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Style El Dorado County Foothills

Main Dishes – Holiday Feasting

10/31/2014 03:43PM ● By Megan Wiskus

Lobster and Toasted Corn Chowder – Photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

Lobster and Toasted Corn Chowder

Recipe submitted by Matthew Luther, chef at Henry’s Steakhouse (inside Red Hawk Casino), 1 Red Hawk Parkway, Placerville, 530-677-7000,

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, cleaned and diced
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 ears sweet white corn, toasted over coals
  • 12 oz. raw lobster meat, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch chives, chopped

Sauté onions, celery and garlic until tender with butter in a large pot. Add flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly. Add wine, stock, bay leaves, cream, potatoes and thyme. Bring to a simmer, stirring regularly, and then reduce heat. Cook for another 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender and mixture begins to thicken. Shave corn off the cob add along with lobster. Cook until lobster is just firm. Add salt and pepper to taste; garnish with chives.


“Simmer the wine for a couple minutes before adding any other liquids (to remove some of the alcohol taste). Anything that uses flour to thicken needs to cook for about 30 minutes, slowly, to remove the raw flour taste; be careful not to burn the bottom by stirring often. “
Matthew Luther, chef at Henry’s Steakhouse 

Citrus Turkey Brine

Recipe submitted by Justin Kaufman, executive chef at Back Wine Bar & Bistro, 25075 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 150, Folsom, 916-986-9100,
  • 128 fl. oz. warm water
  • 4 oz. salt
  • 3 oz. sugar
  • 3 oz. ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 oz. garlic, roughly chopped
  • 6-8 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. black peppercorn
  • 3 lemons, cut into wedges
  • 3 limes, cut into wedges
  • 3 oranges, cut into wedges
  • 10-12 lb. turkey

Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir pot until sugar and salt are dissolved; then turn off flame and let solution cool. Make sure the turkey is fully thawed out and the innards are removed. Fully submerge turkey in brining solution; cover and let sit for at least 16 hours, but no more than 36 hours. Day of: Remove turkey from brine and pat dry. Place in roasting pan with wire rack. Set oven to 325-degrees Fahrenheit and roast until the meat of the inner thigh registers at 165-degrees Fahrenheit. Yields one gallon.



“The best way to peel ginger is to use a spoon and scrape it toward yourself; it’s much quicker than a peeler!”
Justin Kaufman, executive chef at Back Wine Bar & Bistro


Pumpkin Curry

Recipe submitted by Alex and Jarunee Fleming, owners of Thai Paradise, 2770 East Bidwell Street, Suite 100, Folsom, 916-984-8988,

  • 2 tbsp. rice bran oil (one of the secrets)
  • 2 tsp. red curry paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken breast, cut (or protein of choice)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup diced kabocha pumpkin (squash)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. palm sugar (another secret)   
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (can be dried)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 handful of fresh sweet basil

Place oil in a pan on medium heat and mix in curry paste. When it boils, add chicken and stir in coconut milk—a small amount at a time. Bring it to a boil, stirring and cooking until the chicken (or other protein) is soft. Next stir in the kabocha pumpkin, sugar, lime leaves, salt and basil. Serve over white or brown rice and enjoy!

“Cooking Thai food is choreography—more of a dance than traditional cooking. It is dependent on when and how much of the ingredients and spices are added, how long it is cooked and under what heat.”
Jarunee Fleming, executive chef at Thai Paradise 

Grilled Salmon, Oven-Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Yams with Caramelized Onions and Whole-Grain Mustard-Bacon Cream Sauce

Recipe submitted by Erick Johnson, co-owner and general manager at The Chef’s Table, 6843 Lonetree Boulevard, Suite 103, Rocklin, 916-771-5656,
  • 8, 4 oz. pieces high-quality salmon (have the fishmonger cut it for you)
  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 3 yams
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 4 oz. local honey
  • Small jar of whole-grain mustard
  • 4 slices applewood smoked bacon, diced
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Rosemary sprigs for garnish
  • Lemon slices for garnish

Preheat oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap sweet potatoes and yams individually in aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until fork tender. While potatoes are in the oven, julienne the white onion, and in a hot pan with 2 tbsp. of oil, caramelize the onion until golden brown and cooked all the way through. When potatoes are finished, peel and cube them and toss with half the whole-grain mustard, and all of the caramelized onion. Allow to cool overnight. *Can make potatoes the night before.

Prepare the salmon your favorite way. I like to use a gas grill (unless it's nice out, then fire up the Weber!). It's best to use some sort of non-stick spray so that your fish doesn’t stick to the grill. Salt and pepper the salmon on both sides; spray the grill in short bursts, as to not cause a flame up, and spray the fish; grill the salmon on both sides for 3 minutes depending on thickness.

Reheat the potato mixture on medium heat in a large non-stick pan. In a saucepan, render the diced bacon until cooked; add the cream and other half of the whole-grain mustard, honey, salt and pepper (to taste); whisk together and bring to a simmer. Let it reduce by half or until thickened (do not scald the cream).

To Serve:
On a serving tray, pour half of the thickened cream down first—saving some to pour over the top of the potatoes. Arrange the potatoes in the center of the tray, and the grilled pieces of salmon around the outside. Garnish with whole rosemary sprigs and lemon slices. Serves 8+.



“This dish is meant to offer something other than turkey, ham or roast beef at your holiday gathering, while allowing for ample potatoes to be used as an additional side! What I love about it is being able to do the potatoes the day before. Remember: Buy local ingredients!”
Erick Johnson, co-owner and general manager at The Chef’s Table


Japanese Ramen*

Recipe courtesy of Komichi Arai, mother of Taro Arai, executive chef at Mikuni, 1565 Eureka Road, Suite 1A, Roseville, 916-797-2112; 1017 Galleria Boulevard, Roseville, 916-780-2119,
Shio Ramen Broth:
  • 1/2 can chicken broth (24.5 oz.)
  • 3 cups dashi
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Japanese white pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp. roasted sesame seeds
  • Freshly ground garlic (optional)

Shoyu Ramen Broth:
  • 1 can chicken broth (49 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup hon tsuyu (Japanese soup base)
  • 1/4 cup hon mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
  • 1/4 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh garlic, ground or pressed
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil

Imagination is the only limit on ramen toppings. The versatility of ramen and its endless combination of toppings make this a particularly special soup. Here are some topping ideas to get you started:
  • Egg (either hard or soft cooked)
  • Green onion
  • Kamaboko (fish cake)
  • Cabbage
  • Bean sprouts and sweet corn (sauté both in butter with salt and pepper, and add to shio ramen broth)
  • Chashu pork (Oto’s Market on Freeport in Sacramento and other specialty Asian grocers have grab-n-go versions of this barbecue pork)
  • Boiled spinach
  • Ninniku miso-zuke (Japanese pickled garlic)
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Ham
  • Beni shoga (pickled ginger)
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Shredded chicken
  • Nori (dried seaweed)

In a pot of boiling water, cook noodles for about 3 minutes (5 minutes if frozen). The key is to loosen the noodles before you drop them in the boiling water and stir well. When done, drain the water thoroughly. In a bowl, add noodles to shoyu or shio broths, and add toppings of choice. Serves 2.

* NOTE: These two broths can easily be made at home; ingredients can be found locally at Asian grocers.


“If noodles are the heart of ramen, the broth is the soul. The standard Japanese ramen broths include shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt), tonkotsu (pork) and miso. Different regions of Japan specialize in certain broths.”
Taro Arai, executive chef and owner at Mikuni

Stuffed Pork Loin with Togarashi Spiced Asian Pear and Walnuts

Recipe submitted by Brian Griffin, executive chef at Fat’s Asia Bistro (Roseville location), 1500 Eureka Road, Roseville, 916-787-3287; 2585 Iron Point Road, Folsom, 916-983-1133,
  • 4 pounds pork loin, whole, unrolled and pounded
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch thyme, reserve leaves
  • 2-1/2 pounds Asian pears, cored and diced into 3/8-inch cubes
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 1/2 pound walnuts
  • 1 cup unfiltered sake
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1-1/2 loaves day-old baguette, diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 tablespoon Togarashi*
  • 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Put plastic wrap on the table and put unrolled pork loin on it. Cover with plastic wrap and pound to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Reroll and place in refrigerator until stuffing is complete. Cut lemon into halves and squeeze into a bowl of water. Place diced pears in lemon water to prevent browning. Place diced bread into warm oven to dry, forming croutons.

To make the stuffing:
Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5-7 minutes; add garlic, shallots and thyme and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add walnuts and cook for 1 minute. Add diced Asian pears and stir. Deglaze with sake and cook until most of the sake has evaporated. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add bread to form stuffing; season with Togarashi and sugar. Turn off heat and allow stuffing to cool. Preheat oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit.

To assemble:
Spread the stuffing on the unrolled pork loin. Roll to form pinwheel look. Using butcher’s twine, tie on end of the loin then tie the center and on to the other end, placing one or two ties in between the first ties so there is a tie every two inches. Season the pork loin all over with sea salt and pepper.

Place on a wire rack on a baking pan and put in preheated oven. Cook to internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. Pork loin temperature will continue to rise while resting. Once rested, cut all ties and slice for serving. Serves 8.

*Togarashi is an Asian seasoning consisting of chili peppers, orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, seaweed, Japanese pepper and ginger.


“When roasting your turkey, stuff some seasoned butter between the skin and breast meat—this will help keep the turkey moist and juicy; if your stuffing has been dry in the past, try making it separately; when preparing cranberry sauce, use fresh cranberries with sugar and water, and after berries are cooked add some orange segments and lime zest for an added kick.”
Brian Griffin, executive chef at Fat’s Asia Bistro (Roseville location)


Salmon Almendrado (Almond Salmon)

Recipe submitted by Mauricio de Paz, chef at Mexquite Mexican Cuisine and Tequila Lounge, 25095 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom. 916-984-8607,
  • 8 oz. salmon
  • 1 oz. cream, whipped
  • 5 oz. almonds, ground
  • 1 oz. flour
  • 1 oz. butter

Mix the flour and the ground almonds; bathe salmon with the whipped cream, and then bread the salmon with the flour-almond mixture. Turn the oven to 375-degrees Fahrenheit. Once pre-heated, put the salmon on a pan and bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Cover it with chipotle sauce or ranch. Can be served with mashed potatoes. Serves 1.

For More Chef Inspired Holiday Recipes:
Photo by Dante Fontana  Style Media Group

Holiday Feasting - 10/31/2014 15:50

20+ Recipes from Local Chefs

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