What We Eat for the Holidays {FiorellaEats Team}

My Filipino Christmas: Noche Buena {Nicole Santos}

Christmas is all about the Noche Buena (good night) feast on Christmas Eve in the Santos house! Kick-off for Christmas at our house starts when my dad hangs up our paról (star lanterns). These lanterns represent the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Three Kings, but I like to think our paróls guide my family to the big feast!

Traditionally Christmas Eve starts with midnight Simbang Gabi (Filipino Night Mass) and is followed by the Noche Buena feast. Our Noche Buena feast has evolved to include some American dishes that my dad and I like to cook.

Last year was all about my dad’s rib roast (seasoned with fresh thyme, rosemary and pierced with garlic cloves) and pan-dripping gravy. Coupled with my pillowy mash potatoes and you’ve got a feast in itself! But we still keep our Filipino staples: my mom must always have her ham (studded with cloves, pineapple slices and cherries and cooked in pineapple juice), kaldereta (beef/goat tomato and liver pate stew), lemon roasted salmon and my homemade empanadas (which I make a week before because rolling out the dough and stuffing these babies on Christmas Eve would be a nightmare!). Plus an array of Filipino desserts that give me a cavity just thinking about them: casava cake, leche flan, puto bumbong (steamed, purple sticky rice cake rolled in coconut) and kutsinta (sticky rice cake).

I also become the ultimate cookie Queen with my homemade sea salt chocolate chunk cookies, chocolate crinkles, red velvet crinkles and oatmeal cookies. Usually the night ends with my dad breaking out the Magic Mic (staple Filipino karaoke machine) and us trying not to fall into a food coma while opening gifts!

Family-Friend Time for Jews {Lauren Loeb}

The holidays are a time to spend with my family-friends for us Jews. There are about twelve families in our group and we are one crazy bunch! On Christmas Eve, only a few of us go bowling in the city. We walk around, see the tree, and most importantly we eat, drink and be merry!

Christmas is the typical schedule for a Jew and almost all of the families come. We all go see a movie mid-afternoon and then go to a Chinese restaurant. We are the biggest table and always the loudest. Spending time with my family-friends is always an exciting time. All of the parents are together and the kids are all around the same age so we are basically each other’s second family. Christmas is always a time for us to just be together and have fun.

Hanukkah, this year starts a little early and as for my family, we don’t have many traditions other than lighting the candles on the menorah every night. My mother and I always make potato latkes on the first night of Hannukah. Its a secret recipe that has been in my family for many years (so I can't give away the special ingredients!) This is just a time for my family to come together every night of Hanukkah and remember our holiday. The holiday season is always an enjoyable time for my family and family-friends!

Spanish Christmas {Paula Rey Jimenez}

Spain is a country of traditions; not old traditions, but old good rituals. It doesn’t matter if you are from the north or the south, if you are Christian or not, if you live in Honolulu or China, the 24th and 25th of December are Holy days!! And of course, you must spend them with your lovely family. I don’t know about every other house, but in mine, it's all about Family, Food and Fun.

Every year my aunties and my uncles decide a new theme for a contest, and we already have covered so many different topics; from the most horrible hats, to the most original 5€ present. Either way, food remains the most important thing for this holiday. There are some special dishes that my grandmother just cooks for Christmas, and believe me, I’ve asked her millions of times to do out of season, but it's just not the same.

Almond soup is, without a doubt, my favorite, and I would love to share her recipe with all of you.

Another interesting ritual, that is actually very famous in the Spanish culture, is the after-meal time. Those 3-4 hours we all spend together just talking, watching a movie, or playing cards until we eventually get hungry again, and the whole ritual starts again.

Almond Soup

Chicken or hen with the bone

A piece of spine (400gr)

Ham (200gr.)


Almonds without peel (400gr.)

Boil the chicken or hen, the spine, and the ham together for 1 hour. When the foam disappear add a good amount of salt (be careful if the spine is salted, you should leave it the night before in water).

After this, pour the soup and add the almonds. These almonds should be previously chopped. How many almonds? This will be about 100g per person. Then keep boiling at low temperature until the almonds get soft. When the soup is boiling, don’t cover it.

#holiday #christmas #recipe #party

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