Holiday Cooking Ideas From Seattle’s Chefs

December 12, 2012 5:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

When it comes to holiday meals, the possibilities for home cooks often seem endless and overwhelming. These recipes from two Seattle chefs will make you look like star in front of family and friends. As a bonus, these ideas may even take your leftovers to a whole other level.
1433 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 456-7474

Chef Seis Kamimura of RN74 has four kids to keep happy over holiday dinner and knows a great trick to keep them coming back for more. He likes to make a sweet potato gratin with a twist. He peels and slices the potatoes, then gives them a nice sauté in butter until they are tender. From here, he diverts from the norm by adding some minced fresh ginger and diced prunes. The ginger will give the dish a little extra kick and the prunes, beyond their fantastic flavor, give some nice texture to the dish.

Another twist the chef puts on his family’s holiday table is a more grown up cranberry sauce. Take some time to caramelize onions over the stove top. Add the onions to the cranberries along with a pinch of clove and black pepper to taste. To make this one for the adults, he recommends a shot of sherry vinegar. It turns just basic cranberries into more of a chutney, and really will turn up the lights at the dinner table.

About Chef Seis Kamimura
Executive Chef Seisuke (Seis) Kamimura’s childhood was the beginning of his extensive culinary education. His mother was a caterer specializing in Japanese cuisine, instilling in Seis at a young age the importance of starting with fresh, quality ingredients. With such a background, he fits perfectly into the Northwest’s culinary scene, where fresh, local ingredients are in abundance. Kamimura is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City and has spent time working in some of the country’s most famous restaurants including Spago in Beverly Hills. Seattle residents will recognize his work from BOKA Kitchen + Bar at Hotel 1000 downtown. Kamimura joined RN74 in February of 2012.

Elysian Fields
542 First Ave. S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 382-4498

Chef Jonathan Knowles prides himself on a well-executed, traditional holiday meal complete with jellied cranberry out of the can. Scratching a bit below the surface, however, reveals recipes and tips to make the traditional exceptional. The chef recommends a 24-hour brine for the turkey made of water, salt, sugar, thyme, sage, red pepper, black pepper and bay. To prepare the bird for cooking, he disassembles it into smaller pieces to make the cooking time much shorter and the serving much simpler.

The true star of Knowles’ meal is the gravy, and it starts with a deeply flavored stock, which takes extra time, but can easily be done by the home cook. Start by making a standard chicken stock with water over vegetables and chicken bones cooking low and slow. When the stock is done, strain, chill and drain the fat from the resulting liquid. Repeat this process again to make a double stock. From here, the chef deepens the flavor even more taking the stock one more time over the low and slow heat, this time with the bones from the turkey. Strain, chill and defat once more and the result is a triple stock so deep in flavor that it makes the perfect gravy. Thicken with a simple rue and add some Madeira wine to finish and serve.

As a fantastic side and compliment to leftovers, the chef recommends a relish made of two pounds of pearl onions (boiled and peeled), a cup of dry sherry, a half cup of currants, three tablespoons of honey, a quarter cup of water and two tablespoons of butter. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes. Stir in a handful of slivered almonds and four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy. The relish goes great with dinner and makes a fantastic topping for turkey sandwiches.

About Chef Jonathan Knowles
Executive Chef Jonathan Knowles learned his trade through years of working in restaurants starting at the young age of 14. He got a job at a lunch counter in Madison, Wis., and has been working in the food industry ever since. After spending five years with Consolidated Restaurants at Union Square Grill and D.C.’s Grill, Knowles joined Elysian Brewing Company in 2006. He describes his style as traditional and focused on well-executed, straightforward food. His menus may be found at all three of Elysian’s pubs in Tangletown, Capitol Hill or near Century Link Field.

Megan Knight resides in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, WA. During the day she works in IT Management and at night is a royal news junkie. Her work can be found at