The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 2, 2012

Toast-worthy treats

By Lisa Shrewsberry
Lifestyles Editor

BECKLEY — Who’s busier than an elf in Santa’s workshop? Chef Roy Lynch is a contender this Christmas. He’s just accepted the challenge of becoming executive chef for the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center at this, one of its most demanding seasons.

Parties with plating, tailored concessions, wedding receptions or off-site catering, Chef Roy, who acted as sous chef at Tamarack and more recently as director of the Mountain State University Culinary Program, promises to bring the same dedication to fresh ingredients, southern style and edible comfort to the convention center.

The evolution of the food provided by the pivotal community hub has run the gamut from hot dogs and concessions to homestyle catering. Now, there’s a welcome focus on Appalachian favorites with a regional flair and an inviting, absolutely un-snooty feel.

Says General Manager Andrea Akers, “Bringing Chef Roy in with his new ideas is our way of stepping it up a notch.”

Chef Roy’s gifts to warm holiday celebrations at home are the surprisingly easy secrets to his popular holiday concoctions — a.k.a. Christmas in a cup.

Those interested can also sample Chef’s talents at the upcoming Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours Dec. 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. For registration or more information, contact the Chamber at 304-252-7328 or Visit Southern West Virginia at 304-252-2244.

For booking holiday or other events at BRCCC, contact Akers at 304-252-7361.


Traditional eggnog

Eggnog making has grown into a Lynch family tradition. “My wife and I started making it a couple of years ago,” said Chef Roy, adding that directions should be heeded carefully to avoid unnecessary rawness or an unwanted scramble.

“If you want to make it an adult beverage, you can also add brandy.”

     4 egg yolks

  1/2 cup sugar

    2 cups milk

    2 whole cloves

       Pinch of cinnamon

     1 cup heavy cream

     1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

     1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, use a whisk or an electric mixer to beat yolks until they become somewhat lighter in color. Slowly add the sugar, beating after each addition, whisking until fluffy.

Combine the milk, cloves and cinnamon in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Slowly heat on medium heat until the milk mixture is steamy hot, but not boiling. Temper the eggs by slowly adding half of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly while adding the hot mixture.

Pour egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to thicken slightly and coats the back of a spoon. It helps to have a candy thermometer (if you have one, cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F). Do not allow the mixture to boil, or it will curdle. Remove from heat and stir in cream.

Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the cloves.

Let cool for one hour. Mix in vanilla extract and nutmeg.

Allow to chill overnight and serve.


Coconut Tres Leches Hot Chocolate

“Coconut tres leches (three milks) is one of my favorite cakes. You soak it in three different kinds of milk and it’s really good with a little rum added.” Here, the drink equivalent of the beloved, festive pastry.

     3 cups milk

     1 14-ounce can unsweetened

           coconut milk

  1/2  14 ounce can sweetened

           condensed milk

    2 tablespoons unsweetened

         cocoa powder

  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1/4 cup chocolate shavings

In a saucepan, combine all three milks. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat,

stirring occasionally. Whisk in cocoa powder until completely combined with milk. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Best served in coffee mugs garnished with chocolate

shavings and whipped cream.


Simple Cider

“People always ask me what I put in our cider to make it taste so good.” Almost nothing, is the answer. Apple juice, appropriately dressed, is the winter beverage with the most mass appeal. For an extra infusion of spice, don’t skimp on the garnish (ample orange zest and a cinnamon stick as stirrer).

       Vegetable oil

    2 quarts apple cider or juice

    1 cinnamon stick

    2 cloves

     1 apple (quartered)

     1 orange (quartered)

Warm a heavy bottomed stockpot to medium heat and add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Allow oil to warm for one minute and then add all the ingredients except the juice or cider. Cook the ingredients for 3 to 4

minutes. Add cider or juice and allow warming for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve cider from stockpot or place in crockpot.