Chef Toby Freeland of L’Ecole Culinaire shares his holiday favorites

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Baked Brie en Croute


• 1 each brie or double cream brie cheese, 6 inches
• 1 sheet puff pastry
• 1 cup mango chutney or other preserves
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or another nut
• 1 egg, slightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove Brie from wrapper and using a knife, scrape rind off one side of brie. Spoon chutney on to side of brie without the rind and smooth out almost to the edges. Sprinkle on the walnuts, pressing them down into the chutney so they stay. Lay puff pastry on a surface, roll out or combine to sheets to make large enough to wrap around the brie. Flip brie over and center on puff pastry chutney side down. Wrap puff pastry around brie if necessary, use another piece of puff pastry to completely wrap. Seal using beaten egg to glue pastry together. Turn it over, smooth side up and place it on a parchment lined sheet tray. Cut out decorations using a paring knife or small cookie cutters. Color with food coloring if desired. Place your decorations on the top of the pastry. Brush with egg. Bake for 20 minutes or until the outside is golden, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and cook for 10-20 minutes longer. Serve with crackers, rustic breads, fruits and vegetables.

Tomato Bruschetta


• 4 cups roma tomato -- diced small
• ½ cup shallot -- minced
• 2 cloves garlic -- minced
• ¼ cup basil -- chiffonade
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• Salt and pepper -- to taste


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine, season with salt and pepper.

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls


• 1 cup Carrot, julienned finely
• 1 tsp Sugar
• 8 each Banh Trang, Rice Paper
• 4 leaves Romaine Lettuce, ribs removed, cut in half
• 2 ounces Rice vermicelli noodles, soaked, drained, cooled
• ½ cup Cucumber, julienned
• ½ cup Romaine Lettuce, julienned finely
• ½ cup Mint Leaves, whole
• 8 each Shrimp, cooked, cooled, cut in half lengthwise
• ½ cup Cilantro Leaves
• 1 Tbsp Peanuts, chopped


Combine carrots and sugar, let stand 10 minutes to soften. Fill a container with warm water large enough to hold the rice paper. Working with only 1 or 2 sheets at a time, immerse each sheet into the water until pliable. Remove and spread out on a work surface. Lay one piece of lettuce on the bottom third of the paper. On the lettuce, place 1 Tbsp of noodles, 1 Tbsp carrot, a few strands of cucumber and snow peas, and 2-3 mint leaves. Begin rolling “burrito style” half way, fold sides in, lay 2 shrimp halves and top with a few cilantro leaves. Keep rolling, pulling back, into a tight cylinder to form a seal. Store seam side down covered with a damp paper towel. Repeat with remaining rice sheets.
Sprinkle with peanuts and your favorite dipping sauce.

Sundried Tomato-Artichoke Dip


• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup Sundried Tomato, julienned, soaked and drained
• 1 cup Artichoke Hearts, julienned
• 2 Tbsp Shallot, julienned
• 1 Tbsp Basil, chopped
• 1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
• 2 cup cream cheese, softened
• ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
• ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
• Salt and black pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and transfer to a casserole dish. Bake in oven, covered, at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, then uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until browned on the top. Serve warm with tortilla or pita chips, crackers or crusty bread.

Lamb Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce


• 1-pound ground lamb
• 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
• 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Form into 30 balls (about 2 teaspoons each) and place on a baking sheet. Bake until meatballs are no longer pink in the middle, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine all yogurt ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well. Serve with the meatballs.

Chorizo and Smoked Gouda Stuffed Potatoes


• 8 whole small red potatoes, washed
• 1/4 cup chorizo, cooked and drained
• 1/4 cup smoked Gouda cheese, plus more for topping
• 1 Tbsp sour cream
• 1 green onions, sliced
• Salt and Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook gently until making sure they're sufficiently cooked through, but not mushy. Once you can insert a paring knife into the potato with little resistance they are done. Remove from water and allow to cool enough to handle. Place chorizo, cheese and sour cream in a bowl. Cut the tops off of each potato and a small amount off the bottom so they can stand up. Using a small spoon or a melon baller, scoop out the potatoes being careful not to break through the sides or bottom, leaving ¼ to ½ inch of potato all the way around. Lay the hollowed-out potato shells on a baking sheet. Smash the potato insides into the chorizo, cheese and sour cream. Add the green onions and salt and black pepper to taste and mix together well. Fill the potato shells with the filling. I like to fill the shells so they look abundant and heaping (like it looks like a whole potato). Top each potato with a little more grated cheese and pop 'em in the oven until the potato is warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.

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