BY LIZ WITBECK
Chefs are just as busy as everybody else preparing
for the holidays, creating grocery lists, shopping
With years of experience cooking in restaurants,
the chefs of area restaurants know what it takes to
please a crowd.
Scott Ringwood, executive chef and co-owner of
Lake Ridge restaurant in Round Lake, has worked at
the restaurant for 13 years, creating a fine dining experience
for his guests with New American cuisine.
When it comes to the holidays, Ringwood believes
that planning is the key to success. “Cook familiar.
Cook what you know,” he said.
He said meals turn out the best when people cook
recipes they have prepared several times before. If
people are going to try new dishes, he advised doing
a test run beforehand with the recipe to make sure
it will turn out well.
For the holidays, Ringwood said his favorite
dishes are meat-based. “I’m, personally, a meat eater,
so I like a crown roast, I like a Beef Wellington.”
Kevin Myers has been the executive chef at
Gaffney’s Restaurant in Saratoga Springs for 19
years. Gaffney’s has been in business for more than
30 years and offers American cuisine infused with
Of all the dishes he has created over the years,
there is one recipe that remains close to his heart.
“I make a homemade apple butter. It’s actually
my grandmother’s recipe” said Myers.
Myers uses the apple butter in all sorts of ways
at Gaffney’s, including brunches where he likes to
spread it on English muffins.
When spending time with family and loved ones this holiday season, Myers has just one piece of advice: “Have fun.”
Adam Humphrey, head chef at Harvey’s Restaurant
and Bar in Saratoga Springs, said “we do a lot
of comfort food,” explaining their focus on corned
beef, pot roast and other dishes.
As for his own family, the holiday table comes
with an Italian twist. “We have a lasagna along with
a ham,” he noted.
Humphrey encourages people to put their family
first on the holidays. “Don’t focus on the food. The food will come out
fine. At the table, nobody will complain about the
food. Enjoy the time that you have together with your family because that is what is important.”
Humphrey adds hazelnuts or candied walnuts to
Brussel sprouts for a comforting side dish that will
pair well with turkey, ham, or other main dishes at
the holiday table.
At Mingle on the Avenue, within the Pavilion
Grand Hotel in Saratoga Springs, chef Brian Bowden
creates a progressive American cuisine infused with
“I like to do venison,” said Bowden, who likes to
hunt and fish. “I’ll combine it with nuts, dried fruits,
cherries … I have even made a venison pâté with
For those who don’t feel like cooking, Mingle on
the Avenue offers a service where staff will go into a
home and hold an in-home catering party.
For those looking for a holiday recipe, chefs
From Ringwood at Lake Ridge:
Holiday Roasted Corn and Crab Chowder
4 strips bacon; ½ large onion, chopped; 3 stalks
celery diced; 2 tsp minced garlic; 1 tsp fresh thyme or
½ tsp dry; ½ cup each red and green pepper diced; 2
tbsp butter; 2½ tbsp all-purpose flour; 1 qt. crab stock
or clam juice; ¼ cup golden sherry ½ lb. corn kernels
roasted; ½ lb. crab meat; 3 cups heavy cream; Kosher
salt and ground white pepper, to taste.
Option: Add baby shrimp or curry powder.
Cut the bacon into about ¼-inch cubes. Add the
bacon to a heavy-bottomed sauce pot or soup pot;
heat slowly over a low heat, stirring more or less
constantly, for 3-4 minutes or until the fat is liquefied.
(Don’t let the fat burn).
Add chopped onion, celery and garlic; cook it over
a medium heat until translucent, but not brown,
another 4 minutes.
Add butter, stir until melted; add flour, stir with
a wooden spoon while it absorbs into the bacon
fat, making a roux. Cook the roux for another 3-4
minutes, don’t let it brown.
Slowly whisk in the stock and the heavy cream,
making sure the roux is fully incorporated into the
liquid. Keep stirring while the mixture comes to a
boil, and then add the wine, thyme, roasted corn
and bell peppers. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes
then add crabmeat stirring gently as to not break
crabmeat and immediately turn off.
From Meyers at Gaffney’s:
Grandma’s Apple Butter Recipe
4 qts. of apples, peeled and sliced thin; 2 qts.
apple cider; 2 cups of sugar; 2 cups of dark syrup;
1 tsp cinnamon.
Boil cider, reduce to 1 quart; add apples; let simmer
until thick; add sugar and cinnamon; cook until
thin enough to spread thin.
From Humphrey at Harvey’s:
Hazelnut Brussel Sprouts in Butter Sauce
1 lb, of brussels sprouts; 1 tbs butter; 2 tbs crushed
hazelnuts (or candied walnuts); salt and pepper to
taste; 1 tsp of oil; 1 tsp of bacon fat if desired; 1 tsp
Trim off brussel sprout stems then cut an x over
where the stem use to be. Blanche brussel sprouts
for 10 minutes–check doneness with a knife
(should go in without pressure; if not, cook longer).
Place sprouts in an ice bath so they stop cooking,
then halve them.
In a saute pan place oil, butter (bacon fat if desired).
Add garlic, wait for fats to become hot then
add brussel sprouts, salt and pepper. Coat sprouts
evenly. When they begin to cook, add the crushed
hazelnuts or crushed candied walnuts. Adjust
seasoning to taste.
From Bowden at Mingle on the Avenue:
Potato Crepes with Creme Fraiche and Caviar
12 oz. pureed cooked potatoes (mashed potatoes);
1 oz. flour; 2 eggs; 3 egg whites; 2 fl oz. heavy
cream, or as needed; salt, as needed; ground white
pepper, as needed; pinch of grated nutmeg; vegetable
oil, as needed 4 oz. creme fraiche; dill sprigs,
as needed; 6 oz. smoked salmon slices
Combine potatoes and flour in a mixer. Add the
eggs one at a time, then the whites. Adjust consistency
with cream to that of a pancake batter; season
with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Coat a nonstick griddle or saute pan lightly with
oil. Pour batter as for pancakes into silver-dollar size
servings. Cook until golden brown; turn and
finish on the second side, about 2 minutes total
Serve the crepes warm with small dollops of
creme fraiche and caviar, a small dill sprig, and a
smoked salmon slice, if desired.