5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Holiday food traditions exist for a reason: they're as feel-good as a Nora Ephron movie and keep the past alive for future generations.
But after 15 years of Aunt Betsy's (in)famous casserole, sometimes change is appreciated.
Chris Yeo, the chef and owner of the Straits Restaurant Group, recommends five spicy additions to make this year's holiday dinner one to remember - in a good way.
Five Spices to Make Your Ordinary Holiday Dishes Extraordinary: Chris Yeo
"A wonderful spice that can add heat and delicate flavor to meat, vegetable and fish dishes. It is sold fresh, powdered and pickled. Once you've stripped off the outer layer of the root, the light yellow, fibrous flesh can be chopped finely and added in cooked or cold foods. Be bold this holiday season and try making a gorgeous ginger glaze for that Christmas ham. Or make my ginger fish recipe below - a great way to kick off the Chinese New Year on January 23!"
Steamed Ginger Fish
Steamed Fish Sauce Ingredients
Steamed Fish Ingredients
NOTE: If you don't have a steamer, you can wrap the fish in foil and bake in a preheated 425º Fahrenheit oven for 5-8 minutes depending on the thickness of fish. Do not use fish stock, rather use vegetable stock sparingly as more liquid is produced naturally from the fish with this method.
2. Yellow curry
"This antioxidant-rich spice is a made from a mix of elements. One includes the deeply hued spice, turmeric, that has a concentrated source of antioxidants like berries - and curcumin, the bright yellow compound in turmeric, has shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce inflammation.
Curry will make a statement on your lamb with a honey-curry glaze. Or try lightly dusting popcorn, snack mixes, or deviled eggs with curry powder for a new holiday song to dance on your guest’s tongues."
"A delightful spice that includes all five flavors - sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty.
The five spice breakdown: Cinnamon, sweet with a spicy undertone; Szechuan peppercorns, a reddish-brown berry that comes from the prickly ash bush and at first gives off a peppery (spicy) taste, then hints of anise and ginger, and lastly, a lemony (sour), salty and hot sensation will rest on your taste buds; ground cloves, pungent and sweet; star anise: similar to licorice, with a more bitter undertone; and fennel, similar to anise but sweeter and less pungent, without so much of a licorice taste.
Five-spice will add a kick to dry rubs or marinades for meat, fish or poultry. Or, instead of making the usual green bean casserole, try stir-frying vegetables and adding this compound spice."
"A tall tropical grass with stalks and leaves that have a clean lemonlike odor as they contain an essential oil that is also found in lemon peel. The lower portion can be sliced or pounded and used in cooking.
As a spice, fresh lemongrass is more popular for its vibrant flavor, but can also be found in its dried, powdered, or oil form. Try squeezing some in your salad for a holiday appetizer or try my lemongrass Chardonnay clams below to make a holiday statement!"
Lemongrass Chardonnnay Clams
"A perfect spice for your holiday dinner with the one you love. Did you know the combination of cumin, black pepper and honey is considered to be an aphrodisiac in certain Middle Eastern countries? Whether or not Cupid will strike, it is a tasty concoction that can be used to flavor veggies, lentils, rice, chicken or fish dishes.
It’s also known to be a cancer preventer. If you’d like your guests to warm up to the fire with a cozy drink, boil cumin seeds in water and then let them steep for 8-10 minutes. Here’s to good health and holiday cheer!"
Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.
This article = good stuff.
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