Chef Ryan Rondeno, a private chef to the stars like Ashton Kutcher, Diddy, Ben Affleck, Will Smith, Common, Tyrese Gibson, and Robert Smith has holiday cooking tips to help prepare you for the season’s festivities filled with family, friends, and of course, unforgettable food. Check out the tips below and plus a couple of lavish recipes, using simple techniques, so that everyone (including you, the host!) can enjoy.

1. Stay Seasonal: Fall is one of my favorite times to cook! Food that’s flavorful with the mixture of spices and reminds us of hearty comfort food. Everyone should visit their local farmer’s market and learn what items are featured each week.

2. Try New Spices and Seasonings: Try new seasoning blends. The use of spice blends enhances the flavors of chicken, pork, lamb, beef, seafood, and vegetables. The Rondeno Spice Collection would be a great addition to your pantry!

3. Research New Recipes: Oftentimes we find ourselves in a cooking funk, often asking, “How can we keep it interesting in the family kitchen?” Use recipe Apps, videos, and articles to learn and try new recipes. Cooking classes and social media cooking groups are other options to be engaged and learn from people around the world.

4. Follow Cooking Trends: Following cooking trends allows you to be consumed with what’s relevant on the dinner table. Whether it’s avocado toast, toast, BBQ, seafood boils, or even becoming a vegetarian, trends keep the dinner table interesting and you’ll become a better cook in the process.

5. Make Your Dinner Interactive: Cooking together is significantly important in the family. Tacos, making fresh pasta, cupcakes, cookies are some examples of interactive cooking. Parents should allow each member of the family to take the lead of cooking dinner too! As parents, you have an opportunity to pass on your family culture through stories and food.

The featured recipe has been paired with a carrot top pistou and spiced creme fraiche sauce. This side dish can stand alone or become a beautiful addition to seafood, beef, lamb, or poultry. 

Cumin Roasted Carrots with Spiced Creme Fraiche

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

2 bunches of heirloom carrots

8oz. creme fraiche

1 cup olive oil, plus 2 tbs

2 tsp. curry powder

2 tbs. butter

1 tsp. ground ginger

6 cloves garlic

1/4 c sunflower seeds

2-3 tps. cumin

1 cup carrot leaves, packed

1 lemon, juiced

salt and peper to taste

1-2 tps. crushed red pepper

4-5 sprigs of thyme

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Remove carrot tops and reserve. Peel carrots. Thoroughly clean the carrots removing any dirt.
3. In a 12 inch saute pan, add butter and olive oil at medium heat.
4. Add cumin, 4 cloves of garlic smashed, crushed red pepper, and thyme. Toast for 30 seconds.
5. Add carrots and mix in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes.

For the Carrot Pistou:

In a food processor, add carrot leaves, sunflower seeds, garlic, juice of half a lemon. Pulse until finely chopped. Slowly drizzle olive oil until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

For the Creme Fraiche:

In a small bowl, add, creme fruit, curry powder, ground ginger, and juice of 1/2 a lemon. Whisk until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper. Taste for seasoning adjustments.

To Assemble:

Smear creme fraiche on the base of the plate. Add roasted carrots. Spoon pistou on top of carrots.

* This recipe was written by Private Chef to the Stars Ryan Rondeno of Rondeno Culinary Designs.