We all welcome new and interesting recipes to our holiday tables, particularly when the dishes originate in the kitchens of our local Peninsula chefs. Use this creative menu plan of appetizer, meaty side dish and pie for your next festive dinner occasion. Impress your guests with your knowledge of the professional cuisine scene as you feast on the same foods as the families of these highly regarded food masters.

716 Laurel St.
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 595-3003
www.townsc.comDungeness Crab and Artichoke Dip

Town’s chef Peter Dominguez likes to start his holiday meal with an appetizer of Dungeness crab and artichoke dip. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pick out over 12 ounces of Dungeness crabmeat. Then, in a large bowl, combine the crab, 8 ounces drained artichoke hearts (frozen and thawed or canned), 2 cups mayonnaise, 4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese and 4 ounces very thinly sliced yellow onion. Gently fold with a rubber spatula until well blended (Dominguez warns to be careful not to over mix the ingredients), then spoon into an 8-inch square oven-proof baking dish. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley over the surface of the mixture and place the casserole onto a sheet pan or cookie sheet. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling around the edges, heated through and lightly browned on top. Remove the dish from the oven and squeeze the juice of the lemon over the appetizer. Serve with fresh-cut focaccia, baguette, crackers or tortilla chips.

About Peter Dominguez:

Peter Dominguez joined Town’s team in June of 2011 and holds the position of chef de cuisine.

Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing

Jeremy Cheng, executive chef at Town, cooks up chorizo cornbread stuffing for the menu. His recipe makes 8 to 10 servings of this mildly spicy and flavorful side dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a sheet pan. Cut cornbread (either a dozen muffins or 2 trays approximately 6-by-6 inches each) into 1-inch square cubes, place on the sheet pan and toast on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Let sit at room temperature until cool. Proceed with the rest of the recipe or store the toasted bread uncovered up to a day ahead.

In a large (10-inch) sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil until almost smoking. Crumble in 1 pound bulk Mexican chorizo. Chef Jeremy says the Don Juan brand is tasty. Cook the sausage for approximately 5 to 8 minutes until just cooked through, stirring occasionally to break up the meat into small clumps. Drain off and set aside the excess fat and liquid; place the meat into a large bowl. Pour one-fourth cup of the fat back into the sauté pan and heat on medium-high until sizzling. Dice into approximately quarter-inch cubes 1 large yellow onion, 1 large seeded red bell pepper and 3 stalks celery. Add these to pan along with 2 stalks finely chopped fresh thyme leaves. Cook until vegetables are soft and onions translucent, approximately 8 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste. Chef Jeremy chooses how much depending on the salt in the cornbread and chicken stock. Towards the end of cooking, add the chorizo (with juices) back into the pan and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour out the entire mixture into the same bowl; let cool slightly. When the mixture is no longer hot, using a spatula, mix in 3 beaten large eggs and set aside.

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 1.5 cups chicken stock and 1.5 cups whole milk until simmering. Shut off heat, then add in 1 large finely chopped raw jalapeno pepper (remove seeds and veins if you prefer less spice). Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Slowly add the sauce 1 cup at a time into the bowl with sausage and vegetables, mixing quickly so eggs do not cook. Add the cooled and toasted cornbread into the bowl and mix well. Fold in 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese. Grease a 12-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray, then scoop the entire mix into the greased dish and let it sit for 20 minutes, mixing once. This provides time for the liquid to soak into the cornbread. For a crunchier top, place the filled baking dish on a cookie sheet or sheet pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes until well browned and hot throughout. Serve immediately.

About Jeremy Cheng:

A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Jeremy Cheng has been executive chef at Town since 2006.

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Woodside Bakery & Café
3052 Woodside Road
Woodside, CA 94062
(650) 851-7247
www.woodsidebakery.comStrawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Pastry chef Jesus Mendoza of Woodside Bakery & Café chose this particular holiday dish because pie is such a traditional dessert to bring to the Thanksgiving table. Selecting fresh strawberry-rhubarb pie because of its fresh and sweet/tart flavor, he finds it a perfect ending to a rich turkey dinner. In a large bowl, toss together 20 ounces fresh sliced uncooked rhubarb, 1.5 cups fresh strawberries and one-fourth teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest. In a separate smaller bowl, mix 2 cups granulated sugar with one-fourth cup cornstarch; toss into the fresh fruit and set aside. Make a pie crust from your favorite recipe – enough for a shell and a lattice top. Place the fruit mixture into the shell and top with the lattice crust. Bake the pie for approximately 60 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If the lattice work starts darkening before the pie is cooked, cover it loosely with foil. Serve the pie at room temperature. Chef Jesus says it’s wonderful a la mode!

About Jesus Mendoza:

Jesus Mendoza has been pastry chef at Woodside Bakery and Café for over 20 years. Chef Jesus is Swiss trained, maintaining the Café’s European style of baking. This tradition never uses too much sugar, allowing all the natural flavors to come through.

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Nina Holtons creative background in travel and cooking and a passion for writing empowers her to share the Bay Area scene with readers avid for information about where to go and what to do. A free-lance online journalist, she lives in Santa Clara; and her work can be found at Examiner.com.