Holiday Recipes

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Candied Yams with Marshmallows Recipe

Candied Yams with Marshmallows

11.13.09 by Jackie

I experienced my first real Thanksgiving after Lulu and I got married. I say real because I had my very first Thanksgiving meal in July 1998. I know it sounds weird... As a child, I used to go to the US for the summer. Every summer, I'd be hosted by an American family through an agency. It was always a very neat experience. It offered me the opportunity to experience the culture and customs of America while sharing my own culture and customs with the host family.

When I met Reneé and Steve in the summer of 1998, they asked me to cook a typical French meal for them. I made a roasted leg of lamb and crunchy oven roasted potatoes. The next day, Reneé surprised me with a full Thanksgiving feast with all the fixings. I have very fond memories of my time at Reneé and Steve's in Williamsburg, Virginia. They even attended our wedding.

One of the dishes that really stood out was the candied yams. I had not eaten yams (or sweet potatoes, to be more accurate) in France, and this was my first experience with them. The yams were sweet and creamy, and the marshmallow topping was a nice touch.

I now make candied yams with my little sisters-in-law each Thanksgiving. It's a fun recipe for them to make because it's easy and also because they love to eat it. I get added pleasure out of passing on traditions that were taught to me in the past by my former host family. Thanks Reneé and Steve!


The marshmallows before melting in the oven.


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Cranberry Apple Stuffing Recipe

Cranberry Apple Stuffing

11.12.09 by Jackie

I love Thanksgiving food. I have to thank my husband for introducing me to the tradition; he's been making his family's meal from scratch every year since he was a teenager. Most of the recipes I make now are adaptations of the ones he refined in the past.

I enjoy the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the yams, the gravy and the pies, but my favorite is the stuffing (or dressing, depending on how you use it).

Of all the Thanksgiving dishes, it's the most complex in flavor and texture. The other dishes are more singular in quality. Yams are sweet. Mashed potatoes are creamy. Sure, they can have some variation and subtlety, but most often, these dishes are really celebration of a single ingredient.

Stuffing is the harmony that contrasts the melody created by all the other Thanksgiving sides. It is also the most flexible of all the dishes, and is very forgiving of modification and experimentation. Not to mix metaphors, but croutons form a perfect canvas upon which many contrasting and complementary flavors can be layered.

For this particular stuffing recipe I used apples and cranberries, both fall flavors, for sweetness.  The apples also provide a crunch that's an excellent foil to the softness of the bread. To the usual suspects of celery, carrots and onions, I added shallots and king mushrooms. The mushrooms in particular add an earthy and meaty quality to the dish. All the ingredients were amply seasoned with Italian seasoning and a little lemon zest.


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Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

Pumpkin Spice Latte

10.22.09 by Jackie

What's the cure for a chilly Fall afternoon? A pumpkin spice latte. I decided to make some today because the girls have the week off from school and they really wanted to cook. They wanted to make a pumpkin pie, but I thought it would be fun to take our pumpkin pie recipe and turn it into a drink.

I've had pumpkin spice lattes in the past that really only have nutmeg and cinnamon. I made ours with real pumpkin purée, and I sweetened the latte with condensed milk, as I do for cà phê sữa nóng (Vietnamese-style coffee).

It was such a hit. I served the latte in tall glasses, and as quickly as I poured it, the girls drank it. Sunny actually took to drinking it directly from the saucepan!

There's definitely going to be a big pot of pumpkin spice latte on the table for Thanksgiving. If you try it, I bet it'll be on your table as well.


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Happy 4th of July - Independence Day Party Recipes Recipe
I am not a US citizen yet, but Independence Day is still a holiday that is close to my heart. I spent my summers throughout my childhood visiting America, and this is where I've made my home as an adult. So happy birthday USA; for a 233 year-old, you still look great! The 4th of July is a perfect opportunity to gather family and friends. I don't need much of an excuse to cook up a storm, but a barbecue on a sunny day is the perfect occasion for your loved ones to gather, chat and catch up on everyone's latest activities. I've put together a list of my favorite recipes for a get-together - read on to find out what my favorite picks are!
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Soy Nog Recipe

Soy Nog

12.31.08 by Jackie

Today is New Year's Eve and I thought I'd make something special for one of my sisters-in-law.  I wanted to do something festive and decadent for her this Holiday Season, but she is deathly allergic to eggs and nuts.  She has always wanted to try egg nog, so I thought how about egg nog, sans eggs and alcohol? It’s Egg-less because of her allergy, and alcohol free because she’s only nine.  So let’s get started on our egg-less custard with the eggnog flavoring.


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