Whether you’re preparing a full-on feast or bringing a dish to someone else’s gathering, these savory and sweet selections from the recipe boxes of local chefs are sure to be the standouts.


This versatile sauce, while vegetarian, can be used in several different dishes that are all very comforting and fullfilling and are sure to please holiday guests

► Mark Ford, Lead Chef, Anoosh Bistro

1 head cauliflower,
cut into small florets

Olive oil for drizzling,
plus ¼ cup for the sauce

2 tbsp kosher
salt, divided

4 portobello mushrooms

1 cup dry green lentils

4 cups yellow onion,

cut into a small dice

2 cups  carrots,
cut into a small dice

2 tbsp minced garlic

Recipe yields 3 QUARTS | Wine Pairing: Nero di Casanova Sangiovese from Tuscany


• Preheat the oven to 350°.

• Drizzle cauliflower florets with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Process in a food processor until they resemble cooked ground beef.

• Drizzle the portobellos with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 20 minutes. Cut into medium dice and process in a food processor until they resemble cooked ground beef.

• Place the lentils in a quart pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cover the lentils with three cups of water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer and cover with a lid. Cook the lentils for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve.

• Sauce: In a heavy bottom pot that holds at least one gallon, heat ¼ cup of olive oil on medium-high heat until the oil runs freely around the bottom of the pot. Add onions and carrots; sweat for five minutes. Add garlic and cook two minutes. Add red wine and reduce by half. Add mushrooms, cauliflower, lentils and tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Place the sprigs of fresh basil and thyme in a piece of cheesecloth (or a large coffee filter) and tie with butcher’s twine. Place the bouquet garni, fennel, oregano and salt in the pot. Simmer one hour, stirring every 10 minutes.  Add balsamic vinegar and adjust seasoning with salt.

• At the restaurant we serve this sauce over roasted spaghetti squash but it also may be served over your favorite pasta or baked into lasagna. Fresh torn basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano are perfect garnishes for the dish.


This dish is so rich with holiday flavors of apple, walnuts, ginger and mulling spices, giving off the perfect aroma and bringing you back to your childhood memories. It’s decadent and comforting for a chilly evening.

► Bobby Benjamin, Chef and owner, Butchertown Grocery

Recipe yields 4 servings


3 ounces Goodfolks coffee,
ground fine

1 ounce chili powder

1 ounce paprika

1 ounce garlic powder

4 pork chops

Salt and pepper to taste

1 ounce butter

2 ounces olive oil


• For the coffee rub, mix together the first four ingredients. Season each side of the pork chops with the rub, salt and pepper. Add butter and olive oil to a sauté pan on high heat. Sear each side of the chops for approximately two minutes, then roast at 350° for five minutes. Let rest two minutes before serving. Serve the chutney and apple gastrique over the chops.


1 ounce butter

1 ounce olive oil

4 Granny Smith apples, diced

2 ounces walnuts

1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

1 tbsp pepitas

½ tsp cracked red pepper

Salt to taste


• In a sauté pan on high heat, add butter, olive oil and apples. Once apples begin to caramelize, deglaze with four ounces of the apple gastrique. Add walnuts, ginger and pepitas. Finish with cracked pepper and salt.


My grandma used to make this for us for the holidays. It was awesome.

► Dallas McGarity

Recipe serves 4 as a side dish | Wine Pairing: a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a nice Pilsner


2 large hard-boiled eggs

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 ounces Cheddar cheese

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

1 cup chopped cooked bacon

2 tbsp chopped red onion

2 tsp chopped fresh dill

1 tsp apple cider vinegar


• Mix together all the ingredients. Let sit out until peas thaw. Serve with seafood or chicken.


Recipe serves 8-10

Wine Pairing: Pinot Grigio or a not-too-grassy Sauvignon Blanc, Or Even a hoppy beer


4 cups diced green peppers

4 cups diced yellow onions

4 cups diced celery

4 tbsp vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp chopped marjoram

1 tsp chopped sage


• Preheat oven to 400°. In a large pan, sauté peppers, onions and celery in vegetable oil until vegetables are soft and translucent. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add herbs.

• In a large mixing bowl, add vegetable mixture and dried bread. Mix thoroughly. Add cold stock and eggs, tossing together quickly and thoroughly so the eggs do not cook.

• Place in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan or two smaller baking pans. Bake, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes.


This is a long-time favorite at the Rover because who doesn’t love something warm and cinnamony smothered in caramel sauce and whipped cream? And, did I mention bourbon?

► Siobhan Reidy, Co-Owner, The Irish Rover

Recipe serves 10

Wine Pairing: hot spiced


16 eggs, beaten

½ quart heavy cream

1 cup brown sugar

2 drops vanilla extract

1 tbsp ground nutmeg

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 cup raisins

Bread scraps to fill a 4-inch deep baking pan

Unsalted butter


• Whisk together eggs and cream in large bowl. Whisk in brown sugar, vanilla and spices. Add raisins and bread scraps and combine thoroughly. Butter the inside of the baking pan. Spray the pan with baking spray. Pour bread mixture into pan. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Serve warm with Whiskey Sauce.


1 pound unsalted butter

4 cups brown sugar

1 cup bourbon


• Combine butter and brown sugar in small sauce pot, and mix well over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to low boil, stirring until thickened. If needed, a cornstarch slurry can be added but don't over-do it. Pour hot sauce over warm bread pudding. Top with whipped cream.


This is a pumpkin pie meets coffee cake type of dessert.”

► Morgan Friend, Banquet Chef, The Brown Hotel

Wine Pairing: subtle port wine or a capuccino


15 ounces canned pumpkin

12 ounces evaporated milk

3 whole eggs

1 ½ cups sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

½ cup melted butter

½ cup chopped pecans


• Whisk together all ingredients, except butter and pecans, until sugar is incorporated throughout the mix. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Add filling. Crumble Topping over filling. Drizzle with melted butter and pecans. Bake at 325° for 45 minutes. Let cool for two hours. Top with your favorite caramel topping. Cut into one-and-a-half-inch squares. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ tbsp baking powder

½ cup powdered milk

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup melted butter


• Blend all the dry ingredients and the pecans. Fold in the butter until mixture becomes chunky.


“This was our Christmas extravaganza when I was growing up in Italy.

► Rocco Cadolini Owner, ROC

Recipe serves 6


18 ounces white flour, plus extra for dusting

5g salt

4 ½ ounces caster sugar

10g fast-acting yeast

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

5 ½ ounces softened butter, plus more for greasing pan

2 medium free-range eggs, preferably Burford Brown or other dark-yolk variety)

2 free-range egg yolks, preferably Burford Brown or other dark-yolk variety)

2 tsp vanilla paste

3 ½ ounces milk, warmed

Icing sugar for dusting

4 cups chocolate chips


• Place the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add salt and caster sugar to one side of the bowl and yeast to the other side. Add the orange and lemon zest, softened butter, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and milk. On slow speed, mix together to form a wet sticky dough. Increase the speed and mix for 10 minutes. The dough should be a thicker consistency and adhere to the dough hook. If the dough is dropping from the dough hook, mix another five minutes or until the correct consistency is achieved.

• Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Gently knead the dough to form a ball. Place dough in a lightly-greased bowl. Cover and leave to prove until doubled in size. This can take four hours, but for best results, leave overnight.

• Grease an angel food cake pan with butter. Turn out the dough onto a lightly-floured work surface and fold in on itself a few times to knock out the air. Shape into a ball and place in the prepared pan. Cover and leave to rise until it comes to the top of the pan. This will take an hour-and-a- half to two hours.

• Preheat oven to 375°. Uncover the pan and bake for 35–40 minutes. It is done when a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for five minutes. Turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.

• Slice into two to four layers. Place cream filling between each layer. Add chocolate chips to a metal bowl. Place on top of boiling water until chocolate is melted. Dust top layer of cake with icing sugar and top with melted chocolate.


4 large egg yolks

½ cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup Marsala wine

16 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups brewed espresso

3 tbsp coffee liqueur or brandy


• Place the egg yolks, sugar and Marsala in a large metal mixing bowl. Set over a pot of simmering water. Cook, whisking, until mixture is pale, thick and double in volume (about five minutes.) Remove from heat; whisk in mascarpone. Whip the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture. Set aside. Whisk espresso, liqueur and powdered sugar together in a shallow dish. Combine with the filling.


My family loves this pie. The tart sweetness of the cranberries is the perfect finish to a big meal and the crunch of the walnuts gives it a nice complexity.

► Jessica Haskell, Chef and Owner, Sweet Surrender

Wine Pairing: a steaming mug of mulled cider spiked with bourbon.


2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

8 ounces butter, cut into
½-inch cubes

½ cup cold water


• Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a pie pan and set aside.  Add butter to flour and work mixture with your hands until it resembles coarse meal with largest bits being pea size. Add cold water and mix together until it forms solid dough. Do not overwork or the dough will become tough. Roll out dough onto a floured surface until 1/8”-thick. Carefully place in pie pan. Trim away excess dough and set aside.


Walnut Filling

1 1/3 cups sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 cup water


• Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a pie pan and set aside.  Add butter to flour and work mixture with your hands until it resembles coarse meal with largest bits being pea size. Add cold water and mix together until it forms solid dough. Do not overwork or the dough will become tough. Roll out dough onto a floured surface until 1/8”-thick. Carefully place in pie pan. Trim away excess dough and set aside.


1 1/3 cups sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 cup water

½ tbsp corn starch

2 ½ cups whole cranberries

½ cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup butter

1 tsp vanilla extract


• Combine sugar and flour in a saucepan. Whisk in water and corn starch. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook mixture until thick. Stir in cranberries, walnuts, butter and vanilla. Pour into pie shell. If you had excess pie dough, feel free to cut pieces of the dough into leaves, acorns or other shapes, then lay gently on top of the filling. Bake at 350º for about 45-50 minutes, until the crust has a golden hue, and the pie filling is a nice reddish color. There should be a slight jiggle to the filling. Let cool.

Posted on 2018-12-07 by Nancy Miller