We may be in the midst of the second wave of a pandemic, but that won’t stop our joy or holiday season. This is the season of thanks and gratitude for those of us who are healthy, happy and surrounded by loved ones. Sure, the traditional turkey ‘round the table and playing holiday games may be out the window, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t adjust accordingly to keep the COVID-19 rules in mind!
“With so many streaming platforms, like Zoom, having a virtual dinner party can be just as fun and you can still feel connected,” celebrity chef turned mogul Nik Fields told MadameNoire about the importance of connectivity during the height of cold, flu and coronavirus season.
With the holiday season falling upon us, Nik The Chic Chef has blessed MadameNoire with some tips and tricks for throwing the perfect holiday soiree. Check it out below along with some recipes to try out!
Plan Ahead and Mind Your Distance.
With the holiday season fast approaching and coronavirus increasing in most parts of the country start planning for your holiday dinners as early as time permits. Like most of us, we look forward to family and friends gathered around the table with an abundance of overflowing foods, but with the risk of COVID-19 spreading more rapidly at family gatherings, ultimately it’s safer to limit dinner to individuals that you currently live with. If this is impossible, I would limit the gathering to 5 or less and remember the 3 W’s: wear your mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.
Pastels, Sparkles and Garnishes – Oh, My!
Holiday dinners give me an excuse to be extravagant. Much like fashion, dinner decor has no rules. Fall pastels, sparkly gold, or even beige with color pops are great options. Personally, I’m inspired by foods of the seasons or produce as my tablescape. The vibrant colors of eggplant, squash, pumpkins or even leafy green lettuce make for a great centerpiece. Tying rosemary with twine around your linen napkin adds an earthy feeling to your table, but still very chic.
Stay Ready So You Don’t Have To Get Ready.
Food preparation is the most important part to pulling off a great holiday dinner. Normally, I start to prepare my dinner a maximum of two days ahead, mainly desserts because they take longer to cook and it frees up the oven for the day of preparation. Some additional tips would be to buy precut and pre-washed produce. Yes, these items are a bit more pricey but the time saved is worth it.
Let’s Toast It Up!
The cocktails served with dinner are just as important as the dinner. We can have wine and champagne anytime. Holidays are special and your cocktails should be, too. Coquito, eggnog, any cocktails that call for cinnamon sticks, star anise, pomegranate and seasonal citrus are all winners.
Dress The Part.
Dinner atmosphere or as I like to reference “The Culinary Vibe” sets the tone of the day. Get fancy, take out the red bottoms, sexy dresses, bow ties, and dinner jackets. Why? Because you deserve to treat yourself and if you look good, your food tastes that much better! Plus you will look fabulous making videos to send to all your family and friends vibing to 90’s R&B! With this Holiday season being the most memorable due to unforeseen circumstances makes it great, better than usual!
Check out these personal holiday recommendations from Nik herself for the ultimate feast!
Hors D’oeuvres: Risotto stuffed mushrooms
- 32 large white or cremini mushrooms, washed and drained
- 6 oz. oyster or shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 3/4 cup arborio rice
- 2 Tbs. dry white wine
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- Stem white mushrooms, and set caps upside down on baking sheet. Set aside. Chop stems, and add to chopped oyster mushrooms. (You should have about 2 cups total.)
- Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add chopped mushrooms, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until browned. Stir in garlic and thyme; add rice, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until rice turns opaque. Add wine; simmer 2 minutes, or until most liquid has evaporated. Add broth, season with salt, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 18 to 20 minutes, or until most liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in parsley. Cool.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Fill each mushroom cap with 1 heaping Tbs. rice mixture. (A small cookie scoop works well.) Bake 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender and rice begins to crisp on top.
Entree: Herb roasted spatchcock chicken with purple and red potatoes
How to spatchcock (butterfly) a chicken
- Remove the giblets and pat dry the chicken.
- Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut down each side of the back bone from the cavity up to the neck.
- Make a shallow incision cut in the cartilage on the back of the breast bone and use your hands to gently press both sides down to flatten the bird.
- 4-5 lbs whole organic chicken for roasting, giblets removed
- 1.5 tbsp coarse salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp grated garlic cloves, about 3 large cloves
- ⅔ cup fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary , garlic thyme and onions)
- 4-6 tbsp Chic Chef Co. Olive oil
- 1 whole lemon
- Purple & Red potatoes
Season the chicken: Mix well salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, and olive oil in one bowl. Flip the bird (skin side up) and use your fingers to gently separate the skins from the meat to create small pockets. Be careful not to tear the skin. Tuck the wings behind the breast. Stuff the herb mixture under the skin and use your hands to gently spread the herbs as even as you can. Make sure to season the outer interior and the back of the bird. Drizzle with half of one whole lemon juice. Marinate overnight in a large flat container, breast side down to soak up more juice flavor
Bake: Preheat oven to 350° F . Place the bird (skin side up) on top of a wire rack over a large sheet pan, lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan and loosely cover the wings and any other spots that get brown too quickly with foil paper so they won’t get burnt. Add potatoes Bake additional 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
Dessert: Skillet chocolate chip cookie
The skillet cookie is super simple, tasty and this simple treat will “wow the adults down to the kiddos.”
Find your best cookie recipe or purchase your favorite cookies from your local supermarket.
Order mini cast iron skillets, preferably from Amazon. Before COVID, I used a 12-inch skillet for all of us to share. Spray skillets with non-stick spray place cookies on the bottom and spread to where the cookie covers the bottom. Bake for roughly 7 minutes. Add your favorite ice cream, for this dessert vanilla bean is amazing! You want to add the ice cream while it’s still hot! Drizzle caramel, chocolate or whatever you like, top with a cherry, and enjoy