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Holiday Cooking | Step 3: Cook dinner yourself

Now that you’ve had your crash course in cooking, it’s time to try making some holiday dishes at home. Executive Sous chef Raul Garcia and Tea Shop cook Anthony Bowman offer some recipes to make your tastebuds tingle, while catering director Leslie Panion shares ideas on how to make your table look as good as your meal.

Raul's Thanksgiving Turkey. (Courtesy of Raul Garcia)

Raul’s Thanksgiving Turkey

1 turkey (20 lbs)
3 tbsp salt
1 tbsp thyme
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp sage
4 whole garlic cloves
1/2 lb flour (for gravy)
1 cup chardonnay (for gravy)
3 bay leaf (for gravy)
black pepper and salt (for gravy)
butter or margerine (for both)

1. Lightly rub surface of turkey with butter or margerine and the above mixture of spices.
2. Score skin with knife and insert whole garlic cloves.
3. Roast turkey (breast side down) for 4 hours in an oven heated at 325 degrees.
4. Turn over and let roast for 2 more hours. Internal temperature must reach 165 degrees.
5. For gravy: Melt 1/2 lb butter in a pot. Add 1/2 lb flour and mix. Cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes until smooth. Then slowly add leftover turkey juices until you get a smooth consistency and your desired thickness. Add chardonnay, bay leaf, black peeper and salt. Strain and keep hot.

Raul’s Holiday Stuffing

1 cup celery
1 cup onions
diced bread, toasted
butter or margerine
olive oil
hazelnuts (optional)
cranberries (optional)

1. Lightly sauté celery and onions with olive oil and butter.
2. Add thyme and bread. You may also add hazelnuts and cranberries, if desired.
3. Place in buttered pan. Brown in 350 degree oven (20 minutes).

Raul’s Cinnamon Yams

5-6 lbs yams
1/2 lb butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
2 cups marshmallows

1. Peel and quarter yams. Then boil until tender. (Usually takes about 45 minutes.)
2. Strain. Place into pan and sprinkle/spread ingredients on top.
3. Put in the oven at 350 degrees. Pull out when marshmallows are brown.

Anthony’s Sweet Potato Pie

3-5 lbs yams
2-3 tbsps nutmeg
1-2 cans evaporated milk
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 lbs butter
2-4 Pet-Ritz pie crusts
2-3 tbsps vanilla

1. Cut up yams and place them in water. Wait until they get tender.
2. Add seasonings: nutmeg, sugar, butter, evaporated milk and vanilla. Taste and add flavor
as needed.
3. Fill pie shells 3/4 of the way high. Place pies in 375 degree oven for 35-45 minutes.

Leslie’s Decorating Tips

Use candles of different heights to create dimension. Surround the base of each candle with colored rocks and a flower for a particularly elegant look.

A cheese board, with cheeses, dried fruits, breads and nuts, can serve as both a lovely centerpiece and a decadent dessert guests will love.

Check out our other Holiday Cooking specials:

Step 1: Get excited about food
Step 2: Cook dinner yourself