• This Blueberry Pie is Perfect for Easter

    Fresh, Tart, and Crumbly

    Need a fresh treat to bring to your Easter gathering this Sunday?  Why not a blueberry pie with the crust made from scratch?  Delicious, yummy, fantastic.  I love the lemon that’s featured in this pie – it makes the filling perfectly tart and sweet simultaneously.  Check out the video tutorial below and the recipe at the bottom!



    Crust (crust recipe below is for one crust):

    • 1/2 stick well-chilled Crisco® Butter Flavor Shortening Baking Stick
    • 5 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 4-8 Tbsp cold water

    Pie Filling:

    • 8 cups of blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • Juice from half a lemon
    • 2 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 tablespoon half and half or milk



    1. Combine flour and salt into a bowl. Blend Crisco® Butter Flavor Shortening Baking Stick in using a fork or pastry cutter.  Continue to mix together until the mixture is the size of small peas.
    2. Sprinkle up to 8 tablespoons of ice cold water into the mixture until a dough starts to form as you combine everything together with your hands.  Once dough is formed, flatten it into a disk, cover in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
    3. Repeat same process as above to make the second crust.
    4. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
    5. After chilling dough for 30 minutes, remove from refrigerator and place the dough on a flat surface with a bit of flour on the surface and rolling pin. Unroll the dough by rolling out from the center. Using the rolling pin, place the rolled out dough over round baking dish.
    6. In a bowl, combine blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon.  Add butter and use a folding motion to combine mixture.
    7. Put blueberry mixture in pie crust and then add second pie crust on top with slits cut in to it (to let steam escape).
    8. Crimp pie edges together and apply egg wash.
    9. Place pie in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
    10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    11. After pie has chilled for 30 minutes, bake the pie at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake an additional 45 more minutes until pie filling is bubbling and thick.
    12. Let cool completely before slicing.


  • Herbed Chicken with Blood Oranges and Lemon

    It’s That Citrus Time of Year

    My boyfriend and I are big fans of chicken, but it can get boring after a while.  Needing to mix it up I hit the fruit section at the grocery store.  The citrus selection is in full bloom right now and I wondered what could be done with blood oranges, a seasonal favorite of mine not only for their beautiful, rich coloring but because of their mild flavor.  A bit of spice always goes nicely with an element of citrus so I decided to pull together some chicken legs instead of breasts for their flavor, blood oranges, lemons, shallots, and some herbs for a richly flavored chicken dish that’s quite easy to make.

    It’s a one pan dinner – I love those!  Throw everything into your baking dish, pop it into the oven, and 45 minutes later out comes dinner.  I served this delicious dish with some arugula.  No need to get fancier than that.  As an added benefit this dish is gluten, grain, and dairy-free.  Great for you Paleo eaters out there or anyone looking to eat clean.  Let’s get to the recipe!  This is enough for 2-3 people.



    1. 4 chicken legs
    2. 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or ghee
    3. 2 tablespoons raw honey
    4. 2 teaspoons paprika
    5. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    6. 2 teaspoons onion powder or flakes
    7. 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
    8. 2 teaspoons black pepper
    9. 2 teaspoons lite salt
    10. 3 sprigs of rosemary leaves, chopped, plus more whole leaves for later
    11. 3 sprigs of fresh oregano leaves, chopped, plus more whole leaves for later
    12. 3 sprigs of thyme leaves, chopped, plus more whole leaves for later
    13. 1 1/2 lemons, cut into 8ths
    14. 2 blood oranges, cut into 8ths
    15. 3 shallots, cut into small pieces (but don’t chop – you want to eat delicious pieces of roasted shallots together)



    1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
    2. In a bowl, melt coconut oil or ghee in the microwave.  Stir in raw honey, paprika, garlic powder, onion flakes, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and the herb trio.
    3. Wash and dry your chicken legs, placing them into your baking dish.  Season them with salt and pepper on both sides.
    4. Drizzle the marinade over the chicken legs on both sides.  Add the lemon and blood orange pieces to the pan, squeezing out a bit of juice over the chicken and pan.  Add the shallot pieces as well.  Finally, cover the entire dish with extra leaves of oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
    5. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the juices run clear.
    6. Serve with an undressed salad of arugula.  The dish will produce enough juice to drizzle over everything.  Enjoy!


  • You Must Make Taste This Delicious Vegetable Quiche


    Spring is just around the corner.  Can you feel it?  I’m certainly seeing it at the Farmer’s Market in Union Square!  The place is poppin’ full of veggies for the new season, especially all kinds of squash and zucchini.  Today to celebrate the arrival of March and some warmer weather I’m showing you how to make one of my favorite quiches: Spring Vegetable with a Homemade Crust.

    If you’ve never made dough yourself there’s no reason to worry.  It’s actually quite simple and you’ll know by the consistency when it’s ready (not sticky, not dry and flaky).  Check out my video below along with the recipe!




    • 1/2 stick well-chilled Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening
    • 5 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 4-8 Tbsp cold water

    Egg Mixture:

    • 6 eggs
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp black pepper
    • 1 Tbsp. thyme leaves
    • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced squash
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks
    • 1/4 cup crumbled bacon
    • 1 tsp Half & Half


    1. Combine flour and salt into a bowl and chop Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening into it using a fork or pastry cutter.  Continue to mix together until the mixture is the size of small peas.
    2. Sprinkle up to 8 tablespoons of ice cold water into the mixture until a dough starts to form as you combine everything together with your hands.  Once dough is formed flatten it into a disk, cover in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.  Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
    3. After 30 minutes remove dough from refrigerator and unroll the dough by rolling out from the center.  Place the dough on a flat surface with a bit of flour on the surface and rolling pin.  Using rolling pin, place the rolled out dough over round baking dish.
    4. For the egg mixture take 6 eggs and whisk them together with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. black pepper, 1 Tbsp. thyme leaves, a splash of Half & Half, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (but save some for the topping).
    5. Layer vegetables in quiche pan or round baking dish.  Use 1/2 cup thinly cut squash, 1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks, and 1/4 cup crumbled bacon.  Sprinkle in some of the remaining cheese, and then pour the egg mixture on top.  Move everything around a bit with a fork or spatula so it’s even.  Sprinkle the last of the cheese on top and it’s ready for the oven!
    6. Bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes or until the egg mixture is firm and the top is getting browned.
  • What on Earth is a Pulse and How Do You Cook It?

    Pulses – delicious, nutritious, and no, they’re not the thump, thump, thump, of blood passing through your veins.  Pulses are actually quite common, though not known much by this particular name.  Pulses are part of the legume family but the “pulse” part refers only to the dried seed.  Edible beans, lentils, dried peas, and chickpeas are the most common types – and they are officially the food of the year for 2016!

    I’m a huge fan of lentils and beans.  They’re a major part of my diet, especially on those days I’m trying to go meatless.  They provide an excellent source of iron, zinc, and phosphorus, and they’re quite high in protein and fiber – all micro and macronutrients are essential in any healthy diet.  To celebrate the year of the Pulse, I’ve decided to share a favorite recipe of mine that incorporates green lentils, white beans, and butternut squash in a delicious, low-calorie soup.

    If you want more info on pulses check out the handy guide below from Pulse Pledge.  Recipe at the bottom.  Enjoy!



    [ingredients title=”Ingredients”]
    • One yellow onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
    • 4 cups butternut squash, cubed
    • 1.5 cups green lentils
    • 1 can of white beans
    • 8 cups of chicken broth or vegetable stock
    • thyme
    • parsley leaves to garnish
    • bay leaves
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Ghee
    [/ingredients] [directions title=”Directions”]
    1. In a soup pan, melt ghee or coconut oil and gently cook onions on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and parsley, and a small bit of kosher salt.  Cook for 2-3 more minutes.
    2. Add butternut squash and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
    3. Add chicken stock and lentils.
    4. Add a tablespoon of black pepper, 3-4 thyme stems, 5-6 parsley stems, and 2 bay leaves.
    5. Let cook on a medium boil for about 30 minutes until lentils and squash are soft.
    6. Add white beans.
    7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    8. Garnish with parsley leaves.
    9. Enjoy!

    This post was sponsored by USA Pulses and Pulse Canada.

  • Kitchen Essentials: How To Chop an Onion

    Truth be told, I didn’t know how to properly chop an onion until I attended culinary school.  My cuts were uneven and my pieces cooked at different rates.  That’s the reason why chopping an onion properly is so important: it cooks evenly in your pan and it looks nice in your food.  The sign of a chef with great knife skills are even, little tiny pieces of vegetables.  Check out the new video to see how it’s done, and welcome to Kitchen Essentials – a new series in which we’ll be sharing the basics with all of you.

    [directions title=”Directions”]
    1. Cut both end off of your onion.  Peel the skin off your onion using a paring knife instead of your finger nails.  Keeps your onions and cutting board clean.
    2. Next, cut your onion in half through both ends.
    3. Take one half and place it flat side down.  Begin slicing through the onion about 3/4 of the way through in horizontal cuts.  I like to place the palm of my non-knife hand on top to help control it.
    4. Then make cuts across the onion from right to left.
    5. Now it’s time to chop through the onion.  Start at the flat, exposed end and work toward the root or base.  You don’t need to cut through the entire onion, just go as far as feels safe.
    6. Repeat with the other half.
  • Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

    Let’s get your weekend started off right, shall we?  Whip up these delicious Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with a hint o’ mint to treat yourself and family to a little fun this February!  Check out the video and delicious and easy recipe below!

    [ingredients title=”Ingredients”]
    • Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
    • 1/2 cup Crisco Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening OR 1/2 stick Crisco Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 tablespoon milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 large egg, separated
    • 1 oz. square unseated chocolate, melted and cooled
    • 1 cup All Purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
    • 24 mint chocolate kisses, unwrapped
    [/ingredients] [directions title=”Directions”]
    1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the unsweetened chocolate and mint chocolate kisses in 30-second intervals until nearly melted.
    2. In a bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening stick, sugar, milk, vanilla, and egg yolk at medium speed until well blended. Add melted chocolate and mix well. Combine flour and salt then add to the chocolate mixture and mix until blended. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
    3. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Coat the baking sheet with Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray.
    4. Form dough into 1-inch balls.  Beat egg white slightly with fork and coat dough with the beaten egg white. Place dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheet and gently press with thumb in the center of each cookie.
    5. Bake cookies for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and place mint chocolate kiss in the center of each thumbprint. Return the cookies to the oven for 1 minute. Remove to cooling rack.
  • DIY Ice Cream Sandwiches

    Know what I love?  A delicious, ice cream sandwich.  Let’s be honest – if you like cookies, and/or ice cream you love an ice cream sandwich also.  I was first introduced as a college student at UCLA (there’s a famous shop in Westwood) and ever since then I’ve been hooked.


    They’re easy to make, even easier to customize, and a total crowd pleaser.  I throw a lot of dinner parties and am constantly trying to up my dessert ante and I realized that I had never served my guests an over-the-top ice cream sammie before!  What a treat!  Everybody can choose their own cookie, ice cream, and…toppings.  Yes, you read that correctly!  Once the ice cream is smushed in between your cookies, who not roll it in any variety of delicious snacks to create a completely one-of-a-kind party treat?!

    I’m a Graze subscriber and get their snacks delivered to our office and home every week and because they vary from sweet and savory to salty, I figured the snacks would serve the “toppings” purpose beautifully at my ice cream sandwich dessert party.  If you’ve never given Graze a try before…um, do it.  Your first box is free, and all you have to do is tell them the snacks you love to eat and then BAM – your box of treats will show up ready to be devoured.



    But back to the ice cream sandwiches….here’s all you need and have to do:

    [ingredients title=”Ingredients”]
      1. Variety of ice cream flavors
      2. Variety of cookies
      3. Variety of Graze snacks (I used the following combos: pineapple/coconut/mango, redskin peanuts/vanilla fudge/mini chocolate cookies, and strawberry/oat & barley granola/yogurt pieces) – Click here to try 4-snack smaller box!


    [directions title=”Directions”]
    1. First, let your ice cream soften a bit at room temperature.  Take a warm ice cream spoon (run it under warm water, and clean it off in between flavors) and create the largest ball of ice cream you can in the container by scooping over and over again.  Imagine your rolling snow for the base of a snow man.
    2. Take your first cookie in one hand and your ice cream in the other and gently smush the ice cream onto the flat side of the cookie.  Finish the cookie by smashing the ice cream down with your second (or top) cookie.  Voila – ice cream sandwich almost complete.
    3. Next, you’re going to want to sprinkle your snacks on a plate covered in parchment paper and gently roll your ice cream sandwich through them.  Use your hand to pack a bit more onto the ice cream if you wish and then place the sandwich in the freezer until you’re ready to serve.
    4. Repeat, freeze, enjoy!
  • DIY Flutes + Cocktail Recipe

    Ready to get DIY fancy today?  I don’t DIY often, but when I do it’s almost always cocktail related.  I hosted a fab party lately and wanted to switch up my decor without spending a ton of cash so I came up with a cute design for some old flutes I had lying around. Repurposing what you already have really is the best way to achieve stylist updates around the house without having to break out your wallet.

    Check out my newest video to see how to achieve the Gradient Polka Dot design I created for my flutes, and of course the recipe for my Chambord Royale is below!


    The Chambord RoyaleMVI_2429

    [ingredients title=”Ingredients”]
    • .25 oz Chambord Raspberry Liquer
    • 3/4 glass of champage
    • 1 raspberry and lemon twist for garnish
    [/ingredients] [directions title=”Directions”]
    1. Pour champagne into your DIY flute 3/4 of the way up.
    2. Top with .25 oz of Chambord Raspberry Liquer.
    3. Garnish with a raspberry and lemon twist.
    4. Drink up!


    Sponsored by Refinery29 & Chambord (Brown-Forman Corporation, Louisville, KY, Black Raspberry Liqueur; 16.5%, 21+



  • Behind the Scenes: My Garden Party

    It’s winter, sure, but boy do I love a Garden Party.  Who doesn’t?  Bringing the outdoors in, gorgeous flowers everywhere, and a plant-based menu?  Sign me up!

    katespadebookI love a good coffee table book and recently picked up “All in Good Taste” from kate spade new york.  It’s a hardcover book that shows how to transform dinner parties into splendid affairs.  The “Garden Party” featured spoke to me so much that I decided to host my own Garden Party at my new apartment in Tribeca yesterday afternoon.  I have a new dining table to break in – It seats 8 people and is the biggest table I’ve ever owned.  As a chronic dinner-party host, I’m so excited to put my dining room table to frequent use!


    Check out the video and all of the details below!

    The Details

    Let’s start with the table settings because frankly, they’re just gorgeous.  Because I can’t help myself I treated my boyfriend and I to some new china for our home.  We’ve been in need of some nicer place settings and The Signature Spade Collection from kate spade new york fit the bill perfectly.  I wanted a traditional china pattern for my first set: the combination of the platinum accents with soft pastel geometric shapes lining the rims of each piece are so lovely (and perfect for my Garden Party).


    I also added some lovely champagne flutes with platinum and rose gold accents, cute clear water glasses, the Library Lane silverware collection, and I finished each person’s place setting with a single yellow tulip tucked into their napkins.  I folded the napkins with flowers in mind and came up with a floral-inspired shape for each person’s plate.  I like folding napkins and placing them on the plate…it creates an additional decor element than simply laying silverware on a nicely folded linen to the side of a plate.

    The Look

    I myself wanted to look a bit ethereal for my Garden Party so I opted out of my normal black on black on black and chose my absolute favorite color to wear instead: light pink!  The reality is that pink hasn’t been just for little girls for some time and it makes me oh so happy to be able to find light pink sweaters, skirts, and dresses for my closet’s pleasure.  This Tari Dress is absolutely so special, so girly, made with layers of soft silk and perfect for anyone who wants to feel feminine.  The black bow (I gotta get a little black in, come on) is the cherry on top, cinching in the waist and adding just the right amount of detail to the beautiful shirtdress.  I chose the Corina Flats because not only are the quite stylish, they’re also easy for me to cook in and entertain my friends!  You can also catch my floral print oven mitts towards the end of the video as I lay a fresh quiche on to the table.  If you’re oven mitts are adorable, they count towards all around outfits points!

    The Garden

    By now you’re probably wondering when I’m going to get to the flowers and my spectacular vases, ya know the “garden” part of my Garden Party.  The answer is: right now!  If you’re hosting your own Garden Party during the colder months, or if you don’t have a garden to host one in just do as I did and bring your favorite flowers indoors.  There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy gorgeous blooms all year long, especially when you put the floral arrangements together yourself.  I’m a bit of a flower purist (I made that up) and I prefer to put a single type of flower in a vase.  Many florists do a combo of 3-4 varieties but I think a single type is really so lovely.  I chose tulips for yesterday’s gathering in orange, yellow for the place settings, and a touch of pink to display around my house.


    Tulips are easy to buy at your local farmer’s market or grocery store, relatively affordable, and last for days.  They’re the perfect flower!  Even though I typically select neutral tones in my wardrobe, decor and furniture selections I go nuts when it comes to colorful flowers!  I chose classic, milky white vases (also available in pink) for my table, that beautiful kate spade new york pink and white striped number you see above for the window, and this outrageously fun green and gold vase for my dessert station.


    The Menu

    I think that a plant-based menu is wonderfully appropriate for a Garden Party.  We all need more Meatless Mondays in our life (or Meatless Garden Parties on a Saturday) so I went with vegetable based dishes for my friends.  The great thing about a plant-based menu is that you really do take into consideration many different types of restrictive diets all at once: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.  You can create different dishes with all of these elements, or most of them so that your guests feel welcome upon arrival and full when they leave!

    The New York City Farmer’s Markets have so many wonderful selections year-round that I picked up the majority of my vegetables from the market closest to my house.  I also made homemade macarons (pistachio, a salted caramel, and passionfruit) and got some gorgeous floral cupcakes from a bakery down the road.  The final, sweet treat?  Stroopwafels, the Dutch caramel and waffle cookie’s my mom made growing up (she is from Amsterdam).  I love introducing stroopwafels to my friends and sharing a bit of my family history with them.  Here is the full menu below:

    Braised Tofu with Spinach and Peppers

    Fingerling Potatoes with Mustard Seed and Cashews

    Roasted Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, and Turnips

    Asian Kale Salad



    Pistachio, Salted Caramel, and Passionfruit Macarons

    Floral Vanilla Cupcakes

    Coffee Chocolates

    I hope you guys enjoyed this behind the scenes peak at my Garden Party!  I had a wonderful time buying new pieces for my home to celebrate, creating a plant-based menu for all of my friends to enjoy, and having everyone over for a great Saturday afternoon of fun!  If it was your party, how would you decorate and what would you serve?  Let me know in the comments below!



  • Wilted Dandelion Greens

    Following up from yesterday’s Baked Cornflake Chicken in the new Dinner Series on TheLoDown, we have the recipe for Wilted Dandelion Greens.  I love to mix a nice green with any kind of chicken, and when the chicken is baked or fried, a wilted green goes really nicely.  I had never cooked dandelion greens before this dinner to be honest with you, but they were fresh at the farmer’s market and I’m all about experimentin’, so I picked up two bright and full packages.  A tip: always get more greens than you think you’ll need.  They shrink down so much when they’re cooked and everyone ends up disappointed!

    These greens turned out to be a hit!  The dandelion green is bitter by nature, so it needs the vinegar to balance the flavor out so don’t be shy when deglazing the pan with it.  You’ll end up with a bright, healthy, and delicious green you’ll make over and over again.  Another tip: cut off most of the stem and use leaves primarily in this dish.

    We also have the recipe for the other side I made for dinner: the most delicious Mashed Sweet Potatoes you’ve ever had.  Make these all together for a delicious, southern-inspired dinner.  Enjoy!


    Mashed Sweet Potatoes

    Here’s the recipe for your new favorite greens dish!  Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.

    [ingredients title=”Ingredients”]

    • 2 large bunches of dandelion greens
    • Half a yellow onion, diced
    • Ghee or butter (to cook the onion in)
    • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste


    [directions title=”Directions”]

    1. In a large pan over medium heat, melt your ghee.  Add your onions and begin to cook.  After about 5 minutes, add your dijon mustard and stir into the onions.  Once the onions and mustard come together nicely, add the red wine vinegar to quickly reduce.
    2. Add the bunches of dandelion greens (wash them of course, and cut off most of the stems).  Fold over themselves into the onions and vinegar until the begin to wilt.  Season with salt and pepper.
    3. Let cook together for at least 5 minutes.  Taste. If the greens are still too bitter, add a bit more mustard and vinegar and gently boil for a bit longer.
    4. Once they’re delicious, immediately serve.



  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes

    Love sweet potatoes?  Great.  Don’t love them so much?  You’ll change your mind with these, trust.  All that goes in to these?  Baked sweet potatoes, thyme, browned butter, salt, and pepper.  Easy, simple, extra delicious.  They go great with my Baked Cornflake Chicken and Wilted Dandelion Greens.  Make them all together for a fabulous, southern-inspired dinner this week and tune in weekly for our new Dinner Series posts.

    By slow roasting the potatoes in the oven for an hour, their natural sweetness really comes into full bloom.  You don’t need to add honey, or maple syrup, or any other sweetener to round out their flavor.  They are good enough as is!  The browned butter lends a nutty, and rich flavor that turns these mashed sweeties into something really, very special.

    Let’s get into this very tasty recipe!

    [ingredients title=”Ingredients”]
    • 4 sweet potatoes
    • 10 sprigs of thyme
    • 1/4 cup melted butter
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
    [/ingredients] [directions title=”Directions”]
    1. Heat oven to 300 F.  Wrap each sweet potato individually in aluminum foil (make sure they’re wrapped tight).  Place them on a baking sheet and bake for at least an hour.
    2. While the potatoes are baking, remove the thyme leaves from their stems and set aside.
    3. When it’s almost time to pull the potatoes out, melt your butter.  Let your butter continue to cook by stirring it often until it begins to become golden brown.  When the smell begins to change turn off the heat.  Stir in the pan for another 15-20 seconds, then pour the butter into a bowl or measuring cup.  You’ll want to remove the butter from the pan quickly or else you risk burning it from the carry-over heat in the pan.
    4. Once the potatoes are done, you’ll want to use 2 thick kitchen towels to remove the aluminum foil and skin.  I suggest you do this over a trash can, with your mixing bowl nearby so you can quickly drop in the freed potato – they will be very, very hot!!  The skin comes off so easily.  It just peels away.  It’s important that you do this quickly however.  A cooled potato will not result in a very good mash.
    5. Once all the sweet potatoes have made their way into your mixing bowl, grab a hand mixer (or do this in your Kitchen-Aid mixer) and pour in the butter, the thyme leaves, and the salt, and pepper.  Mix on high for at least a minute until all the flavors have combined and the sweet potato is nice a smooth.  I wouldn’t recommend the Vitamix for this job if you have one – they’ll simply get too thin.
    6. Enjoy with your Chicken and Dandelion Greens!
  • Baked Cornflake Chicken

    Hi guys!  Happy Monday!  With our focus switching more to food in 2016 at TheLoDown we’re starting a new weekly series called: “Dinner Series” (super fancy, I know).  I make dinner all the time for my boyfriend and my friends, so why not share what I’m making with y’all?  We’ll be posting the recipes over the course of a few days at the top of the week, or sometimes all on the same day – just depending on how you like it.  If you have any thoughts on the post schedule (like you prefer all the recipes to go live on the same day) let us know in the comments!

    This week we have an ‘effing classic: Baked Cornflake Chicken like Momma used to make, paired with Wilted Dandelion Greens, and the most delicious Mashed Sweet Potatoes you’ve ever had.  I wanted to create a southern-inspired dinner and boy, did I hit the nail on the head.  It was fantastic.  I’ll be posting the Wilted Dandelion Greens and Mashed Sweet Potato recipes tomorrow so stay tuned!


     Wilted Dandelion Greens


    Mashed Sweet Potatoes

    So without wasting anymore time, let’s get into this easy Baked Cornflake Chicken Recipe.  I used legs and bone-in thighs only (I find the darker meat is better when baked) and this should serve at least 4 people.

    [ingredients title=”Ingredients”]

    • 10 chicken legs (drumsticks)
    • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 tablespoons salt
    • 1 tablespoon black pepper
    • 1 1/4 cup mayo
    • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2 teaspoons paprika
    • 2 teaspoons ground sage
    • Lots of cornflakes (buy a whole box at the grocery store)


    [directions title=”Directions”]

    1. Preheat your oven to 425 F and cover two baking sheets with pieces of parchment paper (this makes the clean-up much easier).
    2. Rinse your legs and thighs under water and pat dry.
    3. Set up your cornflake chicken station like an assembly line: flour, mayo, cornflakes, baking sheets. Here’s how: In a large dish of some kind, combine flour with salt and pepper.  In another large bowl next to it, combine your mayo with dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, paprika, and ground sage.  Then you’ll want to have your cornflakes crunched up and ready to go in a large gallon size zip-locked bag.  Next to that should be your baking sheets ready to accept your delicious pieces of cornflake coated chicken.  If you’re by yourself this will be a messy process.  You could use a spoon of some kind to help add the mayo mixture to the chicken but I find that using your hand is easier.  Get a friend or your kid to help with the cornflake part if that makes it easier.
    4. Once your station is set up, prepare 3-4 legs or thighs in the flour mixture by rolling it through and making sure each pieces is totally covered.  The layer of flour doesn’t need to be too thick. I like to have a couple of pieces ready to go at once so when I’m putting the layer of mayo on the others just wait for their turn in the flour.
    5. Next, pick up your floured thigh and gently massage some of the mayo mix all over your chicken. Toss it into your cornflake bag until it’s completely covered and then lay to rest on your baking sheet.  Repeat until all your chicken is ready for the oven.
    6. Put the sheets in the oven and bake the chicken at 425 for about 15 minutes.  Then lower the temp to 375 and cook for another 25-30 minutes, until the juices run clear.
    7. Enjoy with your Wilted Dandelion Greens, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  Yum!



  • The Cold Buster: Ginger Tea From Scratch

    I just got over a horrible cold.  Actually, it hasn’t even completely left my system and we’re 2 solid weeks in.  Still a little cough, cough going – ya know how it is.  When I was in the deepest, darkest part of my cold my brain was rummaging through itself trying to come up with something, anything that could help.  Finally, a moment of enlightenment: GINGER.

    I always have ginger root in my kitchen. I love anything ginger: tea, the spicy ginger shots at Butcher’s Daughter that seem to clear anything up in an instant, ginger candies.  I remembered an old mate of mine from the French Culinary Institute who once made me the most delicious ginger tea from scratch and how it warmed my insides just right….

    Now, with my nose sniffling and my head pounding, it was my turn to make the most healing and delicious ginger tea from scratch.  Trust me – it seriously helped me feel a lot better, even if it was just for a few moments.  Here’s what you’ll need:

    [ingredients title=”Ingredients”]
    • Fresh ginger root, peeled, and cut into 1 cm slices (about 1/4 cup total)
    • A few slices of lemon
    • Honey or agave syrup (about 1 tablespoon)
    [/ingredients] [directions title=”Directions”]
    1. Boil 4 cups of water to a rolling boil (the water will reduce when you boil so more is better than less).
    2. Add ginger root, 2-3 slices of lemon, and honey, and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for at least 20 minutes until the flavors come together in a strong way when you do a taste test.
    3. Strain out the ginger root and lemon into a small, round colander directly over your favorite mug.  Add a squeeze more lemon and honey to taste.
    4. Enjoy, and feel better!



  • Foolproof Thanksgiving Dinner

     Use the hashtag #LoCooks on your pictures to show us your Thanksgiving dinner!

    Thanksgiving Turkey (1000x1000)

    Foolproof Turkey

    1. 1 raw turkey (can be frozen, but you must start thawing it 2-3 days before Thanksgiving)

    2. A ton of kosher salt

    3. A ton of butter or duck fat

    4. Black pepper

    5. Canola Oil

    6. Cinnamon Stick

    7. 1 Apple, halved

    8. 1 Onion, halved

    9. Fresh Rosemary, thyme, sage

    10. Your best beer

    11. Your best white wine

    12. A very large plastic bag

    13. Large roasting pan

    14. Thermometer

    15. Twine

    1. Dry brine your turkey 2 days before Thanksgiving while allowing him to thaw out in the fridge.  Wash the turkey, removing the neck and organs (but save them for gravy), and dry the bird very well.  Next, turn your huge-ass plastic bag (must be air-tight once closed) inside out and set aside.  So as not to cross-contaminate your salt, put the salt you’ll be using for the brine in a bowl separate from the salt you always use.  Rub kosher salt all over the outside of the turkey and also underneath the skin on the breast.  Be very gentle when peeling the skin away from the breast meat as you don’t want it to tear.

    2. Wash your hands and grab the inside-out bag, wrapping it around the turkey so once the bird is in the bag, it’s right-side out again.  Tie the sucker shut (tight) and place the turkey breast side up in the fridge until Thanksgiving.

    3. On Thanksgiving preheat your oven to 500 F.  Take your turkey out of his bag and rinse all the salt off of him.  Dry him very, very, very well again and set aside.

    4. In a microwave-safe container (I just use a piece of tupperware), microwave your halved onion and apple along with your cinnamon stick together with some water for about 3 minutes until soft.

    5. Prepare to season the bird, butter and oil him up, and fill the cavity – aka have your butter and oil ready to go along with salt and pepper in specific bowls (so you don’t cross contaminate), and your onion, apple, cinny stick, and all your herbs.  Make sure your roasting pan is out and ready to go and your twine is on-hand to truss.

    6. Salt and pepper the turkey very generously (but be prepared to move fast after this with your butter as the salt brings out moisture which repels the fat from sticking) outside and inside the cavity as well.  Like at least 3 handfuls of salt.  Seriously.  Massage the salt and pepper into the turkey.

    7. Butter the entire turkey, massaging into the breast as best as you can without breaking the skin.  Insert onion, apple, cinnamon stick, and a bunch of fresh herbs into the cavity.  If you’re making my Sage Stuffing Recipe def use some sage!

    8. Tie the legs together using twine.  Watch this video on how to truss a turkey.

    9. Create a shield for the breast of your turkey using aluminum foil (this is Alton Brown’s genius idea) and set aside.

    10. Drizzle canola oil all over the outside of the bird so he is completely oiled up.  Leave no part oil-free.  Place your turkey breast side up in your roasting dish and into a 500 F oven for 30 minutes.

    11. After 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 and allow the bird to finish cooking for another 2 to 3 hours (depending on the size).  Add some beer and wine to the bottom of the pan.

    12. I wouldn’t recommend using the pop-out thermometer (generally included in most turkeys these days) to indicate total done-ness of the turkey.  If the pop-out thermometer is in the breast and it pops out, the breast meat is done but the legs will definitely NOT be (they always take longer, just like on a chicken).  If you’re super brave you can remove the turkey from the oven at this time and remove the legs from the rest of the body and put them back in the oven to continue cooking without over-doing the breast.  If you choose to do this, simply set the breast and carcass aside on a cooling rack (over a cookie) sheet and let rest.  Your thermometer should be in the deepest part of the thigh without touching bone, and should reach 160 before you determine your legs are done.  160 is basically the magic number.  Hit it and pull your bird out.  Go to 170/175 like the Health Department recommends and you’re going to have a dry turkey.

    12. Allow your turkey to rest for 20 minutes minimally no matter what.  If you’ve removed the legs or chosen to keep them on, still let all the parts rest to allow the moisture to be sucked back in.  Simply pop the bird back into the oven momentarily before serving to heat him right back up.

    13. SAVE THE BROWN BITS from your pan for gravy.  That recipe comes next week!

    Time: 30 minutes to prepare the dry brine, about 4.5 hours start to finish for preparing and cooking the turkey

    Level: Medium

    Serves: Depends on how big your turkey is!

    Sage Thanksgiving Stuffing 2

    Sage Thanksgiving Stuffing

    1. 1 loaf of good sourdough bread cut into small cubes and dried out in the low-heat oven until stale

    2. 3/4 to 1 stick of butter

    3. 1 large onion, diced

    4. 4 celery sticks, diced

    5. 2 heaping tablespoons of dried sage

    6. 1 Jimmy Dean or Farmer John’s Sage Sausage

    7. 3 cups of good chicken broth (can add some Better Than Buillon flavoring to increase flavor)

    8. Salt and Pepper to season

    1. Cut bread into cubes and dry the cubes out on a cookie sheet in a 250F oven until dry, stale, and toasty.

    2. Melt butter in pan, add diced onion and celery until soft, add sage, salt, and pepper.

    3. Cook sausage in a separate pan until just about done, then add sausage and fat to softened onion and celery.  Check the seasonings – you’ll need quite a bit since you’ll be adding bread and chicken stock.

    4. In a large bowl mix veggies, sausage, and bread making sure to coat the bread with the fat.  Taste test.  Add more salt, pepper, and sage per your taste!

    5. Pour 3 cups of broth over stuffing and mix together well.  Each piece of bread should be coated with fat and stock.

    6. Put stuffing mixture into a buttered 12×16 (or is it 10×15?) glass dish.  Bake in convection oven at 375 for about 40 minutes (if it’s coming out of the fridge).  Stuffing will be bubbling at the base and crispy and yummy on top.

    Serves: 6-8 people

    Oven: 250F and 375F

    Time: 90 minutes

    Level: Easy



    6 tablespoons butter + more for other steps

    6 tablespoons flour

    Chicken Broth (about 8 cups)

    Turkey neck and giblets

    Half an onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

    1 carrot, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

    Half a celery stick, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

    2-3 bay leaves

    Parsley stems

    Kosher Salt

    Black Pepper

    Juice from Turkey Roasting Pan

    Brown Bits from Turkey Roasting Pan

    White Wine to deglaze

    1. The day before Thanksgiving, make the base for your gravy by making a roux then adding chicken stock until it boils and thickens.  To do this, melt butter completely in a sauce pan then add flour, whisking together into a paste and cooking for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly over medium heat.  Add hot chicken stock (about 5-6 cups) to the pan, stirring constantly to avoid clumps.  Allow the gravy base to boil so the starch in the flour expands, thickening the gravy.  Boil for 5-10 minutes.  Allow gravy base to cool completely and refrigerate until Thanksgiving.

    2. On Thanksgiving, brown neck and giblets in butter in a large sauce pan.  Once browned remove from the pan, melt some additional butter and brown onion, carrot, and celery.  Add the bones and giblets back to the pan, add chicken stock (or turkey stock if you have it) to cover, bay leaves, parsley stems, and black pepper.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 1-2 hours.  Strain , cool the liquid and set aside.

    3. When the turkey is finished cooking, pour the juice from the pan into a bowl and allow the fat to come to the top.  Spoon the fat off of the turkey juice.  Over medium heat, deglaze the brown bits off of the pan using white wine and by scraping the bottom of the pan.  Add turkey juice, the turkey liquid from the bones, and the gravy base to the pan.  Allow the gravy to boil to let the different liquids come together.  Scrape any fat that comes to the top off of the gravy.  Season with salt and pepper until it tastes just right.  If your gravy needs to thicken, you can boil it down further (the saltiness will intensify so be careful) or add a bit of flour and butter paste (take soft room temp butter and mix it with equal parts flour) to the gravy, stirring to thicken (it must boil).

    Serves: 8-12 people

    Difficulty: Medium

    Time: 3 hours over the course of 2 days


    Crispy Brussel Sprout Salad

    With Pomegranate Seeds

    From BlissfulBasil

    For the Salad
    • 2 pounds brussels sprouts
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
    • ¼ cup pine nuts
    For the Lime Vinaigrette
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • ½ tablespoon tahini
    • ½ tablespoon pure maple syrup
    • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
    • black pepper, to taste
    1. Preheat oven to 350F.
    2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
    3. One at a time, trim the brussels sprouts and separate the leaves. You will need to trim the base of the sprout a few times to get as many leaves as possible from each. Add the leaves to the baking pans and repeat with each sprout.
    4. Once all of the leaves have been added to the pans, drizzle each pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and massage the oil into the leaves. Spread the leaves out evenly over each pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until most of the leaves are crispy and just turning golden. Make sure to toss the leaves every few minutes as they bake to prevent burning. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
    5. While the leaves are baking, make the vinaigrette by adding the lime juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, tahini, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk for 15-30 seconds until incorporated.
    6. To serve the salad, add the leaves to a serving bowl or tray along with the pomegranate seeds and pine nuts. Pour the dressing over, toss to coat, and serve immediately. 



    Pumpkin Pie

    From Sally’s Baking Addiction

    • Homemade Pie Crust (full recipe makes 2 crusts: 1 for bottom, 1 for leaf decor)
    • 2 cups (15oz can; 450g) pumpkin puree1
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) packed dark brown sugar2
    • 1 Tablespoon (15g) cornstarch
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger3
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg3
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves3
    • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
    • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk (I use 1% – any is fine)
    • 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon milk, for brushing
    1. Preheat oven to 375º
    2. Whisk the pumpkin, 3 eggs, and brown sugar together until combined. Add the cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cream, and milk. Vigorously whisk until everything is combined. Filling will be a little thick.
    3. Pour pumpkin pie filling into a warm pre-baked crust. If you did not use a deep dish pie pan, you will have too much filling. Only fill the crust about 3/4 of the way up. Use extra to make mini pies with leftover pie dough scraps if you’d like. Bake the pie until the center is almost set, about 55-60 minutes give or take. A small part of the center will be wobbly – that’s ok. After 25 minutes of baking, be sure to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil or use a piecrust shield to prevent the edges from getting too brown. Check for doneness at minute 50, and then 55, and then 60, etc.
    4. Once done, transfer the pie to a wire rack and allow to cool completely for at least 3 hours.
  • Meet Dani Beckerman!


    Dani at the Jars office on 6th Avenue (Photo: Stephanie Cheng)

    Jars By Dani

    Decadent desserts delivered in simple fashion

    If you consider yourself a dessert connoisseur or sugar aficionado, chances are you already know Dani Beckman by her Instagram. Brownie on top of sprinkles on top of cake on top of whipped cream on top of chocolate chips on top of more brownie, sprinkles, cake, and whipped cream? Yea, Dani’s your go-to girl.

    With pop-up shops in both of Bloomingdales’ Manhattan locations, Jars, her dessert company, continues to take the city by storm. What started as a passion project for the pre-med graduate turned pastry chef quickly evolved into one of New York’s most sought after desserts.

    Last week, Paige and I caught up with the super sweet and super stylish Dani Beckerman to see what other cool things she has planned for Jars.


    The Fudgy Brownie, White Chocolate, and Cookie Dough Jar (Photo: Stephanie Cheng)

    Let’s start from the very beginning. How did it go from regular mason jars to Jars by Dani?

    I was really into experimental baking. I don’t know if you know my background but I was pre-med, I moved to the city, [and then] I decided to go to culinary school. I didn’t want to be a line chef. I wanted to do something innovative in the culinary world. I was making 18 different kinds of mousses using chocolates and everything. Then, I saw the jars and I thought they were so pretty. I was putting everything I was making into them, layering them. In the beginning the jars [looked] messy and gross. But, they tasted delicious! With all the experimental baking, I learned to make each [layer] so that it would kind of sit a certain way on top of each other very neatly.


    Dani is holding her White Chocolate and Fudgy Brownie Jars (Photo: Stephanie Cheng)

    Where do you find inspiration for your Jars? How do you come up with the flavors?

    Again, just with the experimental baking, [I go with] what tastes best. I love the Fudgy Brownie—it’s something different. It’s a new dessert. You have ice-cream, you have brownies, and then you have Jars. I call them Jars. If they’re in the jars, they’re Jars. I just put different inserts like cookie dough—[toppings] everyone loves—cookies and cream, and peanut butter. Coming up with new flavors, though, is the most fun. You know, you’ll see something on the street that looks good, like a certain croissant, and you’ll do a play off that.


    The Fudgy Brownie, White Chocolate, and Cookie Dough Jar, and Halloween-themed Mini Jars (Photo: Stephanie Cheng)

    Did you think Jars by Dani would blow up the way it did on Instagram?

    I never thought I’d be running a business. It wasn’t my goal in life. It just happened!

    How long did it take you to make a Jar when you just started?

    It would take me all day to [finish] one order and then deliver it. I was working out of my kitchen in my apartment. And, it’s Manhattan. I lived and I still live in a five floor walk-up. I was hand delivering Jars myself the first six months so in the winter, my hands were frosted in. It was crazy! I loved it though.

    Any funny stories?

    Do you remember that horrible blizzard? I posted on Instagram asking people if they wanted Jars and they ordered. I literally walked around in the snow delivering Jars. It was insanity. But, if you get up at 4:00 a.m. and you’re down to do this—if you’re happy and jumping out of bed. Then yea, you’ve found what you love to do.


    (Photo: Stephanie Cheng)

    Do you take breaks?

    I can’t! Even if I stay at home, if I don’t come [into the office], I’m always on my phone coordinating. Always.


    White Chocolate Mini Jars (Photo: Stephanie Cheng)

    Was cooking always a big influence on your life?

    I come from a pretty religious Jewish family. Every Friday night, we would have the traditional Friday night meal. My mom would cook like a crazy person. 10 main [dishes]—for an army! I would always do the baking. I kind of got [the cooking] from her. We would always have a million main dishes and a million desserts. I always loved to bake. I always found it therapeutic. If I was stressed, I would bake.


    Dani holding a set of four Jars (Photo: Stephanie Cheng)

    You took a leap of faith and left the medical world behind for the culinary world. What pushed you towards that decision?

    I kept finding myself procrastinating on culinary school. It was so last minute. I made an appointment to go see the [Institute of Culinary Education] and I signed up there.


    The Cookies and Cream, White Chocolate, Fudgy Brownie, and Cookie Dough Jar (Photo: Stephanie Cheng)

    What are some of your future plans for Jars?

    I see myself going into the innovative dessert world. The name will always be Jars. It’ll be coming up with desserts under the Jars brand name, not necessarily in containers or Jars.


    (Photo: Stephanie Cheng)

    (Jars will be launching their online store next week. Immediate orders can be made via email at dani@jarsbydani.com. They ship nationally!)

  • TheLoDown