Monthly Archives: November 2020

Holiday Traditional Menu

CBCI Chef Charlie Baggs loves to try new and interesting dishes from around the world. That is why he decided to host a virtual event for the Chicago Section IFT. This event included a live cooking demonstration focused on a diverse set of holiday recipes. These three recipes introduce a not so traditional holiday flavor to your menu, and we know that at CBCI it’s all about the flavor. 

Smoked Salmon Dip

The first item on the menu is a decadent and creamy salmon spread with savory herbs and lemon.

The recipe:

Blend together the following ingredients and refrigerate for one hour to chill: 4 oz. smoked salmon, 16 oz. softened cream cheese, ½ cup sour cream, 1 tsp. lemon zest, 1tsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp. chopped capers, ½ tsp. minced garlic, ½ tsp. chopped rosemary, and ½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper. Refrigerated for one hour. Serve with favorite crackers, vegetables, or charcuterie.

The ingredients:

Smoked Salmon 4 oz. – Cream Cheese softened 16 oz. – Sour Cream ½ cup – Lemon zest 1 tsp – Lemon juice 1 tsp. – Capers, chopped 1 tbsp. – Garlic, minced ½ tsp. – Rosemary, chopped ½ tsp. – Black Pepper, freshly cracked ½ tsp.


The second item on the menu is a staple among Mexican cuisine. Tamales are a traditional blend of meats or vegetables and dough steamed in a corn husk and served with sauce.

The tamale dough recipe:

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, or by hand in a mixing bowl, cream lard or vegetable shortening until light and fluffy, about 1 ½ to 3 minutes. Scrape down sides with rubber spatula as needed. In another bowl, mix dry ingredients; masa harina, baking powder, and kosher salt together until well combined. Add dry ingredients to the lard and blend until a shaggy dough forms. Add stock in increments, 1 cup at a time. Once all the liquid is added, mix until a light dough forms. Test the masa dough by pressing a little into the palm of your hand to observe the texture. If dough holds its shape and doesn’t crack and is easily removed from your palm without sticking, the dough is ready. If not, add more liquid and continue to mix. Cover and chill the mixture.

*The mixture will mold better if chilled prior to making tamales

The tamales assembly:

In a large bowl soak corn husks in warm water, weigh down to cover with a plate, if needed. Soak corn husks until softened, about 30 minutes or overnight. Drain and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Add water to a large pot until it is about 2 inches high. Place a steamer basket in the pot. Line the bottom steamer basket with extra corn husk, either large, small or ripped ones (this helps prevent water from touching the stuffed tamales). Place a small ball of aluminum foil into the center of the steamer basket.

Time to fill the corn husk. Place the corn husk with a wide part towards you. Place the smooth side of corn husk up. Put about 2 oz. of masa mixture in the center of the corn husk. Spread out to 4” x 1” x 1/4 thick”. Place 2 oz. of filling down the middle of the corn husk right on the filling. Fold the right then left sides over the filling. Fold the bottom part of corn husk under to the back of the tamale. Place the tamales in the pot of the steam basket with the open (folded over) side of the tamale up. *Note you can tie your tamales with a string if you prefer but it is not necessary. Repeat with remaining tamales. Steam over medium heat until masa feels firm and separates easily from husks, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Tamales Ingredients:

Tamale Dough

 – Lard or Vegetable Shortening 1 cup – Masa Harina 4 cups – Salt 2 tsp – Baking Powder 1 tsp – Vegetable or Chicken Stock 3 cups 

Chicken Filling

 – Rotisserie Chicken, shredded 3 cups – Tomatillo Salsa 1 cup – Monterey Jack or Oaxaca Cheese 1 cup – Cilantro, chopped 2 Tbsp – Salt ½ tsp 

Vegetarian Filling 

– Refried Beans 2-16 oz cans – Tomatillo Salsa 1 cup – Monterey Jack or Oaxaca Cheese 1 cup – Cilantro, chopped 2 Tbsp 

*You can add additional vegetables such as mushrooms, onion, squash, carrot, cauliflower or beets 

– Corn Husks 1 package


The last item on the menu is eggnog; an indulgent holiday beverage that is sweet and creamy. This beverage can also be served with alcohol.

Eggnog recipe:

Whisk the egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar together in a medium bowl. Combine the cream milk and salt, then heat over medium heat while stirring constantly until it reaches a simmer. Slowly pour ½ cup of hot milk mixture into the egg mixture; this will temper the eggs. Add the tempered eggs to warmed milk and stir to incorporate. Whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. This could take 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla and nutmeg. Refrigerate until chilled and thickened. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon and whipped cream, if desired.

Eggnog Ingredients:

Egg Yolks 2 each – Whole Eggs 3 each – Granulated Sugar ¾ cup – Whipping Cream ¾ cup – Whole Milk 3 ½ cup – Nutmeg, ground ¼ tsp – Vanilla Extract ¼ tsp – Salt to taste – Ground Cinnamon to taste – Whipped Cream to taste