Holiday Recipes From Los Angeles’ Chefs

December 5, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: Yellow Blue & Red)

mojicon cake Holiday Recipes From Los Angeles Chefs

Mojicon Cake with Burnt Marshmallow (credit: Yellow Blue & Red)

It’s Christmas crunch time for L.A. chefs. As they prep holiday menus for their restaurants, they take special care to create dishes for customers as well as their own families to enjoy around the dinner table. Never fear, Angelenos, if you’re struggling to create the perfect holiday meal — take inspiration from chefs Terri Wahl of Auntie Em’s Kitchen and Andres Dangond from Yellow Blue & Red. Both channeled their own childhood memories and experience to share these delicious recipes with you.

chef terri wahl Holiday Recipes From Los Angeles Chefs

(credit: Auntie Em’s Kitchen)

Auntie Em’s Kitchen
4616 Eagle Rock Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90041
(323) 255-0800

While Terri Wahl, chef and owner of Auntie Em’s Kitchen in Eagle Rock busily builds her restaurant’s seasonal menu and daily specials, she sets aside time to prepare an inspiring holiday dinner for her family, including her mom, and her orphan friends stuck away from family this holiday season. Wahl said she hopes to complete holiday dinner with comfort-type foods to give guests a touch of home. Wahl’s love for scouring flea markets to find items for tablescapes will be highlighted with a beautifully decorated table featuring vintage vases and antique Christmas ornaments in light pink, light green and white.

She will greet her dinner guests with local artisanal cheeses such as Cowgirl Creameries red hawk, Point Reyes blue cheese and a Cypress Grove humbolt fog. Wahl will also serve dates stuffed with pecorino cheese and wrapped with bacon. This year, a standing rib roast will be her table’s centerpiece in traditional fashion.

“I always get an aged grass-fed roast,” she said. “There is nothing that tastes better.”

Mashed potatoes, gravy, roasted Brussels sprouts and apple pie round out her menu. At Auntie Em’s Kitchen, she is also responsible for creating Auntie Em’s sinfully delicious homemade cobblers, pies and cupcakes.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Pecorino
by Chef Terri Wahl, Auntie Em’s Kitchen

1 pound sliced bacon, cut in half
1 pound pitted dates
4 oz blue cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Slice dates in half and open them up.
Slice off pieces of pecorino cheese, and place them into the center of the dates.
Close the halves of the dates, and wrap a half-slice of bacon around the outside.
Secure each one with a toothpick.
Arrange in a baking dish or on a baking sheet with sides to catch any grease.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven or until the bacon is crisp.
Turn dates over after the first 20 minutes for even cooking.

Notes: Dates are stuffed with pecorino cheese, wrapped in bacon and baked until crisp. You can serve them at room temperature, so it is OK to make a few hours in advance.

Rib Roast
by Chef Terri Wahl, Auntie Em’s Kitchen

1 five-pound standing rib roast
salt and pepper

Allow roast to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour. (This step is a must!)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Rub roast with salt and pepper; place roast on a rack in the pan with the rib side down and the fatty side up.
Roast for 1 hour.
Turn off oven. Leave roast in oven but do not open oven door for 3 hours.
About 30 to 40 minutes before serving time, turn oven to 375 degrees F and reheat the roast.
Important: Do not remove roast or re-open the oven door from time roast is put in until ready to serve. Resist all urges to open the oven door.

3 Apple Pie
by Chef Terri Wahl, Auntie Em’s Kitchen

INGREDIENTS for one flaky pie crust (need two for this recipe)
4 oz flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 ts[ baking powder
9 oz cream cheese, cold and cut into big pieces
12 oz butter, cold and cut into 3/4″ pieces
1/4 cup ice water
2 Tbsp vinegar

Combine the dry ingredients together.
Cut butter into the mixture to give uneven pieces.
Mix water and vinegar, and sprinkle over the entire mixture.
Weigh out 13 ounce dough ball, and flatten into disk. Refrigerate.

INGREDIENTS for apple mixture:
5 apples (mix of Gala, Granny & Macintosh)
2 oz melted butter
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Peel and quarter the apples. Cut each quarter into four slices (except Granny Smith, cut smaller because it takes longer to cook than the other apples). Toss the cut apples with butter and spices.

INGREDIENTS for putting together pie:
1/2 oz butter, melted
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
3 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

Brush pastry with melted butter to “waterproof” the crust.
Mix together the spices and sprinkle over the waterproofed pastry.
Pack the apple mixture into the pie crust and press down to expel air pockets.
Pour orange juice over the apples and dot the top with butter.
Top the pie with second pie crust.
Bake 1 1/2 hours at 375 degrees.
Cover with foil once brown to prevent burning while baking.

Best Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

chef andres dangond Holiday Recipes From Los Angeles Chefs

(credit: Yellow Blue & Red)

Yellow, Blue & Red

Working in the restaurant industry since he was 14 years old, Chef Andres Dangond, who is also founder of YB&R (Yellow, Blue & Red), a pop-up restaurant with rich history and a cuisine founded by Colombia’s natives, is recreating the amazing Christmas fare his mom used to cook for him. Heading to Chicago for the holidays, Dangond said he is excited to spend Christmas with his older brother, sister-in-law and 8-year-old niece, but will miss his mother this year.

Drawing from his Colombian roots, Dangond will use his mother’s traditional recipes, rich in flavor and aroma, for dinner this year. He will start the holiday meal with rice, butter-sauteed sweet plantains, toasted almonds and cilantro followed by a roasted turkey and potato salad with raisins. Torta de mojicon, a classic Columbian dessert, will be served as well.

Rice with Plantains, Almonds and Cilantro
by Chef Andres Dangond 

2 cups of Jasmine rice
Water, as needed (according to directions)
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil, or as needed
1 ripe plantain, peeled and cut in medium cubes
Sugar, as needed
1/2 cup of sliced and toasted almonds
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt, to taste

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package and add one tablespoon of butter to the boiling water. Pour the vegetable oil in a medium pan over medium/low heat on the stove. Cook the plantain cubes until soft and brown. When done, remove excess oil and sprinkle sugar over the hot pieces of plantain. When the rice is done cooking, let it rest uncovered for about 10 minutes to let some humidity escape and transfer to a bowl. Carefully fold in the plantains, almonds and cilantro. Taste and season with salt.

Roasted Turkey
by Chef Andres Dangond

Cold water, 4 liters to start with
120 grams of salt, or 30 per liter
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
7 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 white onion, cut in chunks
1 orange cut in half
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
White pepper, to taste

In a very big bowl, or even a bucket, mix water and salt (until diluted) add rosemary, garlic, onion and orange (brining liquid).
Remove neck and giblets from inside the turkey and submerge in the brine for one hour per pound of turkey (10 pound turkey = 10 hours in the brine). Make sure the turkey is completely submerged under the liquid. If not, make more of the mixture and add it. Keep in the fridge or a very cold place. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pat the turkey dry inside and out and stuff the inside with the onion, garlic, rosemary and orange from the brining liquid. Discard the liquid. Place chunks of butter under the skin of the turkey, all around, rub some on the skin too, and season with salt and pepper. Place turkey in the oven covered with aluminum foil for about two hours. Every 30 minutes, baste the turkey with the drippings and melted butter. Remove foil and roast until when the area around the thigh reads 165 F with a thermometer, about one more hour. Keep basting it with the melted butter every 15 minutes until done.

Transfer the turkey to a serving platter, and allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Potato Salad with Raisins 
by Chef Andres Dangond

4 Russet Potatoes, cut in big chunks, skin on
1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup celery, cut in medium cubes
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 Tbsp chopped flat parsley
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper
Salt, to taste

Boil potatoes in salted water (15 grams of salt per liter of water) until soft, about 20 minutes. Strain potatoes and let them cool down to room temperature and transfer to fridge for about 30 minutes or until cold. In a bowl, mix mayonnaise with rest of ingredients and gently fold in the potatoes.

Mojicón Cake
by Chef Andres Dangond

5 cups of Brioche bread chunks (brioche bread replaces mojicon bread nicely)
1 cup of milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup guaba paste, cut in chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and baking powder in a bowl. Add the brioche chunks and allow to absorb the liquids for about five minutes. Grease a baking pan (13 by 9 inches) with butter or vegetable oil, pour in the mix and place the guaba paste chunks all spread out on top of the mix. Bake for about 40 minutes until the mix sets and/or when you stick the tip of a knife in the cake and it comes out clean.

Chef’s note: You can serve this with some creme anglaise and elevate the deliciousness of this torta de mojicon’ to another level.

Related: Best Holiday Cocktails In Los Angeles

Sheryl Craig is a writer with a passion for interesting finds and treasures in Los Angeles. She has a background in journalism and public relations. A mother of two daughters, Sheryl integrates her healthy lifestyle into raising her children. Her work can be found at

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