Holiday Table

cherokeetable Written by Carl Danbury, Photography by Chris Hornady

If you are a member of Cherokee Town and Country Club or have attended an event at the historic Buckhead club, undoubtedly you are cognizant of the warm and gracious aesthetics and hospitable nature of the staff. Yet, behind the scenes the culinary staff hustles and bustles like the little engine that could, often performing miracles to appease or thrill their members and guests, particularly prior to and during the holiday season. David Lavoy Floral is charged with orchestrating festive settings throughout the club for the holiday season. For the past 26 years, his firm has magically created vignettes, like the one for this holiday table, that are reminiscent of a Currier and Ives lithograph.

For PN’s December issue, Cherokee’s talented team put together scrumptious culinary creations for an exquisite holiday table. Recreate the magic at home; recipes below!

With Quince Jam, Pumpkin Seeds, Apple, Polenta Croutons
Yield: 6 servings


Cherokee’s talented culinary team includes garde manger chef Jonn Ken Nishiyama, executive pastry chef Alex Hwang, Williams Room chef de cuisine JohnMichael Lynch, and beverage manager, club sommelier Silvio Garcia.

Parsnip Soup
¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted, reserve as garnish
2 tbs butter
1 ½ cup sliced leeks, white part only, washed
¼ cup sliced shallots
2 oz. dry white wine, such as chardonnay or sauvignon blanc
1 ½ lbs peeled and sliced parsnips
2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 bay leaf
½ cup cream, hot
Salt and pepper to taste

Sweat leeks and shallots in butter over medium low heat until they are translucent, about 6 minutes.  Deglaze the pot with the white wine and cook 2 minutes to reduce.  Add the parsnips, broth and bay leaf.  Simmer until the parsnips are tender and start to fall apart, about 20 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and puree until smooth in a blender.  Finish the soup with the cream and season to taste.


Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium sized butternut squash (about 2 pounds), split and seeds removed
Oil, as needed
2 tbs butter
¼ cup sliced shallots
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
2 oz white wine
4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
Pinch fresh ground nutmeg
½ cup cream, hot
Salt and pepper to taste

Rub flesh side of squash with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast the squash in a 350-degree oven until golden brown and fork tender, about 40 minutes.  If the squash starts to get too dark before it is tender cover with foil.  Allow to cool until manageable.  Scoop out flesh and reserve for soup.  In a pot sweat the shallots in butter until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the ginger and cook for 2 minutes.  Deglaze with the white wine and cook 2 minutes to reduce.  Add the squash and broth and cook 20 minutes to harmonize flavors.  Puree the soup in a blender until smooth.  Finish the soup with the cream and adjust seasoning.

Quince Jam
1 ea Granny Smith Apple, peeled
2 ea Quince, quartered leaving core and skin on
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Cut 12 melon balls out of apple and store them in water with a little lemon juice, reserve for later.  Cut remaining apple into quarters and combine with quince and water. In a pot fitted with a lid, simmer until the quince and apple are falling apart, about 20 minutes.  Pass the contents through a food mill.  Return to pot and simmer with remaining ingredients.  Cook until the content becomes thick and jam like consistency.  Be sure to stir often.  Chill.  Sauté the apples in a little oil and butter at service time.

Polenta Croutons
1 ½ cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 ½ cup milk
¾ cup yellow cornmeal
2 tbs butter
3 tsp grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Bring broth and milk to a simmer.  Slowly add the cornmeal while whisking constantly.  Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.  Finish with butter, cheese and season.  Line a small baking dish with plastic wrap.  Pour polenta into dish and spread to 1 inch depth.  Chill until solidified.  Flip polenta cake out and cut into one inch cubes.  Coat the cubes in flour, then egg, and finally bread crumbs.  At service deep fry the polenta at 330 degrees until golden brown.  

To Serve:  Ensure both soups are hot and garnishes are ready.  Pour soups into two separate pitchers or glasses.  Pour the soups at the same time to create a yin and yang affect in the bowl.  Garnish with a polenta crouton, scoop of quince jam, 2 sautéed apples, and toasted pumpkin seeds.

12 ea. sliced bacon
1 cup sugar

Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Thoroughly coat the bacon on both sides with sugar by submerging bacon in the sugar.  Place on a rack to bake over parchment.  Bake at 315 degrees for 15 minutes.  Rotate pan and cook until fat is rendered and sugar has crystalized, about 5 minutes.  Remove bacon from rack while it is still hot and store on parchment.

6 oz Saltine crackers
18 oz clarified butter
To make clarified butter: boil 2 pounds of butter and let it sit. Then you can see milk solid on the bottom of a pan. Separate clarified butter and milk solid, and discard the milk solid.

Preheat an oven at 400F. Warm clarified butter and toss with saltine crackers. Put them into 400F oven and bake about 3-4 minutes


Pumpkin curd
3.6 oz brown sugar   
.8 oz all-purpose flour, sifted   
¼ tsp ground ginger  
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/16 tsp salt   
9.6 oz pumpkin puree   
1.5 oz corn syrup  
9 oz milk  
2.4 oz egg   

Mix all dry ingredients and add to pumpkin. Stir well Add corn syrup, eggs and milk and combine all. Cook it at hot water until 180F. And let it chill until room temperature. Take out 12oz of curd and chill it cold. Save it separate

Ginger bread cube
3.5 oz molasses  
3.6 oz butter  
.5 ea Eggs  
5 oz brown sugar   
5.2 oz A.P flour   
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground ginger  
½ tsp ground cinnamon  
1.5 oz boiling water  
.3 oz orange juice  
2.2 oz sour cream  

Melt the butter and combine with the molasses. Beat the brown sugar and the eggs. Sift the dry ingredients. Add the molasses to the eggs. Add the molasses mixture to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 min. Add the sour cream and orange juice, mix for 3 min. Portion into pans and bake 350°. Cool and freeze the cakes. Cut cake into 1/4 inch cubes.

Gingerbread pie crust
4 oz graham crumb  
4 oz ground gingersnaps cookies  
1.1 oz sugar  
4.2 oz melted butter   

Combine ingredients, press into 9” pie pan. Bake it at 400F, and cook it, and keep it in freezer.

Chocolate Ganache
1 oz dark chocolate   
1.5 oz hot heavy cream  

Combine ingredients (no chocolate lump!), and brush into the chilled pie crust.

Pomegranate-raspberry sauce
6 oz fresh raspberry  
.4 oz pomegranate paste  
2 tsp sugar  

Cook everything together and crush all raspberries. Strain it out.  

Final Pumpkin Gingerbread Cream Pie
3 sheets Gelatin sheet soaked in water
7 oz Whipped cream  
15 oz Pumpkin curd(one)  
3 oz Gingerbread cubes
.5 oz Rum   
10 oz Pumpkin curd(two)  

Pour pumpkin curd (two) into prepared crust. Melt gelatin with rum and add to pumpkin curd (one). Mix it well. Add whipped cream and fold it. Add cubed gingerbread and fold in gentle. Pour it into prepared pie crust and chill. When it gets set, top with sweet whipped cream and garnishes it. Cut as desired size and serve with pomegranate-raspberry sauce.

  1. Lana Wilson01-01-2014

    A couple of questions, if I may. Where do you get pomegranate paste and sheets of gelatin? Also where do you get measurements in odd size ounces?

    Thanks for the info.