Tis the season for holiday dinners, and whether you’re throwing a big bash for friends or hosting a cozy family get-together, you want menu items that impress. These six local chefs can help: Read on for their favorite holiday recipes, ranging from traditional staples to drinks that sparkle, and find out what these culinary experts appreciate most about the season.
During the holidays, Bistro Moulin owner and chef Didier Dutertre spoils friends with seafood platters and chestnutseasoned dishes. “It’s something we do in France,” he says. Inspired by Paris cafés with seasonally influenced menus, Dutertre opened Bistro Moulin in 2007 after 25 years at Carmel’s Casanova.
Karen Anne Murray’s favorite holiday treats include English pudding, fruit pies and pumpkin soup. Raised in England by Jamaican parents, the chef and owner of Eddison & Melrose worked in London, Germany, Canada and Carmel before striking out on her own as a chef, caterer and personal trainer.
Cal Stamenov’s annual truffle dinner, with a six-course tasting menu and truffle martinis, is one of the area’s holiday highlights. The Bernardus Lodge chef and culinary director prefers roasted and braised meats this time of year, and he flavors his fare with seasonal, local mushrooms.
Executive chef Mark Ayers opened TusCA at the Monterey Hyatt in 2007, and Pacific’s Edge at Highlands Inn earned a 2008 AAA Four Diamond Award under his direction. Ayers enjoys traditional dishes this time of year, and his favorite seasonal memory is particularly sweet. “My grandmother always made peppermint ice cream,” he says.
During the holidays, “Art of Food” host and chef Wendy Brodie savors timeless turkey and cranberry meals with all the trimmings.And, she adds sparkle to her seasonal soups, drinks and desserts with a favorite culinary indulgence: flakes of edible gold and silver.
During ten years as Montrio Bistro’s executive chef, Tony Baker has built a reputation for his use of local, sustainable ingredients. Each Christmas, he whips up English pudding made from his mother’s recipe.“There are a lot of Brits around here, and they’ve come to expect it,” he says.
Below, these chefs share just a sampling of some of their yummiest holiday treats. Read on, and do try this at home.
Oysters au Gratin with Leek Fondue
4 C. of minced leek
4 oz. of bacon, diced small
2 C. of onion, finely chopped
1 C.of cream
2 C. of Mornay sauce
To make the fondue, cook the bacon over low heat in a saucepan.Add the onion and cook until tender and without color.Add the leeks and simmer for about 15 minutes, keeping the lid on. Season to taste. Cool the fondue. Shuck the oysters and rinse the shells. Line the shells with the leek fondue, add the oysters and top with Mornay sauce. Place the shells on a sheet pan over a layer of rock salt, which keeps them flat. Place under broiler for 7-8 minutes, until golden brown.
Art of Food
Boco d’Oro (Kiss of Gold) or Platinum Dom
1/2 oz. guava juice
1/4 oz. orange liqueur
1 oz. tequila (top brand is best)
41/2 oz. Dom Perignon Champagne
Dusting of 23K gold sprinkles (Oreo Fino)
Spread a very small amount of guava juice about 1/3 of the way down inside a champagne flute. Sprinkle a few shakes of the 23K gold sprinkles into the flute. Add the orange liqueur and tequila. Pour in 4–4½ ounces of Dom Perignon Champagne. As the flute effervesces, serve to your guest. As one sips the champagne, the gold sprinkles will adhere to her or his lips and a kiss may follow—thus Boco d’Oro (the kiss of Gold)! For the Platinum Dom, substitute the silver sprinkles (Argento Fino) for the gold. Both flakes are available by clicking “Store” atwww.wendybrodie.com.
Sweet Potato Bisque
2 oz. salad oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
6 shallots, sliced
3 sweet potatoes, diced
1 gal. vegetable stock
1 qt. heavy cream
1/2 lb. sweet butter
2 C. pure maple syrup
Sweat onions and shallots in oil until translucent.Add sweet potatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender; add cream and bring back to a simmer. Puree in a blender with butter and syrup. Salt to taste and garnish with freshly ground nutmeg.
Whole-Roasted Chicken with Herbs
1 whole free-range fryer chicken (2-3 lbs.)
1 C. chopped herbs (Italian parsley, rosemary, chives, thyme, mint)
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
3 heads of garlic
2 medium carrots
1 medium onion
1 T. sea salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
Chop the carrots and onion into large one-inch pieces. Crush the garlic cloves in their skins, which keeps the garlic from burning. Place the vegetables and garlic in a heavy roasting pan. Rub the chicken with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Coat the entire chicken with the chopped herb mixture. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the pan. Roast in a preheated 500-degree oven for 20 minutes or until the skin has developed a deep brown crispness, sealing the natural juices and flavors. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and roast for 25 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
(Recipe courtesy of Tony Baker’s mum, Susan, and grandma, Esme)
8 oz. dark molasses sugar
14 oz. fresh white breadcrumbs
8 oz. beef suet
1 tsp. salt
Pinch of mixed spice
12 oz. sultanas
12 oz. raisins
8 oz. currants
3.5 oz candied peel
2 oz. blanched almonds
1/2 lemon zest and juice
2 whole eggs
1/2 pint Irish stout
1/3 C. milk
1/3 C. brandy
Place dry ingredients (dried fruit, candied peel and chopped almonds) in a large mixing bowl and stir well to mix. Add the apples with the lemon rind, juice, eggs and Irish stout. Stir well to mix. Stir in enough milk and brandy to make a soft dropping consistency. Pour the mixture into two greased 11/2 pint pudding basins. Place a round of greased parchment on top of the pudding, cover with foil and wrap the pudding in cheesecloth. Leave overnight to settle. Steam puddings for 41/2 hours; do not let your steamer run dry!!! Allow puddings to cool overnight. Remove cheesecloth and foil, rewrap and store in a cool dark pantry until Christmas.
To serve: Steam the pudding for 2 hours, turn out onto a deep platter, turn out the lights, pour warm brandy and carefully light. Serve with brandy whipped cream, crème anglaise or brandy butter.
Karen Anne Murray
Eddison & Melrose
Sherry Fruit Trifle
4 kiwis, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces (or thinly sliced)
2 1-pint baskets of strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halved
21/2-pint baskets raspberries, rinsed
1/4-1/2 C. of sherry (optional)
4 C. chilled whipping cream
1/4 C. sugar
48 sponge-cake-type ladyfingers (available in stores)
Fresh mint leaves and toasted sliced almonds for garnish (optional)
Mix first five ingredients in a large bowl and toss to blend. Let stand for 10 minutes. Beat chilled cream in another large bowl until stiff peaks form. Arrange 16 ladyfingers on the bottom layer of a 10- to 12-cup. glass bowl or trifle dish.Top with two cups of fruit mixture, then with two cups of whipped cream. Repeat layering two more times with ladyfingers, fruit mixture and cream. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and toasted sliced almonds, if desired. Refrigerate trifle at least two hours and up to six hours before serving.This traditional layered fruit, cake and cream dish can be presented on a buffet or in individual small glass bowls. Look for the freshest fruits and berries available. In England, it is common to use canned fruits when fresh are unavailable.