Holiday Meal Alfresco Style

November 10, 2016 raguirre

Big Red Chef
While other parts of the country are shutting down their outdoor spaces for the year, our fall temps are often perfect for enjoying an alfresco meal with family and friends.

Want to celebrate the holidays a little differently this year? Take some cues from Lynn Linde, aka Big Red Chef, who recently hosted a turkey dinner evening in her backyard gazebo.

The Chef

Lynn, a Certified Personal Chef, has been operating Big Red Chef since 2002. She specializes in dinner parties, cocktail parties, and customized menus for small event catering. She also hosts hands-on cooking classes in a commercial-style kitchen.

Recently, Lynn invited a few friends she’s gotten to know through her cooking classes over for a locally-inspired, four course meal. She says, “I chose this menu because I wanted to do something that felt appropriate to the season with ingredients that are not only easy to find, but that also represent the area itself, like pecans.”

While it looks and tastes gourmet, Lynn says anyone can whip up this holiday menu at home. Visit her website for a listing of upcoming cooking classes, more recipes (including the orzo pilaf featured here), and to find out how you can hire Lynn to cook for your next cocktail party. She’ll even turn your dinner party into a private, customized cooking class for your guests. |

Like Wine with your Meal? Try these pairings:

Light and crisp whites accompany this open-air turkey dinner. Cowbelle Wines makes four varietals right here in the Mesilla Valley, including these two white Malvasia Biancas. Sweet Serenade is an aromatic wine with round, lush fruity flavors leading to a floral, honey-touched finish. Return to the Ranch is a full bodied, dry with tropical floral aromas.

Lynn served both during the dinner.

Try and buy these wines, along with other New Mexico wines, beers, and tapas at:
NM Vintage | 2461 Calle de Principal, Mesilla |

The Menu


Cream of Tomato Bisque with Parmesan Wafers


Caramelized Pear Salad with Asiago & Toasted Pecans


Roast Turkey Breast with Gremolata
Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar & Honey
Orzo Pilaf


Pumpkin Tiramisu with Brandy & Gingersnaps

Online Extra

Want to learn how the caramelized pear salad is made? See the recipe at: lascrucesmagazine.Com

Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar & Honey

Serves: 6

Big Red Chef1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, washed and loose outer leaves removed
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided use
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup white wine or salt-free vegetable stock
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. honey

1. Cut Brussels sprouts in half, or quarters if large. All pieces should be the same size to ensure even cooking. Place sprouts in a mixing bowl, drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil, add salt & fresh ground pepper, and toss to coat.

2. Heat a large stainless skillet, with lid to fit, over medium-high heat. When pan is hot add 1 tbsp. olive oil, swirl to coat. Place half of sprouts, cut side down on hot skillet and sear just until brown on that side. Remove from heat to a bowl and repeat with the remaining half of sprouts, adding a little more oil if needed. (At this point Brussels may be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until serving time.)

3. When ready to serve, heat same skillet to medium-high, add sprouts, wine or stock, cover and reduce heat to medium. Steam sprouts for about 5-7 minutes, until fork tender but still al dente. Remove from heat add balsamic vinegar and honey and toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings.

The Soup

Cream of Tomato Bisque with Parmesan Wafers

Serves: 6 to 8

Parmesan Wafers
1½ cup good quality parmesan cheese, coarsely grated, do not use a food processor
1 tbsp. flour
Special equipment: Silpat or other silicon bakeware liner

1. Put rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Line a baking sheet with Silpat.

2. Stir together cheese and flour in a bowl. Make 4 mounds (about 3 tbsp. each) about 5 inches apart on baking sheet and spread each mound to form a 4 to 5” round.

3. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet, then carefully transfer wafers with a wide spatula to rack to cool (they are very delicate.) Stir cheese in bowl to redistribute flour, make 4 more wafers in the same manner.

Big Red Chef4 – 5 slices bacon, sliced across in ½” pieces
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. flour
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus more if soup gets too thick
2 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
1 bay leaf
1 (28-oz.) can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand discarding any cores
½ cup heavy cream or half & half
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes, Sambal, or other red pepper sauce to taste
To garnish: Parmesan wafers, reserved bacon, dollop of sour cream, or crème fraîche, finely chopped chives or green end of scallion

1. Heat bacon in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat, and cook until fat renders and bacon is crisp, about 10-15 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove bacon to drain on paper towel and reserve for garnish.

2. Add butter to bacon fat, and increase temperature to medium-high; add garlic, onion, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring until smooth, about 2 minutes more. Add stock, thyme, bay leaf, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 25-30 minutes.

3. Remove from heat, and purée in a blender, being very careful not to burn yourself, and return soup to pan. Alternately, you may puree soup with an emersion blender. Stir in cream and heat gently to serving temperature; do not boil. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper or Sambal (if using).

4. Divide among bowls; dollop with sour cream or crème fraîche, sprinkle with bacon and add parmesan wafer.

The Entree

Roasted Turkey Breast with Gremolata

Serves: 6

Big Red Chef3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
½ tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup fresh parsley, very finely chopped
2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
1½ tbsp. grated lemon zest, about 1 large lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 turkey breast, defrosted, rinsed and patted dry
Olive oil, as needed
¾ cup white wine
2 cups turkey or chicken broth
2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 375° and position oven rack in middle of oven. Place a meat rack in a roasting pan or Dutch oven; spray both lightly with cooking spray.

2. Mince garlic, then add ½ tsp. salt. Mash garlic to a paste by dragging across cutting board with the side of the knife blade. Combine with chopped parsley, rosemary and lemon zest.

4. Loosen the skin from the meat by lifting and separating gently with your thumbs, starting at back of breast bone and working toward the front; being careful not to poke through the skin. Stop about 2” from the front of the breast, leaving front of skin still attached. Spread garlic-herb mixture evenly between skin and flesh of turkey. Position skin back in place; drizzle lightly with olive oil and massage turkey to distribute mixture and evenly coat skin with oil. Season skin with salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste.

5. Place turkey on prepared rack, add about 1 cup of water to bottom of roasting pan: roast, uncovered, for slightly less time than package suggestion for the weight of your breast. Check at 30 minutes to see if skin is getting too dark, adding additional water so pan drippings don’t evaporate and burn. If starting to get too dark at the backbone, either reduce heat to 350°, drop oven rack to lower third of oven, or both, and continue roasting until skin is golden, crispy and internal temperature reads 165°. Transfer turkey to a carving board, cover with foil and keep warm.

6. Pour any drippings from roasting pan into a measuring cup and let stand a few minutes to separate. Pour off any grease and use remaining drippings in your sauce. Add wine to the roasting pan and bring to boil. Boil until reduced to about ½ cup. Pour in stock and drippings and return to boil. Thicken with cornstarch mixed with a small amount of water. Stir in mustard.

7. Remove each side of breast from carcass with a boning knife. Slice across breast in about ½” slices and arrange on a warm serving platter. Serve sauce over turkey or in a gravy boat.

The Dessert

Pumpkin Tiramisu with Gingersnaps

SERVES: 8 to 10

1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, divided use, more to taste
1 container (8 oz.) mascarpone cheese
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ – ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
1 box ginger snap cookies
3 – 4 tbsp. dark or spiced rum
2/3 cup pecans, toasted and crushed
Optional garnish: Additional whipped cream for decoration
1/3 cup Cajeta for drizzling

1. Scoop pumpkin into a mesh strainer placed over a mixing bowl and let drain for about 30 minutes; discard liquid.

2. Cut a round of parchment paper to fit the bottom of an 8 or 9” springform pan. Butter sides and bottom of pan or spray with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment.

3. Beat whipping cream with ½ cup confectioner’s sugar until stiff peaks form. Beat pumpkin, mascarpone, remaining ½ cup sugar and spices until smooth. Taste for spices, adding more as needed (depending upon age of spices).

4. Reserving about ½ cup for top layer, fold remaining whipped cream into pumpkin-cheese mixture. Place a layer of whole gingersnaps on bottom of prepared pan, breaking to fit in-between spaces and crumbling a few to form a solid layer. Sprinkle cookies “lightly” with rum.

5. Spread 1/3 of filling over cookies. This is easiest done by spooning filling into a pastry bag or heavy zip-style plastic bag with one tip cut. Start at outside and circle toward the center. Repeat cookie-rum layers and filling layers, ending with a cookie layer. You should have 4 layers of cookies and 3 layers of filling. Spread reserved whipped cream over top cookie layer using the zip-style bag method and spread evenly with a spatula. Tiramisu should be even or almost even with the top of the pan.

6. Chill at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. To unmold: run a butter knife or offset spatula that’s been dipped in hot water around inside edge of pan. Release pan sides. Use any of tiramisu struck to sides of pan to patch dessert where needed. Freeze for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and pat crushed nuts around side of dessert. If desired, decorate top of tiramisu with rosettes of additional whipped cream and drizzle with warmed (but not hot) cajeta. Put tiramisu on a cake plate or serving platter and refrigerate until ready to serve. Keep uneaten portion covered and refrigerated. May also be frozen.

The post Holiday Meal Alfresco Style appeared first on Las Cruces Magazine.

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