Log In Registration

Try This At Home

Regional chefs offer festive holiday recipes

by Metroland Staff on November 15, 2012

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Chef Jack Carlow, Blue Stone Bistro

661 Albany Shaker Road, Albany, 869-9976

Yields 4 Servings


4 lbs boneless beef short ribs

2 cups diced celery

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced onions

1 cup tomato paste

1 cup dry spice rub (your favorite kind)

1/4 cup minced garlic

1 quart rich beef stock

1 pint red wine

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Rub spice over short rib pieces. Sear meat in Dutch on both sides until dark brown. Remove meat, and add carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Brown the vegetables. Add tomato paste and slightly caramelize. Add beef stock and wine. Bring to a simmer. Return the beef to the vegetable mixture cover and place in a 350 degree oven for 3 1/2 hours. Check for tenderness and seasonings. Remove from liquid and serve with the starch of your choice. Ladle sauce over top.


Brandy Spice Cake

Professor Susan Hatalsky, Casola Dining Room

Schenectady County Community College, 78 Washington Ave., Schenectady

Yield: 1 large Bundt Cake

Serves: 12-16



12 oz. pitted prunes

2 cups water

2 oz. Cognac

12 oz. vegetable oil

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

5 large eggs

2 Tbsp vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking soda

2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 tsp salt

12 oz. buttermilk


1 1/2 cups sugar

6 oz. butter

4 oz. brandy

2 Tbsp light corn syrup

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp baking soda

For Cake:

Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Combine prunes, water and Cognac in a heavy saucepan; simmer until prunes are tender; approx. 15 minutes. Drain prunes and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid for the glaze. Coarsely chop prunes and set aside.

Using paddle, beat oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until well blended. In separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, spices, and salt to blend. Mix dry ingredients into oil mixture. Add buttermilk, beating just until batter is smooth. Fold in chopped prunes. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake at 350 degrees in the deck oven until tester inserted near center comes out clean, approx. 1 hour and 5 minutes.

For Glaze:

Combine reserved 1/4 cup of prune cooking liquid with all the ingredients for the glaze in a large, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil 2 minutes.

Pierce cake in several places with a long skewer. Slowly pour 1 cup of the glaze over hot cake. Cool in pan 30 minutes. Turn onto a cake plate. Serve with additional glaze.


Butternut Squash Salad

Chef Ian Brower, Capital City Gastropub

261 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 459-5077

Serves 4


2 large butternut squash

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 cup French cider vinegar (cidre de normandie, used at Gastropub)

1/8 cup clover honey

2 Tbsp petite capers

Fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup hazelnut butter (recipe to follow)

Hazelnut Butter Recipe:

Crushed hazelnuts

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: Prepare hazelnut butter by toasting peeled hazelnuts in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove 1/2 cup of roasted nuts to set aside to grind for garnish. In a food processor, grind remaining nuts until a paste is formed. Slowly stream olive oil into hazelnuts while blending till a butter texture is achieved. Set aside and allow to cool. Peel butternut squash until vibrant orange flesh is exposed. Discard skins. Using your peeler, shave long strips of squash. Place squash in a large bowl. Add olive oil, cider vinegar, honey and a large pinch of both salt and pepper. Toss thoroughly. Smear Hazelnut butter onto serving dish of your choosing. stack ribbons of squash on top of butter. Garnish dish with petite capers, freshly torn basil and ground hazelnuts. Serve immediately.


Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

By Tess, Tierra Farms Coffee Roasters

1038 Madison Ave., Albany, 621-7299


2 cups chocolate hazelnut butter (of course we have to recommend using Tierra Farms!)

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup canola oil

1 ¼ cup soy milk

1 ¼ cup sugar

2 cups flour

2 cups rolled oats

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 ½ cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine chocolate hazelnut butter, canola oil, soy milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. Slowly pour wet ingredients into dry. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until cookies are just beginning to crisp around the edges (the tops should still look a little gooey).


Flemish Carbonnade—A Belgian beer and onion stew (the national dish of Belgium)

Chef Dan Miller, The Merry Monk

90 N. Pearl St., Albany, 463-MONK (6665)

Serves 6-8


5 lbs beef, preferably chuck shoulder tenderloin

2 quarts beef stock

2 quarts (64 ounces) Leffe Brown (or any abbey style beer)

5 spanish onions

6 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2oz brown sugar

2 Tbsp coarse sea salt

1 Tbsp coarse black pepper

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

1/4 pound butter

2lbs Spaetzle (German egg noodle pasta)

Let’s start with the beef. I like to use something naturally tender, even though you will be simmering it for a little while to make it even more tender. I like something called chuck shoulder tenderloin (teres mejor). It is the second most tender cut of beef behind the filet tenderloin. If you can’t find this cut, any stewing beef will work, however you may want to cook down the meat for another 20-30 minutes.

We need a rich, slightly bitter, dark beer that will contrast well against the sweetness of the brown sugar. My favorite so far to use in this recipe has been the Leffe Brown. But any abbey style will do.

Start by peeling the onions, and cutting them down to approx. 1 inch by 1 inch. Next cut your beef into 2-by-2-inch chunks. Toss the beef in a mixing bowl with approx. 2 Tbsp sea salt and 1 Tbsp coarse black pepper. Cut the butter into 4 cubes. Using a heavy duty stockpot, heat one cube of butter; when melted, start searing the beef. Do not crowd the pot. Do not turn beef until nicely seared, approx 2 minutes. Turn beef chunks over and repeat. Remove and set aside until all beef has been seared, using another piece of butter for each round of searing. When all the beef is seared, you should have a nice, dark bottom on the pot. Add beer, beef stock, mustard, brown sugar, paprika and mix together. Let onions cook down for about 10 minutes on a rolling boil. Add seared beef and cook for approx one hour. If beef is not fork tender, continue cooking for 15 min intervals until beef has reached desired tenderness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook spaetzle per direction on box. Serve Carbonnade over spaetzle.


Garlic Festival Pancakes

Chef Dan Smith, Jake Moon

2028 Delaware Turnpike, New Scotland

I used these little gems as a featured item at the Garlic festival and other food events. It is now an official recipe of the Garlic festival cookbook.


2 cups fresh cooked corn

1 large onion, finely diced

1/2 cup minced garlic

3 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups cornmeal

2 Tbsp baking soda

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp white pepper

2-3 cups milk

1/2 cup olive or canola oil

“Sweat” the onion in half the oil. When soft, add the garlic, and corn, cook another minute. In a mixing bowl, mix the corn mixture with the eggs, then the flour and cornmeal, baking soda, and seasoning. Add half the milk and mix to a smooth paste, then add more milk to achieve a batter-like consistency. Cook the batter pancake style by dropping 1 oz. onto a hot griddle.

It always amazed me how people would scratch their heads over these “Johnny Cakes,” They are a savory item meant to be used as an appetizer or passed hors d’ouerve. Great with smoked fish, salsa, sour cream, or chutney.


Holiday Bread Pudding

Kitchen Crew, The Ruck

104 3rd St. Troy,  273-1872


Make your favorite pumpkin pie filling

For Bread Pudding:

1/4 cup softened butter

1 cup pecans

1 cup dried cranberries

2 cups milk

1 egg

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups stale french bread cubed

For Sauce:

1 cup sugar

1 cup melted butter

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup Grand Marnier

To make bread pudding, saute pecans in butter, add dried cranberries and set aside. Meanwhile, mix brown sugar, egg, milk with vanilla. Combine the two mixtures and pour over cubed bread and let stand 10-15 minutes. Spread pumpkin pie filling into 13x9x2 baking dish and spoon bread mixture on top. Bake 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees. For sauce, over medium heat in saucepan mix sugar, butter, egg and vanilla, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Add Grand Marnier (optional). Pour over baked bread pudding.


Kwaanza Peanut Soup

Chef Ric Orlando, New World Bistro Bar

300 Delaware Ave., Albany, 694-0520

Peanuts are a New World food. They were brought to Africa in the Slave ships in the 1600s and have become a staple food there ever since. This recipe is derived from a dish from Ghana, called ground nut soup. It is also used as a sauce for chicken.

Yields 1 gallon

1/2 cup chopped celery, reserve leaves

2 cup diced onion

2 smashed cloves garlic

1 cup sweet potato, peeled and diced

vegetable oil

1 tsp cayenne plus a tiny bit for garnish

1 Tbsp coriander ground

1 tsp cardamom ground

1 tsp fennel ground

2 cups canned tomatoes

1 small bunch of parsley, chopped

3 qts vegetable or chicken stock

2 cups natural peanut butter or lightly salted peanuts, ground in a food processor

In a heavy pot, saute the vegetables in oil until softened. Add the spices. Cook for a few minutes to release the aromas. Add the tomatoes, parsley and stock. Simmer for 30 minutes to amalgamate. Puree until smooth in a blender. Whisk in the peanut butter to thicken. Garnish with a sprinkle of cayenne and celery leaves.


Oktoberfest Braised Short Ribs with Hudson Red Cheese

Executive Chef Josephine Proul, Chatham Brewing and Local 111 Restaurant

111 Main St., Philmont, 672-7801


4 lbs grass-fed beef short ribs

2 onions

2 carrots

2 heads garlic

6 prunes

1 cup crushed tomatoes

3 bay leaves

3 sprigs rosemary

2 sprigs thyme

1 cup sherry vinagrette

generous amount of salt and pepper

4 cups Chatham Brewing Oktoberfest

12 cups chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 lb Hudson Red Cheese

Season short ribs with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch Oven sear meat until deep brown. While meat is searing, roughly chop carrots, onions, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Place seared short ribs off to the side while more are added to the pan. Once all short ribs are seared and removed from the pan, add the rough chopped vegetables, prunes and crushed tomatoes. Stir around in the pan to pick up the crispy bits or “fond” in culinary terms. Deglaze with sherry vinegar and Oktoberfest beer. Place all short ribs back into the pan and top with chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cover. Place in a 250 degree oven for 14 hours. Overnight works best, or in a crockpot on low. Once meat is tender, remove and cool short ribs on a resting rack. Take half of the chopped cooked vegetables mixture and puree in a blender or food mill. Strain the braising liquid with a fine strainer. Place the pureed mixture into a sauce pot and add the strained braising liquid, bring this mixture to a boil and reduce by half, season. Once ready to serve the short ribs, heat them in the sauce reduction and melt the grated Hudson Red Cheese, sprinkle with thyme and chopped rosemary. Serve the short ribs with your favorite side dish, or put on a roll and make a sandwich. Eat with beer!


Panna Cotta

Sous Chef Tia Lule, Grappa ‘72

818 Central Ave., Albany, 482-7200

Serves 6


1 cup whole milk

3 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup honey

1 Tbsp unflavored gelatin powder

1 Tbsp sugar

1 pinch salt

Place milk in small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over bowl and allow to stand 3 to 6 minutes to soften gelatin. Pour mixture into heavy saucepan and stir over a medium heat until gelatin dissolves. Do not allow to boil. Stir for about 5 minutes, then add cream, honey, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Portion into six wine glasses and allow to cool slightly. Place them into the refrigerator to set for 6 to 7 hours. When serving, garnish with fresh berries and a dash of cinnamon.


Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Troy Farmers Market

Troy, 708-4216

Serves 6-9


3 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

4 cups vegetable broth

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin purée

1/2 lb cubed cooked ham

Pour 2 cans of the black beans into a food processor or blender, along with the diced tomatoes. Purée until smooth. Set aside. Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is softened. Stir in the bean and tomato purée, the remaining can of beans, vegetable broth and pumpkin purée. Stir until well blended, then simmer for about 25 minutes. Stir in ham and heat through before serving.


Pumpkin Mulligawtawny

Chef Ric Orlando, New World Bistro Bar

300 Delaware Ave., Albany, 694-0520

This most popular Indian lentil soup has been made so many ways, one never really knows how authentic their version is. The recipe I have been preparing for the holidays is based on the soup made at India Pavilion in Central Square in Cambridge, Mass. The soup there is smooth with red lentils and has a nice lemony accent. Chunks of pumpkin add texture, and a nice holiday feel.


1 medium onion, diced

2 1×1 cubes of ginger

5 medium garlic cloves

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup ghee or vegetable oil

juice of two lemons

3 cups red split lentils

3 cups cubed pumpkin about 1-inch

1/2 gallon water with a touch of chicken or vegetable bouillon or . . .

chicken stock, vegetable stock

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Puree first ingredients in processor with 1/4 cup of water to make a paste.In a heavy pot add ghee or oil and heat gently. Add paste and saute until a beautiful aroma is released . Do not brown. Add lentils and stir to coat thoroughly. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add the pumpkin. Reduce to a simmer and cook until lentils turn golden and begin to melt. Add cilantro and lemon juice. Adjust salt of needed. Serve in bowls with grilled pita or nan.


Pumpkin Pappardelle with Browned Butter

Chef Jon Stadt, Flour City Pasta featured at the Schenectady Greenmarket

1000 Turk Hill Road, Fairport, 223-1113

Serves 6


1 pound Flour City Pasta Pumpkin Pappardelle

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup walnuts or slivered almonds

4-6 sage leaves cut into very thin strips

Salt and pepper to taste

Grated parmesan reggiano

Place Pumpkin Pappardelle into boiling water and about 8 minutes until al dente. Melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add nuts and stir frequently over medium high heat until butter begins to brown and nuts are toasted (about 6-8 minutes). Add the sage and reduce heat. Season to taste. Drain the cooked pasta and serve with the butter sauce. Top with grated cheese.


Ric Orlando’s Turkey Roasting 101

Chef Ric Orlando, New World Bistro Bar

300 Delaware Ave., Albany, 694-0520

Ric’s Turkey Brine: When you are done frying, grilling and messing around, try my tested, tried and true method for brining and roasting! Brining and the high/low cooking technique is the secret. Ratio up to make enough to cover the bird entirely. Use a cooler to hold the turkey so that you can brine it overnight. Line it with a trash bag if you are squeamish.

Put 4 frozen ice packs or bags of ice in zip lock bags and cover the cooler to make sure it stays cold enough.


1 gallon cold water

1 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar

3-4 allspice berries

8-10 peppercorns

2 fresh bay leaves

1 Tbsp dried thyme

1 tsp lemon zest

Stir salt into water to dissolve. Add all other ingredients to make the brine. Cover turkey completely with brine for as short as two hours or as long as 24 hours. Remove from brine and dry well.

Basic Ric Orlando Turkey Roasting Recipe: Massage the turkey with melted butter, olive oil, duck fat or grape seed oil before seasoning. Rub turkey with the following mix. You may not use all of it, but this rub makes for great skin!

1/4 cup kosher salt

2 Tbsp ground black pepper

2 Tbsp paprika

2 Tbsp dry thyme

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp dry sage, crumbled or “rubbed”

Mix well and massage into the entire bird.

Fill the cavity with the following:

1 Apple, split in half

1 Lemon, split in half

1 onion, split in half

1 head garlic, split in half

2-3 spring each of thyme, sage and parsley

Let turkey stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

Preheat oven to 500. Have a quick-read thermometer and a kitchen timer handy. This method should take about 12 minutes per pound or about 4 total hours for a 20-pound bird. Put turkey in roasting pan directly in the bottom—not on a rack or mirepoix. Put turkey in oven and set timer for 30 minutes. When timer goes off, check turkey . You are looking for a golden brown skin and a nice sizzle in the pan. If it is still pale, reset time for 15 more minutes. If it is still not golden, do it again. The goal at this stage is to have a turkey that looks perfectly cooked, though we know it is raw inside still.

When you reach that stage, reduce oven to 300 and loosely cover it with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Pour enough water into the pan to cover the pan with about 1/4 inch of liquid.

Set timer again, this time for about 10 minutes per pound. When the timer goes off, check for internal temperature by putting the probe thermometer between the thigh and breast. When it reads 165-170, the bird is done. It will continue to cook as it rests and its internal temperature will increase by about 7 percent. Woo hooo.

Let the turkey stand for 30 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and use the juices in the pan to make amazing gravy!


Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Shallots

Troy Farmers Market

Troy, 708-4216

Yields 6 ½ servings


2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided

3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 2 large shallots)

2 tsp brown sugar

2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Add shallots to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with brown sugar; cook approximately 20 minutes or until shallots are golden, stirring occasionally. Place potatoes in a medium sauce pan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 8 minutes until tender. Drain. Place potatoes in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher (or beat with a mixer at medium speed) until smooth. Add rosemary, salt and pepper until well incorporated. Spoon into a serving dish, top with shallots and drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil.


Snowed-In Crock Pot Stew With Holiday Ale

Jeremy Hosier, The Brew Crew (Oliver’s and Westmere Beverage)

105 Colvin Ave., and 1756 Western Ave, Albany, 459-2767, 456-1100

Serves: 6


2 pounds stewing beef (or a nicer cut if you want to get fancy), cubed

1 yellow onion (chopped), 3-4 red potatoes (chopped)

4-5 carrots (peeled, chopped)

2 cloves garlic (chopped)

2 stalks celery (chopped)

½ tablespoon salt

1 tsp ground black peppercorns

1/4 cup flour

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

1 bay leaf, 1 sprig rosemary

1/2 cup beef broth

12 ounces of spiced winter seasonal beer (Anchor Christmas Ale, Harpoon Winter Warmer, Corsendonk Christmas Ale, Southern Tier 2XMAS, etc.—ask a member of the Brew Crew!)

Higher-alcohol beers will have a more tenderizing effect on the meat; darker beers will color the stew. Place all ingredients except beef and beer into slow cooker and set cooking temperature to low. Heat up a cast-iron skillet on the stove on high. Spray skillet lightly with cooking spray. Toss the beef into the skillet, turning frequently until all (or most) sides of the cubes are seared. Move the meat and all of the juices in the pan to the slow cooker. While the skillet is still hot, use a small amount of the holiday ale to deglaze the pan; add resultant mixture to slow cooker. Add remaining beer to slow cooker. Stir thoroughly, cover up. Go build a snow man or an igloo and come back in 6-7 hours for a satisfyingly seasonal stew! Remove bay leaf and rosemary before serving. Cheers!


Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Chef Mike Cohen, Chez Mike

596 Columbia Turnpike, East Greenbush, 479-4730

Serves 4


1/2 small onion diced

2 whole garlic cloves

1 small piece ginger sliced

1 Tbsp red curry paste

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp white wine

2 cups chicken stock

1 can (13oz) coconut milk

1 Tbsp fish sauce

1 Tbsp lime juice

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan, sweat onion, garlic, ginger. Add red curry paste and brown sugar, cook for 10 minutes on low. Add white wine, simmer for 5 minutes until almost dry. Add chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Add coconut milk, simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat and stir in fish sauce and lime juice. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Other great additions: cooked vegetables, chicken, or shrimp.


Tuna Basket

Chef Steven, Koto Japanese Restaurant

260 Wolf Road, Latham, 869-8888

Serves 3


Eel Sauce

Eel sauce can be purchased at your local supermarket where you can find Asian specialty ingredients.

1/2 pint soy sauce

1/2 pint water

1/4 pint japanese sweet wine

3/4 pint sugar

For Tempera Crunch

Paper towels

1 cup tempura flour mix

1 cup water

2 egg whites

vegetable oil

Spicy Mayo

5 oz. mayonnaise

Chili hot paste/Siracha sauce

Tuna and Stuffing

3 oz. of fresh Blue Fin Tuna, in slices 3 inches by 1 inch by 1/4 inch thick
Crab/Lobster/King crabmeat (your choice)

1/2 cup finely diced ripe Mexican mango

1 cup finely diced cucumber


6 6-inch x 6-inch pieces of Saran Wrap


Make the eel sauce: In a small pot, whisk and reduce together all the above ingredients on a stove under low to medium heat. Make the spicy mayo sauce: Fold desired amount of chili sauce into the mayonnaise. Make the tempura crunch: Whisk tempura flour mix, egg whites, and water. Strain mix through a strainer. Heat vegetable oil in a pot to 375 degrees. Slowly pour tempura mix into hot oil. Strain the tempura crunch onto the paper towel. Place the tuna in between two Ceram wraps then gently flatten tuna with a mallet until transparent or paper-thin. Stuffing: Toss mango, cucumbers, and crab/lobster/king crabmeat together. Remove top layer of Saran Wrap and scoop desired amount of stuffing onto flatten tuna. Take the Saran Wrap beneath and with the tuna then gently fold the tuna around the stuffing.

On a white plate: place tuna baskets closely together in a triangle. Drizzle eel sauce, spicy mayo, and sprinkle tempura crunch. Garnish with masago (caviar) and thinly cut scallions.