Recipes from Friends: Between Thanksgiving and Christmas

Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror. Christmas is on the horizon. You might still be picking away at leftovers. Maybe you’re already planning your Dec. 25th feast of ham, turkey or prime rib.

In between, how about something that still feels like the season, but isn’t quite as heavy? We reached out to Chef Tracey Shepos Cenami for a recipe idea that captures all the holiday notes.

The friend of Chef Works just released her new cookbook, “Season: Wine Country Food, Farming, & Friends”, in conjunction with Chef Justin Wangler and Culinary Gardner Tucker Taylor.

You might also know Shepos Cenami, the Chef & Cheese Specialist for Jackson Family Wines, from her recent appearance on “Beat Bobby Flay”, where she took the Iron Chef to the brink with her Eggplant Rollatini. She’s also a three-time champion of “Guy’s Grocery Games”.

Enjoy this recipe from her book:

Chef Tracey Shepos Cenami shows off her new book in her Women’s Springfield Chef Coat and Rockford Bib Apron.

Roasted Fall Vegetable Salad with Miso-Apple Vinaigrette

We think a great strategy for salads in fall and winter is roasting the season’s hearty root vegetables and fruits and serving them at room temperature, tossed in a dressing that brings out their flavors. Here, we’ve chosen celery root, kohlrabi, fennel, and apples, roasted in stages to bring out their best textures. Taking a page from Waldorf salad, we add toasted walnuts from the heritage trees at Jackson Family Gardens, golden raisins, plumped in our verjus, and a sweet and creamy miso-apple vinaigrette. This is the kind of party and potluck salad you can make ahead of time and set out on a buffet, where it will hold up beautifully for hours.


1 cup walnut halves

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

3 cups peeled and diced celery root, cut into medium dice

3 cups diced kohlrabi, cut into medium dice

3 cups diced fennel bulb, cut into medium dice, fronds reserved

3 cups cored and diced Fuji or other red apple, cut into medium dice

For the miso-apple vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons white miso

6 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed

lemon juice

1 tablespoon tahini

1⁄2 cup apple juice

1⁄3 cup white verjus

1⁄3 cup golden raisins

1 cup loosely packed celery leaves (light tender leaves from center of head)

1⁄2 cup loosely packed fennel fronds

To toast the walnuts: Preheat the oven to 325°F convection (350°F conventional). Put the walnuts in the center of a small sheet pan, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss to coat evenly, then spread the walnuts in a single layer. Toast for 6 to 8 minutes, until golden. Pour onto a cutting board to cool, then chop.

To roast the vegetables: Position two racks in the upper part of the oven and raise the oven temperature to 400°F convection (425°F conventional). Place two half sheet pans on the racks to preheat.

In a large bowl, combine the celery root, kohlrabi, and fennel with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt and toss to coat evenly. Divide the mixture between the hot pans, spreading it evenly, and roast for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the apple with 1 teaspoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt and toss to coat evenly. Remove the pans from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 425°F convection (450°F conventional). Add the apple to the pans, stir to combine with the vegetables, and return the pans to the oven. Roast for 8 minutes longer, until the vegetables and apple are tender and the edges are beginning to caramelize. Remove from the oven and let cool.

To make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, mayonnaise, lemon juice, tahini, and apple juice, mixing well. You will not need all of the vinaigrette. The leftover vinaigrette will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To finish and serve: In a small pot, bring the verjus just to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, add the raisins, and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain the raisins. Toss the vegetable mixture with 3/4 cup of the vinaigrette, the walnuts, and the raisins. Garnish with the celery leaves and fennel fronds. Serve at room temperature.

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