Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Spicing up the holiday kitchen

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Dec 22, 2016 8:40 AM
Family christmas dinner 600 x 340.jpg

What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, Decemeber 22,2016:

Are you finished with your holiday shopping yet?  The tree is probably already up and decorated and plans made for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the first day of Hanukkah, that starts this year on Saturday.

Food will be be a major part of your celebrations and if everything is not in place yet, you only have a couple days left.


Chef Donna Marie Desfor

WITF Cooks Chef Donna Marie Desfor makes her annual pre-holiday visit to Smart Talk Thursday and it's always a fun show.

This year our theme is "spicing up the holidays" by turning up the flavor on traditional meals -- easy, quick ideas you can use to make your meal even more flavorful.

That includes fresh and dried spices and different ways to use them, hot sauces and condiments like mayonaisse, mustard, sour cream and yogurt.  Then there are onions, garlic and butter and oils.  And of course none of this would be complete with a holiday beverage such as hot chocolate, wine, cider and all those infused vodkas.  

This show is not just about food either.  We like to hear about your holiday memories and traditions -- even if they don't involve good. 

Call 1-800-729-7532 or email with your recipes or holiday memories.


- My son told me this morning that he wants to give his teachers a gift for the holidays.  I had not even thought about it.  I pick him up at noon.  Do you have a suggestion on something I could throw together this morning and give at pick up?

I have already made molasses spice cookies and kolachy.      - Alyson, York

- Having celiac disease, our household is always gluten free. Please remind people if they are giving food, or taking food to someone's house, check before you go about religious or food allergy issues.

One dish I have made for several years, which is VERY traditional is... Figgy Pudding. It is a big hit, and people love the connection to the song. As for the meat, we are doing a crown roast. It is gorgeous and unique.                                                         - Manuel

- A great way to give your home a smell of the holidays, is to make a pot of wassail in your crock pot. The apple cider with cinnamon, cloves and ginger smells spectacular and is available for all to have a warm holiday beverage.

See attached for my figgy pudding recipe. You will not be disappointed.

Gluten Free Figgy Pudding


1 1/2 cups chopped dried pitted dates

1/2 cup chopped dried figs

2 cups water

1 teaspoon baking soda

100 grams (3 1/2 ounces or 7 tablespoons) butter, softened

1 cup superfine sugar

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups almond flour

75 grams (2 1/2-ounces) dark chocolate, grated

Butter, for coating ramekins

Ice cream or whipped cream, for garnish


2 cups brown sugar

2 cups heavy cream

200 grams (7-ounces or 14 tablespoons) butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add the dates figs and water to a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in baking soda. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then puree.

Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and beat well. Fold in the flour, the pureed date mixture and the chocolate.

Put the mixture into 4 buttered ramekins, filling halfway or slightly under and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Prepare the sauce by stirring the sugar, cream and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Simmer until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir until incorporated.

Remove the ramekins from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. May be served in the ramekin or unmolded onto a small serving plate. With paring knife cut a cross in the top of the puddings for the sauce.

Pour the sauce into the cross in the center of each pudding, then pour more sauce over the puddings and it allow to soak in slightly.                        - Manuel

-  My husband and I were just talking about this last night, we both prefer the colored lights. We both loved them as kids. We like to have the color to invoke the feeling of wonder and magic for the season.                                               - Megan, Camp Hill


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