from Ambassador Juergen and Magda Chrobog
RAHM-RINGEL (Cream Rings)
1/2 pound butter
1 pound sugar
1 pound flour
1/2 lemon, juiced
4 tbsp sweet cream
1/2 pound almonds, chopped
3 egg whites
Cream together the butter, flour and half of the sugar.
Chill the mixture for an hour or more. Preheat oven
to 350 F. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Using
a cookie cutter, cut out rings and transfer onto a
cookie sheet. Stir together the remaining sugar, egg
whites and lemon juice. Brush each ring with the
mixture and sprinkle with the chopped almonds.
Bake until cookies are a pale golden color around the
Tidbit: Originally, the cream came
from fresh cow’s milk left to sit overnight, so that the risen cream
could be scooped off the next morning.
from Ambassador Richard and Margaret Bernal
8 cups sorrel sepals
1 oz root ginger
8 pimento seeds
3 qt boiling water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup white rum or wine
Place sorrel, ginger, cloves, and pimento in a large mixing bowl. Cover with boiling
water and leave to stand overnight. Strain. Sweeten to taste. Add rum or wine if desired.
Serve with ice at Christmas time. Serves 6.
Tidbit: Christmas is the most celebrated holiday of
the year in Jamaica, and sorrel is the holiday’s most popular ingredient, given that it
is green throughout the year, then turns red close to Christmas. Sorrel can be found at
specialty retailers and food markets in the DC area.
from Ambassador David and Ofra Ivry
2 packages of cream cheese
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp milk
a pinch of salt
Mix ingredients together until smooth. Separate contents into small balls and deep fry in
oil. Sprinkle powdered sugar and serve with jam.
Tidbit: Chanukah is an eight-day celebration of the Festival
of Lights beginning at sundown on December 21st this year. A joyous holiday, Chanukah has many
traditional songs and games centering on the dredle, a children’s toy and learning tool.
from Ambassador Sean and Bernadette O’Huiginn
TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS PUDDING
1 lb of bread crumbs
6 oz of mixed peel
1 lb of sultanas
1 lb of raisins
1/2 lb of brown sugar
1/2 lb of beef suet
1 oz of mixed spices
1 tsp of salt
16 oz Guinness beer
rind and juice of two lemons
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the lemon juice, beer and eggs and mix well. Pour
the mixture into two large pudding bowls and cover each first, with a sheet of greaseproof
paper, tied under the rim of the bowl, then firmly wrapped on top with a sheet of tinfoil.
Place the bowls in two large saucepans of boiling water for 3 1/2 hours. Remove the bowls
when boiled and cover each with a fresh piece of greaseproof paper, then store pudding in a
cool place until required. Serve with whipped cream.
Tidbit: Christmas in Ireland, apart from its significance as a
religious holiday, is also a time when family members make a special effort to return home and
enjoy the festival, and Christmas pudding, together. Many families hold an open house on
Christmas Day or on St. Stephen’s day, the day following Christmas.
from Ambassador Yuriy and Svetlana Ushakov
SOLYANKA (Prepared Meat)
3/4 lb duck
1 1/2 lb turkey
1/2 cup onions
1/2 cup celery
1/4 cup pickles
2 tbsp capers
1/4 cup black olives
2 tbsp green olives
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sour cream
bay leaf, pepper, parsley
Sauté onion, parsley, and celery in butter, add the tomato paste and braise fry for 5-8
minutes. Prepare a bouillon of duck and turkey meat, then filter. Combine together:
bouillon, chopped duck and turkey meat, pickles, capers, green olives, fried onion,
parsley and celery, salt and spices. Boil it for 5-10 minutes. Decorate each plate with
an olive, lemon slice, and a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle meat with parsley, sliced
black olives, lemon, and sour cream.
Tidbit: Russian children do not look forward to a visit from
Santa Claus; it is Grandfather Frost, dressed in the Russian style with felt boots on his feet,
who will bring gifts and holiday cheer. Fortune-telling is a unique Russian Christmas
tradition, where young girls are most interested in their chances of marriage in the new year,
and what kind of character their mother-in-law will have.
from Ambassador Jibril Muhammad Sadimatu Aminu and family
1 lb of roasted shelled groundnuts
1/2 pint cooking oil
1 sliced onion
Pound the groundnuts in a mortar with a pestle, then grind or mince until smooth. Collect mixture
together into a ball and place on a cooking tray. Knead and squeeze ball of groundnut to
remove the oil, adding a little warm water after each squeeze until all the oil has been
extracted. Shape the ground-nut cake into even sized balls or rings. Heat the groundnut-oil
slightly, fry onion slices to give flavor and fry the groundnut cakes until golden brown. Serve
hot or cold.
Tidbit: Nigerians have special Christmas traditions. One such
tradition is decorating their homes (compounds) and churches with both woven and unwoven
palm fronds. In Nigerian tradition, palm fronds signify peace. This is the peace that
Christ’s birth brings. The country is made up of Muslim, Christian, and indigenous religions.
from Ambassador Dato’ and Faridah Ghazzali
3 1/2 pound boneless chicken
1 stalk lemon grass
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cummin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 inch piece fresh tumeric
salt to taste
Cube the chicken meat, drain and put aside. Grind coriander, cummin, turmeric, peanuts,
salt and sugar. Mix this with the powdered cinnamon, diced shallots and 1 tbsp cooking
oil. Marinate the chicken mixture. Using thin bamboo skewers, skewer 5 pieces of meat
on each skewer, as in Kebabs. Grill over a burning coal, constantly sprinkling cooking
oil over meat using crushed lemon grass. Turn over and continue grilling until the
chicken is cooked. Serve with peanut sauce.
Tidbit: Malaysia is one of the many nations that
celebrates Ramadan, occurring this year from November 27-December 27. During Ramadan,
fasting is rigidly practiced daily from sunrise to sunset, and all Muslims should abstain
from evil thoughts and deeds. During Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar,
it is traditional for Malay families to redecorate their homes and buy new clothes.
from Ambassador Odeen and Evangeline Ishmael
1/4 lb. of cherries
1 lb. local dried fruits (raisins)
1 cup rum
1 1/2 lbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 lb. flour
1/4 lb. orange or lemon peel
1/2 lb. of butter
Grind dried fruits and soak it in 3 cups of rum. Store in an airtight container for three
weeks. Prepare the caramel by heating the sugar until it turns dark brown. Cream the butter
and sugar. Add the eggs, soaked fruits, and rum. When it is well blended, pour the caramel.
Add the flour, baking powder and mixed spices. Fold in the cherries. Pour mixture in a baking
pan and bake in a slow oven (about 300 F) for two hours. Remove cake from pan after two days.
Tidbit: Guyanese cuisine is varied due to the many cultures
that have settled in Guyana, but all Guyanese participate in Christmas celebrations which
extend for twelve days until the new year. As you can see, this recipe requires some advanced
planning, almost one month altogether, but we hear the results are worth the wait. Many
families will store dried fruits in alcohol year round, as the alcohol acts as a preservative,
and the fruits continue drawing flavor from the rum.
from Ambassador Marwan and Lynne Muasher
STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES
1 1/2 cup uncooked rice (NOT instant)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp melted butter
2 lb lean ground lamb
100 grape leaves
1 sliced fresh lemon
Rinse rice three times with cold water. Sprinkle the combined spices over rice, stirring to
mix well. Add butter and lamb to rice and mix well. Place grape leaves in a large bowl and
cover with boiling water to soften, then drain. To stuff leaves; place one tsp of the
rice and meat mixture on each leaf. Beginning at the stem end, roll the leaf up over the
filling, folding the sides of the leaf in; halfway toward the center, so the leaf is tightly
tucked when you reach the tip. Cover a large pan with empty grape leaves, placing stuffed
grape leaves on top of lemon slices placed evenly in the pan. Place a heavy dish on top of
the leaves, so the bottom of the dish is pressing down on them. Add water to the pan, bring
to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes, or until stuffed grape leaves are tender.
Tidbit: This is a famous recipe in Jordan and is used for the
Holiday Traditional Dinner, Eid Al-Fitr, where the fast of Ramadan is broken. Jordan
celebrates a mixture of Islamic, National and Christian holidays.
from Ambassador and Mrs. Davorin Kracun
STUFFED VEAL CHOPS
6 veal chops
salt to taste
majoram, thyme to taste
oil for frying
1/4 lb ground meat
1 tbsp chopped onion
parsley, paprika, salt,
and pepper to taste
Cut little pockets in the chops. Salt the chops and rub with the spices. Stuff with the
prepared filling. Secure filling in the chops with toothpicks and sear quickly on both
sides in a pan. Add a few tablespoons of water in the pan and simmer until the meat is soft.
Filling: Put all ingredients in bowl, add 2 tablespoons of water and stir ingredients
well by hand.
Tidbit: Christmas brings families together in Slovenia,
beginning with midnight mass on Christmas Eve, a highly attended religious event. Additionally,
on December 24th, a majority of Slovenian families set up crèches which remains under their
Christmas trees until January 6th, the day of the Three Wise Men.