Guide to a Flawless Feast: Recipes & Tips from Folsom & El Dorado Hills Experts
Photography by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group
When it comes to holiday feasting, we all crave the classics—buttery mashed potatoes, moist turkey, tart cranberry sauce with a hint of sweetness, and decadent desserts that’ll put the entire family into a food coma—but sometimes Stove Top doesn’t cut it. To ensure this year’s meal is a megahit, Style went straight to the experts—local chefs—to ask for the recipes that have their guests asking for seconds. Warning: Leftovers not guaranteed.
Appetizer: Tomato TartsSubmitted by Pearl Yoshitomi, Shingle Springs-based food blogger at Big Bang Bites
- 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed
- 4 tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of pesto (from a jar or homemade)
- 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- Dried parsley for sprinkling
Cut tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices. Push out most of the seeds and pulp. Set aside. Open up the puff pastry sheet. Cut into three pieces along the fold lines. Cut each strip into four pieces. On a floured cutting board, roll each piece to make a square. Place the squares of puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Spread about a teaspoon of pesto on the pastry. Put a slice of tomato on the pesto and sprinkle with a dash of salt, pepper and sugar. Top with the Parmesan and pinches of dried parsley. Bake at 400-degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes until golden. Serve warm. Variations: Put a thin slice of pepperoni or sausage on the tomato before baking. Serves 24.
Cocktail: Cranberry GingersnapSubmitted by Jason Anderson, manager at Sauce’d Cocktail House 879 Embarcadero Drive, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-3729
- 2 oz. vodka
- 2 oz. ginger beer
- Cranberry juice
- Lemon juice
- Grounded ginger
- Gingersnap cookie, to garnish
- White chocolate shavings, to garnish
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a glass. Garnish with white chocolate shavings and a gingersnap cookie.
Q: Being forced to spend Thanksgiving with my relatives makes me want to do the opposite of give thanks. What are some easy tips to dealing with family members who I particularly clash with?
A:To establish good intentions and a grateful attitude for the holidays, consider your values as a guide for coping with challenging family members. By modeling your values, you’ll shift your perspective in a positive direction, which may influence other family members to do the same. Be careful with assumptions. Anticipating what might happen this year based on the past may cause excessive worry that will do more harm than good. Differentiate between venting and complaining. Make conversations about preparing for family situations constructive; consider talking to your partner before the holidays so you’ll be on the same page. Be attentive to how you’re managing conflict in front of your children and be careful not to burden them with adult issues. Bringing up problems at family functions is not likely to be productive; while appropriately addressing conflict is healthy, Thanksgiving dinner is not the best place or time.
Mosaic Therapy and Wellness
507 Natoma Street, Folsom
Side: Cheesy Green Bean and Bacon Casserole
Submitted by 36 Handles Pub & Eatery, 1010 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-3606
- 5 strips applewood smoked bacon, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 10 oz. whole milk
- 3 tbsp. sour cream
- 1.5 pounds fresh green beans
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms
- 2 cups white cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 cups freshly fried onions
Render chopped bacon in a pan; set aside once crispy. Add onion and garlic to bacon fat. Cook until translucent then add flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux and slowly mix. Once incorporated, add sour cream until gravy consistency. Toss green beans, mushrooms and bacon into mix and fully coat. Top with shredded cheese and fried onions, and bake at 350-degress Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until beans are tender.
Main: Grilled Whole Turkey with Simple Gravy
Submitted by Whole Foods Market, 270 Palladio Parkway, Folsom, 916-984-8500
- Turkey, neck and giblets removed
- 1 tbsp. coarse sea salt
- 1 tbsp. ground chili powder
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade turkey broth, divided
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Prepare a grill for high-heat cooking, allowing grill temperature to reach 500-degrees Fahrenheit; pat turkey dry inside and out with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine salt, chili powder and pepper. Loosen skin over turkey breast meat with your fingers and work a little of the salt mixture under the skin and over the meat; smooth skin back in place. Sprinkle remaining mixture over skin and in turkey cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wings under body. Place on a rack set in a large roasting pan.
Prepare the grill for indirect cooking by turning off one of the burners or by arranging hot coals on one side of the grill. Place turkey in the roasting pan over the burner that is off and turn remaining burners to medium (keeping grill temperature at 350-to 375-degrees Fahrenheit). If using a charcoal grill, replenish coals as necessary to maintain a steady temperature. Cover the grill and cook turkey, adding 1-1/2 cups of the broth to the roasting pan after 1 hour and again after 2 hours, for 2-3/4 to 3-1/4 hours total, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh, without touching bone, reads 165-degrees Fahrenheit (about 13 minutes per pound). Transfer turkey to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes before carving (while preparing gravy).
Pour drippings from the roasting pan through a fine-mesh strainer into a glass measuring cup and let sit for 1 minute; spoon off any fat that floats to the surface. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook until smooth. Add remaining 2 cups of broth and pan drippings and whisk constantly until smooth. Cook, stirring frequently, until gravy thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Carve turkey, transfer to a platter and serve with gravy. Serves 14 with leftovers.
Side: Jeff’s Cranberry Sourdough Stuffing
Submitted by Jeff and Gail Back, owners of Back Wine Bar & Bistro, 25075 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, 916-986-9100
- 3/4 cup onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup celery, chopped
- 3/4 cup carrot, chopped
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh parsley
- 1 pound sourdough bread, diced and crisped in oven
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup ruby port
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 1 tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper
One day ahead, place dried cranberries in a bowl with the port to reconstitute overnight. Preheat the oven to 375-degrees Fahrenheit. Dice sourdough bread and drizzle with olive oil. Crisp bread on a sheet pan in the oven until just slightly golden brown and remove. Place chicken stock in a saucepan with herb scraps (stems, etc.), onion, celery and carrot scraps. Cook on medium heat and reduce by 1/3. Strain the chicken stock. Cook the onion, celery, carrot and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat for about 15 minutes, being careful not to burn. Remove from the heat, and add the chicken stock, sage, chives, thyme and parsley; stir well. Place the bread in a large bowl, and pour the mixture from the saucepan over the bread; toss until all the liquid is absorbed. Fold in the cranberries with the port and pumpkin seeds; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until golden brown.
CHEF’S NOTE: I’ve been using this recipe for about 15 years. It’s amazing and never disappoints—my family requests it every year—but I don’t recommend stuffing the turkey with it.
5 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving
1. Prepare ahead for pre-dinner snacks. Cut out the high-calorie chips and cheese, and create a nutritious and colorful veggie tray with dips like guacamole and hummus.
2. Go green. Skip the heavier salads and sides, and instead choose a dark, leafy green salad using nourishing and low-calorie greens like kale, arugula, chard and spinach.
3. Pass the potatoes. Mashed “potatoes” made with 1/2 sweet potatoes, 1/2 cauliflower and coconut oil contains more vitamins, fiber and flavor than the standard white potato recipes.
4. Let the dinner rolls roll by. Instead of carb loading on bread, opt out. You’ll make room in your belly for tastier and leaner foods like turkey.5. Save room for dessert. No need to deprive yourself from the coveted pumpkin pie. Indulge in the filling, which is the best part anyway, and toss the crust.
Side: Cranberry Sauce
Submitted by Sandy France, head chef at Pottery World Café 4419 Granite Drive, Rocklin, 916-624-8080; *1006 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills, 916-358-8788
- 12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- Zest from 1/2 of orange
- 1-2 tbsp. orange juice, fresh squeezed (optional)
- 3/4 cup water (add more if you want a thinner consistency)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 pinch kosher salt
In a medium saucepan, combine 8 oz. of cranberries, water, cinnamon stick, vanilla, salt and zest. Bring to a boil over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the cranberries begin to burst, add remaining cranberries. Continue to stir until sauce thickens. Turn off heat. Add orange juice (if using) and add additional water if you want the sauce to be thinner. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*The El Dorado Hills location does not have a café.
3 Turkey Day Tablescape IdeasSubmitted by Tami Teel, owner of Tami Teel Designs, 224 Vernon Street, Suite 203, Roseville, 916-677-7021
Take a moment to envision your personal style and how you want your table to look and feel.
1. Will you be using an inspirational piece to design around? Perhaps you prefer a Traditional Table—centerpiece, candles, china atop a decorative charger, with cloth napkins and table linens. If so, adding pheasant feathers brings in an interesting texture, along with height and drama. Using metallic bronze gives an elegant feel, and finding accords or candleholders is easy this time of year.
2. If you enjoy making personal pieces from items in your yard or gathered on a fall walk, then a “characteristic” design that’s Imaginative-Artistic is your style. Using pumpkins, burlap, corn and written messages or name tags, this style is appreciated by all and especially fun for children to participate in. Tip: Find a fallen log or buy a birch piece and drill out a space for several tea lights.
3. Keep it simple with a Farmhouse Modern feel, which allows for plenty of food and drink to be placed on the table. Incorporate autumn hues and a pop of color in the plates and napkins, or add simple nametags for a personal touch. The use of gourds, artichokes, pears and apples bring a food-focused harvest essence.
First photo © 2014 Arina Photography/fotolia.com; middle photo © Vitalina Rybakova/fotolia.com; last photo © ehaurylik/fotolia.com.
Side: Creamy Mash Potatoes with Parmesan
Submitted by Francie Cruz-Woessner, owner of Bocca Catering, Folsom, 916-834-3554
- 4 pounds russet potatoes
- 2 tbsp. of kosher salt
- 2/3 cup half and half
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 cup butter (melted)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (1 box)
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Peel, wash and dice potatoes (same size, approximately 1”). Place in a large pot, add the salt and cover with water. Bring to a medium boil and cook potatoes until tender and fall apart when poked with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes and drain off the water well in a colander. Place potatoes back in pan; with a hand mixer, give it a quick mix to incorporate until smooth. Do not overmix or potatoes will become gummy. Fold in butter, then sour cream, half and half, Parmesan and chives. Add kosher salt and ground pepper to taste. Serves 10.
8 Thanksgiving Foods NOT to Feed Fido
Submitted by Dr. Brad Cahoon, owner of Veterinary Healing Center, 120 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 4, Folsom, 916-889-7387, vethealingfolsom.com 2222 Francisco Drive, Suite 150, 916-933-6030, vethealingeldoradohills.com
Eating turkey skin can lead to gastroenteritis and pancreatitis, which are harmful (and sometimes deadly) inflammatory conditions of the digestive system.
When ingested, bones can splinter off inside the digestive tract. Minimally, they can cause digestive upsets; more seriously, they can cause life-threatening punctures or blockages in the stomach and intestines.
Nutmeg causes central nervous system concerns such as seizures (or worse)—even in very small amounts.
An oil found in this herb that’s commonly used in turkey marinades and stuffing is known to cause stomach upset in pets.
5/Onions and Garlic
Both of these foods contain sulfides, which can cause blood disorders that lead to anemia in pets. Note: Cooking does not decrease their toxicity.
Macadamia nuts and walnuts can cause a toxicity known as “macadamia nut toxicosis,” a condition that can lead to shock and potential death.
7/Chocolate, dough and batter
You’ve likely already heard that chocolate is “paws off,” but dough and batter are also concerns, due to the risk of salmonella from raw eggs. Dough even has the potential to rise inside your pet’s stomach causing pain and bloating.
Alcohol in any form is toxic, but the hops in beer are particularly toxic. Ingesting them can cause a condition called malignant hyperthermia, in which the body temperature rises uncontrollably.
Dessert: Pumpkin Spice Crème Brûlée
Submitted by Brian Griffin, executive chef at Fat’s Asia Bistro in Folsom (2585 Iron Point Road, 916-983-1133); 1500 Eureka Road, Roseville, 916-787-3287
- 2 cups whipping cream (no substitutes)
- 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 cup sugar
In a medium saucepan, heat whipping cream over medium heat until just bubbly. Remove from heat; set aside. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, eggs, pumpkin, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Beat with a wire whisk or rotary beater until just combined. Slowly whisk the hot whipping cream into the spiced pumpkin mixture. Place six, 6-ounce custard cups in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Divide the custard mixture evenly among the cups. Place the baking pan on the oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into the baking pan to reach halfway up the sides of the cups.
Bake the custards in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes or until centers appear set when carefully shaken. Gently remove pan from oven. Remove dishes from water; cool custards on a wire rack. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
Before serving, let custards stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. To caramelize sugar: In an 8-inch heavy skillet, heat 1/4 cup sugar over medium-high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly. Don’t stir. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low; cook 3-5 minutes more or until golden, stirring as needed with a wooden spoon. Quickly drizzle caramelized sugar over the custards. (If sugar hardens in the skillet, return to heat, stirring until melted.) Serve custards immediately. Makes 6 servings.