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Holiday Wine Country Recipes

At Pure Joy we take the holidays off! I know, it’s crazy, but we work hard all year - especially through wedding season, so when it comes to Thanksgiving we close for six days so we can enjoy the holidays with our families and friends. For Christmas and New Year’s this year we’re closed for eleven glorious days in a row, we do that every year - paid. I don’t know of any other hospitality company that does. The first year I started Pure Joy I worked a Christmas eve. It was the saddest day. My sons were at home with house guests but I wasn’t there. And right up to it I was cooking up a storm for other families and then totally exhausted the next few days. That was the last one. Since then all of the Pure Joy employees and I get that time off. I spend it with my boys and we always travel, a different country every year. We all love to cook and go to exotic local Farmer’s Market’s so we usually rent a house. Over the years as they’ve grown up we have forgone gifts and instead we celebrate the holiday by having experiences together, adventures, discoveries, wonderful food and foreign holiday traditions have created the most amazing memories. That one thing has changed my life so much, the boys too, and our relationship. They are truly citizens of the world and travel constantly now at 21 & 22 years old. They have learned the value of travel over the phenomenally materialistic thing the holidays have become in America. Last week I overheard my oldest boy telling a friend that gifts should be experiences, like a special trip or a wonderful thing you do together to celebrate. That warms me so much.

These are some of our favorite recipes here at Pure Joy perfect for the holidays, I hope you’ll try them, perhaps somewhere exotic…

Chipotle Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Green Apples with Pinot Pan Sauce

Pure Joy Catering, Chef Jerry Wilson

8 servings

One of our most popular dishes this year, outstanding flavor! In May 2011 United States Department of Agriculture lowering its safe cooking temperature for pork to 145 degrees, from the longtime standard of 160. The new recommendation is in line with what many cookbook authors and chefs have been saying for years.

2 pork tenderloins

Dry Rub:

2 T. ground chipotle chili powder

1 T. kosher salt


4 green apples, peeled and sliced

2 T. butter

2 T. sugar

Pan Sauce:

1 ½ cup pinot noir

2 T. butter

Dry rub the pork. Pan sauté. Roast in preheated 350 degree oven in the sauté pan 10-15 minutes until internal temperature reaches 145.

Remove the pork from the oven. Let it rest 10 min in the pan.

Saute the apples in butter & sugar.

Move the pork onto the serving tray or cutting board. Put that sauté pan over high heat on the stove and add the wine. Deglaze, whisking occasionally until reduced by ½ then whisk in butter to finish the sauce.

Roasted Country Dijon Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Mustard Cream

10 servings

1 whole beef tenderloin, trimmed

8 oz butter, room temp

1 generous cup of Country Dijon Mustard

For the Sauce:

1 ¼ cup cream

4 oz Country Dijon Mustard

Trim tenderloin if needed and pat it dry and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Blend together the room temperature butter and mustard well. Salt & pepper the beef then pat the crust all over it. Refrigerate to harden the crust and hold it until ready to roast.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Roast beef in middle of oven until a thermometer inserted 2 inches into thickest part of meat registers 125°F for medium-rare, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it stand 10 minutes.

For the Sauce:

The cream gets whipped & just toward the end you whip in the mustard.  This sauce holds well refrigerated, never heat it; serve it cool.

Caramelized Onion, Pinot Noir and Cranberry Filled Brie en Croute

Excellent idea to make a couple as they must be frozen before baking anyway so have some extra on hand to whip out and woo unsuspected guests.


1 onion, quartered & sliced (to = 1 c caramelized)

olive oil

4 oz of cranberries (can use dried cranberries; soak ½ hr in warm water)

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. fresh thyme

pinch of salt

¼ cup pinot noir      

Sauté onions in oil over medium heat stirring occasionally until very dark. Add the rest of the ingredients, raise the heat and sauté another 10 minutes to reduce and meld. Cool filling.

1 sheet puff pastry

1 - approx. 5 inch round whole brie, chilled hard and sliced horizontally

1 beaten egg


1 or 2 baguettes

Roll out one sheet of the puff pastry on floured surface firmly. Place half of the horizontally cut brie cut side up in the center, Cut puff pastry corners off to make a circle. Top with your cooled filling. Top with the other half of the brie wheel cut side down.

Brush the surrounding pastry with egg wash and enclose, pinching to seal. Turn it over, brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar and then freeze it.

To serve preheat oven to 350. Put frozen hard brie en croute on a veg. oil sprayed sheet pan into the hot oven. Bake till golden.Serve with sliced baguettes.

Sherry Sweet Potato Soufflé

12-16 servings

5 cups roasted, skin removed, mashed red sweet potatoes

10 oz cream cheese

5 oz butter

2 eggs

1/3 cup brown sugar

6 T. Sherry

1/3 tsp. salt

1 cup walnuts, toasted

1/3 tsp. nutmeg

½ cube room temperature butter; to rub inside baking dish

2 ½ qt baking dish

TOAST the nuts, set aside. BUTTER the baking dish well. In Kitchen aide with whip attachment mix all but nuts & nutmeg. Remove from machine & fold in the nuts.  Put into the prepared baking dish & grate the nutmeg on top.

This is where I hold it if I prepare it the day before. An hour before you want to serve it preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake it uncovered 45 minutes till WELL done.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Cabernet Drizzle

Serves 12

I enjoy the depth roasted garlic adds to most savory dishes, here’s an effortless way to have it on hand. Cover a couple cups of peeled garlic cloves in a small baking pan half way with olive oil and cover the pan. Bake it at 350 degrees until golden and tender, about half an hour. Keep this in the refrigerator and use the oil or garlic to flavor many things, like this flawless side dish. (To skip this step however, you can buy roasted garlic paste).

5 lb. russet potatoes

6 oz. butter

1.5 cups half & half

¼ cup roasted garlic (recipe above), smashed to a paste

Salt & pepper to taste

Boil a pot of salted water, add the peeled & quartered potatoes and move them around in the pot occasionally so the bottom ones don’t go too fast, 25 to 30 minutes. Here’s the big trick to making really great mashed potatoes; heat the butter and half & half in a small pot. When easily pierced with a fork, drain the potatoes in a colander. Do not use a food processor; pour them back in the same pot & smash them while piping hot, add HOT half & half and butter, whip / whisk till fluffy. Add the roasted garlic and salt & pepper to taste.

For the Cabernet Drizzle:

Use a peppery, smoky old world Cabernet. The important part when picking a Cabernet is alcohol level and complimentary flavor profile. Remember, higher alcohol will reduce to a sweeter sauce; and the more you reduce a sauce, the more alcohol breaks down into sugar.

2 ¼ cups Cabernet

¾ cup balsamic vinegar

3 shallots, diced

3 T. butter

3 T. flour

3 fresh rosemary sprigs

Sauté shallots, butter, and flour for 3 minutes over medium heat. Stir in red wine, vinegar and rosemary. Bring to a simmer and reduce by ½ volume. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve drizzled on the mashed potatoes – or anything handy!

Chocolate Crème Brulèè

Pure Joy Catering, Chef Jerry Wilson

Yields 8 6-8 oz. individual crème Brulèè

1 Qt cream

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

10 egg yolks at room temperature

¾ cup sugar

¼  tsp. salt

Sugar to torch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring cream to boil in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot chocolate mixture.

Divide custard among eight custard cups. Place cups in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set, about 30 minutes. Remove from water; chill 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, sprinkle with sugar & torch the tops.

Trio of Oysters

Pure Joy Catering, Chef Jerry Wilson

Serves 12

36 oysters, shucked

Baked Oysters with Spinach, Pancetta, Bay Scallop and Gewürztraminer Beurre Blanc  

1 T. butter

¼ lb. pancetta, chopped                                

1 lb. cleaned fresh spinach      

½ bottle Gewürztraminer wine

1 shallot      

1 cup heavy cream        

½ lb. butter

¼ lb.bay scallops                                        

Sauté pancetta in large sauté pan. Add spinach and toss just to wilt, set aside.

For the Sauce;

Reduce wine by ¾ with 1 chopped shallot, add heavy cream and bring to boil. Whisk in butter set aside and hold.                                                                                          

Place spinach and pancetta mix over each oyster in their shells on a baking sheet, top with bay scallops. Bake at 350 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the sauce.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Grilled Oysters with Cilantro Roast Chili Butter  

In advance make the Cilantro Roast Chili Butter;

8 oz. room temperature butter

3 roasted Anaheim chilies, cleaned and chopped

1 bunch cilantro, cleaned and chopped

1 T. lime juice

Mix all together in mixer. Roll into a 1 inch wide log in parchment paper. Refrigerate.

Place shucked oyster on a hot grill and top with a slice of compound butter, grill till butter is melted and bubbly.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Oysters with Classic Mignonette                                                                      Blend together and top 12 of the oysters with;  

3 oz. red wine vinegar

2 T. red wine

4 shallots, minced

2 T. lemon juice

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper                                      

Shuck your oysters. Preheat your grill and oven. Prepare the baked oysters first & pop them into the oven. Put the grilled ones on the grill while those are baking. Lastly top the remaining ones with mignonette. To serve plate and pass one of each to your very lucky guests.

Lemon Parmesan Artichoke Bottoms

Makes 30 pieces

Pure Joy Catering’s most popular appetizer. On this one I’ve got to say canned artichoke bottoms are the way to go or you’ll be in the kitchen cursing me all day. That said, you must get Maria’s brand artichoke bottoms, the others are too tough. These are great with cocktails and you can make them a day ahead and pop them in the oven when you like, and they’re very happy waiting for your guests at room temperature.

5 cans Maria’s brand artichoke bottoms (not hearts)

3 cloves garlic, minced fine

1 /4 pound (1.5 cups) grated Parmesan (not the salty powdered kind)

1 /2 cup mayonnaise

1  ½ tsp. lemon juice

1 packed tsp. of lemon zest

1 /4 tsp. pepper


1 /4 cup toasted pine nuts & minced fresh parsley

Drain the artichoke bottoms, pat dry and trim bottoms of them so they sit level & are tender. Spray a cookie sheet or baking pan with vegetable oil. Blend the ingredients together in a bowl. Sit the bottoms on the cookie sheet and season them with salt & pepper then fill them, top each one with 3 toasted pine nuts. You can cover and hold them at this point or bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, till golden on top. Sprinkle with minced parsley.

Happy creating~

Lynette La Mere, Pure Joy Catering, Executive Chef


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