Spicy Kale & Coriander Margarita

Makes 2 Cocktails

INGREDIENTS

For Kale Juice
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno
¾ cup water

For Cocktails
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno
½ teaspoon ground coriander, divided
4 oz. blanco tequila
2 oz. lime juice
1 ½ oz. agave nectar
1 oz. kale juice
Flaky sea salt
Lime and jalapeno slices for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Make the kale juice: Combine kale, 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño and water in a blender or food processor and pulse until thoroughly blended. Strain through fine mesh sieve.

Make the Coriander-Salt Rim: In a small plate, stir together ¼ teaspoon ground coriander with flaky sea salt. Rub the rim of two cocktail glasses with a lime wedge and then dip glasses in the coriander-flaky sea salt mixture; set aside.

Make the Cocktails: Muddle the jalapeno, ginger and remaining ¼ teaspoon ground coriander with a few ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Add the tequila, lime juice, agave nectar and kale juice. Shake and strain into prepared margarita glasses.

Add more ice if desired and garnish with lime wedges and jalapeño. Cheers!

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I ❤️ Snack Cakes

Makes 12 Heart Cakes

There is a very special place in our hearts for snack cakes and these little treats take us back to our 3rd grade class Valentine's party.

Take your favorite cake recipe (or use ours below), bake it in a sheet tray, stamp out hearts with a cookie cutter, glaze and voila! You’re basically Little Debbie now.

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake:
2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted but cooled slightly
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cubed
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 cups powdered sugar
Pink food coloring
Sprinkles, optional

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DIRECTIONS

For the Cakes:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 15x10x1-inch sheet pan with butter and line with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar until thoroughly combined and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add half of the flour mixture, then the milk and finally the remaining flour, whisking between each addition until smooth. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared sheet pan and then tap the pan on the counter a few times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before stamping out the hearts with a cookie cutter.

Once the cake is cooled, stamp out heart cakes with a heart cookie cutter. You should be able to get 12 heart cakes (3 rows of 4). Remove cake border and reserve for another use… or snack on it as you bake.

For the Glaze:

This glaze hardens slightly (to create a delicious crackly crunchy icing) as it comes to room temperature, so you’ll need to work fairly quickly.

In a medium saucepan, bring the butter and milk to a simmer and whisk to combine. Turn off the burner and whisk in the vanilla extract, sea salt, pink food coloring and powdered sugar — 1 cup at a time — until smooth. Using a small ladle or 1/4 measuring cup, pour icing over one heart cake and spread using an offset spatula. It’s ok if the sides of the cakes aren’t completely covered.

Decorate with sprinkles. Repeat with remaining heart cakes. Allow to cool before serving.

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Bucatini with Creamy Kale Pesto

Serves 4-6


We love traditional pesto and we love making it the true Italian way - chopping all of the ingredients by hand or blending with a mortar and pestle - but sometimes throwing everything in a food processor is… well, easier. Especially if you have hangry people staring you down. Plus, this isn’t a traditional pesto so we’re breaking a few rules and we promise it’s worth it. Hearty kale gets blanched quickly to tenderize the leaves and a dollop of plain yogurt adds extra creaminess to this multipurpose sauce. There’s so much more you can do with pesto besides tossing it with pasta - drag a toasty baguette through it, smear it on some grilled chicken or steak, spoon it on your favorite veggies or stir it into risotto.

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch Tuscan kale (lacinato kale), stems removed
½ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup parsley leaves
¼ cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
½ cup walnuts, toasted
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, plus more for garnish
¼ cup plain yogurt
8 oz bucatini (or your favorite pasta)

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DIRECTIONS

For the Pesto:

Bring a pot of water to a boil.

Place the kale leaves in the boiling water and cook until bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, then place the kale on a kitchen towel to dry.

To the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the garlic, parsley, parmesan, toasted walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, red chili flakes, salt and pepper. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add in the kale and yogurt and pulse a few more times.

With motor running, add the oil in a steady stream and pulse to a coarse purée. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days. Pesto yields approximately 1 ½ cups.

For Pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook 8 oz of pasta until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Drain pasta and return to pot. Toss with ½ to ¾ cup pesto and the reserved pasta water.

Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve warm.

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Favorite Roast Chicken

SERVES 3-4

The perfect roast chicken is golden brown and crispy on the outside while tender and juicy on the inside and to achieve that (we’ve roasted and tested a whole lotta chicken over the years) we’ve found these steps to be super duper important: First, let your chicken sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to roasting. This ensures even cooking all over. Second, let that bird rest for at least 10-15 minutes once it’s done roasting. This allows the juices to redistribute for the juiciest meat ever. And last but not least, BUTTER! Good quality, unsalted, high-fat butter from happy cows. Butter is what’s gonna give you that crispy skin and flavor.

Oh and let’s discuss the veggies for a second. Yes it’s easier (and totally works) to throw the veggies and chicken in the pan and cook at the same time, but we often find that the veggies get too charred or overcooked. Our favorite method is tossing in the veggies midway through cooking. They still get all the flavor from the bird’s buttery juices and they’ll be fully roasted at 45 minutes. And while your chicken is resting, deglaze the pan of veggies with some white wine. Mmmm… Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS


1 (4-5 pound) chicken, giblets removed
Kosher salt (approximately 3 teaspoons for the chicken)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
3 garlic cloves, smashed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 yellow onion, quartered
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 small Yukon gold potatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

DIRECTIONS

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron pan and place the pan on the lower rack of oven. Preheat the oven (and cast iron pan) to 400ºF. While the oven preheats, prepare chicken and vegetables.

If needed, rinse the chicken and then pat dry with paper towels. Allow chicken to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to roasting. Sprinkle half of the kosher salt and fresh ground pepper all over and inside the chicken. Place the thyme, lemon and garlic cloves inside the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken (this helps the chicken cook more evenly). Brush the chicken all over with butter and then sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper all over. Carefully remove the cast iron skillet and place the chicken inside; roast for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss veggies with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. At 45 minutes, carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and scatter the veggies around the chicken. Continue roasting for another 45 minutes or until the chicken juices are running clear. A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 165ºF.

Transfer the chicken to a platter to rest for 10-15 minutes. While the chicken rests, place the pan of veggies on top of stove burner over medium-high heat. Drizzle in 1/4 cup of white wine and cook, scraping up any brown bits from the pan, for about 5 minutes.

Carve the chicken and serve with veggies.

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Thai Coconut Soup

SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS


3 cups vegetable stock
4 cups coconut milk
2 stalks of lemongrass, smashed with knife or mortar and pestle
1 (3-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
4 kaffir lime leaves, bend and scrunch in hand to release the flavor
1 white onion, cut into ¼-inch half moon slices
7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, larger ones chopped
1 bird’s eye chili, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
½ Tbsp. coconut palm sugar

Garnish:
cilantro, basil, lime wedges
Jasmine rice, to serve

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DIRECTIONS

Pour stock into a saucepan, add the lemongrass, ginger, kaffir leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, place lid on the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes.

Strain the soup, discard solids, and pour soup back into the saucepan.

Whisk in the coconut milk and bring back to a simmer. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, or until the onions are soft.

Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and chili.

Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Serve over rice if desired.

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Hatch Green Chile & Cheese Empanadas

MAKES 18-20 SMALL EMPANADAS

We used a 4 ½-inch round cookie cutter, but you could also use a mason jar lid or water glass. How much filling you spoon on each dough round will depend on the size of your cookie cutter, so adjust accordingly. Spoon 1 ½ Tbsp. to 2 Tbsp. filling on each round.

INGREDIENTS

For the Filling (yield: approximately 2 ¾ cup):
12 ounces diced hatch green chiles, mild or medium (drained if from can)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 teaspoon paprika
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper for more heat (optional)
1 ½ tablespoons AP flour
1/3 cup whole milk
4 ounces Oaxaca cheese, crumbled

For the Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and placed in freezer for 20 minutes.
1 egg
6-8 tablespoons Whole milk

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DIRECTIONS

For the Filling:

Heat olive oil, add onions and cook until soft and translucent about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in the hatch green chiles, salt, cumin, oregano, paprika, pepper and cayenne (if using) and cook over medium-high heat for another 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook until toasty, about 2 minutes. Pour in the milk and cook until mixture thickens and just begins to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn off the burner and stir in the cheese until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer mixture to a bowl and allow filling to cool completely before filling dough rounds. Mixture can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days in advance of making empanadas.

For the Dough:

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and salt until combined.

Add in the butter and pulse about 15 pulses. Add in the egg and then the milk—2 tablespoons at a time—and pulse until dough just begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pack it into a ball. Cut the dough in half and shape into two (6-inch) rounds. Wrap each round in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large sheet tray with parchment paper.

Roll out one of the discs to ¼-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter (we used a 4 ½-inch) to cut out smaller round discs. Place empanada discs on a parchment-lined sheet tray and place in fridge while you roll out the other disc of dough.

Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each round. Moisten the outer edge of each round with water and fold the dough in half to form a half moon. Pinch the edges together to seal and then fold the sealed edge slightly over itself. Crimp dough with a fork. Brush each empanada with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tsp. water) and bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.

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Black Eyed Peas & Greens

Serves 6-8

Smokey, spicy and comforting, this traditional Southern dish is served on New Year’s Day to bring you good luck and fortune throughout the year.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound dried black eyed peas, rinse and picked through
4-5 thick slices of bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons creole seasoning
4-6 cups chicken or beef stock
2 bunches collard greens or lacinato kale, stems removed and shredded
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Cooked rice, green onion and hot sauce for serving

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DIRECTIONS

For Creole Seasoning: whisk together 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, ½ tablespoon white pepper, ½ tablespoon cayenne pepper, 3 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika and 1 ½ tablespoons fine sea salt.

Rinse dry black-eyed peas, place in a large pot and pour in enough cold water to cover peas by 2 inches. Place a lid on the stockpot and let the peas soak overnight. Alternatively, you can quick soak the peas by bringing the peas and water to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover the pot and soak the peas for 1 hour. Drain and rinse peas.

In a large heavy bottomed pan, cook the bacon until brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes, then set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. To the pan of bacon grease, stir in the onions, celery and jalapeños and cook over medium heat until just beginning to soften, 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic and bay leaf and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the creole seasoning and then pour in 4 cups of chicken or beef stock and the drained peas. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.

Add in the chopped kale, bacon, salt and pepper and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender and the mixture is thick. If the mixture becomes too dry, add more stock or water. Taste and adjust seasoning and remove bay leaf before serving.

Serve over cooked rice if desired and garnish with green onion and hot sauce.

Spicy Sorghum Syrup Cookies

Makes about 24 cookies

These chewy sorghum syrup cookies are perfect for the holidays. Fresh ginger and ground pepper give the cookies a subtle spicy bite while the rich sorghum syrup sweetens them. We like to roll the cookies in turbinado sugar before baking to add a bit of sparkle and crunch. Santa will thank you if you leave these out for him on Christmas Eve.

INGREDIENTS

2 ¼ cups AP flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ + 2 tablespoons cup sorghum syrup
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
Flaky sea salt for topping
Pinch more cayenne for topping (optional)
¼ cup turbinado sugar for rolling

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, fine sea salt, pepper and cayenne; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar, sorghum syrup, fresh ginger and vanilla extract until well combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and beat another 1 minute, until fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Spoon out about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into 1 ½ inch balls. Roll the dough balls in the turbinado sugar and place on prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each cookie round with flaky sea salt and a tiny pinch of cayenne if desired. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

Sweet Potato Latkes & Smoked Salmon Platter

makes 6-8 cakes

Latkes—aka potato pancakes—are one of our favorite holiday comfort foods. They’re easy to make and beautiful when served on a platter with creme fraiche (or yogurt) and smoked salmon. We love the sweetness from sweet potatoes and the crispy, crunchy bits around the edge.

INGREDIENTS

½ pound sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
1 scallion, finely chopped
2 ½ tablespoons AP flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or bacon grease
Crème fraiche, chives, capers, tomatoes to serve.

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DIRECTIONS

Press the grated sweet potato between paper towels to get as much moisture out as possible. Stir together the grated sweet potatoes, scallions, flour, egg, salt, and pepper.

Heat oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Scoop out the potato mixture (a little less than ¼ cup) and work/shape into a ball and then mash gently to form a patty. Place in skillet and using a spatula, flatten the latke.

Reduce heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Serve with smoked salmon, crème fraiche, chives, capers,

Hummus with Spiced Lamb

Serves 6-8

There’s a lot you could do with these dish components. You could spoon the hummus inside of a pita pocket and stuff it with ground lamb to create a lunch that’ll make all of your coworkers jealous. You could serve both the lamb and hummus over crunchy lettuce for a slammin’ salad. Or, serve it our favorite way as a hearty appetizer. Actually, sometimes it’s our main dinner course. The cumin, cinnamon & cardamom permeate the lamb giving it a warm fragrance and flavor and the addition of pomegranate seeds add a nice crunch and beautiful color. 

INGREDIENTS

For the Lamb:
1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 ¼ pounds ground lamb
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. cayenne, plus more to taste if you want it spicier
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. tomato paste

For the Hummus:
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1/3 cup tahini
4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-3 Tbsp. water

Pita bread for serving
Pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, parsley and olive oil for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

For the Lamb:

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to coat in oil. Spread the onions evenly in the pan and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. If the onions start cooking too quickly or seem dry, reduce the heat and add a splash of water. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the ground lamb and season with salt and pepper.Cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the lamb is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the spices, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar, stir to combine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook another 3-5 minutes until lamb is cooked all the way through and beginning to look caramelized. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep the lamb warm.

For the Hummus:

In the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic, chickpeas, salt, tahini and lemon juice. Pulse until thoroughly combined. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Spoon the hummus onto a large platter. Sprinkle the lamb on top and garnish with pomegranate seeds, parsley, toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of more olive oil. Serve with pita bread.

Rolled Sugar Cookies

*All photos by Matt Armendariz

This is our go-to recipe for decorated holiday cookies. It’s a pretty simple recipe, but the trick with rolled cookies is keeping the dough chilled. We like to roll out the dough between parchment paper and then place it back in the fridge for a few minutes before cutting the cookies. Sometimes we’ll even put the cut cookies back in the fridge before baking them. Finish the cookies with your favorite icing or frosting and sprinkles. - Julie & Jesse

INGREDIENTS

For the Cookies:
¾ cup butter softened slightly but still cool
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Royal icing or buttercream frosting
Sprinkles, etc. for decorating

For the Icing: See our Royal Icing recipe!

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DIRECTIONS

Line two large sheet trays with parchment paper; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla and almond extract and beat for another minute until fluffy. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and divide the dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Remove one dough from the refrigerator and on a lightly floured surface, roll it out to ¼-inch thickness. If your dough feels too sticky and hard to work with, place it back in the fridge for a few minutes before you cut out shapes.

Cut out cookies with cutters of your choice and using a floured spatula, transfer cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake cookies for 5-8 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden on the edges. Transfer sheet tray to wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely before icing and decorating.

Royal Icing

makes About 3 cups

INGREDIENTS

3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar

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DIRECTIONS

In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the egg whites and vanilla until frothy. Add confectioners' sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and the mixture is shiny.

Turn speed up to medium-high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks, about 5 minutes. At this point, add in your food gel if using.

Transfer the icing to a pastry bag or heavy duty Ziploc bag with pipe and tie a knot in the end of the bag to keep air out. Now your royal icing is ready!

Hasselback Potatoes with Creamy Kale Pesto

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 large Russet potatoes
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Wash potatoes and dry.

Place one of the potatoes between two chopsticks or spoon handles. Starting at one end, make vertical slices down the potato stopping just before you cut through so that the slices stay connected at the bottom of the potato. Slices should be 1/8 to ¼-inch apart.

Place the potatoes in a baking dish or on a sheet tray and brush them all over (including bottoms) with olive oil. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Bake the potatoes for 60-70 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy on the edges and easily pierced in the middles with a paring knife.

Spoon Creamy Kale Pesto on each potato and place back in the oven for about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Make sure to serve hot! And enjoy!

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Creamy Kale Pesto

Yields: 1 ½ cups

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch Tuscan kale (lacinato kale), stems removed
½ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup parsley leaves
¼ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup walnuts, toasted
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup plain yogurt

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DIRECTIONS

Bring a pot of water to a boil.

Place the kale leaves in the boiling water and cook until bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, then place the kale on a kitchen towel to dry.

To the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the garlic, parsley, parmesan, toasted walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add in the kale and yogurt and pulse a few more times.

With motor running, add the oil in a steady stream and pulse to a coarse purée. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days.

When Serving with Pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook 8 oz pasta until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking liquid. Drain pasta and return to pot. Toss with ½ to ¾ cup pesto and pasta water until desired consistency.

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Cranberry Streusel Bars

Yields: 9-12 bars

INGREDIENTS

Cranberry Filling
4 cups (16 oz) fresh cranberries
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 sticks unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

For the Streusel
⅔ cup of the crust dough
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup rolled oats
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9 square cake pan with one sheet of parchment paper so that there is a one-inch overhang.

Make the Cranberry Filling:

Combine cranberries, sugar, ginger and orange juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and mashing cranberries with a wooden spoon, until thick and jammy, about 7 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and orange zest, remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the crust. Filling cools faster if you spread in a pie plate. You should have about 2 cups of filling.

Make the Crust:

In a small bowl, whisk together the flours and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and creamy. Add in the flour and beat until just combined. Measure out ⅔ cup of the dough and set aside (to be used in streusel). Press the remaining dough evenly into the prepared baking pan.

Make the Streusel:

Using a fork, mix the reserved ⅔ cup of dough with the pine nuts, rolled oats and salt.

Spread the cranberry filling evenly on top of the crust. Scatter the streusel evenly on top of the cranberry filling and using your hands, gently press the streusel down onto the cranberry filling.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into bars.

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Marshmallow Frosting

INGREDIENTS

For the Marshmallow Frosting:
4 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp. cream of tartar

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DIRECTIONS

Make the Marshmallow Frosting:
In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Place the bowl over a small saucepan of heavily simmer water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes, then add the vanilla and cream of tartar. Either using an electric handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the meringue is glossy, 5-7 minutes. Pile the meringue on top of the cooled sweet potato pie and spread evenly with an offset spatula. You can use a torch to brown the marshmallow meringue OR you can place the pie directly under your oven’s broiler for 1-2 minutes, rotating halfway through and taking care not to burn the meringue. Serve warm or cold!

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Shaggy Monster Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 12 Cupcakes

Special Equipment Needed:
Piping bag
Grass icing tip (we used Wilton #233) and coupler
Food coloring of choice

INGREDIENTS

For the Cupcakes:
1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup granulated sugar
⅔ cup buttermilk, shaken
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs

For the Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
Pinch of fine sea salt
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Food coloring of choice

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make and Bake the Cupcakes:

Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla extract. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs and beat another 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add half the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the liners and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.  

Make the Frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft, about 2 minutes. Gradually add in the confectioner's sugar and salt and beat until well combined. Add in the milk and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add food coloring, one drop at a time, until the desired color is reached.

Frost the Cupcakes:

For monster cupcakes, we used Wilton piping tip #233. Fill the piping bag, fitted with tip #233, with frosting. Starting about a ¼ inch from the edge of the cupcake squeeze the frosting out and drag to the edge of the cupcake allowing frosting to overhang slightly. Pipe all the way around the cupcake and then continue piping from the outside in until the cupcake is fully frosted.

Garnish with edible eyeballs if desired. We used Betty Crocker’s!

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Creamy Chicken, Mushroom & Asparagus Pasta

SERVES 6-8

Fall is in full swing, the air is feeling crisp and the nights are getting chilly, even here in southern California. This indulgent pasta is one of our favorite cold-weather dishes and it’s easy to tackle, making it a perfect weeknight meal. The mushrooms and cream add warmth and richness to the sauce while the asparagus and lemon juice and zest add some brightness.

We suggest cooking the pasta and asparagus al dente since both will continue to cook slightly when mixed with the sauce. Top with parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and red chili flakes.

INGREDIENTS

½ pound dried pasta 
½ pound asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 4 thighs), cut into 1 inch pieces
8 oz. mushrooms
½ tsp. fine sea salt, plus more to taste
Fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp. dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced 
¼ cup dry sherry
1 ½ cups chicken stock
2 tbsp. lemon juice 
1 tsp. lemon zest
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
⅓ cup cream cheese
Chopped fresh parsley, parmesan and red chili flakes for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Add the chopped asparagus at the last 3 minutes of cooking time. Strain the noodles and asparagus, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and saute until cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

In the same skillet, add the mushrooms and season with a pinch of salt and oregano. Cook the mushrooms over medium heat until they begin to soften and brown on the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with dry sherry, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. Cook for about 2 minutes until most of the sherry has evaporated. Whisk in the chicken stock, lemon juice and zest, heavy cream and parmesan. Cook, whisking often, until the sauce thickens and the cheese has melted and fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Add the drained pasta and chicken back into the skillet with sauce, toss to combine and serve pasta garnished with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.

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Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ cup parsley leaves
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ cup raw shelled pistachios
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 lamb rack (1 ¾ - 2 pounds), French trimmed and cut into 8 individual chops

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large sheet tray with a wire rack.

Combine the cumin, parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 30 seconds, until everything is thoroughly combined. Add in the pistachios and pulse until the pistachios are finely chopped. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg whites.

Pat each lamb chop dry and season with salt and pepper. Dip each lamb chop in the egg mixture, shake off excess, and then dip the chop into the pistachio crumb mixture making sure all sides are fully coated. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet (if you don’t have a large skillet, cook the chops in batches). Sear each lamb chop for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Transfer the lamb chops to the prepared sheet tray and roast for 3-5 minutes in the oven (3 minutes for medium, 5 minutes for medium-well). Serve immediately.

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Café Con Tres Leches Cake (Coffee Tres Leches Cake)

SERVES 12

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake:
1 ¾ cup AP flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
10 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Boozy Coffee Soak (Makes about 3 1/3 cups)
½ cup whole milk
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz) evaporated milk
½ cup strong brew coffee
1 tbsp. instant espresso
3 tbsp. Frangelico (optional)

Whipped Cream Frosting (Makes about 4 ½ cups)
1 pint heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Rainbow sprinkles for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 cake pan and line with parchment paper.

Whisk together the three milks with the coffee, espresso and Frangelico if using; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, another 3-5 minutes. Add in the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time and continue mixing until fluffy. With the motor on low, gradually add the flour about ¼ cup at a time. Beat until just mixed.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer the cake pan to a cooling rack and allow it to cool for about an hour. Once cool, use a fork or toothpick to poke holes all over the cake. Pour the coffee-milk mixture evenly over the entire cake, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

When ready to serve, frost the entire cake with whipped cream frosting and garnish with rainbow sprinkles.

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