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Spruce up your holiday meal with something other than the standard turkey or ham centerpiece.

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A Christmas meal can be equal parts nostalgia and conundrum. Less than a month after Thanksgiving, many families turn around and have a similar meal again during Christmas. If you’re looking for something other than a turkey or ham as your centerpiece, chef Kurt Fleischfresser provides his version of a roasted pork loin that is served with roasted garlic and a recipe for an apple-honey tart. Hospitality 84 executive chef Jeff Chanchaleune provides his version of the classic pecan pie, which recently debuted on Ponyboy’s new menu.

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Roasted double loin of pork with caramelized onions and pine nuts

Ingredients

1 double loin pork roast, tied (ask your butcher to cut and tie this roast for you at about 5 pounds)

8 cloves of fresh garlic

4 small hot peppers

8 fresh sage leaves

1/4 cup olive pomace oil (or your favorite cooking oil)

4 large yellow onions

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

2 cups light chicken stock or water

1 1/2  tablespoons of salt 

fresh ground pepper

A few rosemary and thyme sprigs if available

Preparation

Begin by making eight holes in the roast by inserting a 1-inch-wide knife blade; the holes should be about 2 inches deep and evenly distributed around the sides of the roast. In each of the holes, stuff a sage leaf, half of a pepper and a clove of garlic. On the areas of the roast between the butcher’s string, lightly score the meat about a quarter of an inch deep, making a checkerboard pattern (this will allow the fat to render out and the seasoning and onion flavor to get in), and then season with the salt and pepper. In a preheated ovenproof skillet, pour in the oil, and when the oil is hot, sear the roast on all sides. (Be patient and make sure the roast is nice and brown all around.) While searing the roast, take one of the onions and cut it into a large dice. Once the roast is completely seared, put the chopped onion in the open spaces around the roast and place it in a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The roast will take about an hour to come to an internal temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit (or 165 degrees Fahrenheit for well-done). While it is cooking, finely slice the remaining onions and, over a medium heat in a heavy saucepan, caramelize the onions using a 1/4 of a stick of unsalted butter. Move the cooked roast to a platter and pour off the fat in the pan without pouring the onions. After the fat is removed, deglaze the onions in the pan with two cups of dry white wine and reduce it to a syrup. Over the reduced wine and onions, add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil and strain the liquid into the pan with the caramelized onions and reduce it to a saucelike consistency. Slice and plate the pork loin. Spoon the caramelized onion sauce over the slices and top the dish with toasted pine nuts.

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Roasted garlic

Ingredients

5 large heads of fresh garlic

2 cups light chicken stock or water

1/4 cup olive oil (pomace, pure or extra virgin)

1 teaspoon of salt

fresh ground pepper

Preparation

Cut the bottom 1/4 (this is where the garlic comes to a point) of each head of garlic off; this will expose the ends of most of the garlic cloves. Place the garlic cut-side-down in an 8-inch skillet (the garlic should be just touching each other and the edges of the pan without a lot of open space left in the pan) and add the rest of the ingredients to the pan.  The liquid in the pan should just about cover the garlic but not quite. Put it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake it until the liquid has almost evaporated or the top of the garlic is soft to the touch (like a baked potato when it is done).

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Apple-honey tart

Ingredients

1 batch of buttery pie dough (recipe follows)

6 apples (preferable slightly tart)

1/2 cup honey (preferably local)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons cornmeal

2 tablespoons sugar

Preparation

Roll out the pie dough into a circle, leaving the dough about 1/8-inch thick. Dust the underside of the dough with the cornmeal and place it on a cookie sheet. Halve, peel and core the apples and slice them about 1/8-inch thick. Starting 1/2 inch in from the edge of the crust, fan the apples in a circle around the dough. Repeat the fanning process until the interior of the tart shell is covered evenly. Sprinkle the sugar, dot the butter and drizzle half of the honey over the tart and bake it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes; the apple and crust edges should be nice and brown. Right before serving, drizzle the rest of the honey on the tart and serve it with whipped cream or ice cream.

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Buttery pie dough

Ingredients

2 cups sifted flour

3/4 tablespoons coarse salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter, cold

4-6 tablespoons ice water

Preparation

With a fork or pastry cutter, mix flour, salt and butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Using your hand, work in 1 tablespoon of ice water at a time until a slightly dry dough ball forms. (Be careful not to overwork the dough.) Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.

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Aunt Judy’s Pecan Pie 

Ingredients

1 9-inch deep-dish pie crust

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup melted butter

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 pound pecan pieces

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the pie crust according to the package instructions and then let it cool to room temperature. Turn down the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk the sugars, corn syrup, maple syrup and pecans in a mixing bowl until well combined. Whisk in the eggs and then the butter. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Bake the pie for 1 hour. Let it cool to room temperature and then enjoy!

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