Category Archives: Desserts

New Work: Food Styling & Photography

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I recently did food styling & photography for Newman’s Own Salad Dressing and Arnold Bread for their annual recipe contest websites, advertisements and marketing materials.

I also have been doing photography for Baked By Melissa (the mini cupcakes in NYC!), for their website, social media and advertising and events. Here are some new shots I’ve done for them recently too!

Newman’s Own Salad Shoot

Arnold Bread Sandwich Shoot

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Baked by Melissa

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Pear and Hazelnut Salted Caramel Pie

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Pear and Hazelnut Salted Caramel Pie

Fall has finally arrived – my favorite season of the year! I love the cooler weather and dressing in jeans, sweaters, boots and leather jackets. I love the beautiful colors of the changing leaves. And I love the gorgeous fall produce and warmer, cozier comfort foods that come with the season.

Pears Hazelnuts

One of my favorite things to make in the fall is pie – sweet or savory with gorgeous fruits and veggies and all sorts of lovely ingredients and spices.

Pear Filling

There’s something so soothing about the smell of pie baking in the oven that warms up the home and goes perfectly with the crisp fall air and cooler days and nights.

KitchenAid Stainless Pie Pan

I recently got a KitchenAid® Stainless Steel 8-Piece Set of cookware along with a new KitchenAid® 9” Professional-Grade Nonstick Pie Pan and was inspired to make a gorgeous Pear and Hazelnut Salted Caramel Pie with a Chocolate Graham Crust. The flavors of nuts, homemade caramel, fresh pears, chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg pair perfectly together and scream fall.

Pour Salted Caramel Sauce


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Cooking with Color 4 Kids TV Summer Edition + Recipes from Spring Show

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My #CookingwithColor4Kids TV Show Summer Edition is LIVE and what a fun show we have for you…Thanks to all the amazing kids and parents who were on the show and for cooking and sharing all your awesome Summer recipes with us!


Lily McGee & Jennifer Hess McGee made us some fresh and healthy Summer Jar Salads

Maxwell Leduc from Canada talks about his favorite Summer dishes to make and how he cooks gluten-free

Ava Llorca makes us fresh Strawberry Shortcake from scratch – her favorite Summer dish

Deborah Berg from Israel makes us a delicious Beet Salad fresh from her garden

Jacob and Cooper Nixon from Charlotte NC make Strawberry Shortcakes and Caprese Salads with fresh fruits and veggies from their Dad Jeff Nixon‘s garden

Jonathan and Nichelle Pace talk about how they make homemade Pancakes and BBQ Chicken

LIVE on our YouTube Channel at –


Also airs on Brooklyn Public Network television tomorrow Sat July 18 at 11:30 am EST in Brooklyn on:
Cablevision channel 67
Time Warner channel 34
RCN channel 82
AND in all 5 boroughs of #NYC on Verizon channel 42

VIEW ONLINE LIVE at BCAT TV Network Channel 1 Sat July 18 at 11:30 am –


AND…if you missed our Spring Show from May – you can also watch it online at

I made some fresh and healthy Caprese Salad Skewers, Straw and Hay Pasta with Peas & Pancetta in a light creamy Parmesan Sauce and a delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess for dessert! I also had a Guest Chef from our video crew make a big batch of Mediterranean Tabbouleh for us on the good!

HealthCorps Kids

Also check out the video also on our Spring show of the HealthCorps kids from a high school in the Lower East Side, NYC cooking Fish Tacos for Cinco de Mayo – so many healthy and fresh things going on over there!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cooking with Color 4 Kids was also just featured in Lodging Magazine this month – read the article online here!

Below are my #recipes from the Spring show..hope you enjoy and Happy Summer!

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad Skewers

1 container of cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh basil
1 container fresh mozzarella balls
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or 1 cup for glace
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Assemble tomatoes, rolled basil leaves and mozzarella balls on medium-sized toothpicks or small wooden skewers.

Drizzle with olive oil, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.

To make balsamic glace (a thicker cooked down version of balsamic vinegar), add one cup of balsamic vinegar to a sauce pan over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes until it reduces to a syrupy consistency. Dip a spoon into the vinegar to check for thickness. As it cools the syrup will also thicken.

Drizzle balsamic glace evenly over the caprese skewers and serve immediately.

Makes 12 skewers.

Straw and Hay Pasta

Straw and Hay Pasta 


Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 scallions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup frozen baby peas, defrosted
4 ounces (1/2 cup) diced pancetta
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/2 pound dry egg fettucine or linguine
1/2 pound dry spinach fettucine or linguine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Trim the scallions and slice into thin strips and then crosswise about 3 inches long. Add the scallions to the pan and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes until wilted.

Add the diced pancetta, and cook for about 5 minutes or so until it gets crispy and browned.

Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the sauce to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the heavy cream and continue to simmer another 2-3 minutes.

Stir the pasta into the salted boiling water and let return to a boil, then cook for 9 minutes until al dente (slightly firm and chewy).

Remove the cooked pasta from the water with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce in the skillet, stirring to coat. Cook over high heat until liquid reduces to a creamy sauce.

Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Garnish with black pepper and freshly chopped parsley, if desired.

Serves 6.

Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess

Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess


2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest

Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Make the Meringues:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Whisk the eggs with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium high and slowly add the sugar, one spoonful at a time. Continue beating until sugar is completely incorporated and the stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla with a spatula.

Spoon the meringue into twelve large dollops on the baking sheet.

Bake for 90 minutes or until the surface of the meringues are dull and they feel dry to the touch. Let the meringues cool for at least an hour or overnight.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:
Preheat a sauce pan over medium high heat, and add the rhubarb, strawberries, OJ, sugar and orange or lemon zest.

Bring to a boil and stir occasionally, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes until the fruit is soft and starts to fall apart.

Set aside and let cool to room temperature (or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if making ahead for up to 1 week).

Whipped Cream: (can also use store-bought if you prefer to not make your own)
In a large mixing bowl, whip together the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla with a whisk until soft peaks form.

Assemble the Eton Mess:
Crumble meringues into a large mixing bowl.

Top with spoonfuls of whipped cream and strawberry rhubarb compote in layers and fold until just barely combined.

Divide evenly between six dessert bowls or glasses and serve immediately.

Serves 6.


Mediterranean Tabbouleh


1/2 cup fine bulgur
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup boiling hot water
2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Stir together bulgur and 1 tablespoon oil in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over the bulgur, then cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh colander, pressing on bulgur to remove any excess liquid.
Transfer bulgur to a bowl and toss with all the ingredients, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, until combined well.
This dish can be served as a side salad or main dish, along with an assortment of grilled meats, pita bread and falafel with hummus.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Download the recipes below as a PDF:





#cookingwithcolor #cookingwithkids #kristenhess #theartfulgourmet #artfulgourmet #ediningnews #bric #foodtv #springrecipes #summerrecipes


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A Special Treat for Mom: Glazed Chocolate Orange Tart

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Chocolate Orange Tart

Happy Mother’s Day! What a gorgeous day it is today to celebrate Mom and all the awesome things she does every day of the year.

photo by @dadarocks

I’m posting this recipe today in honor of MY Mom, who loves Chocolate and Orange, in any form, and who I promised to make this delicious thing for when I go home to see her in June.

Chocolate Orange Tart

This gorgeous Chocolate Orange Tart is something I made recently for a photography event at Drift Studio in NYC hosted by eyeFi, a really cool app that allows photographers to upload their photos to the internet via a WiFi enabled SIM card, directly from their DSLR cameras.

Chocolate Orange Tart

They asked me to bring some food and style a lovely still life for the photographers to shoot at the event and it was quite the hit that people actually started eating the tart off the still life set! (LOL- Who can blame them?!)


The tart is made with luscious semi-sweet chocolate and cream with a dash of orange flower water and baked in a graham cracker and cocoa crust,then topped with a gorgeous shiny chocolate glaze and homemade candied orange peel made from a Cara Cara orange, for extra citrus zing that balances out the richness of the creamy chocolate center.


I’m wishing all the Moms out there an amazing Mother’s Day today and hope you’re indulging in something sweet and lovely, just like YOU.


Chocolate Glazed Orange Tart w/ Candied Orange Peel

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Serving Size: 1 piece


  • Chocolate Tart Shell:
  • 1 package of graham crackers (9 total)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Tart Filling:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (or chopped)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower extract or Grand Marnier liqueur
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Chocolate Glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • Candied Orange Peel:
  • 1 orange (Cara Cara is what I used)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the chocolate tart shell:
  3. In a food processor, crush the graham crackers into a fine crumb, add the cocoa and pour into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the melted butter to the cracker cocoa crumbs and stir together until mixed well with no lumps.
  5. Press the crumbs evenly into a 9-inch tart pan, about 3/4 inch up the side of the pan.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes and let cool in the pan on a baking rack.
  7. To make the filling:
  8. Bring the cream to a boil then pour over the chocolate chips into a large mixing bowl and let stand for about 5 minutes until the chocolate starts to melt, then stir together until smooth.
  9. Whisk the eggs, orange flower extract and salt in a separate bowl, then fold into the melted chocolate.
  10. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake until the filling is set about 3 inches form the edge, about 20-25 minutes. (The center should still be a bit wobbly).
  11. Cool the tart in the pan on a cooling rack for about an hour.
  12. To make the chocolate glaze:
  13. Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil, remove from heat.
  14. Pour in the chocolate chips or chunks and stir until melted and smooth.
  15. Stir in the corn syrup and then the warm water.
  16. Pour the glaze over the cooled tart, then tilt the glaze to evenly cover the top. Let stand until glaze is set about 1 hour.
  17. To make the candied orange peel:
  18. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin of the orange into long strips, then cut into thin matchstick pieces.
  19. Place the orange peel in a saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to a boil for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and drain the peel, rinse out the saucepan.
  20. Add the peel back into the saucepan and add the sugar and water, stirring everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes until the peel becomes translucent and the sugar water becomes thick and syrupy.
  21. Remove from heat and place the orange peel with a fork on to a plate and let cool. The orange peel will cool and harden with a sugary coating when ready. Place the candied orange peel on top of the chocolate tart and serve.
  22. Note: orange peel can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container until ready to top the chocolate tart. Tart can also be made a day ahead without the chocolate glaze, covered loosely with foil and stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before topping with the chocolate glaze if making ahead.


Note: orange peel can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container until ready to top the chocolate tart. Tart can also be made a day ahead without the chocolate glaze, covered loosely with foil and stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before topping with the chocolate glaze if making ahead. Recipe adapted from Epicurious

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Roadtrip! Food, Cocktails & Rodeo fun in Houston Texas

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One of my favorite things to do in the world is traveling – especially with my group of awesome girlfriends. We usually do a few group trips a year as we all live in different parts of the country: Nashville, NYC, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, LA..etc.

Rodeo Houston

We decided to do a road trip to Houston, Texas this time around for a fun weekend of awesome food, cocktails and a trip to the annual Houston Rodeo! What a blast we had! I have to admit I’ve never been to a rodeo before but it was truly impressive watching those cowboys riding bulls and cowgirls racing around the rodeo field.

Rodeo Houston

We even got to see the country star Billy Currington perform live, fireworks and all!


Another fun experience was the Pedal Party around the Montrose area of Houston – there was 15 of us on this big mobile beer wagon with music, a tour guide, bartenders, lots of beer, and we pedaled our way around this fun neighborhood bar hopping and drinking, eating…and drinking some more…

Pedal Party Bar Hopping Houston TX much fun!!!

Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette

Of course one of my missions on any trip is finding amazing food in each town we visit – and we had plenty of it! We had a truly delicious brunch at Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette – a great place with an outdoor patio and great food!

Executive Chef Travis Renig and Me

I got to meet Executive Chef Travis Lenig which was a delight. We ordered a feast fit for a king and his crew! Lobster Mac & Cheese, Buffalo Mac & Cheese, fresh Gulf oysters, pitchers and pitchers of Mimosas, Bourbon Maple Bacon, Eggs Benedict, Southern Biscuits, Tuna Tartare, Homemade Bacon Jam, Crispy Fish & Chips and were treated to Coconut Cream Pie and Bourbon Bread Pudding for dessert, compliments of the house! Click here to check out their awesome menu.

Gosh we are a spoiled crew. And we laughed our heads off with great conversation and autographed the menu (as we always do on our girls trips) for a fun keepsake. Such an awesome restaurant sitting outside on the patio in the sunshine and excellent hospitality and service..highly recommend a visit there if you’re ever in Houston!

Irish Stout Beef Stew

We also decided to cook for St. Patty’s Day at my friend Pam’s house – I made a delicious Irish Stout Beef Stew, (click here for the recipe!)

Dinner on the patio

a lovely fresh salad with greens from her garden, along with some Sourdough bread and red wine (and Guinness Stout!) to accompany…

Butterfinger Pie

with Butterfinger Pie for dessert! O.M.G. How delicious that was with a warm chocolate fudge sauce on top! YOWZA.

Such a great group of girlfriends and it was awesome making new friends too in the friendly state of Texas! Next on the map? The Hamptons in July and Austin in October! Stay tuned!

Check out more fun photos below from the trip! 

Irish Stout Beef Stew

Irish Stout Beef Stew Recipe

1 cup seasoned pan-searing flour
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 pounds boneless chuck beef or sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large onions, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 bottles Irish stout beer (like Guinness)
1 14-ounce can low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste, mixed with 1/4 cup of water
2 cups baby carrots or large carrot chunks
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered into chunks
4-5 turnips, cut into large chunks
¼ cup corn starch or roux thickener and water slurry (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Sourdough or Irish Brown Bread and butter, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron enamel braising pan or Dutch oven.

Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes, dredge with seasoned pan-searing flour and brown in 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add sliced onions to the pan along with another 2 tablespoons of canola oil and saute for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and saute another minute.

Add Guinness beer and cook with onions for a few minutes, stirring and scraping pan to loosen the brown bits. Add the beef broth and cook for another few minutes.

Return the seared beef to the pot, add the tomato paste mixture, baby carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil.

Cover and place the pot into the oven and let the goods simmer for about an hour. Remove from oven, stir and reduce heat to 300 degrees. At this point, if the stew is not thick enough for your liking, add a slurry of starch or roux thickener mixed with some water (about 1/4 cup) into the stew and stir well throughout. You can also smash a few of the potatoes to thicken it up a little bit.

Add the turnips and place the stew pot back in the oven to braise for another 30 minutes to an hour.

Let the stew cool on top of the stove uncovered for about 15-20 minutes to let it thicken. Serve with Sourdough or Irish Brown Bread and butter with a fresh green salad and a glass of Guinness Stout or red wine.

Serves 6-8.

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Food Trends of 2014 + Flavor Forecast for 2015

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2014 Food Trends

As the year 2014 is coming to an end, it’s always interesting to see what was hot and what was not in the culinary world and what new food and flavor trends we will see in the New Year 2015. Popular trends seem to come and go each year affecting everything we see: restaurants, blogs, online stores, magazines, TV shows, and even fast food and packaged goods and advertising.

2014 had plenty of interesting ones that went big this year:

Culinary mashups: Cronuts (croissant donuts), Wonuts (waffle donuts), Quesarito (a quesadilla rolled into a burrito), bananas fosters pancakes, bagel burgers, ramen burgers, pretzel subs, Chicken waffle sandwiches, you name it – crazy Frankenfood dishes hit the scene this year.

Spicy burgers: burgers went nuclear this year with everything and anything spicy – Sriracha mayo, poblano peppers, jalapeño peppers, spicy onion rings, melted pepper jack cheese, harissa, ancho chipotle sauce, Mexican burgers with spicy ranch sauce…the list goes on.

Bahn Mi – a traditional Vietnamese sandwich made with roasted pork, marinated vegetables, and herbs on a baguette

Savory Jams – fig jam, pepper jellies, lingonberry jams topped creative sandwiches everywhere this year.

Paleo Diet – this meat-heavy, vegetable-laden, dairy and gluten free diet went crazy. Huge protein portions, cookbooks, blogs and new restaurants opened with a core focus on MEAT.

2015 Food Trends

And here is the flavor forecast for 2015:

Middle Eastern mezze: hummus, pepper spreads, herb-marinated olives

Creative cookies: decadent makeovers on classic cookies

Umami veggies: savory flavors will infuse new recipes such as tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce, nori, sweet potatoes

Smoked spices: deeper richer flavors for foods through smoked spices

Sour notes: coarse salt with sour notes from sour cherry, pickled ginger, mango and lemon zest add zing and bling. Burgers topped with kimchi. Shrubs (preserved fruits with vinegar and sugar) will show up in cocktails.

Liquid revolution: juice blends from fruits and vegetables to make healthy flavorful sauces

Global blends: Japanese 7 spice (aka shichimi togarashi) combines chilies, sesame, orange zest and nori. Shawarma Middle Eastern blends made with cinnamon, cumin and black pepper are also going big.

Tacos: regional and modern taco joints and pop ups are going to be everywhere

Scrambled eggs: forget poached and deviled – scrambled eggs for dinner with savory sauces and ingredients are hot.

Spicy flavors: Sriracha will still be in style, as well as international spices like Thai bird chiles that give a serious kick.

Flavor without fat: Chefs are now infusing meats and vegetables with flavor by grilling, rotisseries and smoke.

Meat spreads: Nduja is an Italian meat spread made with ground pork and spices, great for spreading on toast or filling ravioli.

Artisanal candies: Bourbon and sea salt caramels, ice cream gummies and other creative confectionaries will be everywhere.

Soft serve ice cream: seasonal flavors and innovative sundae creations are another hot item in the dessert scene.

Spanish cuisine: Tapas and small plates from the Spanish region will be hot in the fast-casual restaurant world.

Savory pancakes: think potato pancakes on steroids – infused with different vegetable flavors and creative toppings and sauces.

Patty melts: this classic diner dish heats up the food scene with innovative twists on this half burger / half grilled cheese sammie.

Mini cocktails: smaller versions of cocktails served in half portions are popping up to give customers the opportunity to taste more varieties

Artisanal hard cider: move over craft beer, the new trend is using artisanal hard cider to create libations with unusual ingredients such as bourbon, house-made Dijon syrup and thyme.

Gin: new places opening up that solely serve the classic Gin and Tonic in different ways

High-end daiquiris and frozen drinks: new twists on the daiquiri and slushie drink infused with fun flavors and alcohol combinations

Meals to go: restaurants and food brands understand the consumers shrinking leisure time by creating high end meals to go making it easier to eat gourmet food without spending hours eating out or cooking at home.

Family-style dining: more restaurants will be serving meals family style with larger portions to share around the table.

Sources: McCormick and National Restaurant News


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Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Holiday 2014

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Things I Love-holiday 2014

These are a few of my favorite things…food, wine, cooking tools, home and barware, recipes, cookbooks, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their awesomeness! And they make great gifts for the holidays as well..Happy Holidays everyone! 

Kitchen in France Cookbook

1. A Kitchen in France: A year of cooking in my farmhouse – cookbook by Mimi Thorisson

This is a gorgeous full color cookbook by Mimi Thorisson of Manger, one of my favorite food bloggers. It’s full of beautiful photos by her husband and lovely recipes from her farmhouse in France. Enough to make you want to quit your job and move there and bake tarts all day long.

Grab a copy on here.

west elm pillows

2. West Elm Velvet, Metallic and Mongolian Lamb Pillows

These beautiful pillows by West Elm are a great gift idea for that person who has everything – a little indulgent, but so pretty and festive for the cold Winter months.

Pick up a few of these beauties online here.

english toffee

3. English Toffee

English Toffee is one of those things I absolutely crave during the holidays! It’s rich, buttery, crunchy and chocolatey and makes the perfect gift, whether you make your own or get some pre-made it’s absolutely delicious and addicting. In fact, I’m planning to make some myself this year for stocking stuffers!

Here’s a great recipe for it on, or pick up a batch at Williams-Sonoma which comes in a festive holiday tin.

photo: Delicious as it Looks

holiday cocktail party set -

4. Holiday Cocktail Party Collection –

Everyone loves a cocktail party but sometimes it’s more work than  you expect it to be., a specialty indie food store has a Holiday Cocktail Party set that has all the essentials packaged up by local food producers to get your holiday party in gear. It comes with a variety of cheeses, Ginger Caramels, Old Bay peanuts, Vanilla Pickled Cherries, Sesame Lavish Crackers, Dark Chocolates and more. YUM.

Pick one up online here, and check out their other fun collections while you’re at it!

beaded table linens Neiman Marcus

5. Capiz Shell Beaded Table Linens – Neiman Marcus

Absolutely love these gorgeous Capiz shell beaded table linens by Kim Seybert at Neiman Marcus. It comes in a table runner and placemats with matching napkin rings. Festive enough to feast at Christmas like Queen Victoria. LOVE.

Get them online here.

Il Buco Vita

6. Il Buco Vita 

Il Buco Vita is a hidden gem, above the Il Buco Italian restaurant in NoHo NYC. It’s a showroom full of gorgeous handmade Italian and Mediterranean ceramics, linens, glassware, home furnishings and antiques that will make you swoon.

Visit their store online here and their showroom at 51 Bond Street, NYC

Swedish Meatballs

7. Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs are one of those appetizer dishes perfect for a holiday cocktail party. My Mom makes them every year for New Years Eve and I just can’t get enough of them. Try this recipe by BBCGoodFood, Bon Appetit or Food & Wine. For a cool twist, try this recipe for Nut-and-Seed Crusted Sausage Meatballs with Mustard Sauce. Totally indulgent and pure YUM.

Caramel Chocolate Tart

8. Dorie Greenspan’s Golden Caramel and Chocolate Tart

I love making tarts during the holidays, especially luscious ones made with caramel and chocolate. Dorie’s has a simple recipe for making a perfect tart dough, and the filling is perfect too, with melted bittersweet chocolate lining the crust with a silky, creamy homemade golden caramel on top. Divine.

Get the recipe here

foodie dice

9. Foodie Dice and Mixology Dice

As foodies, I know we all love to cook. But sometimes we get stuck in a rut and need a boost for some new creative ideas for our cooking. Same goes for cocktails – we drink the same old thing and how fun would it be to toss a few dice and get some fresh ideas for your mixology? Check out the Foodie Dice and Mixology Dice – with just a simple toss, you’ll get suggestions for making your own fab creations with fresh ingredients and combinations of your own.

Get ’em online here.

vintage champagne flutes

10. Vintage Etched Champagne Flutes – Williams Sonoma

What kind of holiday celebration would it be without some bubbly? Get these gorgeous vintage etched champagne flutes from Williams-Sonoma for the party, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up some bubbly to fill them with! If you’re in the mood to splurge, try a vintage 2004 Dom Perignon ($160), or try a Cremant de Bourgogne, a little less expensive than Champagne made in a Brut Rose, but just as tasty and bubbly ($24). Or try some sparkling wine (Blanc de Blancs) as an option- Gloria Ferrer has a great one from Sonoma CA.


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Luscious Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

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Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

This is a delicious, luscious custard pie that is one of my absolute favorite pies to make for the Thanksgiving holiday, and it is really simple to make.

The filling is made with buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and browned butter; it has a creamy consistency similar to pumpkin pie but without the pumpkin. It includes a simple recipe for a buttery homemade pie crust, but you can also use a store-bought frozen crust to save some time and effort (Pillsbury is great). Another option is to make the pie crust with whole wheat or buckwheat flour for a nuttier taste. Throw in a tablespoon of maple syrup and a dash of sea salt to the filling and sprinkle the pie with some large grain sugar to bring out the flavors even more. Then just top it with some bourbon vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and you’ve got yourself a prize for the won’t last long, I promise.

Wishing you a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday…Enjoy :)

Make the crust

Roll out the dough

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round.

Prick the dough in a pie plate

Place in a 9 inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges. Prick dough all over with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Bake pie crust until golden brown

Bake until edge is light golden brown about 15 minutes; remove parchment and weights.

Make the filling

Whisk together the pie filling ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately whisk brown butter into buttermilk mixture.

Pour pie filling into baked pie shell

Pour filling into pie shell and bake until set but still wobbly in center, 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle pie with sugar (if desired) and let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days.

Serves 8.

Luscious Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

Yield: 9

Serving Size: 1 slice


  • For the crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3-5 tbsp ice cold water
  • For the filling:
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • large grain sugar for sprinkling (optional)


  1. Make the crust: 
  2. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (you can add additional ice water if necessary, up to 2 tbsp, 1 at a time); do not overmix. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round.
  5. Place in a 9 inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges. Prick dough all over with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
  6. Bake until edge is light golden brown about 15 minutes; remove parchment and weights.
  7. Make the filling:
  8. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately whisk into buttermilk mixture.
  9. Pour filling into pie shell and bake until set but still wobbly in center, 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle pie with sugar (if desired) and let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days.


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Pie Party GE Potluck & a Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie w/ Shallots, Creme Fraiche & Fresh Herbs

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Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie1

I recently got invited to the Annual Pie Party GE Potluck with a group of food professionals from NYC, NJ and PA, and in order to attend you had to be a food professional and of course, bring a unique and delicious pie. Tickets to this awesome event were a hot commodity and sold out as always, so thanks to Harvard Common Press for releasing an extra ticket last minute me! I knew everyone would probably bring an array of sweet, and gooey pies and tarts – enough to make you swoon and pass out from a sugar coma.

Kristen Hess The Artful Gourmet

I’m not really a huge sweets person so I decided to make a savory Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie with Shallots, Creme Fraiche & Fresh Herbs, which is really more like a tart or quiche, just to switch it up and bring something different to the party.

Sweet Pies

The 3 hour party had hundreds of gorgeous sweet and savory pies from food bloggers, writers, and local Chefs in the food industry, and was planned and hosted by Jackie Gordon aka The Diva That Ate New York and Ken Leung aka Hungry Rabbit at the gorgeous GE Monogram Design Center in NYC.

Pie Party GE

We had tons of fun meeting other foodies

Savory Pies

and sampling the goods,

Chef Tagere

watched a cooking demo by  Chef Tagere showing us how to make gorgeous handmade Empanadas,

Sweet Pies 2

and did lots and lots of eating


and drinking and mingling with some of the best foodies on the East Coast!


Our awesome sponsors of this amazing party were: OXO, Jarlsberg, Kerrygold, Dub Pies, Wusthof, Snapware, Woolwich Dairy and Anolon.


Plus we got some great swag bags full of goodies from our generous sponsors to take home with us to enjoy all the leftover pie for the next week.

Dub Pies

Pie pans from Anolon, gorgeous knives from Wusthof, measuring spoons and a strawberry huller from OXO, a take home container by Snapware, a gorgeous Aussie Beef Pie from Dub Pies, mini Jarlsberg cheese and lots of beautiful creamy butter from Kerrygold USA.

KerryGold USA

All hail to the pie makers!

Savory Pies 2

Spaghetti Pie

Now back to my pie. This is one of my favorite recipes ever. It has a delicious buttery crust with a savory filling of thinly sliced potatoes, crispy bacon, Gruyere cheese, sage, shallots and garlic, with a touch of cream and crème fraiche inside to make it extra creamy and give a nice sauce to envelop all those delicious potatoes. It’s then baked into a golden brown and topped with a dollop of crème fraiche, chopped Italian parsley, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for a finishing touch. It’s kind of like a big cheesy potato casserole you’d make for Thanksgiving dinner except it’s a pie. And who doesn’t love a good homemade fresh pie right out of the oven? I advise making two, though, (just double the pie filling recipe below) because this one will get snatched up quicker than you can grab your fork and say “pie”.

Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie2

Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie w/ Shallots, Creme Fraiche & Fresh Herbs

Yield: 4-6

The pie has a delicious buttery crust with a handmade dough and a hearty filling of thinly sliced potatoes, crispy bacon, Gruyere cheese, sage, shallots and garlic, with a touch of cream and crème fraiche inside to make it extra creamy and give a nice sauce to envelop all those delicious potatoes. It’s then baked into a golden brown and topped with a dollop of crème fraiche, chopped Italian parsley, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for a finishing touch.


  • Pie Crust (For two 9-inch crusts):
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter; cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 6 tablespoons ice water
  • Potato Pie Filling (For one 9-inch Pie):
  • 6 slices of bacon or pancetta
  • 4 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced into 1/16”
  • 2 shallots, peeled and minced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons crème fraiche (for garnish)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  1. For the dough, mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse to mix until a coarse meal forms. Gradually add the ice water in until moist clumps form in the dough. Gather the dough and form into a ball. Divide in half and flatten into disks. Wrap each dough disk in plastic and chill it for at least one to two hours before rolling it out.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Gently roll out the pie dough on a floured surface and place into a lightly greased nine-inch round pie dish. Trim and flute the edges, set aside.
  4. Cook the bacon slices in a large sauté pan over medium heat until crispy and browned. Drain on paper towels, crumble into small pieces and set aside.
  5. For the potato pie filling, peel and slice the potatoes thinly (about 1/16” rounds) with a mandolin or knife; chop shallots, garlic and sage leaves. Whisk two tablespoons of crème fraiche into the half and half in a small bowl.
  6. Toss the sliced potatoes with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes in the dish in a circular overlapping pattern, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the shallots, garlic, sage, Gruyere cheese, half and half/crème fraiche mixture, and crumbled bacon. Repeat 2-3 more layers until all of the potato mixture and fillings are inside the pie shell. Top the pie with a little extra shredded Gruyere cheese and olive oil.
  7. Bake the pie for about 45 minutes until crust is golden brown and the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.
  8. Cool the pie on a baking rack for about 5 minutes and then top with a dollop or two of more crème fraiche, chopped parsley, sea salt and pepper for garnish.


You can also substitute pancetta or ham for the bacon, and mix in some Swiss or Emmenthaler cheese to the Gruyere if you want to make it extra cheesy and melty. Play around with the herbs too – throw in a little rosemary or thyme if you like. This recipe makes two 9-inch piecrusts, so if you want to make two pies, just double the pie filling recipe.

Photo Gallery from the Event (just click the photos to enlarge and see slideshow)



GE Monogram: LIKE on FB
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Jarlsberg: LIKE on FB
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Kerrygold: LIKE on FB
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Follow on Twitter: @WÜSTHOF


Anolon: LIKE on FB
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Follow on Twitter: @OXO

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A LOVE-LY Strawberry Chambord Valentine’s Day Cake

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As Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, I got inspired to make a LOVE-LY Strawberry Chambord Cake with Strawberry Coulis to celebrate.


I wanted to create a simple cake that highlighted the flavors of the strawberries and Raspberry Chambord liqueur, and used a yellow cake mix flavored with vanilla and almond extract, along with some pureed strawberries and Chambord. I made a classic Vanilla frosting to use in between the cake layers and the top of the cake as a canvas for my lovely Strawberry heart design.


To make it even more luscious, I made a Strawberry Coulis for the base of my Strawberry heart on top of the cake. I simply chopped up some strawberries, added water, sugar, vanilla and Chambord; then boiled it down into a thick strawberry glaze.


Top off the glaze with more fresh sliced strawberries creating a LOVE-LY heart shape. Cut into slices and sip some bubbly to celebrate with your honey.


A LOVE-LY Strawberry Chambord Valentine’s Day Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1 slice


  • Cake:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries, pureed
  • 2 tablespoons Raspberry Chambord liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Vanilla Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temp
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Strawberry Coulis:
  • 1 cup strawberries, quartered and chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Raspberry Chambord Liqueur
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries, for topping


  1. Cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 400 and grease two 9 inch round cake pans.
  3. Add all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat on low with a hand mixer for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Pour cake batter into both pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let cakes cool on a wire cooling rack in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely.
  6. Vanilla Frosting:
  7. In a medium bowl, beat the butter until light and smooth with a hand blender. Add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until frosting is smooth and creamy.
  8. Strawberry Coulis:
  9. Add chopped strawberries, water, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and Chambord in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring well. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until Strawberry Coulis thickens into a glaze. Remove from heat and let cool.
  10. Cake Assembly:
  11. Place one layer of the cake on a large plate or platter. Spread Vanilla frosting on the top. Place the second layer of cake on top and spread the rest of the Vanilla frosting on top.
  12. Spread the Strawberry Coulis on top of the cake making a heart shaped pattern. Layer the sliced strawberries on top of the glaze also in a heart shaped pattern.
  13. Slice cake and serve with a glass or two of bubbly.

Also in spirit of celebrating Valentine’s Day, Shari’s Berries has some delightful and lovely gift packages to send to your honey. One of my favorite things to go with strawberries is Champagne, of course, along with some luscious chocolate to pair. Check out their Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec & Godiva gift set and more chocolate and Valentine’s Day goodies online here.

Veuve Cliquot & Godiva

Demi-Sec, a slightly sweet style of Champagne, is at its best when served with desserts. Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec, marked by fresh peach, nectarine and orange blossom, pairs beautifully with Godiva‘s assorted deep dark chocolates, smooth milks, velvety ganaches, classic truffles and pralines. Truly irresistible!

Each gift set contains:

  • Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec Champagne (750 ML)
  • Godiva 19-piece Assorted Chocolates in a gold ballotin gift box
All photos, recipes and copy on this post are intellectual property of Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet. This post was not paid advertising and all opinions are my own.
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