cooking. While it's marinating, toss all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender until it turns into a creamy yumminess. Try not to sit there and eat the whole thing, and put it in the refrigerator until supper time. When your fish is ready, pull it out, and choose the method of cooking, pan searing or grilling. Depending on the thickness of the fish, you want to do it about 3-5 minutes per side, in either the pan or grill. Take it out, and slice it into strips. Grab out the queso fresco, tortillas, and avocado cream, and fix the tacos as you like. The cheese and avocado cream really play well off of each other, because the queso fresco is this nice salty and crumbly cheese. If you want some further optional toppings, I would recommend some diced chilies for those who like it spicy and some fresh cilantro if you like a more herbaceous taste.

Eat a Cranberry Day

Cranberry Muffins

This was originally going to be the infamous cranberry sauce made every year at home, but Ariella beat me to the punch. *sighs* So instead, we're going to make all the Eagles happy, and get some muffin action going on!

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups rough chopped dried cranberries or fresh cranberries)
  • (optional) enough brandy to cover dried cranberries.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C for you overseas folks) (optional and adult step, if using dried cranberries, you can soak them for a hour in warm brandy to infuse the flavor into the berries.)Sift and flour your muffin pans or put in those cute little paper liners, your choice.Sift together the flour,salt and baking powder and then put it aside. Beat the oil and sugar together in another bowl until it seems to take on a lighter color, then add the egg. Beat this together until it becomes smooth, and add both kinds of oranges and stir it together. Take your flour mixture and mix it with the egg mixture until it just mixed together. You don't want to over mix when baking because otherwise your baked goods can be dense or even tough.Now add the cranberries, folding it in gently, especially fresh berries, so they don't burst and dye your dough red. Fill your greased or lined muffin pans 2/3 fulls (so the muffins can rise with bubbling all over the place), and bake it at the above temperature for 20 to 25 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. Let them cool on a wire rack until you can handle them , and enjoy!

Absurdity Day

Green Eggs and Ham

Is there anything more absurd then Dr. Suess? I was obsessed with this book when I was younger, and my mom actually made me this dish one time as a surprise. This is a variation of it.

  • 1/4 teaspoon green food coloring
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • sliced ham
  • 2 eggs
  • non stick cooking spray

Mix the food color and the water together. Use this to brush the ham on both sides, and fry it in a skillet on the stove, with cooking spray. Fry on each side about 5-10 minutes, depending on thickness until done. Before you begin scrambling the eggs, add abou3- 4 drops into the scrambled eggs, along with whatever you like to season them with. I usually season mine with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Put them together on a plate, and then find a train to eat them on!

Brownie Day

Who doesn't love brownies? I know I sure do, so here one of my family's favorite variations in it.

Spicy Brownies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan. Ina a large saucepan, melt the butter. After melting the butter, temper the eggs by putting a tablespoon at a time, stirring as you do so. This keeps them from scrambling. After the eggs have reached temperature, you can add the rest of the butter, sugar, and vanilla and stir together. Next, you are going to beat in cocoa, the flour, salt and baking powder. Then add the heat, you can adjust it by putting more or less. I know we often put more, but we are pretty spicy family! Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. Usually you would look for no crumbs, but you want the brownies gooey, so take them out before that point so they don't get overdone. Let cool for a few minutes and the cut and serve with some milk. Yummy!

Chocolate Covered Anything Day

Alongside with brownies, everyone loves chocolate. Plus, if you should run into dementors, these will cheer you right up! Plus this is so simple and a classic...chocolate covered raisins!

Chocolate covered raisins

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (it really thins out the chocolate and makes it easy to coat)
  • Approx 1.5 cups raisins

In a double boiler or heat proof bowl over a pot of boiling water, place the chocolate chips and oil together, stirring it with a paddle spoon. You want to stir it until the chocolate is melted and there are no clumps left. Now you can add your raisins in batches, so that you can stir them and cover them easily. Once all the raisins are all in, spread them out into a single layer on a pan lined with parchment paper; pop into the freezer to firm, which should take about 5-10 minutes. Break them apart and enjoy. If you should have any leftovers, keep them in the fridge.

Unlucky Day

Usually, we want to be lucky, not unlucky. But every once in a while, we should live on the edge. So throw out you Felix Felicius potions, dance under ladders and make this unlucky dish to celebrate.

Baked Chicken Wings with White Cheddar Dipping Sauce

  • Chicken Wings (Anything with wings are considered unlucky so we go straight for the most unlucky part of the chicken!)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 10 chicken wings

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F(190 degrees C). Combine all but the chicken wings in a large Ziploc. Dump the chicken wings and close the bag up. Shake it around. (If you are an older witch or wizard with kids, give them this job and have the best dressed chicken in town!) Arrange the wings on a ungreased baking sheet and baked for 1 hour or until crispy and cooked through.

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup of milk (or cream if you want to be really decadent)
  • 1/2 white Cheddar, cubed (The Chinese see white as bad luck and a color of mourning, so that's why white cheddar)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a pot, stir together flour and butter over medium heat, being careful not to burn. You want to cook this until it's just turning brown. Once it's reached this point, slowly pour the milk in, stirring as you go. Make sure not to burn or curdle the milk, so keep it medium or lower. After the milk is added, cook until the milk is almost boiling, stirring occasionally. Add the cheese in batches, stirring to get the lumps out. Once the cheese is added, keep it going until it's warmed through then transfer to a serving bowl or bowls. Set alongside the chicken wings, and enjoy!

Humbug Day

I had to do a little research to figure this one out. Turns out it's a day dedicated to letting off steam about the holiday season. Whether you're just tired of shopping, wrapping, and cooking, or if your letting out your inner scrooge, this is your day! Nah, traditionally, you would have humbug candy, but candy making a lot of hard work, and this is a day of rest, so we're just going to be inspired by humbug candy, which is almost like peppermints.

Humbug Egg Nog

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground

In a large bowl, beat the eggs together, then alternate adding milk and sugar. Continue beating until the whole mixture is thicken. Add the vanilla, peppermint, and nutmeg; stir it until it's all flavored. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled. (about 3 hours) Pour into glasses, and if you want decadent, you can add some whipped cream and chopped peppermints (or humbug candy if you can find it) to the top. Enjoy a glass and declare a very unmerry bah humbug!