November 16

Holiday Dishes and Cooking Tips

Neighborhood chefs Josh Henderson (Vestal), Princess Franada (Flying Fish), Bill Ranniger (Duke’s Chowder House), and Jeff McCartney (Chandler’s Crab House) share cooking tips and recipes for holiday cooking.

Josh Henderson–Huxley Wallace Collective
Coq au Riesling

From the chef: “This isn’t necessarily a holiday dish, but Kim and I love to make it. It is hands down the best thing that Kim makes for us and I crave it often.”


8 ounces sliced bacon, sliced crosswise into 1 in. pieces
3 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
10 chicken thighs, with skin and bone
8 ounces chanterelle mushrooms, halved
2 or 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
1½ cups of heavy cream
1 bottle dry or off-dry riesling wine


  • Place a large Dutch oven-style pan, medium-high heat. Add the bacon and onions and sauté until the bacon is almost crispy and the onions are slightly caramelized. Remove onions and bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.
  • Place pan over medium-high heat again, and sear and brown each piece of chicken. When brown on both sides, add the mushrooms and garlic. Sauté briefly until almost caramelized.
  • Add wine, and raise heat to bring to a boil. Partially cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cream and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • To serve, fold in the fresh parsley and check the seasoning, adding a touch of lemon juice or sherry vinegar if needed. It’s delicious over rice or on a thick toasted piece of country bread.

Chef Tip: Make sure not to overcrowd the pan when cooking the chicken. Let it get nice and caramelized to add flavor and color to the sauce.

Princess Franada–Flying Fish
Spice Candied Sweet Potato and Yams with Maple Bourbon

From the chef: “I chose this is because it is almost like a dessert. It is a good dish to share with family and friends during the holidays.”


6 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½ inch pieces
3 pounds yams, peeled and cut into 1½ inch pieces
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup apple juice
¼ cup of Kentucky bourbon or any other


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the sweet potatoes until barely tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain well, and spread them into a greased 9-by-13-inch glass ceramic baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter with brown sugar and maple syrup. Add the nutmeg and cinnamon. Whisk in the apple juice and bourbon. Season with little salt and bring to a boil. Cook over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves (1-2 minutes). Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes and yams and gently stir to coat.
  • Bake the sweet potato and yams until tender and the sauce is syrupy, about 35-40 minutes.


Chef Tip: This dish complements turkey or ham during Thanksgiving or Christmas, and is loaded with vitamin A and vitamin C.

Bill Ranniger–Duke’s Chowder House
Weathervane Scallop Ravioli

From the chef: “This is my favorite holiday dish right now. We have the raviolis made for us fresh, with pumpkin and mascarpone. Then we use sage and other organic herbs to make a warm, buttery sauce, and you can even add a bit of chardonnay. I love this dish because we know who catches the scallops, and they are just great people who are passionate about their sustainable product. That, and they are some tasty scallops.”


10–15 weathervane scallops
½–1 pound fresh pumpkin mascarpone ravioli, or any store-bought fresh ravioli
2 teaspoons olive oil, separated
1–2 ounces fresh diced tomatoes
1 pinch fresh organic herb blend (oregano, thyme, rosemary) and 1 pinch fresh basil.
1 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic, and 6 roasted garlic cloves
1 ounce white wine
2 ounces salted butter
Salt and pepper to taste


  • Pat scallops and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook ravioli according to instructions, set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in pan to medium high heat and sear scallops until transparency is gone. Remove from pan.
  • Heat additional olive oil and sauté tomatoes, herbs, garlic, and garlic cloves.
  • Deglaze with white wine and add cooked ravioli. When wine is half evaporated add butter and swirl until incorporated.
  • Add scallops to the pan and toss. Serve as a hearty side or as a full meal with roasted vegetables.


Chef Tip: Make items that you can do the day before. If you’re chained to the oven, you can’t hang out with your guests! Also, do something your guests don’t expect–don’t be afraid to serve Dungeness Crab or Wild Salmon. Don’t make your guests starve and have food ready all day, because people can get crabby if they are hungry. That crazy uncle we all have is just a little more crazy waiting for food.

Jeff McCartney–Chandler’s Crabhouse
Beet Braised Lentils

From the chef: “I’ve always been a big fan of fall harvest produce, but one item I never cared much for were beets. Red or gold, sweet or sour, stewed or roasted, they’ve always been a little too ‘earthy’ for my palate. This fall I’ve embraced that earthiness in tinkering with this versatile side dish. It has changed my childish perspective of beets and is a recipe I will continue playing with personally for many years to come.”


2 ounces oil
1 ounce minced garlic
1 ounce minced shallots
6 ounces parsnips, peeled & diced ¼-inch
8 ounces sweet onion, peeled and diced ¼-inch
4 ounces celery, diced ¼-inch
8 ounces red beets, peeled and diced ¼-inch
2½ cups black caviar lentils
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup red wine
1½ cup beet juice
3 oz. balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1½ teaspoons fresh ground black pepper


  • Brown the garlic and shallots in oil over medium high heat.
  • Add parsnips, onions, celery, and beets. Sauté about 5 minutes until vegetables begin to soften.
  • Turn heat down to medium, add the lentils and sauté a few more minutes stirring constantly.
  • Add thyme, bay leaf, vegetable stock, and wine and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Drop the heat to low and simmer covered about 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the beet juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Continue simmering until lentils are tender but not mush, lentil color will lighten considerably as they cook past doneness. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

Chef Tip: Make sure to soak the lentils overnight and drain them before cooking.

Story by Emmaline Cotter & David Clark, Photos by Sarah Flotard, Daniel Berman, Ingrid Pape-Sheldon, and courtesy Schwartz Brothers

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