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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Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

SERVES 16

This cake is the perfect celebration cake and is easier to make than you might think. If you really want to impress your friends and family, you could make homemade ice cream, but store bought will work beautifully too. Just make sure your ice cream is soft before spreading it on the cake. And one quick note on the cake and spring form pan. This recipe works in 8-inch and 9-inch cake pans, but it’s important that your springform pan is the same size as the cake pans you choose.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Stand or hand mixer
Parchment paper
(9-inch) round cake pans
(9-inch) springform pan
Food processor, Vitamix or blender

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake:
2 pints fresh ripe strawberries
2 ½ cups cake flour, sifted
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, preferably clear vanilla extract if you have it
½ cup (1 stick) butter, slightly softened but still cold
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar 
¾ cup reduced strawberry puree
4 large egg whites
Pink food coloring (optional)
2 pints ice cream of choice (we used vanilla, but strawberry or chocolate would be equally delicious), softened at room temperature for about 20 minutes
Sprinkles for topping

For the Whipped Cream Frosting:
1 quart heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make the Strawberry Puree:
Clean the strawberries and remove stems. Place the strawberries in a food processor and blend until smooth. You should have about 3 cups of strawberry puree. Strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve into a medium-sized saucepan. Cook the puree over medium heat, stirring often to prevent sticking and burning, until the puree has reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Pour the reduced puree into a shallow dish and allow to cool completely. Puree can be made a couple of days in advance and stored in the fridge.

Make the Cake:
Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment. Sprinkle with a little flour; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla extract. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the ¾ cup reduced strawberry puree and the egg whites and beat until smooth, another minute or two. Add in half of the flour mixture, then the milk mixture and finally, the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. At this point, you can add a drop of pink food coloring if you want a more pinkalicious cake. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the Whipped Cream Frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment or with a handheld mixer, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add in the sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to use.

Assemble the Ice Cream Cake:
Grease the sides of a springform pan with butter or coconut oil and then line the sides with one long strip of parchment paper. Place one of the strawberry cakes on the bottom of the springform pan. Spread the softened ice cream evenly on top and then place the second strawberry cake on top of the ice cream. Gently press down with your hand and place cake in the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Unhinge the springform pan and remove the ring. Peel the parchment paper off of the cake. Frost the sides and the top of the cake with whipped cream frosting and decorate with sprinkles if desired. Before serving, allow the cake to sit at room temp for about 20 minutes. This makes it easier to slice. Plus, it’s tastier if the ice cream is softer and soaks into the cake.

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Creamy Shrimp Rolls with Fresh Herbs

SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds small to medium-sized raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
1 TB fresh squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
3 TB finely chopped chives
3 TB finely chopped tarragon
2 TB finely chopped dill
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper, divided
4-6 hot dog buns
2 TB unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for brushing on the rolls

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DIRECTIONS

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, fresh herbs, pepper, salt, old bay and bell pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed; set aside. 

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the shrimp, season with a pinch of fine sea salt and stir to coat the shrimp. Sauté until bright pink and cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the shrimp, shaking off excess butter, and place in the bowl of creamy herb dressing. Gently toss to combine.

Lightly brush the inside of each hot dog bun or roll with a little butter and toast under the broiler for about 2 minutes or until light golden brown. Spoon creamy shrimp on each roll and garnish with remaining red bell pepper. 

Vodka Fizz with Meyer Lemon & Basil

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup water
A handful of fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
3 pieces of Meyer lemon peel
¼ cup Meyer lemon juice
3 ounces vodka
Sparkling water

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DIRECTIONS

In a medium saucepan combine the sugar and water, bringing it to a light simmer over medium heat. Stir until sugar has fully dissolved. Add in the basil and one piece of the lemon peel. Remove saucepan from the heat, cover and steep for about 20 minutes. Strain the simple syrup and discard the basil and peel.

Stir together ¼ cup simple syrup, ¼ cup Meyer lemon juice, and the vodka.

Add ice to two glasses and divide the vodka mixture between the two glasses. Top each with a splash of sparkling water. Taste and adjust drink if desired. Garnish with a basil leaf and the remaining lemon peel.

Oven-Roasted Sea Bass with Tomatoes & Olives

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the Marinade:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ Tsp. chili flakes
½ Tsp. fine sea salt
fresh ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped

For the Fish:
4 (6-ounce) sea bass fillets (about 1 ½ inches thick)
1 large lemon, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
2 pints cherry tomatoes
1 cup pitted olives, roughly chopped if large
Fresh herbs for garnish (thyme, parsley and basil are our faves)

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place fish in a small, shallow glass or ceramic baking dish. Whisk marinade ingredients together in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a low simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is hot. Remove saucepan from heat and allow to infuse and cool for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Pour the warm marinade over the fish, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Arrange lemon slices flat on a sheet tray. Lift the fish filets out of the marinade, gently shaking off excess marinade, and place fish on top of the lemon slices. Scatter the tomatoes and olives around the pan and drizzle remaining marinade over all ingredients in the pan.

Roast until the fish is just cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. Serve warm with tomatoes and olives and garnish with fresh herbs and an extra fresh squeeze of lemon juice.


 

Coconut Curry with Chicken & Corn

SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the Chicken & Chicken Stock:
1 whole (4-5 pound) organic chicken
1 yellow onion, trimmed, peeled and quartered
2 Tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

For the Coconut Curry:
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
½ red onion, sliced thinly
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. finely grated ginger
1 tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. fine sea salt
Fresh Ground pepper
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 (14 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar
1 (10 oz) bag frozen corn
3 cups (approximately) shredded chicken

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the Chicken:
Rinse the chicken well and place in a large pot along with the onion, peppercorns and bay leaf. Cover with very cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 2 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and falling off the bone. Remove the chicken to a platter to cool. Strain the broth using a fine mesh sieve and reserve 2 cups. Store remaining stock in the fridge. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from bones and shred.

Make the Curry:
In a deep skillet or pot, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, ginger, and curry powder and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add in lime juice and scrape up any brown bits from bottom of the pan. Add coconut milk, chicken stock, Palm sugar, salt, and pepper and stir until incorporated. Add in the frozen corn and the shredded chicken and bring to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes until corn is tender and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.

Cherry Donuts with Amaretto Cherry Glaze

MAKES 1½ DOZEN

Concentrated maraschino cherry syrup boosted by a little amaretto in the glaze contributes to a nostalgic flavor and beautiful color in these easy-to-bake donuts. To create these warm, cake-like donuts, you just need a couple of donut pans, which trust us, you will use again and again and again. Not only are baked donuts easy to make, they are better dunkers and can endure rich, decadent glazes (yes, please!). If you ask us, it’s the glaze that makes the donut. These pinkalicious cherry donuts get double dipped in an amaretto cherry glaze and then topped with maraschinos.

INGREDIENTS

For the Donuts:
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
¼ cup melted coconut oil
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 ¼ cups whole milk, at room temperature
15-20 maraschino cherries, finely chopped
1 tsp. maraschino cherry syrup
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

For the Glaze:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. maraschino cherry syrup
1 Tbsp. amaretto liqueur
1 Tbsp. heavy cream, plus more if needed
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
10 maraschino cherries, finely chopped for garnish (optional)


DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two doughnut pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, cherries, cherry syrup and almond extract; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter, coconut oil and sugar together until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat until fully incorporated, 2 more minutes.

With the motor running on medium speed, add half of the flour mixture, then the milk mixture, and finally the remaining flour. Mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix. Transfer the batter to a large piping bag or Ziploc bag and cut a 1/2-inch opening from the tip. Pipe the batter into the donut pans about 3/4 of the way.

Bake until the donuts are golden and/or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 10-12 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the donuts from the pan and allow to cool completely before glazing.

Make the glaze by whisking all ingredients together. If the glaze seems to thick, add a little more milk 1 teaspoon at a time. To glaze, simply hold the donut and dip one side into the glaze. Place glazed donut on a wire rack set over parchment paper (to catch glaze drippings). Once the glaze has hardened a bit, double dip all of the donuts! Sprinkle chopped maraschino cherries on top if using.

Pan Roasted Chicken & Mushrooms in Tarragon Coconut Cream Sauce

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds of chicken bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (8 thighs)
½ tbsp. fine sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 pound sliced mushrooms
1 cup canned coconut cream, shaken
¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon
¼ cup apple juice
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 ½ cups chicken broth
½ cup dry sherry or dry vermouth
2 tbsp. greek yogurt
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley leaves for garnish


DIRECTIONS

Pat chicken dry and season all sides with salt and fresh ground pepper. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet. Add the chicken skin side down to the hot pan and cook until the skin is crispy and golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Flip chicken over and brown the other side for just one minute. Set chicken aside on a platter.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and toss to coat with the fat. Season with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until they just begin to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the apple juice and sherry vinegar and stir to combine, scraping up brown bits as you do. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock and then place the chicken, skin side up, on top of the mushrooms. Reduce to simmer, place lid on pan and cook for 15-20 minutes until chicken is fully cooked through.

Remove chicken to a platter and loosely tent with foil to keep warm. Pour in the coconut cream and simmer for 3-4 minutes until mixture is thicker and reduced by 1/3. Stir in the greek yogurt and tarragon. Spoon the mushroom cream sauce around the chicken on platter. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve warm.

Mixed Berry Tart with Pistachio Crust

Makes 1 (9-inch) tart

INGREDIENTS

Equipment
9-inch tart pan with removable bottom
Pie weights or beans
Fine mesh sieve

For the Pistachio Crust:
1 1/3 cup AP flour
¾ cup pistachios, toasted
½ cup confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled in the freezer for at least 30 mins
1 large egg
½ teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest

For the Pastry Cream:
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons lemon zest
4 large egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 cups fresh berries for topping


DIRECTIONS

Make the Crust:
Whisk together the egg with lemon juice and zest; set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, pistachios, sugar and salt until thoroughly ground and mixed. Add in the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal; about 15-20 pulses. Slowly stream in the egg mixture and pulse until dough just comes together. Do not over mix. Turn out dough onto a floured work surface and shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll out chilled dough into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim excess dough. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Add a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and place pie weights or beans inside. Bake at 350˚F until the edges are just set, about 12 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and the weights and bake until crust is light golden brown, 9-10 more minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling with pastry cream.

Make the Pastry Cream:
In a medium saucepan, bring cream, milk and lemon zest to a boil over medium heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until fluffy and light yellow, about a minute. Slowly drizzle in ½ cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks while whisking continuously. Then pour the egg yolk/milk mixture back into the saucepan of warm milk. Whisk the pastry cream over medium heat until thick and glossy. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla until butter has completely melted and been incorporated. Strain the cream through a fine meshed sieve into a glass bowl. Place plastic wrap directly onto the cream and refrigerate until cold, at least an hour.

Pour the chilled pastry cream into the cool crust and evenly spread with an offset spatula.  Top the tart with fresh berries

Lemony-Broccolini Flatbreads

Makes 2 (12 inch) flatbreads

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough:
¾ cup warm water (110ºF)
1 tsp. active dry yeast
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
200 grams bread flour (about 1 ½ cups)
70 grams whole wheat pastry flour (about 1/2 cup)
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt

For the Flatbread:
1 pound broccolini florets
1 ½ tsp. lemon zest
¼ tsp. Ground coriander
Salt & fresh ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. oregano leaves, roughly chopped
Pinch of chili flakes (optional)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing pans
1 ½ cup grated gruyere cheese
½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
Semolina flour or coarse cornmeal
 


DIRECTIONS

Make the Dough:
Sprinkle yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer. Pour warm water over the yeast and let sit until foamy, 5-7 minutes.
 
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours and salt. Add flour mixture and olive oil to the yeast mixture. Using the hook attachment, beat the mixture on medium speed until a dough has formed and is well incorporated, 2-3 minutes. Lift the dough and scrape off any remaining dough from the sides of the bowl. Gently shape into a ball. Grease the stand mixer bowl well with olive oil and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and keep the dough in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make the Flatbreads:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease 2 sheet trays with olive oil and sprinkle a generous amount of semolina flour on top.

Fill a medium-sized saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Carefully add the broccolini florets to the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to an ice bath. Spread the blanched broccolini on to a towel and dry thoroughly. Transfer broccolini to a small bowl and toss with lemon zest, coriander, salt, pepper, minced garlic, oregano, chili flakes if using, and olive oil.

Gently stretch each ball of dough into a 12x7-inch rectangle (or as close to that size as you can) and place on sheet trays. Evenly divide the broccolini between the two pieces of dough and sprinkle gruyere and parmesan on top. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until dough has turned slightly golden brown and cheese has melted. Slice flatbread any way you wish and serve warm. 
 

Ginger-Garlic Turkey Bowl with Brussels Sprouts Chips

Serves 2-3

INGREDIENTS

8-10 oz Brussels sprouts leaves (from about 1 pound Brussels sprouts)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 1/2 Tbsp. minced ginger
Kosher salt
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup coconut aminos
2-3 Tbsp. sriracha, plus more to taste
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
2 scallions, fine chopped
Fresh squeezed lime juice/lime wedges for garnish
Jasmine rice or cauliflower rice for serving


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts and slice them in half. Peel off the layers of leaves and place in a medium size bowl. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. olive oil on top and toss to combine. Spread the leaves on a large sheet tray and roast for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet. Add the minced garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the turkey, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until turkey is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add in the chicken stock, coconut aminos, sriracha and rice wine vinegar and stir well to combine, while also scraping up any brown bits from the pan. Stir in the cabbage and cook until cabbage is just wilted, another 3-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in scallions. Serve turkey over rice of choice and garnish bowl with Brussels sprout chips and a hearty squeeze of fresh lime juice. 

Simple Butterflied Roast Chicken

Makes one Chicken

You’ll never roast a whole chicken the same after trying this method. A chicken that is butterflied (aka spatchcocked) cooks faster and more evenly. Flattening the bird ALSO helps you get a crispier skin all over. If butterflying a whole chicken intimidates you—which is totally understandable—then just ask your grocery store’s butcher to do it for you. One final note. It is so very important that you pat the chicken really dry before roasting it. - Julie

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme or oregano (or a combo of both)
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ cup dry white wine
1 (3 ½ - 4 pound whole chicken) backbone removed and butterflied
1 tsp. kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper


DIRECTIONS

Stir together the melted butter and thyme/oregano. Set aside.

Place a large cast iron skillet (or other large oven-proof skillet, but we highly recommend cast iron as it yields the crispiest skin) on the lowest rack of your oven and then preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Allow the skillet to preheat with the oven.

Rinse chicken, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast side down on a cutting board and using sharp kitchen shears or a knife, but along both sides of the backbone to remove it. You can also just ask the butcher to do this for you! Flip the chicken over and press firmly down on breastbone to flatten the chicken. Once again, pat the chicken dry (this is vital!) with paper towels, then rub it all over with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Once the oven has reached 500 degrees, remove the skillet from the oven with oven mitts, and place the chicken breast side down in the hot skillet. Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees and roast the chicken for 30-35 minutes, until the skin looks nice and brown.

Remove skillet from the oven. Carefully remove the chicken, breast side up, to a carving board. Add the wine and lemon juice to the skillet and using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the yummy brown bits. Place the chicken back in the skillet, breast side up, and brush the herb butter all over. Return to oven and reduce temperature to 400.

Roast chicken for about 10 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer or oven probe registers at least 165 degrees in the thickest part of a thigh. Transfer chicken to a carving plate or board and let rest about 10 minutes before you slice. Serve with pan juices!  

Jesse's Festive Cookies

Originally appeared in Bake From Scratch

*All photos by Matt Armendariz

These Candy Cane Cookies were my favorite cookies growing up, and still are today. Every time we make the candy cane cookies now, my mom always reminds me of this one Christmas when she had made around six dozen of them for a big cookie exchange. I was around four or five years old. These cookies can be time consuming to make. You have to roll the dough out—and it’s a delicate dough—then you have to twist and shape each of the candy cane cookies individually. My mom finished all the cookies the night before the exchange, and laid them out on the counter. I really wanted some of the cookies, and I knew I wasn’t going to get any because they were for the exchange. I snuck into the kitchen that night, and snapped the ends off of each of the candy canes. I thought maybe she wouldn’t notice if they were a little shorter. So I ate about 40 cookies, and she could obviously tell immediately by looking at the cookies. They ended up looking more like horseshoes than candy canes. She was so mad, but I still think it was worth it. – Jesse
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INGREDIENTS

For the Cookies:
1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups (315 grams) granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
5 cups (700 grams) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder

For the Icing:
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter
1½ cups (216 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 to 3 tablespoons milk

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DIRECTIONS

For cookies:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg yolks, vanilla, and sour cream, and beat until fluffy.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the cream mixture, and beat until just combined. Do not overmix. Wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Using your favorite holiday cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Bake cookies until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to apply icing.

For icing:
Melt butter, then whisk in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Whisk in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Ice cookies, and then lay flat in the fridge until set.

Sweet Potato Pie with Toasted Marshmallow Meringue

Makes one 9-inch pie

INGREDIENTS

For the Crust:
10-12 whole graham crackers (1 ½ cups crumbs)
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
½ tsp. flaky sea salt
1 Tbsp. water

For the Pie Filling:
1 (15 oz.) sweet potato puree
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground clove
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs

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


DIRECTIONS

Make the Crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until very fine. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix until just combined. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and spread the crumbs evenly on bottom and up the side of the pie plate, pressing down firmly on the crumbs to form a crust. Bake until just golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Remove crust from oven and set on a wire rack to cool.

Make the Filling:
In a large bowl, whisk together the sweet potato puree with remaining ingredients. Pour into prepared piecrust and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the filling is set. Allow pie to cool completely before topping with marshmallow meringue.

Make the Meringue:
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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Winter Greek Salad

Serves 6 - 8

INGREDIENTS

For the Salad:

½ red onion
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. zaatar seasoning, plus more for garnishing
¼ tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 delicata squash, sliced into ¼-inch thick half moons
7 ounces hearts of romaine, chopped
2 heads endive, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half if large
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
½ cup crumbled feta
1 Tbsp. capers, drained

For the Dressing:
Juice from marinated onions
1 garlic clove, minced
Good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Toss delicata squash with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and spread evenly on a sheet tray. Season with fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt. Roast for 25 minutes, or until tender, then set aside to cool.

Slice the onion as thinly as possible (mandolin works perfectly) into a bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, oil, zaatar, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper and pour over the onions. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

In a large serving bowl, toss together the roasted squash, romaine, endive, tomatoes, olives and capers. Remove the onions from the marinade, squeezing as much liquid out of them as you can, and sprinkle on top of the salad. Whisk the onion juice together with garlic, lemon juice and salt/pepper to taste. Drizzle over the salad and garnish with feta cheese and more zaatar. 

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Owl Cupcakes

Makes a dozen cupcakes

No cake decorating skills needed for these cupcakes. We took a tip from the baking queen—Martha Stewart—and used oreo cookies and M&M candies for the owl eyeballs and beak. Use whatever cupcake recipe you wish, but with our rich, fudge-like frosting, we opted for a classic moist vanilla cupcake. This recipe is from America’s favorite cupcake bakery, Sprinkles, and The Sprinkles Baking Book by Candace Nelson. It’s our favorite!

INGREDIENTS

For the Vanilla Cupcakes:
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup whole milk
1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 egg, plus 2 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar

For the Fudge Frosting:
1 ¼ cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2-4 Tablespoons milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Owl Eyes & Beak:
1 box Oreo sandwich cookies
24 brown M&Ms
12 yellow or orange M&Ms


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners; set aside.  In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a small bowl whisk the milk and vanilla; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add eggs and egg whites gradually and beat until creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add in half of the flour, then the milk mixture, and then the remaining flour mixture, beating after each addition until just blended. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake cups and bake until the tops are just dry to the touch, 18-19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely on a rack before frosting and decorating.

While the cupcakes bake, open each Oreo cookie in half by gently twisting and set aside the halves with frosting on them. Place one brown M&M on each frosted Oreo half.

Make the frosting as soon as you’re ready to frost as it will harden quickly. In a small bowl, whisk together the sifted confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk in the butter, vanilla and 2 Tablespoons milk, and stir until smooth and free of lumps. Add in the remaining milk if frosting is too thick. Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer on each cupcake. Place two Oreo eyeballs on each cupcake and then a yellow or orange M&M just below the eyes. Using your offset spatula again, drag a little chocolate frosting up and off the top of the owl cupcake to give him ears.

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