Holiday recipes for any celebration

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With the holidays just a few weeks away, it’s time to start gathering your cookbooks and finding the perfect holiday recipes for a festive dinner with family and friends.

Here are three recipes to get your holidays started. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, there’s a recipe for you. Some traditional, some with a modern twist, all delicious. Happy holidays!

Christmas Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:
2 cups dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups white chocolate, chopped
8 peppermint candy canes

Directions:
Unwrap the candy canes and place the candy canes in a large Ziploc bag and seal tightly. Use a rolling pin to smash the candy canes. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with smooth aluminum foil. Melt or temper the dark chocolate. Pour the chocolate onto the prepared cookie sheet and use an offset spatula or knife to spread it to an even thickness, a little more than 1/8″ thick. The chocolate does not have to reach all sides of the sheet, as it will be broken up later anyhow. Place the tray in the refrigerator to firm up while you prepare the white chocolate. While the dark chocolate hardens, melt or temper the white chocolate. Stir in most of the candy cane bits, reserving about a quarter of the mixture to put on top. Remove the tray from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate in an even layer over the dark chocolate.While the white chocolate is still wet, sprinkle the remaining candy cane pieces over the entire surface evenly. Press down very slightly to ensure they stick. Place the tray back in the refrigerator to firm up for 30 minutes. Once the peppermint bark is completely set, break into small, uneven pieces by hand.

Hanukkah Vegetable and Feta Latkes

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups grated zucchini
1 cup peeled and shredded potatoes
1 cup shredded carrots
3 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup matzo meal
½ cup freshly chopped parsley
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup vegetable oil

Directions:
Place the zucchini, potato and carrots in a colander, place paper towels or a cheesecloth over the top and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables and let them drain for 15 minutes. Squeeze vegetable again in paper towels.In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, vegetables, salt and pepper. Mix well. Stir in matzo meal or flour, parsley and feta. Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Place vegetable mixture, formed into pancake sized cakes in hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. Cook two to three minutes per side. Add more oil as needed to keep cakes frying up well. Drain fried latkes on paper towels.

(From allrecipes.com)

Kwanzaa Seafood Gumbo

Ingredients:
2 tbs olive oil
¼ cup all purpose flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
4 whole green onions, chopped
2 cups canned fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
6 cups chicken broth
1.5 lbs raw shrimp, cleaned
1 lb fresh lump crabmeat
½ pint fresh raw oysters
8 oz turkey kielbasa, sliced and pre-browned in skillet
Salt and pepper

Directions:
In a large stockpot, heat oil over low heat and stir in flour until blended. Cook slowly and stir until mixture is a rich, brown roux shade. Add garlic, onion, pepper and green onions to the roux and stir until softened. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, and add bay leaf, Tabasco and chicken broth. Allow to heat about five minutes, then add shrimp, and oysters with their liquid. Simmer about five minutes. Add kielbasa, salt and pepper. Simmer another five minutes. Serve hot with rice. Serves 8.


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