Cherry-Almond Clafoutis by Belinda Leong of b.Patisserie. (Christina Holmes)

6 Bay Area Lady Chefs Share Their Holiday Faves

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The halls are decked, the tree is trimmed, but the hardest part of hosting remains: You're going to have to cook something!

Set your holiday party apart from the rest by taking a recipe or two from some of the leading ladies of the Bay Area's culinary scene. Here, some of our top women chefs share their holiday favorites with a global spin—think Mexican-inspired stews and Scandinavian sweets.


Gabriela Camara, Cala

(Yvonne Venegas)

"Whenever I am in Mexico for the holidays and the New Year, we make a seasonal dish called romeritos. It translates directly as 'little rosemary,' but it's actually a plant called seepweed, and is served with shrimp and potatoes and a mole sauce from southern Mexico." -Gabriela Camara, chef/owner of Cala in Hayes Valley.

At home, Gabriela cooks the dish from memory, but recommends a traditional recipe, like the one below, with a few modifications.

Romeritos (serves 6), modified from Food52

For the stew:

  • 1 bunch romeritos
  • 1 1/2 cups mole paste
  • 4 cups broth
  • 6 pieces Nopales
  • 6-8 new potatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Wash the romeritos as you would any other vegetable-- rinse in a strainer, drain, and set aside.
  2. Have a few pots available for use. In one, cook the potatoes on the stovetop, making sure to have enough water in the pot to cover them. Halving the potatoes into cubes before cooking will expedite the cooking time and make them easier to incorporate into the recipe. In one pot, boil the nopales with the garlic in water until tender.
  3. In a large pot, mix the broth and the mole paste, allowing the mixture to boil for 3-4 minutes. Add the potatoes, and cook until tender. Once cooked, add the nopales and romeritos.
  4. Allow all ingredients to simmer over medium heat for ten minutes.

For the tortitas (similar to a pancake):

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons ground shrimp
  • .150 milliliters vegetable oil for frying
  1. Whisk the egg whites until frothy. Mix in the yolks, followed by the ground shrimp.
  2. Don't forget the seasoning. Fry the batter in a pan until golden on both sides.
  3. In the last 3 minutes of cooking the romeritos, add the shrimp tortitas. Serve warm.

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