Three unexpected recipes to spice up your holiday season | Pittsburgh City Paper

Three unexpected recipes to spice up your holiday season

One of them is sushi

Three unexpected recipes to spice up your holiday season
Skip the toast and save your champagne for dessert

An internet search for “traditional holiday meals” brings up one thing: turkey.  

Ditch the turkey this year. Think beyond latkes. Who needs cranberry sauce? Tradition deserves to be re-written. Try one of these three recipes to spice up your holiday season. Sponsored by turkeys worldwide. 

Thai Curry

Curry is low risk, high reward. You can make mistakes at every step and dinner will still be delicious. No slaving away over a boiling pot of potatoes this year. Instead, take a trip to the local Asian grocer.


Protein of choice
Coconut milk
Red curry paste
Kaffir lime leaves
Thai basil
Eggplant, cut into small pieces
Palm sugar
Fish sauce

Heat a wok on the stove. Once hot, add a small amount of coconut milk. When the coconut milk boils, add curry paste and stir until fragrant. Add protein and cook until done. Add eggplant, basil, and lime leaf. Finish with palm sugar and fish sauce to taste. For a kick, add a few Thai chilies (be careful, they’re small but mighty). Serve hot over rice.

Champagne Gelatin

Don't drink champagne this year — eat it. Turn the New Year’s Eve classic into ramped-up Jell-O shots. Toast 2019 with style. 


3/4 oz. plain gelatin
½ cup sugar
1 bottle of Champagne or Prosecco
2 cups sparkling grape juice
2 cups water
Fresh fruit


Wash, dry, and chill the glasses, ice cube tray, or pan for gelatin. Prepare an ice bath and set aside. Combine two cups of water, sugar, and gelatin in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until dissolved. Put the saucepan into ice bath until gelatin is lukewarm. Then, stir in champagne and grape juice. Pour the mixture into your containers and refrigerate. If you’ve decided to add fresh fruit, set for 30 minutes and push the fruit into the slightly thickened gelatin. Chill until set. 


Get handsy for the holidays and roll your own sushi. All you need is a pot of rice, seaweed, and some bamboo mats. Stay festive and dye the rice red. Feeling really fancy? Cut stars out of cucumbers. Forget California and go for the holiday roll!


1 cup sushi rice (makes three rolls)
2 cups water
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
Food coloring (red)
Chopped veggies, fish, cream cheese, etc.
Soy sauce, wasabi, ginger

Begin by rinsing the rice until the water runs clear. Heat the two cups of water and add rice, cooking until the liquid is completely absorbed. Meanwhile, heat the vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Once the rice is finished, add the vinegar mixture and combine. To dye rice, add red food coloring.

Take a bamboo mat or dish towel covered in cling wrap and place a sheet of nori on top. Add rice and fillings then roll the sushi into a tight spiral. Slice and eat.