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Holiday recipes from Howard County chefs and bartenders

This holiday season, we asked local chefs and bartenders to share some of their favorite holiday recipes for seasonal dishes and drinks.

Try making these at your home or if your culinary or mixologist skills are not up to the task, visit the restaurant or bar and let the experts make them for you.

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Dan Wecker, owner and executive chef of the Elkridge Furnace Inn, with his holiday dish, Veal Savoyard.
Dan Wecker, owner and executive chef of the Elkridge Furnace Inn, with his holiday dish, Veal Savoyard. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

Local organic veal Savoyard, Elkridge Furnace Inn, Elkridge

Breaded veal scallopini with wilted spinach, green tomato Concasser, Gruyere cheese and a bordelaise sauce. The dish is served with a spelt (farro) pilaf (recipe not provided).

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“The dish uses three colors that Americans associate with the holidays — green, white and red. It is an elegant, warm, comforting, Provencal dish. It’s a dish I learned from my chef, who was from the region of Savoy.”— Dan Wecker, 62, owner and executive chef

Ingredients

4 four-ounce pieces of veal (preferably round, sirloin or tenderloin, pounded into scallopini)

Flour, egg wash, breadcrumbs (enough for dredging)

4 slices of Gruyere cheese (smoked ham is optional)

1 pound of spinach

4 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Dredge veal scaloppini in flour, egg wash, season with breadcrumbs (Italian is fine).

In a medium hot pan, sautee each scallopini in 2 tablespoons olive oil until nicely browned on each side. When finished, place scallopini on a baking sheet.

Wilt spinach in a hot pan for about 30 seconds in 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Top veal with Concasser sauce, wilted spinach and cheese. Finish in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes at 375 degrees.

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Concasser sauce

Roux

4 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons flour

Whisk butter and flour mixed over high heat until it’s brought to a bubble. Reduce to low and continue stirring until a consistent mixture and then set aside until ready to add to the Concasser sauce.

Sauce ingredients

1 shallot

2 tablespoons butter

1 quart red wine

1 quart veal/beef stock

1/3 cup roux (recipe above)

1 white onion

thyme leaves (2-3 estimated)

8 garlic cloves

10 whole peppercorns

1/3 cup cooking oil

10 plum tomatoes

Directions

Dice shallot. Add diced shallot and butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Sweat the shallots.

Add red wine; allow it to reduce down to about 1 cup. Add veal/beef stock, then add 1/3 cup roux, then whisk.

Peel and cut onion into squares; add to mixture, along with thyme leaves, garlic cloves, whole peppercorns and 1/3 cup cooking oil.

Peel and dice the plum tomatoes; add to sauce. Let simmer. Add to top of veal.

Georgie Hardesty, a bartender at Rathskeller, has created a holiday cocktail called a "Belsnickel Cookie." It includes Jagermeister Scharf, Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps, bourbon, orange bitters and her own Belsnickel syrup.
Georgie Hardesty, a bartender at Rathskeller, has created a holiday cocktail called a "Belsnickel Cookie." It includes Jagermeister Scharf, Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps, bourbon, orange bitters and her own Belsnickel syrup. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Belsnickel cookie (a beverage), Rathskeller, Elkridge

“The Belsnickel cookie is perfect for the holidays because the mix of flavors are reminiscent of baking cookies with loved ones. The bourbon and spice are perfect for keeping warm on a cold winter’s night.” — Georgie Hardesty, 22, bartender

Ingredients (for one drink)

Demerara syrup

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup hot water

teaspoon of molasses

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Add syrup ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil until all the sugar has dissolved. Let sit for another 5 minutes after a thorough stir and cool.

1 ½ ounce bourbon

½ ounce Jagermeister Scharf

½ ounce demerara (brown sugar) syrup (recipe above)

¼ ounce Goldschlager

orange peels

For the drink, combine all ingredients with ice and stir. Strain and pour into rocks glasses. Best served without ice and with an orange peel.

Christian Smith, general manager at Mad Chef Kitchen and Bar, has created a holiday drink called "Rudolph the Margarita." It includes Sauza Blue Tequila, coconut rum, white peach cranberry juice, a little lime juice and grenadine for Rudolph's nose.
Christian Smith, general manager at Mad Chef Kitchen and Bar, has created a holiday drink called "Rudolph the Margarita." It includes Sauza Blue Tequila, coconut rum, white peach cranberry juice, a little lime juice and grenadine for Rudolph's nose. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Rudolph the Margarita, Mad Chef Kitchen and Bar, Ellicott City

“It’s truly a fun drink that anyone can enjoy. This margarita will make you feel like you’re in the Caribbean for Christmas.”— Christian Smith, 28, general manager

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounce silver tequila

½ ounce coconut rum

½ ounce simple syrup

½ ounce lime juice

1 ½ ounce white peach cranberry juice

splash of grenadine

Combine all the liquids in a cocktail shaker and give the mixture a five-second shake to mix. Pour into a glass and top with a pour of grenadine.

Chef Alexis J. Harris poses with her creation, Southern Fried BBQ Ribs.
Chef Alexis J. Harris poses with her creation, Southern Fried BBQ Ribs. (Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun)

Southern barbecue fried ribs, Sunshine & Soul Restaurant, Laurel

“Barbecue fried ribs are one of my favorite comfort foods during the holiday season. They are a family tradition in the Harris household. My family can’t get enough. ”— Alexis J. Harris, 27, private chef and caterer.

Ingredients

1 rack of baby back ribs

1 1/4 tablespoon Lawry’s seasoned salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1 1/2 tablespoon onion powder

1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

3 cups vegetable oil

Barbecue sauce

Ingredients

3 cups Lefty’s Spices BBQ Sauce Mild

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 tablespoon liquid smoke

Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.

Breading

2 cups flour

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Wash ribs and pat dry. Cut each rib into individual pieces.

Season ribs generously with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.

Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

While the ribs are marinating, combine Lefty’s Spices BBQ Sauce Mild, brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, smoked paprika and liquid smoke in a small bowl. Set aside.

Prepare breading by mixing cornmeal and flour in a bowl. Sprinkle in 1/2 tablespoon salt and cayenne pepper. Mix together.

Remove ribs from the refrigerator.

Begin preheating vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet to 350 degrees.

Using the flour and cornmeal mixture, coat each rib well to ensure a nice crisp crust.

Once frying oil is preheated, place each rib into the oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan.

Cook for approximately 20 minutes — turning each rib halfway through — until ribs are golden brown.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Remove ribs from oil and place on a cooking rack.

Dip each rib in the barbecue sauce, then place on a cookie sheet.

Place in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees to allow barbecue sauce to caramelize.

Remove from the oven and enjoy.

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