Recipes of the Season

Favourite holiday recipes from the Edmonton Home Show Tomato Stage presenters

Holiday recipes, those special family dishes that we make in the winter at the holidays are classics we look forward to eating year after year. We asked the presenters on the Tomato Stage at the Home Show this year to share their favourite seasonal recipes; dishes you will want to work into your repertoire, no matter what the occasion.

My Mom’s Tourtière

“This traditional Quebec meat pie is delicious hot or at room temperature. Serves 1 if you are French Canadian” – Serge Belair, exec chef, Shaw Convention Centre

750 g raw ground beef
500 g raw ground pork
50 ml oil
200 g butter
250 g sliced mushroom
300 g diced onion
12 g chopped garlic
250 g diced potato
5 g ground all spice
1 g ground cinnamon
fresh thyme, to taste
500 ml chicken stock or beef stock
250 g roux (125 g butter / 125 g flour mix together)
2 sheets puff pastry or house-made pie dough (rolled out to make four circles for a 7- or 9-inch pie tin)
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan melt butter with the oil. Combine pork and beef. Cook for 7-10 minutes making sure there is good colour on the meat. Add mushroom, onion, garlic and potato, cook for another 4 minutes. Add stock, salt, thyme, black pepper and spices. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils; stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer until meat is cooked, about 5 minutes. Add your roux to thicken the meat mixture and cook for a other 7-10 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400ºF

Lay one dough circle in the bottom of the pie tin. Spoon the meat mixture into the pastry. Place top crust on top of pie and pinch edges to seal. Cut slits in top crust so steam can escape. Bake in pre-heated oven for 25 minutes.

Let cool 20 minutes before slicing.

Serves 8-10.

Turmeric and Cumin Spiced Potatoes

“My family (except my mom) loves potatoes. Little round globes of creamy goodness — red, purple, yellow. We love them all. This is my mom’s ‘lets make one last thing very quickly before last minute guests walk through the door’ recipe that even a potato hater like her loves to eat. We enjoy it with daal, goat korma, or vegetables and steaming hot rice and puffed rotis. You don’t have to be an expert at Indian cooking to enjoy the potato-y goodness.

“You can share this dish with your family as a side dish and pair it with essentially anything — steak, salmon, halibut, ham. Let creativity and an open mind be your guide.” – Damini Mohan, Mini Kitchen

1 lb baby potatoes (stab them with a fork 5 or 6 times)
2 T canola oil
2 t cumin seeds
¼ t turmeric powder
1 jalapeno (diced and de-seeded, or keep some seeds for some heat)
½ t lime juice
zest of ½ lime
salt to taste
2 T finely chopped cilantro (for garnish)

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the cumin seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add the turmeric, salt and the potatoes. Mix well. Cover with a lid and cook on a medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until the potatoes are done. (Add 2 T of water to the pan if it’s too dry). Keep an eye on them and stir occasionally.

Add the jalapenos, lime juice and lime zest; mix well and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes.

Add cilantro and serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Holiday Brussels Sprouts

“Every good cook knows they can turn a sprout-hater into a sprout-lover with the right recipe. This is it. It’s beautiful and festive looking and there is enough going on to distract the sprout-hater into giving them just one more try.” –Peggy Adams, Juniper Café

2 lb sprouts, ends trimmed and X’ed with a small paring knife
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
3 T butter or olive oil
½ c dry bread crumbs
1 T chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
salt and pepper

Cover sprouts with water and simmer in salted water until the tip of your paring knife can easily pierce a sprout. Drain. (Do this the day before if you like… just plunge sprouts into ice water to cool quickly and stop the cooking).

Melt butter in the same pot or a deep sauté pan, add bread crumbs and toast lightly for a couple of minutes. Add tomatoes, herbs, a little salt and lots of pepper and dump in sprouts. Mix together, and put a lid on it for a couple of minutes to ensure everything is hot.

The crumbs will cling to the sprouts, the tomatoes will be soft and ready to burst and the color will evoke Christmas.

Serves 6-8.

Ukrainian Italian Cabbage Rolls

“My favorite holiday dish is my Grandma Evelyn’s sour cabbage rolls. I have taken that memory and turned it into something that both honours her dish and makes me happy as well. These cabbage rolls are packed with a lot of flavour. For a less sour taste soak cabbage leaves in cold water for a few hours. For something different, you could use merguez lamb sausage or the curried sausage from Local Omnivore, and grape leaves in place of the cabbage, served cold like dolmas.” –Chris Hrynyk, Sorrentino’s

2 T olive oil
200 g smoked bacon
1 kg chorizo sausage, fresh, casings removed
1 large onion, chopped
200 g arborio rice
1 btl San Marzano passata*
1 litre chicken stock (unsalted or low sodium if store bought)
150 g Parmigiano Reggiano
1 large sour cabbage
1 jar sauerkraut, good quality
salt, pepper, and sweet Hungarian paprika to taste
6 T butter

Chop bacon and place in a skillet with a small amount of oil. Cook until it starts to brown and crisp, and most of the fat has been rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving any leftover fat. Return pot to medium heat and add chorizo.

Cook until fat has been mostly rendered but meat is still soft and moist. Use slotted spoon to remove from pan, leaving fat.

Transfer oil to a stainless steel pot. Add chopped onion.

Sauté onion over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.

Add rice to pot and stir until well combined. Begin adding stock and cook the rice much like a risotto — stir, stir, stir. Add 1 cup to begin with and ½ cup at a time afterwards, allowing rice to absorb liquid before adding more. This should take about 15 minutes. Add ⅔ cup of tomato passata at the halfway point.

Cook rice until ⅔ done. (Taste it. The rice should be starting to soften but still be crunchy in the centre. You might not use all of the stock.) Stir bacon and chorizo back into the mixture along with cheese. Remove from the heat and allow to cool and set. You can do this a few hours before assembling the cabbage rolls.

To make cabbage rolls:

Gently remove or peel off leaves from the cabbage and remove thick stalks from the centre. Reserve 2 of the larger leaves for the bottom of a Dutch oven.

Rinse the rest of the cabbage well with cold water in a colander.

Place a small handful of rice mixture in one end of the leaf and fold over the top. Roll the leaf up tightly, and tuck the bottom section of the leaf into the roll; make sure they are quite tight and well sealed on all sides. Repeat this process until you’ve used up the cabbage.

Oil Dutch oven on the bottom and all sides. Spread the reserved cabbage leaves across the bottom of the Dutch oven. Drain sauerkraut well and rinse in a colander. Spread half of your sauerkraut across the bottom of the Dutch oven
Tightly pack your cabbage rolls into the bottom of the Dutch oven, topping each with a tiny amount of butter, paprika and pepper. Layer remaining cabbage rolls into your pot, topping with butter, paprika and pepper. Spread remaining sauerkraut over the top layer of cabbage rolls. Pour in the rest of the passata and just enough water to just cover the cabbage rolls.

Cover and bake in a 350ºF oven for 1-2 hours, or until meat is tender and rice is cooked.

Makes approximately 45-50 pinky-sized cabbage rolls.

*San Marzano Passata: Not tomato paste and not tomato sauce, passatta is essentially puréed fresh tomatoes. Use where you would canned tomatoes when you don’t want any bits or chunks of tomato. The best quality passata comes from Italy. Find at the Italian Centre Shops.

Saffron Rice Kheer (Pudding)

“This recipe reminds me of the festival time when I was growing up in Bombay. Festival time was all about rich spices that my mother would use in her special cooking. This recipe is inspired by her kitchen.” –Vikram Redgaonkar, executive chef, Highlands Golf Club

a few strands saffron
2 T milk, warmed
2 c rice vermicelli
1 T ghee (clarified butter)
1 t green cardamom seeds, crushed
3 c milk full fat
3 T sugar
2 t rose water
1 t nutmeg powder
crushed almonds or pistachios for garnish

Soak saffron strands in 2 tablespoons warm milk. Set aside. Break vermicelli into 3- 4-inch long pieces. Heat ghee in a deep frying pan on medium low heat. Add cardamom seeds, sauté for a few seconds or until aromatic. Add vermicelli and fry for a minute or until they change colour to a slightly darker golden. Keep an eye on them at this point because they burn very easily in the hot ghee.

Remove pan from heat, add milk and sugar and put the pan back on medium low heat. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and pudding begins to thicken up a little bit. Add saffron and rose water. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with nutmeg powder. Garnish with crushed almonds or pistachios. Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 4.

Crabapple Compote

“This compote hits all the key flavour notes of cranberry sauce — sour, sweet with bitterness to balance — but uses seasonal aromatic crabapples.” –Will Kotowicz, Meuwly’s

1 kg crab apples
1¼ c white sugar
1 t salt
1 t red wine vinegar
½ c sour cherry juice

Cut crab apples in half and scoop out seeds with a teaspoon.

Evenly spread the sugar in a dry pot over medium heat. You want to make a dry caramel and bring it just to smoke point to enhance the bitterness of the crab apples. Once the sugar has begun to change colour it will not crystallize. Do not stir until there is the amber colour of caramelization. It will likely start in the middle of the pot.

Pull some of the dry sugar from the outer edges over the caramelized sugar. Gently stir the well of caramel to absorb the dry sugar with a heatproof spoon or spatula.
Once all the sugar has been incorporated, continue to cook until thin wisps of smoke are visible from the sugar. Slowly add half of the cherry juice. It may bubble up substantially and produce a lot of steam. Keep your hands clear. Gently stir and allow to bubble up once again. Add remaining cherry juice. At this point, add half of the crab apples, the salt and vinegar. Stew for 20-30 minutes or until the apples are softened and beginning to break apart. Add remaining half of crab apples. Continue to cook until tender, or longer for a smoother texture.

Serve warm with ice cream, can and process, or cool to enjoy with ham, aged cheese, charcuterie, or as a substitute for cranberry sauce.

Makes approx 1 litre.

Imperial Cheddar Sablé (shortbread)

“I’d rather have another helping of supper than have dessert. Usually. This savoury recipe is one that my mom and I would make during our Christmas baking blitz to accompany meat and cheese boards when entertaining.” –Will Kotowicz, Meuwly’s

½ lb softened butter
1 (230g) container Imperial cold pack cheddar
2 c flour
pinch cayenne

Mix all ingredients well by hand, mixer or food processor. Divide into 2, and roll into logs in plastic wrap. Chill until set. Slice in ¼-inch slices. Bake at 375ºF for 10-12 minutes.

Filbert Fingers

“I started collecting recipes as a young girl; from the sides of boxes, magazines and newspapers and old cookbooks from tag sales. This recipe is adapted from one in the Montreal Star, circa 1970-something. I remember not knowing what filberts were and begging my mother to find me some. I’ve made these every Christmas since.” –Peggy Adams, Juniper Cafe

½ c icing sugar
1 c soft butter
¼ t salt
2 c flour
¾ c finely ground filberts (hazelnuts)
4 oz good dark chocolate
4 t butter
1 oz milk chocolate

In a stand mixer cream butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

Sift flour and salt into bowl and mix on low until flour is completely combined. Stir in the ground nuts. You may have to turn the dough onto the counter and knead with your hands until dough is velvety smooth.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces and begin to roll into pencil thin ropes. Cut the ropes into 2 inch pieces and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, with 1½ inches space between each cookie.

Bake in a 325ºF oven for 10-15 minutes. You want just the slightest hint of brown along the edges. They will set a little more outside of the oven. When they are completely cool and firm it’s time to decorate.

Melt dark chocolate over a double boiler and stir in 4 t butter. Stir until smooth and glossy. Dip cookies halfway into dark chocolate and lay dipped cookies on a parchment-lined tray.

Melt milk chocolate in a small Ziploc® bag (in a warm place or in a microwave oven). Cut a tiny corner off the bag, and drizzle milk chocolate quickly over the still warm dark chocolate in a zigzag pattern.

Let cool completely before packing up (or eating!)

Makes 48-50 cookies.

Yuzu Lemon Souffle Cheesecake

“Yuzu lemon is a type of Japanese lemon and we like to use them for cooking and baking especially during the wintertime in Japan.” –Ayumi Yuda, Ikki Izakaya

3 eggs, separated
2 t corn starch
50 g sugar
200 g cream cheese
80 cc milk
2 T yuzu juice
yuzu jam or whipped cream and yuzu lemon zest for topping

Put corn starch into a bowl with egg white and mix well using electric mixer until soft peaks are formed.

Mix sugar and cream cheese in a bowl with egg yolk and mix until well blended. Add milk and juice and blend until creamy.

Using a spatula, fold ⅓ of the egg white mixture into the cream cheese mixture. Repeat 3 times gently, until all is folded together.

Grease 6-inch electric rice cooker pot and pour in mixture. Select cake mode and press start. If your rice cooker does not have cake mode, simply cook for 80 minutes.

Remove from rice cooker and remove from the mold immediately. Set aside to cool.
Serve with a big spoon full of yuzu lemon jam or lightly sweetened whipped cream and yuzu lemon zest.

Serves 4.

Pumpkin Cream Pie with Toasted Pecan Whip and Lemon Zest

“I grew up in a family with an equal mix of pumpkin pie lovers and haters. I have always loved it and can’t think of the holidays without thinking of pumpkin pie. This is a version has everything I want in a pumpkin pie. Even the pumpkin pie haters in my family get a little excited when they know I’m making it.” –Levi Biddlecombe, chef, Why Not Cafe and Bar

2½ c flour
½ lb frozen and grated butter
2 T sugar
60 ml cold water
60 ml ice-cold vodka

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture is combined.
Empty contents on to a clean work surface and knead until dough is just formed. Wrap dough ball in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.

Divide dough in half and roll into two 12-inch circles, place into two 9-inch pie plates, crimp edges, brush with egg wash and using pie weights bake at 375ºF for 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Cream Filling

3½ c canned pumpkin
6 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 c brown sugar
2 T cornstarch
2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground clove
1 t ground nutmeg
2 t vanilla extract
2½ c heavy cream
¾ c condensed milk

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Divide mixture between the 2 pre-baked crusts.

Bake at 375ºF for 50-55 minutes, after 30 minutes, cover the crust in tin foil.
Cool, refrigerate, cut.

Toasted Pecan whip

1 c crushed pecans (aggressively toasted and cooled)
2 c heavy cream

Whip cream to stiff peaks, gently fold in pecans, let sit for a minimum 30 minutes.
To serve pie, top each slice with a healthy amount of toasted pecan whip and fresh grated lemon zest.

Makes 2 pies.

Dried Fruit in Calvados

“This is a dessert from the north of France that my sister-in-law would make us during the holidays. You can use any dried fruit of your choice but this is what I like. Easy, rich and of course, boozy!

Serve with duck confit or with a cheese plate. Or, top your cakes, mousse or pancakes or serve with panna cotta, gelato or ice cream.” –Medi Taboud, VIVO

1½ c dried apricot
1½ c dried figs
1 c dried pears or apples
1½ c organic sultanas
1½ c walnuts
1 c almonds
1 c raw pistachios
½ c pine nuts
½ orange zest
500 ml Calvados (Moulard)

Mix all the dried fruit and nuts together. Put in a glass jar or a casserole dish (preferably porcelain). It should be a container that can be easily sealed. No plastic containers. Let it macerate for a few days; the longer we leave it, the stronger it will get. Serves 10-12.