Chef and owner Tyler Hansen holds a loaf of the Oystercatcher’s holiday panettone— a light, fruity bread. (Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Times)

Chef and owner Tyler Hansen holds a loaf of the Oystercatcher’s holiday panettone— a light, fruity bread. (Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Times)

Season’s Eatings

Festive recipes to keep your holidays merry and bright

’Tis the season for family and friends to fill homes and to try and find ways to keep them entertained and well-fed. The Whidbey News-Times met with a couple of local chefs who offered up festive recipes to help with the latter.

Patrick Goldacker, head baker at the Oystercatcher in Coupeville, has spent months perfecting the restaurant’s holiday panettone.

However, his process takes almost three days and is a bit cumbersome for the average chef at home, so Oystercatcher chef/owner Tyler Hansen provided a simpler version.

The fruity, light bread is sure to please any guest’s taste buds.

“It’s like fruit cake, but actually good,” Hansen said.

Overnight Panettone

Starter

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/16 teaspoon (just a pinch) instant yeast

1/3 cup cool water

Dough

all of the starter (above)

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup lukewarm water

2 large eggs

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) softened butter

1/2 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia flavoring OR 1 teaspoon vanilla + 1/8 teaspoon orange oil

2 1/4 teaspoons SAF Gold instant yeast OR 1 tablespoon instant yeast

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup slivered dried apricots

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple

2 tablespoons grated orange rind or grated lemon rind (zest)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. To make the starter: Combine the starter ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl, cover, and allow them to rest overnight (8 to 12 hours).

2. To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients except the fruit and zest, and mix and knead them together — by hand, mixer or bread machine — until you’ve made a soft, smooth dough.

3. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk).

4. Gently deflate the dough, and knead in the fruits and zest.

5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a panettone pan or other straight-sided, tall 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan. Cover the pan and let the dough rise until it’s just crested over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.

6. Bake the bread in a preheated 400°F oven for 10 minutes; reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake an additional 10 minutes; then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil if the crust appears to be browning too quickly. Panettone should be a deep brown when done, should sound hollow when tapped, and will read 190°F at the center using a digital thermometer. (It’s easy to underbake, since it browns so quickly!)

7. Remove the panettone from the oven and cool completely. Store at room temperature, well-wrapped, for up to a week; freeze for longer storage.

Perfect Prime Rib

JP Dowdell, executive chef and owner of the Roaming Radish in Langley offered up his simple, “go-to” method for herb-crusted prime rib. He said it’s perfect for a family holiday dinner.

INGREDIENTS

Cypress white flake sea salt

Black Peppercorns

Fresh rosemary

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Grind down herbs (a small coffee grinder will do the job)

2. Liberally coat roast the night before cooking and refrigerate uncovered

3. Roast slow and low (225° is ideal if you have the time) until the desired temp (I pull mine at 125°)

4. Let sit for an hour

5. Roast at 425° until desired crust is achieved (usually 5-8 minutes in a commercial convection oven)

6. Rest for 15 minutes before serving.

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