Your Holiday Dinner with a Twist

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IF YOU’RE LIKE US, the next two months are full of menu planning, party-going and good eating. To keep your holiday meals fresh — from Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year’s Day — we tapped local chefs (and a bartender!) for their takes on classic celebratory dishes and drinks.


Shared by Chef Wendy Armstrong of Thrive Catering // SERVES 10 (appetizer portions)

You can cook and serve this pumpkin soup in minutes, but thanks to warming curry spices and rich coconut milk, guests will never guess how simple it is to make.

2 15-ounce cans pumpkin purée 
1 13½-ounce can coconut milk
4 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. red curry paste

1 tbsp. light brown sugar
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. kosher salt

In a medium pot, set on medium-high heat, combine pumpkin, coconut milk, stock, curry paste, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. As the soup warms, and with a hand blender, blend to incorporate spices. Bring the soup to a simmer and season with salt.


Shared by Chef Wendy Armstrong of Thrive Catering // SERVES 4 – 6

Far from a pale side, these golden cauliflower florets get their zip from curry powder, ginger and garlic, and a riot of color thanks to peas and parsley. Sub in purple or yellow cauliflower for an even more festive presentation. 

1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets 
½ c. diced red onion
¼ c. vegetable oil
Kosher salt
1½ tsp. curry powder

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
½ c. frozen peas
2 tbsp. chopped parsley

Heat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, onion, oil, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, curry powder, red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger. Toss to evenly coat. Spread vegetables onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil, season generously with salt, and cook peas for a minute and a half, just until tender. Drain peas and chill quickly in an ice bath. Once the peas are cool, drain and set aside. Transfer roasted cauliflower mixture to a serving bowl and toss in peas and parsley.

Clockwise from left: Terrain pasta plate, amber Moroccan glasses and beige natura pasta bowl, available from Provisions, Onion soup bowl in white, available from Chef Darin’s Kitchen Table


Shared by Chef Darin Sehnert of Chef Darin’s Kitchen Table // SERVES 4

½ lb. bulk mild Italian sausage 
½ tart green apple, finely diced
1 tbsp. finely diced dried apricots
1 tbsp. finely diced dried prunes
1 tbsp. pine nuts
1 slice bacon, cut into thin strips

1 egg
Pinch of nutmeg

Kosher salt
Black pepper
2 8-ounce turkey breast tenderloins
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ c. flour
½ c. finely diced onion
¼ c. Madeira
1 ½ c. chicken stock

In a medium bowl, combine sausage, apple, apricots, prunes, pine nuts and bacon. In a small bowl, whisk to combine the egg, nutmeg, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Pour egg mixture into the sausage mixture and combine by hand until the fruit is evenly distributed.

Think of the tenderloin like a tri-fold business letter. You’ll need to make cuts to open each flap. Place the tenderloin on a cutting board so the wide end of the turkey is farthest from you. Using a chef’s knife or boning knife and starting at the top center of the tenderloin, slice at a 20-degree angle into the left side of the tenderloin, working your way down with the knife tip to create a flap. Repeat on the right side. There will be a long tendon inside, and if you can do so without tearing a hole in the meat, use a paring knife to carefully scrape the tendon away from the meat. Once both sides are opened, cover the tenderloin with wax or parchment paper. With a heavy-bottomed sauté pan or skillet, pound the tenderloin to an even thickness of about 1/3 inch. Repeat with the second tenderloin.

“These stuffed turkey tenderloins are perfect for an intimate holiday meal for two to four guests. The sauce reduces while cooking and produces a delicious Madeira-onion gravy to serve with the turkey. Just be sure to buy tenderloins that haven’t been injected with brine. I’ve made that mistake, and they’re a mess to pound.” — Chef Darin Sehnert

With tenderloins spread out on the cutting board, place half of the sausage filling onto the center of each and spread it to cover two-thirds of the tenderloins, leaving a 1-inch border on the left and right sides, and 2 inches on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, begin to roll the turkey tenderloin away from you while folding the sides inward to enclose the filling as you roll. Once rolled, secure the roulade with loops of twine or silicone bands. 

Heat oven to 375°F. Add flour to a baking dish and season generously with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge turkey roulades in flour. Heat a large sauté over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Place roulades into the hot pan and brown on all sides. When browned, remove turkey from the pan and set aside. Lower heat to medium-low, add onions to the pan and sweat until soft. Pour in the Madeira, scraping up any brown bits with a spoon. Place roulades back into the pan and pour chicken stock around the turkey. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook in the oven until the center of the roulades reaches 165°F, about 30 to 40 minutes. 

Once cooked, transfer the roulades to a clean cutting board and rest at least 10 minutes. Bring the sauce to a vigorous simmer and reduce until it reaches the consistency of gravy. Remove the twine from the roulade and slice. To serve, overlap roulade slices on a plate or platter and spoon the sauce over top.

For Thanksgiving wine pairings, Krecicki suggests Broc Love Red and Renardt-Fâche Bugey-Cerdon, available at Provisions. 

Clockwise from left: MAMO 7:2 cocktail glass, Cozy Green dinner plate, Nature Shape Smooth White salad plate, available from Provisions


Shared by Chef Darin Sehnert of Chef Darin’s Kitchen Table // SERVES 12

“These apples are a meat and fruit course all in one, and the best part is they can be prepared in the evening and baked when you get up in the morning. I like to use Jonagold, Gala, Empire or Granny Smith apples along with Jimmy Dean sausage.” 

½ c. golden raisins 
¼ c. dried cranberries
1 ½ c. apple juice
1 lb. bulk pork sausage seasoned with sage
1 tsp.  kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
3/4 c. finely diced onion

3/4 c. finely diced celery
1 tsp.  dried rubbed sage
2 eggs, beaten
6 apples
2 tbsp.  sugar
1 tbsp.  butter, cut into small pieces

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine raisins, cranberries and ½ cup apple juice in a microwave-safe bowl. Place in the microwave and cook on high power for 35 seconds. Remove from the microwave and allow fruit to sit and plump up.

In a large sauté pan on medium-high heat, cook sausage, breaking it up with a spoon or spatula. Season with salt and pepper. When sausage is cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a medium bowl. Lower heat to medium and add onions and celery to the sauté pan. Season with salt, pepper and sage. Cook until the vegetables are softened, and then pour in the raisins, cranberries and apple juice soaking liquid. Scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pan to incorporate them into the sauce, and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. Pour vegetable-fruit mixture into the bowl with the sausage and stir in the eggs. 

Slice the apples in half lengthwise. Then cut a small portion from the round side of the apple so that it sits flat with the cut side up. With a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out the core and make a cavity for the stuffing. Place apples in a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish.

Using a small spoon, fill the apples with the stuffing. Pour the remaining apple juice into the baking dish around the apples; sprinkle sugar over the juice and dot with butter. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. The apples should be tender enough to easily pierce with a knife tip but not mushy. To serve, place apples on a rimmed platter and spoon juices over the apples.


Shared by Mary Noelia Githens, owner of The Apparition, the speakeasy at Mint to Be Mojito Bar // SERVES 6 – 8 (or 1 liter)

“Coquito is essentially Puerto Rican eggnog. But there are similar holiday drinks all over Central and South America. In Peru, where I’m from, we call it rompope. The recipes vary from region to region, just like our empanadas and tamales, but, in essence, they’re all the same. It’s a lot like language. We can all communicate in Spanish. We share words, but our dialects are different.”

1½ c. white rum 
1 cinnamon stick
1  12-ounce can sweetened
condensed milk

1 15-ounce can cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez
1 tsp. vanilla extract
ground cinnamon

In a jar, combine rum and cinnamon stick and infuse for 1 hour; after infusing, remove and discard the cinnamon stick. In a blender, combine condensed milk, cream of coconut and vanilla extract; purée until thick and frothy. Pour the rum into the blender and blend to combine. Chill the coquito for at least 4 hours. Before serving, reblend the mixture to emulsify. Pour the coquito into rocks glasses over ice and garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.


Shared by Katherine Graham of Good Graham // SERVES 12

3/4 c. ripe avocado 
½ c. coconut sugar
1 egg

½ c. dark cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking soda (optional) 
¼ c. chocolate chips (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine avocado and coconut sugar in a large bowl, and, with a hand mixer, beat until smooth. Add in the egg and mix to combine, followed by the cocoa powder. If you want to make cookies, mix in the baking soda now; if you want a more gooey texture, omit the baking soda. And if you’d like more chocolate, stir the chocolate chips into the batter. Using a 1½-inch scoop, spoon dollops of the batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. To test for doneness, gently peel a cookie from the parchment. If it doesn’t stick, it’s ready. Cool cookies to room temperature and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

For more of Chef Darin’s recipes and culinary expertise, visit his cooking school and kitchen store, located at 2514 Abercorn St. Find a full schedule of classes at


Shared by Chef Bernard Bennett of Okàn in Bluffton // SERVES 6 – 8

“I grew up in Michigan eating collards my grandma grew in her garden. Of course, we cooked them with fatback, but these are completely vegan. In my research for Okàn, I came across a Caribbean dish called callaloo that’s cooked with coconut milk. I tried a similar technique when I made my collards at Thanksgiving, and I’ve never cooked collard greens without coconut milk again.” 

3 bunches collards, cleaned, stemmed and sliced into bite-sized ribbons 
2 onions, diced
2 tbsp. hot sauce

2 tbsp.  kosher salt
2 tbsp.  black pepper
1 bay leaf
apple cider vinegar
2 13 ½-oz. cans coconut milk

Place collards, onions, hot sauce, salt, pepper and bay leaf in a large pot. Add enough cider vinegar to cover the greens (approximately 4 cups); then pour in a quarter of that amount in water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until just tender, about 1 hour. Stir in coconut milk, return to a simmer and cook 1 hour more, until the collards are silky. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Tip: Complete your holiday table with chic glassware, bottles of wine and more from Provisions, now open at 101 W. Liberty St. and online at

Nature Shape Smooth White salad plate, available from Provisions


Shared by Chef Wendy Armstrong of Thrive Catering // SERVES 36

“We love this creamy black-eyed pea hummus spread onto crostini, but you can also serve it in a bowl alongside crackers and raw vegetables. Or, pair
it with endive spears in a nod to the New Year’s tradition of eating greens and peas for good luck and money in the year to come. Spike it with Tabasco for an extra kick.”

3 tbsp. olive oil 
1 ½ c. diced onion
1 ½ c. diced red bell pepper
2  cloves garlic, minced
2 15 ½-oz. cans black-eyed
peas, drained and rinsed

1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
36 baguette slices, toasted
2 tbsp. chopped parsley

In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium and cook the onion and bell pepper for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in black-eyed peas and cook for 5 minutes to marry the flavors, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve ¾ cup mixture and set aside. 

Transfer the remaining black-eyed pea mixture to a food processor with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of water and process until the mixture reaches the smooth consistency of hummus. 

To serve, spread a scant tablespoon of the hummus onto a crostini, top with a small portion of the chunky black-eyed pea mixture and garnish with parsley.

For sparkling wine on New Year’s, Krecicki suggests Le Coeur de la Reine Cremant de Loire, available at Provisions.