All I Want For Christmas is a Thor Range, and Other Crazy Christmas Requests! Plus, a rockin’ recipe for a side dish that comes along for the ride…

Sides / December 18, 2016

My earliest memory of sitting on Santa’s lap was at the JCPenny store in San Bernardino, CA when I was about 4 years old. I was terrified. But I still asked for a Lost In Space play set, Styrofoam Giant Building Blocks, and a little pretend kitchen…in green of course. I was confident that behind that dirty beard, the smelly coat, and the bloated face this pagan symbol of the the “nice list,” would indeed deliver on my plea.

I remember looking over at my mother as I was rambling on, and she appeared equally terrified for me. So as soon as he uttered the words, “why of course, Camine!” I made a beeline for exit lane. (By the way, I got EVERYTHING I asked for that year.)

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As I think about it, I’m hoping my own nearby mall-Santa could grant this year’s list of gotta-haves. Besides being a little larger than his average visitor, and of course taking into consideration the inappropriate nature of a grown woman sitting on his lap, I would still expect his rapt attention as I requested a $100,000 culinary gift card. I would make it CLEAR that the funds should be dedicated to all new kitchen appliances, a cooking class in France, the opportunity to shadow Anthony Bourdain in 2017 WHEREVER he goes, as well as a chance to go back in time and hang with Antonin Careme, the man generally credited with elevating the position of Chef to its modern-day status.

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I don’t know what you want for Christmas. We all have our own version of what would make the day truly magical. And true to our modern cultural beliefs that we need elves and a rosy cheeked man as our delivery vehicle, instead of a solid line of credit, I have earmarked this discourse with all the “oh, by gosh, by golly, it’s time for mistletoe and holly” prose I can think of.

And really, why do we subject ourselves to all sorts of wild Christmas rituals without giving them much thought? Why do we create traditions that are so incongruent with our real lives that we forget how silly they are, even when we’re forcing our children into the same parade of pretension and possibility? Maybe that’s because in our heart of hearts, we know the Jolly Old Man really does find his way to our tree on Christmas Eve, just as the Wise Men found their way to Bethlehem. By faith, and by a desire to BELIEVE. (Insert the melody to ANY Christmas Carol being sung by Andy Williams, here.)

As you may guess, this post will always segue itself to cooking and food, because there is no question in my my mind that the act of frosting a pan of brownies, or basting a Christmas turkey will conjure up the healing holiday fairies and insure the Little Drummer Boy and Tiny Tim go to bed with visions of sugar plums and perpetual world peace.

​I will never give up on the idea that nourishing others holds the greatest magic of all, or that you can find your way to happiness by holding tightly to a spoon that is dipped in the best cranberry sauce ever created.

Merry Christmas my dear culinary friends.

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Apple Raisin Spiced Wild Rice

Makes 4–6 Servings


Ingredients:

1 C wild rice medley
2 C water, or use chicken stock
1 Fuji apple cut into small cubes
1/3 C golden raisins (Don’t use the dark raisins as their flavor is much different.)
¼ t cumin
¼ t cinnamon
1/8 t garlic salt
3 T butter
Kosher salt and pepper to taste


Directions:

  • In a large sauce pan, add all ingredients except butter and salt and pepper. When it comes to a boil, turn heat to very low and simmer for 20 minutes*, or the amount of time prescribed on the package for the rice to cook.
  • Remove and fluff, add the butter and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with main course and your choice of garnish.

*(Times mayvary depending upon the brand and combination of wild rice that you use.)
Can also be used with black rice.



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