5 Holiday Recipes From LA Top Chefs

By Lesley Balla  |  November 21, 2013
Credit: Valerie

The holiday season has us in its festive grip, with Thanksgiving and Hanukkah here already - on the same day, no less - and Christmas and New Year's will be here before you know it. It's time to think about what you'll be eating, serving and, yes, even cooking. To help out, we asked some of our local chefs for a few dishes from their recent cookbooks and menus that will taste great alongside - and even instead of - the turkey. Click through for recipes of great vegetable side dishes, latkes, DIY porchetta and more holiday-feast alternatives.

  • Credit: Shimon Tammar Photography

    Suzanne Goin is a star with side dishes at A.O.C., Lucques, Tavern and the Larders. In this dish, turmeric pairs up with cumin, coriander and paprika to spice up roasted root vegetables and give them an unexpected and exotic twist.

    Turmeric-Spiced Root Vegetables With Kaffir Lime Yogurt and Mint Chutney From The A.O.C. Cookbook


    Ingredients: Root Vegetables and Kaffir Lime Yogurt

    9 small or 3 medium carrots, peeled, stems attached if possible
    9 small or 3 medium parsnips, peeled, stems attached if possible
    6 small or 2 medium turnips
    6 small or 2 medium rutabagas, peeled
    6 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tbs. thyme leaves
    ½ tsp. cumin seeds
    ¼ tsp. coriander seeds
    3 tbs. unsalted butter, softened
    ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
    ½ tsp. ground turmeric
    1 cup Greek-style yogurt
    1 tbs. kaffir lime juice, plus ½ tsp. finely grated zest
    2 ozs. turnip or mustard greens, cleaned and sliced
    Mint chutney (recipe below)
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Directions: Root Vegetables and Kaffir Lime Yogurt

    1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Slice the carrots and parsnips in half lengthwise. If they are on the bigger side, then slice each half lengthwise again, into long quarters. Clean the turnips and rutabagas, cut off the tails, and trim the stems, leaving ¼ in. of the stems. Cut small turnips and rutabagas in halves or quarters; if they’re larger, cut them in half and then into ½-in. wedges.

    2. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, thyme, 1 tsp. salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Preheat two heavy-duty baking sheets in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully remove the baking sheets from the oven, place the vegetables on them, and roast them, tossing a few times, for about 25 minutes, until they are tender and a little caramelized.

    3. While the vegetables are roasting, toast the cumin seeds in a small pan over medium-high heat about 2 minutes, until the seeds release their aroma. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the cumin, and transfer it to a small bowl. Repeat with the coriander, and add it, along with the softened butter, paprika and turmeric, to the bowl. Stir to combine well.

    4. Stir the yogurt, lime juice, lime zest and a heaping ¼ tsp. salt together in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning.

    5. When the vegetables are done, combine them in one pan and toss in the turnip greens and the turmeric butter. The heat of the roasted vegetables will melt the butter and wilt the greens. Taste for seasoning. Arrange the vegetables on a platter, and top with the kaffir lime yogurt. Spoon the mint chutney over and around the yogurt and vegetables.


    Ingredients: Mint Chutney

    1 small clove garlic
    1 cup coarsely chopped mint
    ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
    ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    2 tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Directions: Mint Chutney

    1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and a pinch of salt to a paste, and transfer to a small bowl. Pound the mint and parsley, and add this to the garlic. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, ¼ tsp. salt and ⅛ tsp. ground pepper, and stir well to combine. Taste for balance and seasoning.

    Excerpted from The A.O.C. Cookbook by Suzanne Goin. Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Goin. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC.

  • You could go to Scarpetta in Beverly Hills for the lavish holiday brunch buffet, or you can serve this herbed roast pork alongside or instead of turkey for Thanksgiving or any other holiday.

    Porchetta From The Scarpetta Cookbook
    Serves 8


    Ingredients: Brine and Pork

    40 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
    1 bunch fresh thyme
    6 tbs. dried juniper berries
    3 tbs. whole black peppercorns
    2 tbs. fennel seeds
    1½ cups kosher salt
    ½ cup lightly packed light or dark brown sugar
    ½ whole pork belly, 7 to 8 pounds

    Directions: Brine

    1. In a large pot, combine the garlic, thyme, juniper berries, peppercorns and fennel seeds with 1 gallon water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes to bring out the flavor of the aromatics and spices. Remove from the heat, whisk in the salt and sugar, and let cool to room temperature.

    2. Put the pork in a large roasting pan and pour the brine over it. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.


    Ingredients: Spice Rub

    1 tbs. dried juniper berries
    1 tbs. whole black peppercorns
    2 tbs. fennel seeds
    1 tsp. ground nutmeg
    2 tbs. chopped fresh thyme
    4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

    Directions: Spice Rub

    1. In a medium pan over medium heat, toast the juniper berries, peppercorns and fennel seeds until fragrant (2 to 3 minutes). Transfer to a small bowl, and add the nutmeg. Add the thyme and garlic, and toss to combine.

    2. Remove the pork from the brine and pat it dry. Pat the spice rub on the flesh side only of the pork belly, using just what adheres; you may have some spice rub left over. Put the pork skin side up on a large rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate it, uncovered, for 24 hours to dry out.


    Final assembly:

    1. Heat oven to 475°F. Roll the pork belly lengthwise into a cylinder and secure the roll with kitchen string, tying it at intervals along the length of the roll. With a cake tester or skewer, prick the skin all over; this helps the skin get nice and crispy. Fit a roasting rack on a rimmed baking sheet, put the pork belly on the roasting rack, and roast for 10 minutes. Baste the pork, rotate the pan 90 degrees, and continue to roast, basting the pork and rotating the pan 90 degrees every 5 minutes, for another 25 minutes. (Turning the pan ensures that the skin will crisp evenly.)

    2. Turn the oven down to 325°F and cook, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the pork reads 155°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 hours.

    3. Let the pork rest for 30 to 40 minutes before cutting off the string and slicing it about ¾ inch thick.

  • Credit: Lemonade

    The roasted cauliflower salad is one of the mainstays at the constantly changing roster of salads at any Lemonade location. It makes a perfect side for turkey, roast meats or brunch buffets, especially since it can sit at room temperature. Chef-owner Alan Jackson shares the recipe from his new cookbook.

    Roasted Cauliflower With Golden Raisin, Almond and Curry Vinaigrette From The Lemonade Cookbook

    Makes 4 cups


    Ingredients: Cauliflower

    1 head cauliflower (about 2 lbs.), cut into florets
    ¼ cup olive oil
    Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup whole almonds, toasted
    ¼ cup golden raisins
    ½ cup curry vinaigrette (recipe follows)

    Directions: Cauliflower

    1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the cauliflower on a large baking pan, drizzle with the olive oil, toss to coat, and spread out in a single layer. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until tender and slightly charred, shaking the pan from time to time. Remove from oven and put in a mixing bowl.


    Ingredients: Curry Vinaigrette (makes 1 cup)

    1 cup plus 2 tbs. canola oil
    1 Granny Smith apple, halved lengthwise, cored and coarsely chopped
    1 small onion, coarsely chopped
    2 tbs. turmeric
    1 tbs. curry powder, preferably Madras
    1 tbs. whole-grain Dijon mustard
    1 tbs. honey or agave nectar
    2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
    Juice of ½ lemon
    1 tbs. orange juice
    Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Directions: Curry Vinaigrette 

    1. To prepare the curry oil, put a small pot over medium-low heat, and coat with 2 tbs. of the canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the apple and onion. Cook and stir until soft and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the turmeric and curry, and cook until the spices begin to darken slightly (about 1 minute), taking care not to allow the spices to burn. Pour in the remaining 1 cup of oil and stir everything together. Increase the heat to medium, and bring the oil to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove the oil from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Strain the oil into a container to discard the pieces of apple and onion.

    2. To prepare the vinaigrette, combine in a mixing bowl the mustard, honey, vinegar, and lemon and orange juices. Gently blend with a whisk; season with salt and pepper. Pour in the oil all at once and lightly whisk until the ingredients just come together; this is not emulsified vinaigrette. Pour the vinaigrette into a plastic container or jar, and shake it up just before you are ready to dress the salad. Keep any leftover vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


    Final Assembly:

    1. Add the almonds and raisins to the cauliflower. Toss with the curry vinaigrette to evenly coat. May be served warm, cold or at room temperature.

  • Credit: The Kosher Palate

    Michele Grant, chef-owner of The Kosher Palate, a Kosher catering company and food truck, likes these latkes for the season because they're gluten-free. You can serve them, topped with cranberry relish and marshmallow fluff, alongside the main courses.

    Sweet Potato Latke With Currants, Coriander & Lemon From The Kosher Palate

    Makes 6 servings


    2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled
    1 large yellow onion
    1 cup water
    3 large eggs
    4 tbs. rice flour
    3 tbs. dried currants
    2 tsps. fresh ground coriander
    2 tsps. salt
    ⅔ tsp. lemon zest
    ½ tsp. white pepper
    ⅔ cup rice bran oil


    1. In a small saucepan, heat the water until just boiling. Remove from heat, add the dried currants and set aside.

    2. Using the largest holes in a box grater, shred the sweet potatoes. Place in a large mixing bowl.

    3. Using the finest holes on the box grater, grate the onion. Place into a fine mesh colander and drain. The onion should be moist, not wet.

    4. Add the grated onion to the mixing bowl with the sweet potato, along with rice flour, coriander, lemon zest, salt and white pepper. Mix together until well combined.

    5. Whisk the eggs and fold into the sweet potato mixture. Set mixture aside.

    6. Set heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high flame and heat 2 tbs. of rice bran oil. Stir latke mixture one more time, portion out ⅓ cup, and form flattened disc with your hands. They should be about ⅓ to ½ inch thick. Place latkes in oil and fry until lightly browned and crispy on one side. Flip and cook the other side. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Repeat with the remaining latke mixture, adding more rice bran oil as needed. Serve immediately with cranberry orange relish and/or a teaspoon of marshmallow fluff.

  • Credit: Peden + Munk

    This sweet and savory crostata from Valerie Gordon’s new cookbook is perfect for the holiday table. If you can’t find aged Gouda, cheddar or Parmesan are good substitutes.

    Apple-and-Caramel Aged Gouda Crostata From Sweet

    Makes one 9-in. crostata; serves 6 to 8


    Ingredients: Apple-and-Caramel Crostata Filling

    5 medium Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples (1½ lbs.), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
    ½ cup light brown sugar
    Aged Gouda cornmeal crust (recipe follows)
    1 egg, beaten
    ½ tsp. fleur de sel


    Ingredients: Aged Gouda Cornmeal Crust

    1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
    ¼ cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
    3 tbs. sugar
    1 cup grated aged Gouda, chilled
    1¾ sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
    2 to 4 tbs. ice water


    Directions: Aged Gouda Cornmeal Crust

    1. Put the flour, cornmeal and sugar into a medium bowl, and mix together with a fork or small whisk. Add the Gouda and mix until combined. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or large fork until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs. Drizzle 2 tbs. water over the dough, mixing with the pastry cutter or fork, then add more water if necessary, mixing until the dough just comes together.

    2. Remove the dough from the bowl, and form it into two equal discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month (thaw in the refrigerator).


    Final Assembly:

    1. Line a 13x18x1-in. baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner. In a medium bowl, mix the apple slices with the brown sugar.

    2. Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator, and place on a floured cool surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 13-in. circle: Start from the center of the dough and roll outward, rotating the dough 2 to 3 in. after each roll - this will help create a true circle. After every four to five rolls, run a large offset spatula under the dough to release it from the work surface. Add a little flour to the surface, rolling pin and/or dough if the dough sticks or becomes difficult to roll. Transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

    3. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 325°F. Arrange the apples on the dough, leaving a 2-in. border all around; overlap the apple slices as you arrange them in concentric circles, working from the outside in until you reach the center. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the apples.

    4. Lift one side of the dough over the apples, and press it down over the fruit, making 5 or 6 large pleat folds. Then continue around the crostata, pressing the pleats so they adhere. Refrigerate the crostata until the crust is cold and firm to the touch (about 15 minutes).

    5. Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the fleur de sel over the fruit. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Let the crostata cool completely on the baking sheet; then, using an offset spatula, transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with caramel sauce if desired. The crostata can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to two days.

    Excerpted from Sweet by Valerie Gordon (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Peden + Munk.