Outside the (Lock)box
Holidays inspire chef to stretch his talents at home.
The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year. I love how the transition to autumn kicks off the anticipation of gatherings with family and friends. One of best parts is the opportunity to cook and share large meals together. As chefs, we spend so much of our time creating dining experiences for complete strangers. It’s a special time when you get to prepare food with and for your loved ones and share with them.
Growing up, the kitchen and the dinner table were always a focal point for sharing. Whether it was Mama’s lasagna, holiday dinners or too much wine- or whiskey-fueled political arguments with my papa, they all happened at the dinner table. Now that I’m older and far away from my family I take great pleasure in sharing these holidays with friends.
When I cook at home it’s never overly fussy or complicated. I spend enough time in my kitchen at Lockbox pushing tight timelines. At home I just want to cook at a relaxed pace and not worry if those participating are cutting a perfect small dice on the mirepoix (carrots, celery and onion) for the stuffing. We cook humble, soulful dishes.
Prime rib is a classic for a reason. This year I wanted to move away from the standard-issue beef rib roast but keep some of the grandness that it brings to a holiday meal. A pork roast can be a bit easier on the budget but just as tender and delicious. It’s all about the brine. Please do not skip the brine in this recipe. It seasons the meat and locks in the moisture. Think of it as the most tender and moist holiday ham you’ve ever had. Just classed up a bit.
In regards to dessert, I’m obsessed with butterscotch. Butterscotch pudding has been one of my favorite desserts since childhood. I thought ‘Why keep making pudding when we could make mousse?’ I discussed this with my pastry chef, Becca Schmutte, and what she created was amazing! I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be able to eat butterscotch pudding again. The light, airy texture with the burnt mallow and the salty, crunchy pretzel bits hit all the notes I want in a holiday dessert.
Cook for someone you love. Sit down, pour a glass of wine and enjoy!