4 Holiday Recipes to Impress your Guests

Posted : November 9, 2019

Our blog is chock full of great ideas for fun things to see and do in York Durham and Headwaters. We are always adding new content and updating old posts, but sometimes you might stumble upon something from our vault. If this article has inspired you to hit the road, be sure to double-check that the featured stops in this post are still welcoming visitors.

Looking to add a few recipes to liven up your ‘go-to’ meals? Well look no further! These delicious recipes will bump up your chef status by a mile. Whether you want to impress that special someone in your life or just get the family off your back about having the same meals every night “Oh, meatloaf….again”, YDH has got you covered.

Fig and Walnut Tapenade with Goat Cheese

The Passionate Cook’s Essentials

The richly delicious spread on this Crostini with Fig & Walnut Tapenade is the epitome of sweet and salty. Creamy goat cheese takes it up a notch

Fig and Goat Cheese


  • 1 cup chopped stemmed dried Calimyrna figs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 5.5-ounce logs soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), each cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut halves
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
  • Assorted breads and/or crackers


  1. Combine chopped figs and 1/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until liquid evaporates and figs are soft, about 7 minutes.
  2. Transfer to medium bowl. Mix in olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, capers, and chopped thyme. Season tapenade to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
  3. Arrange overlapping cheese rounds in circle in center of medium platter. Stir chopped walnuts into tapenade; spoon into center of cheese circle. Garnish with walnut halves and thyme sprigs, if desired. Serve with breads and/or crackers.


Port Cherry Roast Duck

King Cole Ducks

Easy to prepare and guaranteed to please with even crisper skin thanks to the Cherry/Port combo… the subtle sweetness of port and the tang of dried cherries.

Port Cherry Duck


  • 1 King Cole whole duck, about 2.5kg/5lbs.
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) canola oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups (500 ml) ruby red port
  • ½ tsp (2ml) salt
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 more shallots, halved
  • ½ cup (125ml) dried cherries
  • Makes 4-6 servings.


  1. Preheat oven to 325F (160C).
  2. Trim excess skin from duck, remove giblets, and reserve for other use.
  3. In small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and cook chopped shallot and garlic for about 6 minutes or until soft.
  4. Add port and bring to boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until reduced by half.
  6. Sprinkle duck with salt (seasoning or sea salt) inside cavity and on skin.
  7. Place sage leaves and shallot halves into duck cavity.
  8. Use ½ cup (125 ml) of port mixture and brush over duck.
  9. Add cherries into remaining port, set aside.
  10. Place duck in centre of a 325F (160C) oven and roast for about 3 hours or until skin is crisp and golden brown; leg should move freely. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
  11. Reheat port and cherries and serve with duck. Remember to quarter, not carve, a whole duck.


Big Buffalo Pot Roast with Cranberry and Pear Brown Sauce

Thunder Ridge Bison Company

We all know Roast Beef as a comfort food, but Roast Bison can be just as comforting… and better for you. See what Chef David Wolfman cooks up with a Bison (Buffalo) Roast.

Bison Pot Roast


  • 1 Bison inside-round roast (5lb/2.5kg)
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) red wine
  • 7 tbsp (105 mL) Big Buffalo Spice Mix
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) pure olive oil
  • 1 cup (250 mL) brown stock or store-bought unsalted beef stock
  • 1 cup (250 mL) sliced onion
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 9 strips of bacon
  • 4 potatoes, chopped (optional)


Place the roast in a nonreactive dish and pour the wine over it. Rub the roast with the Big Buffalo Spice Mix and coat with the oil. Marinate in the fridge for four hours, turning every hour.

  1. Remove roast from fridge and drain off excess marinade (reserve); allow meat to return to room temperature, which will take about an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 300F (150C).
  3. Heat the stock to the boiling point in a microwave or on stovetop. Remove from heat.
  4. Heat a Dutch oven over very low heat for 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high. Sear drained roast until brown on all sides (less than five minutes on each side), using reserved marinade as needed. Transfer roast to a plate and set aside.
  5. Cook onion and garlic in the pot until soft. Deglaze the pot by pouring in the heated stock, scraping up the brown bits on the Botton and sides of the pot, and swirling the liquid around.
  6. Return roast to the Dutch oven. Weave strips of bacon across the top of the roast to keep them from slipping off. Use toothpicks to hold the bacon in place if needed. Add potatoes, if using. Roast the meat for.1 1.2 hours covered and then 1 hours uncovered. Do not attempt to turn the. Roast over while it cooks, but baste it every 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the bacon; if it starts to get crispy then cover the roast loosely with some foil.
  7. To get and accurate reading, test the internal temperature of the roast out of the oven when it is medium rare, at 150F (65C) but Health Canada recommends you wait until it is well done (165F/75C). Transfer the roast to a cutting board and allow to rest, covered loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil, for 10 minutes while you make the sauce. Strain and reserve pan drippings from sauce.
  8. Before serving, carve the roast very thinly across the grain (after removing any string or toothpicks that were used on the road).


Mustard & Herb Crusted Prime Rib Roast with Shallot Red Wine Jus

Heatherlea Farm Shoppe

This mustard and herb crusted prime rib roast will fill your home with the most mouth-watering aroma, you will want to bottle it. Not to mention the taste will blow your mind. A definite crowd pleaser.

Prime Rib Roast


  • 3-rib standing rib roast (7-8 lbs)
  • ¼ cup Grainy Mustard (we prefer Kozlik’s Classic Dijon)
  • a bunch of fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 shallots


  1. Two hours before roasting, remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500° F.
  3. Wash & roughly chop the vegetables and garlic. Place them in a roasting pan along with half of the herbs, drizzle with oil.
  4. Rub the grainy mustard to cover the meat. Chop half of the herbs and press them into the mustard to create a crust. Season the roast with salt & pepper and place it bone-side down on top of the bed of vegetables.
  5. Roast for 15 min at 500° F and then lower the temperature to 300° F until the desired temperature is reached. A medium rare roast would be removed from the oven at an internal temperature of 125° F (resting will allow the roast to rise in temperature by another 5 ° F). Cover the roast loosely with foil while it is resting.
  6. Mince the shallots and sauté in a pan on medium-low until translucent. Add the red wine and reduce over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about half. Strain the vegetables from the drippings and discard. Add the beef drippings to the red wine and bring to a boil to make an au jus to serve over the beef.

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