Nothing brings family and friends closer than a good meal. No matter the circumstances, the one certainty that hopefully we are fortunate enough to expect is the enjoyment of each other’s company, no matter how big or quaint the crowd may be, along with table-worthy fare for a bountiful holiday feast.

Family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and even strangers (who are no longer strangers) have all blessed me with their encouragement, praise, and support (even much needed challenges and critiques) with this passion culinary venture of mine. For this and more, I am eternally thankful. I dedicate this special posting of bountiful sustenance to you all.

Fresh herbs and citruses take center stage in putting the right accents to an array of amazing dishes perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas, making a truly memorable and moveable holiday feast.


Citrus-Herbed Air-Fryer Turkey Breast

Grilled Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Grill-Roasted Rainbow Baby Carrots

Cranberry-Apple Sauce

Prosciutto-wrapped Asparagus with Lemon Zest

Haricots Verts Amandine (Green Beans with Almonds)

Thyme Sweet Potato Mash

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes with Leeks

Pumpkin Pie

Wine pairing:

2017 Louis Jadot Pinot Noir Bourgogne

2019 Louis Jadot Chardonnay Bourgogne

Serves 6-8

Let’s get cooking!

Citrus-Herbed Turkey Breast for a Holiday Feast

Citrus-herbed turkey breast
Citrus-herbed turkey breast. Photo: Carlos Sarmiento


  • 3 lbs boneless turkey breast

Turkey brine

  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 orange
  • 4 cups of ice
  • 8 cups water

Turkey rub

  • 4 tablespoons Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh sage
  • 3 chopped sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup of extra Virgin olive oil

*If turkey will be oven roasted, you will need two additional ingredients: plenty of soften butter for basting and some vegetable broth for the roasting pan.


Brining the Turkey Breast

  1. Add the water to a large pot and bring it to a boil. For the orange, peel it using a potato peeler or a knife, then cut it in half. Cut the lemon in half and juice it. Add the remaining brine ingredients to the pot (excluding the ice) and bring to a boil to dissolve all the salt and sugar. Add the lemon halves and orange halves after they’ve been juiced to the brine as well as the orange peel, lemon juice and orange juice, they will provide more flavor.
  2. Remove from heat and cool completely. To speed this up add about 4 cups of ice to the brine.
  3. Once the brine is cooled, place the turkey breast in the brine making sure it’s fully submerged in it. You may have to weigh it down. Store it in the fridge overnight or at least for 12 hours, so make sure you have enough room in your fridge.

Turkey rub & air fryer cooking

  1. Mix all rub ingredients with the olive oil until a paste-like mixture is made. Rub mixture generously on all sides of the turkey and place turkey breast on air fryer pan.
  2. Preheat the air fryer 350F and cook turkey breast for 20 minutes. Turn over and cook until the internal temperature is 160F using an instant-read thermometer, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

Turkey rub & roasting (alternate method if air fryer is not available)

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Remove the turkey breast from the brine solution and pat it dry with paper towels.
  2. Mix all rub ingredients with the olive oil until a paste-like mixture is made. Rub mixture generously on all sides of the turkey and place turkey breast on top of a large metal roasting pan.
  3. Brush the turkey with melted butter, keep remaining butter for basting later. Add the chicken broth to the pan.
  4. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place the roasting pan in the oven. Cook covered for 1 1/2 hours, basting with the melted butter (re-melt again if necessary) every half hour. After 1 1/2 hours, remove the aluminum foil and roast for another 1 hour or until golden brown. The breast is done when a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers at 165 degrees F.
  5. Transfer the turkey breast to a platter or cutting board and let it rest for a full 15 minutes before slicing into it.

Grilled Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Grill-Roasted Rainbow Baby Carrots

Grilled Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Grill-Roasted Rainbow Baby Carrots
Grilled Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Grill-Roasted Rainbow Baby Carrots. Photo: Carlos Sarmiento


  • 2 packages of 1.5 lbs of pork tenderloin
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/3 cup of fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves whole
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup of extra Virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 fresh Rosemary sprigs
  • 1 bag of rainbow (assorted colors) baby carrots
  • Sea salt
  • Extra Virgin olive oil for drizzling


  1. Season pork tenderloins generously with plenty of sea salt and cracked pepper. In a blender, blend parsley, cilantro, onions, garlic and citrus juices with the olive oil.
  2. Place pork tenderloins in a large zip lock freezer bag. Add blended mixture into the bag and seal. Move tender around to ensure they are coated by the mixture. Open bag and add a handful of fresh rosemary sprigs. Marinate inside the fridge for at least 2 hours (recommend overnight).
  3. Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Remove the tenderloin from the bag and place in the center of grate. Discard bag with marinade. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, turning every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees F (depending on desired doneness, I prefer medium-well at 155-160 degrees F).
  4. Remove the tenderloin from the grill and place on a deep dish and tent (cover) with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Let tenderloins rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Place baby carrots flat on top of large cut size of heavy aluminum foil. Lightly add sea salt and drizzle with enough extra Virgin olive oil to coat the carrots. Wrap tightly in foil. (You may need to repeat this step if there are a lot of carrots).
  6. Once grill is on and hot. Place carrot packs on top (elevated) grate to slowly roast. If your grill does not have one, then place carrot packs on grill to low hear for approximately 10-12 minutes

Cranberry-Apple Sauce

Cranberry-apple sauce
Cranberry-apple sauce. Photo: trpnblies7, Flickr


  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of apples peeled and diced


  1. In a medium saucepan, add sugar, water, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Stir in cranberries and apples. Simmer until slightly thickened and the berries begin to pop, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature or chill.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus with Lemon Zest

Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus
Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus. Photo: Carlos Sarmiento


  • 1 pound asparagus (thick spears)
  • 3 to 3 1/2 ounces sliced prosciutto
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra Virgin olive oil
  • Cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the asparagus. Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Set asparagus spears aside. (Reserve the snapped ends for another meal, if you like.)
  3. Cut prosciutto slices in half down their length. Wrap each spear of asparagus with one strip of sliced prosciutto. Tug the prosciutto a little as you wrap it around the asparagus to give it tension. This helps to ensure that the prosciutto wraps around the asparagus tightly. Lay the wrapped asparagus spears on the lined sheet pan.
  4. Drizzle the asparagus with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle a pinch of black pepper on top.
  5. Bake the asparagus for 8 to 10 minutes. When done, the asparagus will be bright green and easily pierced with a fork, and the prosciutto will be crisped around the edges.
  6. Transfer the asparagus to a serving platter. Top with lemon zest and freshly grated cheese. Serve immediately (recommended).

Haricots Verts Amandine (Green Beans with Almonds)

Haricots Verts Amandine (Green Beans with Almonds)
Haricots Verts Amandine (Green Beans with Almonds). Photo: Carlos Sarmiento


  • 1 lb French green beans (haricot verts), trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 2 medium shallots, finely diced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
  • zest of one small lemon
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Cracked black pepper (to taste)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water liberally with sea salt (it should be very salty to taste). Salting the cooking water aggressively accomplishes two tasks: it ensures that the green beans will be seasoned properly inside and out, and also helps them retain their bright green color after cooking.
  2. Blanch (leaving them in the salty liquid) the green beans for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they are crisp-tender and slightly squeaky between your teeth. It is important that the green beans be slightly undercooked as they will be transferred directly to the skillet and will continue cooking during this time.
  3. Meanwhile in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat until lightly bubbling. Add the sliced almonds and sauté, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until they are starting to turn golden brown. Reduce the heat to low and add the chopped shallots and garlic. Sauté for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly caramelized.
  4. Using a large slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the blanched green beans from the boiling water directly to the skillet. Sauté briefly, gently tossing the green beans with the almond mixture until evenly combined and the green beans are tender. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice, toss once again, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Thyme Sweet Potato Mash

Mashed sweet potatoes
Mashed sweet potatoes. Photo: WBUR Boston’s NPR News Station, Flickr


  • 4 jumbo size sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup of freshly chopped thyme
  • 1/3 cup softened salted butter


  1. Peel sweet potatoes and boil until soft. Once softened, transfer to a mixing bowl and mash. Add butter and freshly chopped thyme and mix thoroughly.
  2. Transfer mash to an oven-safe deep dish or pyrex and keep warm in the oven on low heat until ready to serve.

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes with Leeks

Leek Mashed potatoes
Leek mashed potatoes. Photo: Carlos Sarmiento


  • 6-8 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes (cleaned and rinsed thoroughly)
  • one garlic clove, finely minced
  • one large leek, trimmed, washed and finely chopped (approx 1/3 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Boil potatoes until soft. In the meantime, in a small frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of extra Virgin oil. Heat pan on medium heat. Quickly fry garlic and leeks for about 2 minutes, careful not to overcook or burn. Transfer cooked leeks from pan to large mixing bowl. Add potatoes to bowl.
  2.  Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until there aren’t any solid chunks seen.
  3. Add butter and salt (omit salt if using salted butter), and mash some more. Stir in the chopped parsley. Add black pepper and more salt to taste.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin pie


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 tablespoons of aged dark rum
  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée
  • 1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
  • 1 good quality pie crust, chilled or frozen


  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  2. Make the pie filling: Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the brown sugar, white sugar, salt, spices—cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, and cardamom. Mix in the pumpkin purée. Stir in the milk and then stir in the rum. Beat together until everything is well mixed.
  3. Pour mix into pie shell and bake: Pour the filling into an uncooked chilled or frozen pie shell. Bake at a high temperature of 425°F for 15 minutes. Then after 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 350°F. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes more. The pie is done when a knife tip inserted in the center comes out wet but relatively clean. The center should be just barely jiggle. Recommendation:  Half-way through baking, put foil around the edges or use a pie protector to keep the crust from getting too browned.
  4. Cool pie on a rack: Cool the pumpkin pie on a wire rack for at least 2 hours.  Serve with whipped cream (optional).

Serve it up!

For a feast such as this, family style serving is the only way to go. Here are my presentation suggestions:

Turkey: On a large serving dish place the turkey breast and make a few 1/8 inch thick slices for immediate serving.

Pork & carrots: On a large and elongated serving dish, arrange pork tenderloins (pre-sliced in 1/4 inch slices) side by side. Garnish with rainbow carrots all around and in between the pork tenderloins.

Cranberry-Apple sauce: This refreshingly sauce goes well with both the turkey and pork tenderloins, therefore, you might want to place this sauce in an attractive serving bowl, strategically placed between the meats.

Prosciutto Asparagus: This dish is excellent as an appetizer or can also be served as a side dish. Arrange the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus side by side on a flat serving dish. Garnish with fresh lemon zest and freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese.

Green Beans: Similarly to the asparagus, the green beans should be served in a flat serving dish.

Sweet potato & Yukon/leek potato mashes: These two mash potatoes can be served directly from the oven-proof dishes. If you wish you can also transfer them to warmed up deep bowls.

Pumpkin pie: Though the pie might have been cooked directly in the aluminum baking plate, it can be placed on top a larger size round decorative serving dish. You can also decorate the larger dish by placing roasted candied pecans around the pie. Have fresh whipped cream ready in an elegant clear glass serving bowl next to the pie. Say grace and enjoy this holiday feast!

Wine pairings

Louis Jadot Pinot Noir BourgogneLouis Jadot Pinot Noir Bourgogne

Louis Jadot’s numerous long-term relationships with wine growers guarantee that the highest-quality fruit is sourced every year from vineyards across the Côte d’Or and Côte Chalonnaise. This wine was aged in French oak for 9 months to develop delightfully smooth tannins.

Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir

Taste: This is an exceptionally elegant Pinot with complex aromas of plums, raspberries and cherries and fresh red fruit flavors in the mouth with earthy floral, mushroom and mineral notes and balance acidity.

Pairings: Roasted chicken, pork or grilled fish.

Louis Jadot BMV ChardonnayLouis Jadot Chardonnay Bourgogne

The richness and power of the Côte d’Or and Côte Chalonnaise blended with the vibrancy of Mâconnais fruit. Aged in Stainless Steel for 1 year.

Grapes: 100% Chardonnay

Taste: Bright, fresh citrus fruits with slight notes of apricot and pineapple, this is a very balanced wine with fresh acidity and stony minerality.

Pairings: Grilled seafood, shellfish, chicken, salads and pasta primavera. For more information on Louis Jadot wines, visit:


Carlos Sarmiento is an award-winning filmmaker & public relations professional as well as a food & wine aficionado. He first discovered his passion for cooking when he was in his early teens, to the point where he was aspiring to go to culinary arts school and become a chef. Life, however had other plans for him. Carlos ended up studying film-making and pursuing a career in film/TV. After a few years, he made a career change and has since established himself as a seasoned public relations & communications professional. The one constant factor throughout his life’s travels and professional experiences has always been and continues to be his love and appreciation for cultures, cooking, and wine.

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