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Holiday Entertaining

Area chefs share

favorite holiday recipes...

Smothered Pound Cake

Rick Horton, Bayou Café

79 North Pearl St., Albany, 462-8550, 507 Saratoga Road/Route 50, Glenville, 384-1568,

Sprinkle of cinnamon

2 lbs. frozen strawberries

1 oz. Grand Marnier liqueur

1 oz. Triple Sec

3 plantains

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 can whipped cream

First, select only ripe (brown and yellow) plantains. If they are not ripe at the store, wait until they ripen. A green plantain will not do. Peel and slice plantains into ½-inch slices. Heat large skillet to medium-high heat with oil. Turn down heat if oil smokes. Stir-fry plantains until browned. Reserve and dry on paper towel. In medium saucepot on low heat, combine strawberries, Grand Marnier and Triple Sec. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add plantain slices and simmer for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Slice pound cake into ½- inch slices. Top with strawberry mixture, sprinkle with cinnamon, top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Jamaican Jerk Pork

Tim Courtney, Bombers Burrito Bar

258 Lark St., Albany, 463-9636

7 lbs. trimmed pork butt

2½ cups Caribbean jerk seasoning

2 cups diced green chilies

1 bottle of Red Stripe Jamaican lager

1 cup of sweetened lime juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pork in roasting pan, pour entire bottle of Red Stripe lager over pork. Massage pork with 1 cup of jerk seasoning. Cover with foil and put in oven for 3 hours, checking periodically. Poke with fork. If fork moves through easily, pork is done. Remove from oven. Transfer pork to large mixing bowl or deep tray. Add half of the remaining juice from pan. Add diced green chilies, lime juice, and the remaining jerk seasoning to taste. Goes well over a bed of rice and black beans, with a side of salsa. Enjoy! Serves 5-7.

Curry Chicken

Olive Clayton, Clayton’s Caribbean Restaurant

244 Washington Ave., Albany, 426-4360

1 oz. olive oil

2 boneless chicken breasts

3 cloves garlic

1 green pepper

1 yellow onion

6 teaspoons curry powder

Salt & pepper to taste

Cut chicken, onion and pepper into strips. Sprinkle chicken with curry powder, salt and pepper. Sauté chicken, pepper, onion and garlic until tender (about 15 minutes). Serve over rice. Serves 4.

Coconut Pumpkin Pie

Debbie Klauber, Debbie’s Kitchen

456 Madison Ave., Albany, 463-3829

2 10” all-vegetable pie shells

4½ cups pumpkin puree

6 eggs

1½ cups coconut milk

1½ cups heavy cream

1 cup white sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

½ cup toasted coconut

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 tablespoon almond extract

Set oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix. So far, easy as pie, right? Pour mixture into each pie shell. Bake for the first 10-12 minutes in a 425-degree oven then turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30-40 minutes. Take your pies out and cool to room temperature before serving. Enjoy and think of me! Serves up to 16. Makes two 10-inch pies.

Granny Apple Pork Tenderloin

Anthony Fryer, DeJohn’s Restaurant & Pub

288 Lark St., Albany 465-5275,


1½ - 2 lbs. pork tenderloin


¼ cup olive oil

1 cup finely diced onions

½ cup finely diced red & green bell peppers

¼ cup finely diced celery

12 oz. andouille sausage (casings removed)

2 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and diced

1 teaspoon minced or chopped garlic

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1½ - 2 cups bread crumbs

½ cup apple cider beer

1 stick butter


¼ cup shallots

1 cup port wine

½ cup brown stock/beef stock

Trim pork and cut into 6-oz. portions. With boning knife, make incision in each pork center to be stuffed. In pan add olive oil on low heat; brown sausage. Add all stuffing ingredients except butter and breadcrumbs. Remove from heat and add ½ stick butter and bread crumbs, mix. Let cool and stuff pork. Preheat oven to 350. Heat remaining butter in skillet on low, brown both sides of pork medallions and place on bakers dish. Cover and bake if more well-done portions are desired. Sauté shallots with some salt and pepper in the same pan used for medallions, and deglaze with port wine. Add brown stock. Let reduce. Toss in a butter chip coated with flour to thicken.

Ginger Man Pumpkin Brulee

Ross Kotzin, Ginger Man

234 Western Ave., Albany 427-5963

20 egg yolks

1 qt. heavy cream

1½ cups sugar

½ teaspoon (each) cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg & ginger

1 12-oz. can pure pack pumpkin

Whip egg yolks with half of the sugar in a large bowl. Combine cream with the other half of the sugar and spices, bring JUST to a boil. Slowly add 1/3 of the cream to the yolk mixture while whisking constantly, then do the same with the other 2/3s. Thoroughly add the pumpkin puree. Place custard mix on top of a pot of boiling water, being careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir gently and constantly for approx. five minutes. Place ramekins in a deep baking pan and fill ramekins with custard. Pour hot water into the baking pan until it fills about half way up the sides of ramekins, creating a “bath”. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove and chill for at least four hours. To serve, lightly coat the top of the custard with granulated sugar and carefully carmelize it with a propane torch or even quicker under a broiler. Accompany it with whipped cream and a glass of “Rene Mure” Gewurtzraminer.

Wolfie’s Farm-Fresh Pumpkin Pie

Carolyn Blyth, Indian Ladder Farms

342 Altamont Road, Altamont, 765-2956,


2-3 large, free-range organic eggs in a large bowl.

Then whisk in:

2 cups freshly cooked Indian Ladder Farms pumpkin

¾ cup heavy cream from Meadow Brook Farms Dairy

½ cup cane sugar

½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon sea salt


Note: This recipe calls for fresh pumpkin. To prepare, cut one 5- to 6-pound cooking pumpkin into quarters. Cut out stem, scrape out pulp and cut into 4” pieces. Place rind side down in an oiled roasting pan. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 325-degrees until soft (1 ½ hours). Scrape flesh from rind and puree; then let drain through cheesecloth for 1 hour to remove excess liquid. Makes 4 cups of puree or enough for two pies. (Secret: When 8-year-old Wolfie Gehring and his dad Dietrich, of Indian Ladder Farms, cook pumpkin for their pie, they grill it until it’s soft.) Warm pie crust in oven until hot to touch. Let filling stand in meantime. Pour pumpkin mixture into crust and bake until the center of the pie sets but wiggles like jello. Let cool; refrigerate for 1 day. Serve warm or cold with whipped Meadow Brook Farms Dairy cream. Serves 8.

Pumpkin Crisp

Frank Voce, Isn’t It Sweet

575 New Scotland Ave., Albany, 489-9820

1 (18.5 oz.) package yellow cake mix

1 egg

½ cup butter, melted

1 (29 oz.) can pumpkin puree

2 eggs

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ cup white sugar

½ cup evaporated milk

¾ cup white sugar

½ cup butter, softened

Set aside 1 cup cake mix. Combine remaining cake mix, 1 egg and melted butter. Pat into a 9” x 12” baking pan. In a large bowl mix pumpkin, two eggs, ½ cup sugar and milk. Pour pumpkin mixture over the cake mix crust. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup cake mix, ¾ cup sugar and softened butter. Sprinkle on top of pumpkin mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Serves 8.

Lemon Buttermilk Cake

John N. Futia, Justin’s

301 Lark St., Albany, 436-7008,


1 cup shortening

½ cup butter

4 eggs

2½ cups sugar

3½ cups flour

½ teaspoon lemon extract

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon hot water


½ cup sugar

½ cup water

One lemon

Cream shortening, butter, and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Sift together flour and salt. Combine buttermilk and lemon extract. Combine flour mixture and creamed mixture, alternating, beginning with buttermilk mixture and ending with flour mixture. Add baking soda dissolved in hot water. Pour into greased tube pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour 15 minutes. Topping: Combine sugar and water with juice and lemon rind in sauce pan. Heat until sugar is dissolved and syrup is light. Pour over finished hot cake. Serves 20.

Chicken Marsala

Shahila Abbasi, Lark Tavern

453 Madison Ave., Albany, 463-7875

1 6-oz. chicken breast

¼ cup marsala wine

¼ cup chicken stock

5 sliced mushrooms

1 teaspoon butter

Flour to coat breast

In frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon butter. Place lightly floured chicken breast in pan and add marsala and chicken stock. Let simmer for about 4 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Add mushrooms. Serve over garlic mash, drizzle truffle oil on top. Serves 1; multiply as needed. Enjoy!

Three Cheese White Lasagna

Brian La Mora, Malt River

Latham Circle Mall, Latham, 786-6258,

1 lb. lasagna shells

1 cup sundried tomato

2 cups ricotta cheese

1 cup fresh diced mozzarella cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups coarsely chopped tomato

2 pounds chicken breast

Cube 2 lbs. chicken, sauté in robust Italian dressing. Boil pasta, then layer lasagna, sundried tomato, ricotta cheese, diced tomato and sautéed chicken. Layer ingredients until your pan is full. Top with fresh and shredded mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4-5.

Pork Rib Chops with sautéed apple & star anise

Deena Ecker, Mezzo Marketplace & Eatery

340 Hamilton St., Albany 463-6240

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 12-oz. pork rib chops

3 tablespoons butter, divided

1 tablespoon brown sugar

4 whole star anise

2 Fuji apples (about 1 lb.) sliced ½-inch thick

½ cup apple juice

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Add pork to skillet; cook until brown on both sides and thermometer inserted horizontally registers 140 degrees (about 7 minutes per side). Transfer to plates; tent with foil. Pour off drippings from skillet. Add 2 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, and star anise to same skillet and stir over high heat until melted. Add apples; cook until brown and carmelized, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Spoon apples over pork. Add apple juice and vinegar to skillet; boil sauce until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon butter; season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle sauce over apples and pork. Serves 2.

Chicken Ala Vodka

Richard Vanne, Nicole’s Italia

2080 Western Ave., Guilderland, 456-8242

1 oz. extra virgin olive oil

3-4 cloves roasted garlic

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup spinach

2 oz. vodka

1 cup heavy cream

4 oz. marinara or crushed tomatoes

2 oz. chicken stock

1 lb. cooked penne pasta

1 6-oz. chicken breast

Grill chicken breast. Sauté oil, roasted garlic, mushrooms, and spinach for 1-2 minutes. Add vodka, sauté 30 seconds, add heavy cream, crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Simmer 3-4 minutes. Place penne on plate; top with vodka sauce and grilled chicken. Serves 2-3.

Skewer of Seasoned Artichoke Hearts

Matt Baumgartner, Noche Lounge (opening in December)

895 Broadway, Downtown Albany, 434-4540

3 12-oz. cans Cora artichoke hearts (packed in water)

6 eggs

1 24-oz. can of Progresso Italian-style breadcrumbs

2 cups vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

Dipping Sauce:

1 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Cut artichoke hearts into halves or quarters (bite size). In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and salt and pepper. Into separate bowl, pour seasoned breadcrumbs. Dip each artichoke heart into egg batter and then into breadcrumb mixture. Make sure that hearts are completely covered with breadcrumb mixture. Place them on a cookie sheet and store in the refrigerator until ready to cook. In a frying pan, heat olive oil. Fry artichoke hearts until brown and crispy. Drain on paper towel. Skewer each fried artichoke with wooden skewer and present in a short vase or glass. Serve with dipping sauce: 1 cup melted butter and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Enjoy!


Rafael Arellano, Panchos

1536 Crescent Road, Clifton Park, 383-2930, 1343 Central Ave. Colonie, 482-3940

2 glass pans (1 rectangle, 1 square)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 12-oz. can of evaporated milk

1 14-oz. can of condensed milk

12 oz. of heavy cream

3¼ cups sugar

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 250. In a blender, mix all milks and eggs. Heat sugar in a saucepan on low until sugar becomes thick. Place the sugar in the square glass pan. Allow sugar to cool and harden. Pour blended mixture over hardened sugar. Fill the larger (rectangle) glass pan halfway with tap water. Place the square pan inside the rectangular pan and bake in oven for 4 hours. Remove from oven and let cool at room temp for 30 minutes, then place in fridge until completely cooled. At serving time, drag knife around parameter of flan to loosen sides. Place serving dish on top of square pan and flip. Serves 4.

Baccala Potenza

Keith Rockefeller, Parisi’s Steakhouse

11 N. Broadway, Schenectady, NY 12305 374-0100

2 lbs. baccala, soaked for three days in frequently changed water

2 onions (slice julienne style)

1 8-oz. can peeled Italian tomatoes

1 8-oz. can pitted black olives

3 oz. capers

Fresh parsley

Extra virgin olive oil

Remove skin and bones from fish, cut into 5-oz. pieces. Cut the onions, julienne style, saute in olive oil until tender, add tomatoes, simmer for about 10 minutes. Add baccala, capers and olives. Continue until fish is cooked though. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serves 6.

Eggnog Cheesecake

Thomas Kachris, Pearl Restaurant & Lounge

1 Steuben Place, Albany, 433-0011,

1 lb. cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups sour cream

3 cups eggnog

Combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Blend together at low speed until smooth. Stop and scrape sides and bottom of bowl at least twice during this process. Add cornstarch and increase speed to medium. Add eggs 1 at a time and again, stop and scrape bottom of bowl. Resume mixing at medium speed until blended. Stop mixer and add sour cream. Mix at medium then once again, stop and scrape. Add eggnog and mix at medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Pour batter into a 9” greased springform* pan. Wrap exterior of pan in foil. Bake in water bath** at 350 for 2 hours. Then turn off oven but leave cheesecake to rest for additional hour. Let cool at least 4 hours (overnight in refrigerator is best) before unmolding. *Springform: Chef suggests lining bottom with wax paper to ease in unmolding. Cut to fit in bottom of springform. **Water bath: Fill a cake pan or roasting pan halfway with water (pan should be large enough to hold the springform). A crust is not required for this recipe. If a crust is desired, Thomas Kachris suggests a graham-cracker crust, which can be found in any good cookbook or you can e-mail chef Kachris (address above) for recipe/method.

La Tarte Tatin

Eric Masson, Saratoga Lake Inn & Bistro

511 Route 9P, Saratoga Lake, 587-8280


10-inch cake pan with high sides

For the crust (Pate Brisee):

6 oz. flour

3 oz. butter

1 oz. sugar

1 whole egg

Tart filling:

4 oz. butter

4 oz. sugar

2 lbs. apples peeled, halved and cored

Preheat the oven to 425F. Mix all the ingredients for crust by hand or in a mixer and add enough water to keep the dough firm. Store in the cooler for 30 minutes. Melt the butter in the cake pan on low heat, add the sugar and cook until the sugar starts to caramelize. Stir with a wooden spoon until the caramel turns golden brown. Take the pan off the stove and start to position the half-apples standing up in a circle as tight as possible. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to make a disc slightly bigger than the top of the pan, then lay it over the apples and quickly tuck the edges into the side of the pan. Place the pan on a pastry sheet and bake at 425 on the bottom shelf for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Let cool for a good 15 minutes and quickly turn over the Tarte Tatin on a platter. Serve warm with cream poured on top and a glass of Cider Brut or French Champagne.


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