Holiday Entertaining from Homestead Gardens


Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

It is that time of year when one can never have enough entertaining recipes and design ideas. I know this was the biggest hit in my Annapolis School of Cooking. On that vein, I was recently asked to give a cooking class for a new bride. We all had a blast as a new bride gift idea was initiated. What else but … Entertaining for the Holidays was the theme!

With each recipe is a paired wine which works with the ingredients of the recipe.

Choose holiday platters from Homestead Gardens

 Roast Beef Roulades with Seared Garlic Portobella Slices 

Makes 20 Rouldades

 If you want to make this especially festive for Christmas, use red bell peppers slices and bright green Genovese basil leaves.

  •  4 medium size portabella mushrooms (3-4 inch diameter), cleaned
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove minced fresh garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Balsamic glaze
  • 20 slivers yellow or red bell peppers
  • 6 slices rare roast beef (sliced lunch meat)
  • 20 fresh small basil leaves

 Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan; when hot add the mushroom slices. Do not keep moving around; instead let each side brown nicely. Remove from pan and place on a plate. Drizzle with balsamic glaze, add garlic, a bit of salt and toss. Let flavor for 20 minutes.

 Place a small condiment bowl filled with balsamic glaze on the serving platter. Drain any juices from the mushrooms into the bowl of glaze.

 To assemble:

Lay the roast beef slices on a flat work surface. Cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips. Per strip, add a marinated mushroom slice at one end. Begin to roll up and wrap in a sliver of bell pepper. Take a single basil leaf and with a toothpick, secure the basil into the center. Place each roulade on a serving platter. Repeat until all mushroom slices have been used.

 Serve with dipping sauce.


Shiraz wine


More goodies to make it festive!

 Shrimp Stuffed Mini Potatoes

Makes 30 spud halves

Without question, this recipe has been my all time favorite for many years. Often I interchange crab for the shrimp.

  •  15 mini (3” diameter) Yukon Gold or Red bliss potatoes
  • 1/2 cup (about 6 ounces) medium shrimp, cooked deveined and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup wasabi mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts
  • 3  scallions finely chopped, extra green parts saved for garnish
  • Dash Old Bay

 Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut potatoes in half around the center. Using a small melon baller or a very small spoon, scoop out potato pulp, leaving 1/4-inch shells. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each potato half so it stands upright. Place potatoes, cut sides up, in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan and spray with natural cooking spray; sprinkle with salt.

 Bake about 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender when poked with a fork.

 Meanwhile, for the filling:

 In a small bowl, combine the shrimp, mayo, artichoke hearts, scallions and Old Bay® seasoning. Spoon filling into potato shells, mounding slightly.

 Bake for about 12 minutes more or until filling is heated through and golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. If desired, garnish with more chopped scallions.


Bright, minerally sparkling wine


Chevre Towers with Fig and Olive Tapenade

Fig and Olive Tapenade
Makes about one cup

 I also like my tapenade chunky rather than completely pureed. Once you make it, you’ll get the balance down of figs to olives-depending on the sweetness of your figs. Also, I dehydrated my fig harvest this year and the figs are still a bit moist, so they don’t require rehydrating. Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris

  •  1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) stemmed and quartered dried black figs (use dried Black Mission figs, if available)
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1 cup black olives; Niçoise or Greek, rinsed and pitted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • black pepper and salt, if necessary

 If using very dry figs: In a medium-sized saucepan, simmer the figs in the water for about 30 minutes, until very tender. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the liquid.

 If using a food processor, pulse the pitted olives, drained figs, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, capers, and fresh rosemary or thyme to create a thick paste. Pulse in the olive oil until you’ve achieved a chunky-smooth paste. Season with black pepper and salt, if necessary. (The spread can be thinned with a bit of the reserved fig poaching liquid.)

 To make the chevre towers:

  • 3 mini chevre rounds, about 3.5 ounces each, very cold

 Split the mini chevre in half horizontally. Place the bottom half on a work surface. Mound a good amount of tapenade on the bottom half. Add top layer of cheese-pressing down gently. Dollop a good amount of tapenade on the top. Let some tapenade drop down over the sides. Refrigerate to set for about 20 minutes. Serve with slices of baguette, crackers or pita triangles that have been lightly brushed with olive oil.


Dry, fruity Resisling

To be continued…