Hey everyone! It’s Yola, here sending a special Happy Holidays from Yolaskitchen! The last six weeks have been a complete blur, so I’ve decided to take a few highlights from the entire holiday season and create one big post. Starting off with the most recent Yolaskitchen Dinner Party back in November– visit my gallery to see what you missed— where I hosted a Friendsgiving themed party in my home!
Checkout some of my favorite holiday dishes here:
Crawfish Mac & Cheese
The favorite dishes of the night were the Crawfish Mac & Cheese and my Jerk Marinated Braised Short Ribs by far. With food served family style, the house was full with 20 guests that showed up ready to eat and be merry! Card games (which I still need to learn how to play Spades 🤦🏾♀️) and episodes of Netflix’s Dear White People were in full swing once everyone filled up with dinner. The last guest left around 2am and after all the festivities and needless to say I was pooped.
However, that didn’t stop me from turning around and cooking for a Greek Goddess themed bridal shower the next morning. The aroma of Lamb Meatballs and Grilled Salmon filled the air as I whirled through the kitchen get everything done. The good thing was that I prepped most of the items earlier in the week and my parents house was luckily down the street from where I had to deliver so I crashed there and took amuch needed nap.
Fast forward two weeks later, I officially hosted a real Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in my home. This was a big moment for me because growing up my Mom (the typical Nigerian matriarch) would always invite friends and family over to the house. Preparing for 40 people was no small task and I would always push to make something different each year.
First it started with desserts, then homemade dinner rolls, to being in charge of all the “American food”, then Jollof Rice, to today making everything. Cooking all the food and welcoming everyone was a gratifying experience and I was especially proud of the Efo Riro (Nigerian style greens) I made with smoked turkey.
Next, December whizzed by with a fun (which has turned into an annual) family photoshoot for my Mom’s birthday where I made French Toast Casserole for brunch.
Later on for Christmas, I made Designer Stew (Ayamase) for the family was pretty much disappeared as soon as I put it on the table. A quintessential Nigerian dish that was once considered street food, is now a delicacy. A personal story is that my dear Aunt who we all affectionately called “Grandma” (may her soul rest in power) used to make it all the time. One of the key ingredients of the dish is palm oil – which has to be bleached (cooked at a high temperature) before adding any of the hot peppers and meats. This process was very long and very smoky and would literally fill the whole house. As a child not knowing the how to pronounce the actual Yoruba name for the dish I would always call it “The Stew That Makes You Cough!”
And that nickname stuck within our family. So now fifteen years later being able to master the spicy, smoky, yet sweet concoction was actually the happiest ending to Christmas ever!
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? I’d love to learn more about how you celebrate food, and culture with your family!
Happy Holidays, from Yola!