From the Knife's Edge: Recipes from the Tenaya Chefs

Here at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, we’re constantly serving up an array of seasonal dishes to tantalize your taste buds and inspire your imagination. To help with your holiday entertaining, Chef John Short rolls out some of his favorites.

Chef Frederick Clabaugh, CEC, adds some tasty options of his own to upgrade your holiday fare. If you never thought it possible to wow people with Brussels sprouts, check out his holiday recipes below.

Don't want to do all that cooking yourself? Then consider joining us for a holiday dinner at Tenaya Lodge. It doesn't get any better than fueling your Yosemite holiday hikes with the fine cuisine of Tenaya Lodge.

Looking beyond the holiday, the chef helps you start out the year right. In preparation for summer, Chef Clabaugh is sharing his Sushi Rice and Kappa Maki Roll (cucumber roll). This light and refreshing sushi is the perfect thing for starting off the New Year. You can’t go wrong with this dish! See below for the chef's sushi recipe.

Bon appetite to all!

Holidays with Chef John Short

I’m sure that fall means many different things to many different people. What it means to me as a chef is a reprieve from the light summer fair we all tend to eat in order to maintain our “swim suit weight” and  the emergence of deep flavors and rich soups and sauces. At least that is how it used to be anyway. People today are more health conscious and far more receptive to cuisine as a whole (thanks Food Network!). So for our fall/holiday recipe collection this year I decided to take a more modern approach to our first two courses and then to bring it on home with an old-school carrot cake. Hope you enjoy !

Kale and roasted beet salad

  • 3 pounds kale                                 2 each roasted red beets
  • ½ pound spiced hazelnuts            2 each roasted golden beets
  • ½ pound favorite chevre               1 each cucumber
  • 8 ounces maple vinaigrette           ½ pound pickled red onion


Start by roasting your beets. To do this turn your oven on to 425 degrees. While heating, place your beets in a small bowl with about 2 TBS oil salt and pepper, toss until beets are coated evenly. Place on paper or foil lined pan and bake 45 minute to an hour or until tooth pick comes out easily. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, this will lightly steam them to help you to remove the skins. Peel, small dice and reserve.

Next let’s get a quick pickle done on our red onions, peel onion and julienne. Set aside. In small pot place 1 cup sugar and 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp dried tarragon. Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot and turn on the heat to high and bring to a rapid boil. While still hot, pour vinegar mixture over your julienned onions. Place in refrigerator and chill completely before draining well.

Now let’s spice up some hazelnuts, also known as filberts in the United States. In a medium sized sauté pan melt 2 ounces whole butter, place hazelnuts in pan and sauté for about 2 minutes add, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp smoked paprika, 1TBS brown sugar and a pinch  of cayenne for heat. Sauté for 1 minute more the add 2 ounces water. Continue cooking until water has evaporated and the hazelnuts are evenly coated with spices. Pour onto a wax paper coated surface and let stand at room temp until firm and dry.

And now for our dressing. Super easy all you need is 2 FL. Oz. pure maple syrup, 2 FL. OZ. Canola oil, 6 FL. OZ. apple cider vinegar. Place maple syrup and oil in a blender and turn it on high, then slowly add the oil as the mixture is blending. The end product should be a little thicker and have a creamer texture to it, finish with salt and pepper to taste.

So now all we have to do is chop our kale, leaving the stems out. And peel and slice our cucumber. For family style place kale in large bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing, add the other ingredients and toss.


Roasted butternut squash and apple soup

  • 2 Pounds Butternut squash                                    1 Pound Apples (like Fuji or red delicious)
  • ½ Pound Leeks                                                        ½ Pound Fennel bulb
  • ¼ pound garlic                                                        ½ Pound onion
  • ¼ Pound carrots                                                     ¼ Pound Celery
  • ¼ Pound Shallots                                                    2 Quarts Chicken stock
  • 2 each bay leaf                                                       ¼ cup fresh tarragon
  • 2 TBS fresh thyme                                                  2 TBS Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste                                          3 TBS canola oil
  • 3 TBS Apple cider Vinegar


Set an oven to 425 degrees then peel and rough chop butternut squash, apples, onions, carrots. Put in a bowl then add whole (peeled) garlic, shallots (peeled) and chopped fennel bulb. Add oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss until coated evenly and place on a paper lined bakers pan, roast in preheated oven till nice and caramelized.

Place roasted Veggies in a large pot with the chicken stock, celery, bay leaf, nutmeg and vinegar. Place over medium to high heat and simmer for 30 minutes. At this point you can chill then puree in a blender with the rest of your ingredients, and reheat as needed. Or if you have a stick blender you can add the rest of you ingredients to your simmering pot and blend until smooth.


Flossies carrot Cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 2c sugar
  • 2c flour
  • 2t soda
  • 2t salt
  • 2t cinn
  • 1 1/2 c canola oil
  • 2c shredded carrots
  • 1c. angel flake coconut
  • 1c crushed pineapple, drained, save 2T for frosting
  • 1c walnuts, chopped

Mix eggs, sugar oil, sift together dry and add slowly, fold in carrots, walnuts, coconut, and pineapple. Makes 1-9x13 pan or 2- 8 inch rounds.  Line pan with parchment. Bake at  350 for 45-55 mins


  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1t vanilla
  • 2T crushed pineapple
  • 2-4 cups sifted powdered sugar--depending on how stiff you want the frosting..

Set your cream cheese and butter out at room temperature for about an hour, then using a mixer with a paddle attachment you place your cream cheese, butter, salt, vanilla and mix together on medium speed until batter is smooth. Add crushed pineapple and 1 cup of powdered sugar and continue to mix on low speed, mix till smooth, add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time mixing until smooth and your desired consistency.  

Holiday Recipes to Impress Your Guests

Brussels Sprouts With Apples And Shallots


  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 medium Fuji apple
  • 2 dozen medium-large Brussels sprouts
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 dash salt
  • 6 Tbsp salted butter


Dice shallot.
Cut off stems then halve Brussels sprouts.
In a large pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter, add salt and pepper, and bring to medium-high heat.
Add shallots and cook until just beginning to brown.
Add the Brussels sprouts and remaining butter. You may want to turn the heat up slightly at this point.
Cook Brussels sprouts until slightly blackened on the edges (yes, it will get a little smoky, that’s correct.)
Once the sprouts are mostly cooked, add the apple.
Cook until apples are slightly softened (just a few minutes.)


As a rule of thumb, more butter is better. You don’t want the pan to get dry. Also on the issue of butter, use real butter!

Pork Roast with Apple Mustard Glaze


  • 1 (4½ to 5 ½-pound) bone-in pork loin end roast
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Take the pork out of the refrigerator 45 minutes before you are ready to roast to allow the pork to come to temperature.
Place the pork into a roasting pan fitted with a rack or onto a baking sheet, fat side up, and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven and roast for 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the glaze.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the apple juice to a boil and reduce it by half, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard and simmer until thickened, another 5 to 7 minutes.
After the pork has roasted for 1 hour, start brushing it with the glaze every 15 minutes. Cook until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F, about 2 hours total cook time. Remove from the oven, give it another coating of glaze, and let it rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes before carving 

Pecan Shortbread


  • ¾ pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups small diced pecans
Note: this recipe can easily be doubled.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter/sugar mixture. Add the pecans and mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough ½-inch thick and cut into 2½-inch squares with a plain or fluted cutter (or cut into any shape you like). Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve.

Celebrate Wellness!

A Healthy and Delicious Sushi Dish to Prepare for Our Spa Retreat.

Here's a dish to get you inspired and ready for our Winter Wellness Retreat at the Ascent Spa.

Kappa Maki Roll (cucumber roll)

1 sheet Nori (seaweed)
3 ounces Sushi Rice
1 ounce Cucumber Sticks
¼ ounce Toasted Sesame Seeds

Place Nori on the table. Brush with a small amount of water on ½ of the sheet only. Place the rice on the area that you put the water and spread out in a thin layer. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and lay the Cucumber in the middle. Roll the nori over the top of the rice and cucumber. Brush the remaining portion of nori with more water and roll completely so as to seal the roll. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Trim the ends and cut the roll into 6-8 equal pieces. Serve with soy sauce, Wasabi paste and pickled ginger.

Sushi Rice

2 cups Medium Grain Rice (cal rose)
2 cups Water
2 cups Sushi Vinegar (recipe follows)

1. Using cold water, rinse the rice, stirring thoroughly to remove the excess starch.
2. Repeat the first step 2-3 more times, or until the water is clear.
3. Add water to the rice and cook in a rice cooker.
4. Once the rice is cooked, add sushi vinegar a little at a time while “cutting” into the rice (also known as mixing). Cool in the refrigerator.
5. Once the rice is cooled, cover with a damp cloth until ready to use.

Sushi Rice Vinegar

4 cups Rice Vinegar
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Salt

1. Using a heavy bottom stockpot, combine ALL ingredients together and whisk together.
2. Heat liquid over high heat until liquid starts to boil.
3. Once liquid has started to boil, remove from the heat and cool.
4. Reserve for later use.