For the Vanilla Wafer Crust
2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 9 ounces of cookies)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
For the Pie Filling:
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 Tablespoons flour
For the Topping:
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
about 1 cup of your favorite berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries) or use a combination of berries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For crust, combine cookie crumbs and sugar and mix well. Add melted butter and mix with hands until well blended. Press into a 9-inch pie dish and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk eggs and sugar together. Add buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla and salt. Slowly add in melted butter and whisk until combined. Add flour and whisk until no lumps remain. Pour batter into pie dish.
Bake for about 50-55 minutes until custard filling has set and doesn’t jiggle. Custard top will be light golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool. Pie will deflate a bit upon cooling.
Just before serving prepare the topping. Mix heavy cream, sugar and vanilla together in a cold mixing bowl and whisk either using an electric mixer, hand mixer or by hand using a whisk (and a lot of elbow grease.)
Once pie has cooled to room temperature, cut slices and top with whipped cream and berries. You can also top the whole pie with the whipped cream and create a design on the top with the berries. Make it your own!
Refrigerate any leftover pie and whipped cream
2 ears of fresh sweet corn
2-3 large ripe avocados, pitted and diced
1 basket of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 red onion, medium dice
the juice of one lime
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 rice vinegar (cider or red wine will work as well)
salt and pepper
Using a Chef’s knife, carefully slice kernels of corn off the cob and place into a large bowl. Add avocados, tomatoes, red onion and the juice of one lime. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Pour over salad and gently toss just until all ingredients are coated with dressing. (You may not need all of the dressing.)
Adapted from my dear friend Steve Bedenbaugh
Servings: about 45 large cookies
2 cups bread flour (see note 1)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 ½ sticks unsalted butter, slightly cold and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups granulated white sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use quick or instant oats)
2 cups good quality white chocolate, chopped into small pieces (see note 2)
1 tablespoon sea salt
In a medium bowl, combine the bread flour, baking powder, baking soda and fine sea salt.
In a mixer with paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer, beat butter and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy- about 1 minute.
Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula, then add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium speed just until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl again.
On low speed, add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Do not over mix.
With mixer still running on low, gradually add oats followed by white chocolate pieces and mix just until all the ingredients are incorporated evenly. Do not over mix.
Form the dough into a loose disk, wrap the dough in plastic and chill dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour, preferably overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees, take dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes.
Roll dough into balls the size of a golf ball. If you are using a measuring scale, measure out cookie dough to 1 1/2 ounces per ball. Place balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, about 2 1/2 inches apart.
Slightly press the center of each ball with your thumb and sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt on top.
Bake at 350 for about 15- 20 minutes, rotating cookie sheet once halfway through to ensure your cookies bake evenly.
Cookies are done when they are just set and not too brown.
When cookies come out of the oven, place on wire racks to cool.
Note 1: I like to use bread flour in this recipe for a chewier cookie center but all-purpose flour can be used as well if that’s what you’ve got in your kitchen.
Note 2: Buy the best quality chocolate you can afford. It really makes a difference in this recipe. I like Callebaut white chocolate chips (you don’t have to chop these.) Guittard also makes a nice white chocolate, as does Valrhona.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, (12 tablespoons) just a bit colder than room temp
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup dark molasses
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
cinnamon sugar: 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon mixed in a small bowl
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt until well combined.
In mixer with paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer, on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 1 minute.
Beat in egg, molasses and vanilla also on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula. Beat until all ingredients are well combined and no large lumps appear- about 1 minute.
Turn mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture just until everything is combined and a soft caramel colored dough is present. Do not over mix.
Wrap dough in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, take dough out of refrigerator and let it sit for about 10 minutes at room temperature.
Pinch off small amounts of dough and roll to about the size of a golf ball. Or if you are using a baking scale, measure balls of dough out to 1 1/2 ounces each.
Roll each ball in cinnamon sugar and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place balls 2 1/2 inches apart on cookie sheet and bake for about 15 -17 minutes. Cookies are done when they are set and slightly cracked on top. Note: Cookies will puff up and then flatten.
Sprinkle cookies with just a pinch more of the cinnamon sugar and cool on a wire rack.
Note: Once measured out and formed into balls (and BEFORE rolled in cinnamon sugar), dough can be frozen for up to 6 weeks in an airtight, freezer-safe container or freezer-safe baggie, with parchment paper between the layers. I like to double the batch, roll them all into balls, and freeze half of the recipe for a later use. When ready to bake, roll balls in cinnamon sugar and bake as directed, adding a couple of extra minutes to the baking time.
Adapted (very little) from “My New Orleans, The Cookbook” by John Besh
“Throughout this book, I’ve had a great deal to say about making the roux that’s the base of our gumbo–and the other steps as well–but I’ll recap it here so that it can be useful every time you start to make our signature dish. Yes, there are other thickeners besides flour that folks use for making their roux, but to my palate, only a flour-based roux yields that traditional flavor. As for the fats in a roux, just about anything works. I love rendered duck fat, chicken fat, or lard, but canola oil works nearly as well.
I always heat the oil first and whisk the flour into the hot oil. Not only does this speed up the process; it yields that deep, dark chocolate-colored gumbo I love. I always add the onions first to the dark roux, holding back the rest of the vegetables until the onion caramelizes. Otherwise, the water in the vegetables will keep the onion from browning and releasing its sweet juices. I like to add file powder to the gumbo, then pass it at the table, too. Serve the gumbo hot with Louisiana rice; serve potato salad on the side, if you like.” –John Besh
Servings: 10-12 (generous portions)
1 cup rendered chicken fat or canola oil
1 cup flour
2 large onions, diced
1 large chicken, cut into 12 pieces
2 tablespoons Creole Spices (like Tony Chachere’s- found in the spice aisle at the grocery store)
2 pounds spicy smoked sausage, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 stalks celery, diced
2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 quarts chicken stock
2 bay leaves
6 ounces andouille sausage, chopped
2 cups sliced fresh okra
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
Freshly ground black pepper
Louisiana hot sauce or Tabasco
4–6 cups cooked white rice
1. Make a roux by heating the chicken fat or oil in a large cast-iron or heavy bottomed pot over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil. It will immediately begin to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate and continue whisking until the roux takes on a deep brown color, about 15 minutes. Add the onions, stirring them into the roux with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the roux is a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.
2. Season the chicken with Creole Spices. Add the chicken to the pot, raise heat to moderate, and cook, turning the pieces until browned, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the smoked sausage and stir for a minute before adding the celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add the thyme, Chicken Stock, and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and skim off the fat from the surface of the gumbo every so often.
4. Add the andouille, okra, and Worcestershire and season with salt and pepper, several dashes of filé powder, and Tabasco. Simmer for another 45 minutes, continuing to skim the fat off the surface of the gumbo. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls over rice. Pass more filé and hot sauce at the table.
*Note to my readers: A word about the rice. You need to be very careful with rice being left out at a party as it rapidly grows bacteria and, if left out too long, can cause food poisoning. If you’re not going to eat rice straight after you’ve cooked it, then you need to store it in the refrigerator as soon as possible, but definitely within four hours. Another option, and what I will be using at my party, is a rice cooker. This allows you to not only cook the rice, but it keeps it warm and you can hold it for hours- making it the perfect choice for a big party. Any uneaten rice should be thrown out after three days in the fridge.
1. Think eighty/twenty. Eighty percent of the time challenge yourself and make good choices, and twenty percent of the time allow yourself to color outside of the lines. Moderation is the key to long term success.
2. Eat slowly and stop when you feel ALMOST full, rather than eating until you feel “stuffed.”
3. Stop before you eat something and ask yourself. Is this worth it? Is this the best choice I can make right now?
4. Eat healthy before you go to a holiday party and decide that nothing tastes as good as being lean feels. Keep repeating that to yourself.
5. Decide how you would like to look and weigh (body fat percent). Act as if you already weigh that amount NOW. How do you feel? How do you eat? How do you interact?
6. Make a contract with yourself and have a friend or your spouse sign it. Commit to certain rules for a given period of time -like having only a couple of bites of dessert at Christmas parties and/or completing a certain number of workouts over the holiday season. At the end of the contract period give yourself a reward (not food obviously) for completing the contract successfully. Only give yourself the reward if you complete the commitment.
7. Make a goal for January 1st rather than waiting to make a New Years Resolution. Write it down and place it somewhere visible along with a list of goals that you’ve accomplished in the past. If you’ve done it before, you can do it again!
8. If you hear yourself say “Fu&% it!” when about to eat something, do the exact opposite of what you’re about to do!
Chris is also the creator of the amazing phone app BODYFATE: a fitness game that entertains and challenges you while getting you into the best shape of your life! It’s a killer workout you can do anywhere, anytime. I use it when I can’t get to the gym and I even use it at the gym as my “personal trainer” to help me with my workout.
Don’t let the characters in this cartoon fool you- this is one ass-kicking circuit workout! Featured in The New York Times, Men’s Fitness and ABC News, this app is like having your own personal trainer programmed right into your phone.
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confetioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, pecans or almonds, toasted and coarsly chopped
In a standing mixer with paddle attachment or a hand held mixer, beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy- about 3 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of the confectioner’s sugar, the salt, and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Turn mixer to low and slowly add the flour, followed by the nuts. Mix until all ingredients are combined. Do not overmix.
Divide dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 2 days.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Working with half of the chilled dough, pinch off a piece of dough – about 1 Tablespoon- and roll between your hands into balls. Place balls on parchment lined baking sheets, 1 inch apart, and bake for about 18-20 minutes just until bottoms are light golden brown. Lift one cookie up to check for doneness.
Remove cookies from oven and cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes.
Place the remaining confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl and drop warm cookies in one at a time and roll until completely covered with powdered sugar.
Cookies will keep at room temperature for about 2-3 days but can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for about 2 months. Re-sugar cookies before serving.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (not runny or whipped)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (not whipped)
about 2 cups powdered sugar
2 jars (12 -14 ounces each) of maraschino cherries
In a small bowl, mix together flour and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl with electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Add flour mixture to butter and cream cheese and blend in just till combined. Don’t overwork the dough.
Form dough into a ball and flatten into a disk about 2 inches thick. Wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness on a cutting board or flat surface sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Using a ruler for accuracy, cut dough into 2×2 squares with a knife.
Place 1 maraschino cherry in the center of each square and fold 2 sides so that they meet and cover the cherry. Be sure to secure dough to prevent opening up during baking.
Bake at 375 degrees on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for about 10 minutes or until bottoms are just lightly browned. Do not over-bake.
Let cookies cool on a wire rack.
When completely cooled, sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar.
Baked cookies can be stored frozen for up to 3 months sealed in an airtight, freezer safe container or freezer safe baggie.
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- ‘Tis the Season…
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- Beets: Love ’em or hate ’em…
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The “Judy Bird” Technique
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- The 5 minute app…
- The Best Pumpkin Pie!!!
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- Gott’s Roadside Tray Gourmet (St. Helena, CA)
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- Next (Chicago, IL)
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