Holidays in JP: Secret Recipes

Derek Downs of Whole Foods.    (Courtesy Photo)

Derek Downs of Whole Foods.
(Courtesy Photo)

The Gazette every year asks various JP people and institutions to share their favorite holiday recipes. Derek Downs of Whole Foods Market at 413 Centre St. offered the following:

I came to Boston five years ago for school (graduated last May) and have lived many places in the metro area, but I’m now residing in Fort Hill, Roxbury. I have a passion for food and eating that food. I like to joke that I love food so much that I eat it every day.

My culinary experience started when I was around 10 when I would re-cook leftovers from the night before into something for lunch. In my spare time nowadays, I like to cook up a nice meal that I usually have never made before to keep life a little interesting.

I have been working for Whole Foods Market (WFM) for three years and have been WFM JP’s Demo Specialist for over a year now. Basically, I’m the sample guy; but all my co-workers know me as Demo Derek.

My main job is to show customers, as well as my fellow team members, what we have to offer at WFM JP.  One day it might be a nice New York Strip Steak, the next day it could be a fruit salad using some on-sale produce.  In short, I’m a culinary resource for the store.  On top of this, I’m a local forager, which is a very unique position where I search for and bring in local products to our store.

So for my recipes I have two holiday-themed dishes.  First, is a Sour Cherry Glazed Ham. I chose this recipe since for some reason it impresses a lot of people with a blend of sweet, savory and a dash of tart. Not only is this an easy recipe, but it takes the traditional holiday ham and puts a cherry…all over it.

The second recipe is the Mango Pineapple Cranberry Chutney.  Now this one isn’t my own, but from a local vendor, Chica De Gallo, who originally started in the JP Commonwealth Kitchens, but has moved over to the bigger facility of CWKitchens in Dorchester.  Tropical fruits and flavors are trending for this holiday season and I’m all about promoting local products, hence the choice of this recipe.  The chutney is sweet, tart and chunky, which is a great breakaway for those who like cranberries, but don’t feel like bringing a can of cranberry sauce to their holiday outings.

I can’t say I’ve tried both of these recipes together, though.

Sour Cherry Glazed Ham


1 (8.5-ounce) jar sour cherry fruit spread, about 3/4 cup

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 (7-pound) spiral-sliced ham


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together fruit spread, vinegar and mustard.
Place ham on the prepared baking sheet, brush lightly with glaze and roast 30 minutes. Brush again with half the remaining glaze and continue to roast for 20 more minutes. Brush again with remaining glaze and continue roasting until browned and heated through, about 25 minutes longer.

Serves 12-14

Mango Pineapple Cranberry Chutney


1 cup Fresh Cranberries

1/2 cup Chica de Gallo Mango Pineapple Salsa

1/3 cup Water

1/4 cup Sugar


Rinse cranberries and remove stems. Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until all cranberries have popped and sauce has thickened. Cool before serving and refrigerate any leftovers.


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