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Adding Local Flavors to Your Holiday Recipes

Adding Local Flavors to Your Holiday Recipes

Words by Maggie Humberstone; Photos by Olivia Bauso

Is it just me or do local farmers’ markets this time of year have you all giddy with excitement and possibility?  

During my weekly trip to the Public Market, I found myself swooning over the mounds of fresh fruits and vegetables lining the aisles. Rochester is in all its delicious glory this time of year with farm fresh apples, pears, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbages, beets and squashes of all shapes and sizes -- not to mention the fresh baked breads and locally produced cheeses available all year long.  There is so much goodness in one place it’s easy to draw inspiration for how to incorporate these farm-fresh ingredients into your holiday meals.  I challenge you to head to your local market and incorporate some Rochester flavors into your favorite meals this fall and winter season.  

Today, I’m taking two of my favorite fall-inspired dishes and putting a local twist on them!

Harvest Brussels Sprout Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

The Harvest Brussels Sprout Salad uses local Brussels sprouts, Honeycrisp apples and F. Oliver’s ]Blood Orange Olive oil.  My preference is to use First Light goat cheese, but a good crumbly Vermont-style is just fine.  This salad is so versatile and yummy with just about any additions and substitutions you feel like making.  The goal is to the use the freshest ingredients that you can get your hands on and the ones that really speak to you while shopping.    

Salad Ingredients:

2 pints of Brussels sprouts, cleaned and shredded
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup walnut pieces
1 Honeycrisp apple, chopped
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Balsamic glaze (I used Wegman’s brand)


Clean and shred Brussels sprouts. If you have a food processor with a shredding blade, now is a great time to use it. If not, a sharp knife will work just fine.  Trim off tough ends off before shredding.Place shredded Brussels sprouts in a large bowl.
Add cranberries, walnuts and chopped apple to the bowl of Brussels sprouts.
Make vinaigrette and add to bowl, gently tossing with tongs.  Add vinaigrette to your liking. Some like more than others.
When ready to serve, place on platter and top with crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and eat up!

      Blood Orange Vinaigrette Ingredients:
      1 Tbsp. minced garlic
      1 tsp Dijon mustard
      ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
      ¾ cup F. Oliver’s Blood Orange olive oil
      Salt and pepper to taste


      1. Add all ingredients to a Mason jar with a lid.  Shake for 20 seconds until emulsified.
      2. Store in Mason jar.

      You can turn this into a warm salad by sautéing Brussels sprouts in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil before adding the remaining ingredients.  It’s really nice if you can achieve some crispy bits on the sprouts.  I’ve done it both ways and enjoy it just the same.

        Honey Pecan Pie Bars

        This Honey Pecan Pie Bar recipe was given to me from my friend, Charity, at a Christmas Cookie Exchange party in 2012.  I have been making it ever since. My version of the Pecan Pie Bars also have a fun local twist with the addition of honey from Doan’s Honey Farm in Hamlin, NY.  The honey takes the place of the corn syrup usually seen in pecan pie recipes and adds a distinct sweetness that sets this bar above the rest.  I am proud to support local farmers and their families who love what they do and love what they produce.  

        Makes 24 bars

        Crust Ingredients:
        1 cup butter, softened
        2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed2 2/3 cup flour
        ½ tsp salt
        ¼ tsp cinnamon

        Honey Pecan Topping Ingredients:
        ½ cup butter
        1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
        1/3 cup local honey, I used Doan’s Honey from Hamlin, NY
        2 tbsp. heavy cream
        2 ½ cups Pecans, roughly chopped
        2 tsp vanilla
        White chocolate, melted 


        1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees.  Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper (leaving an overhang on either side of pan) and spray liberally with non-stick cooking spray.
        2. To make crust, beat butter and sugar together for 2 minutes.  Then mix in flour, salt and cinnamon.  Mix until pea-sized crumbs form.  Dump into prepared pan, flatten out evenly and bake for 20 minutes.
        3. Filling: In a medium-sized saucepan melt butter over medium heat.  Add brown sugar, honey and cream.  Let simmer for 1 minute.  Turn off heat and stir in pecans and vanilla.
        4. Pour filling onto crust and bake for another 20 minutes.  
        5. Remove from oven and let cool.  Then lift up overhanging parchment paper to easily take the bars out of the pan and cut into 24 pieces.  Drizzle with melted white chocolate if you’re into that sort of thing.  Enjoy!

                    About the Chef:
                    Maggie Humberstone loves learning how to make the most of fresh, local and seasonal produce all year long. Her love language is food and she is always looking for a reason to throw a party.  You can find her one of three places this Holiday season:  1.) Aimlessly roaming the aisles of the Public Market while drinking a Chai latte and eating donuts.   2.)  In her kitchen, reading cookbooks and fooling around with new recipes.  3.) On her couch, snuggling with her two puppies while watching Food Network and Christmas movies.

                    Last but not least, you’ll find Maggie at her Quick Pickling Class on Monday, November 27th at the Rochester Brainery. Looking for more food education? Check out our Intro to Chocolate Making, Entertaining with Cheese and Fireside Drink Making classes coming up in December!

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