CCCC Culinary Chefs Share Holiday Favorites
SANFORD - The holiday season is a time for great memories.
What better way to relive those memories than through our favorite holiday season foods!
Chefs from the Central Carolina Community College Culinary instructional staff have taken time to share a few of their favorite holiday memories - and recipes!
To learn more about the Central Carolina Community College Culinary & Hospitality Arts program, visit cccc.edu/culinaryarts.
Chef Gregg Hamm
Chef Hamm is the Executive Director of the Central Carolina Culinary Institute who has been a chef for 28 years.
Large family gatherings and Christmas at his Granny's are among his fondest holiday memories.
As for his favorite holiday dish, it would be his Pumpkin Roll. "My high school culinary teacher taught me the recipe and I've made it every year since. This will be my 30th year making the recipe," said Chef Hamm.
His tip for holiday cooks: "Plan ahead so that you have enough oven space, and enough burners to finish everything timely and safely."
Chef Gregg Hamm's Holiday Pumpkin Roll
(Makes 3 jelly rolls)
- 12 eggs
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 2/3 cups pumpkin
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 cups sifted flour
- 3 tablespoons cinnamon
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 24 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Whip eggs until airy and fluffy (this is very important for the sponge method).
- Add sugar, pumpkin, and lemon juice. Whip until fluffy (careful not to over-mix).
- Fold in remaining ingredients except pecans.
- Spray and line 3-cookie sheets.
- Divide dough mixture into 3 pans, sprinkle with pecans.
- Bake 350 12-14 minutes.
- Allow to rest for 3 minutes then pour into a powder sugar dusted towel.
- Roll gently, and allow to cool completely.
- Unroll and add filling.
- Combine all ingredients until smooth. Spread onto pumpkin roll once it's cooled (remember to roll it and allow it to cool while rolled in towel. (This will allow the sponge cake to aerate.)
- These methods and many more are taught in our culinary classes. We would love to share them with you sometime in our academic environment at CCCC.
Chef De-Ven Atkinson
Chef Atkinson, a culinary instructor at the CCCC Dunn Center, has been a chef over 10 years.
What are some of his fondest holiday memories? "Cooking in the kitchen and learning different techniques from older generations, and them also handing down recipes and cast iron skillets that belonged to their parents," he said.
He lists his favorite holiday foods as "Everything!" He adds that his Aunt Jean's Stuffing is simply amazing. "I haven't learned it yet because she kicks everyone out when it's time to cook it," said Chef Atkinson.
Chef Atkinson advises cooks to "Plan, Plan, Plan so you won't stress" for the holidays. "Bring in those younger ones and teach them a few things so they can be ready to take the torch when needed," he said.
Chef De-Ven Atkinson's Sweet Potato Pound Cake
- 3 c all-purpose flour properly measured
- 1 vanilla pudding packet
- 1 1/2 c butter
- 1 1/2 c sweet potato, diced, lightly coat in oil and roast and mashed
- 1 c sugar
- 3/4 c brown sugar packed
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 c sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp butterscotch liqueur
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/4 c light brown sugar
- 1 c pecans chopped
- 1/2 c salted butter
- 1/2 c heavy cream
- 1/4 c maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, pudding packet, salt, baking powder, and soda, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon and set aside.
- Use a stand or hand-held mixer to cream the butter, sugars, vanilla, and butterscotch liqueur together. Follow with the eggs one at a time then the sweet potato. Starting and ending with the dry mix, alternate adding sour cream and flour to the wet batter.
- Prepare a bundt or pound cake pan with butter or spray. Carefully scoop the batter in to the pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. A toothpick will come out clean when it's done. Cool well before attempting to remove from the pan.
Chef Kelly Burton
Chef Kelly Burton, a culinary instructor at the CCCC Chatham Main Campus, fondly remembers Christmas Eve at her great-grandmother's with all the family.
As a chef for 30 years, she recalls holiday foods like overnight salad, stuffing, and green bean casserole.
Her tips for holiday cooks: "Have simple dishes, some that can be prepared ahead, some that are room temperature or cold and a few hot. Assign duties and have people help."
Chef Kelly Burton's Pumpkin Queso Fundido
- 1 ea small sugar pumpkin
- 1/2 can pumpkin puree
- 1 pound Chorizo Sausage or any sausage you want or none
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 jalapeno, chopped
- 1 sweet onion, chopped small
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 T Flour
- 1 C Chicken Broth
- 1 C cream or half-half
- 2 C Shredded Cheese -- Mozzarella, Sharp Cheddar -- I like a blend
- 1 C Monterey Jack, shredded
- Salt and pepper to taste
- As needed cooking oil
- 1 C Cilantro, chopped for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Carve lid off of pumpkin and scoop out seeds (plant those!)
- Brush inside of pumpkin and underside of 'lid' with cooking oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast in pan until pumpkin is slightly tender -- Do not cook! You will serve the dip in this.
- In a pan, crumble sausage and cook.
- At half-way add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, cayenne.
- When onion starts to soften, add the roma tomatoes and cook a minute more.
- Stir in the flour and then add the broth and cream.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and stir in the pumpkin.
- When pumpkin is stirred in thoroughly, reduce heat and stir in cheeses -- Cheese cannot be cooked over high heat! As soon as it is melted, remove from direct heat.
- When cheese is melted, taste for salt & pepper and adjust to your liking.
- If too thick, add bit of broth -- if too thin, let sit a bit to thicken up and cool.
- Serve in the pumpkin (make sure pumpkin sits in a bowl just big enough to hold in case of a crack!).
- Or hold low in crockpot.
- Serve with tortilla chips, pita, veggies.
Chef Regina Minter-Hargett
Chef Minter-Hargett, whose hometown is Sanford, has been a chef for 13 years and is a culinary instructor on the CCCC Lee Main Campus.
She says that "being in the kitchen with my grandma making her pies and cakes" is among her fondest holiday memories.
What about her favorite holiday foods? "Dressing with turkey and gravy, ham and potato salad, sweet potato pie, cake," said Chef Minter-Hargett. "I like these things because it takes me back to my younger days being in the kitchen with my grandma."
Chef Minter-Hargett's tip for people cooking during the holidays: "Make it a family thing, so you can enjoy the fellowship with family. Make it fun."
Chef Regina Minter-Hargett's Potato Salad
- 3 lbs. Idaho potatoes
- 3/4-1 cup salad dressing (Miracle Whip)
- 1/2 cup sweet relish
- 1/2 medium onion, small diced
- 3 boiled eggs, chopped
- 2 tbsp. yellow mustard
- 2-3 tsp. celery seed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and cube potatoes.
- Boil potatoes 10-12 minutes or until fork tender.
- Boil eggs for 12 minutes and turn off heat, let sit for 5 minutes, then cool in cold water and peel.
- Mix all ingredients once potatoes and eggs are done.
- Chill for at least 1 hour.
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