Tag Archives: holiday

Cooking with Love: Giving Tuesday

Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday, but almost just as exciting is the day after.

No, not because Black Friday deals. No, not because the ban on politics at the dinner table is over. It’s because NOW, we can sing CHRISTMAS CAROLS.


And all the lights in our dorm rooms have purpose again!

But let’s go back to that second point…and think about what it means as we go into finals season.

Soon, some of us will start spending our lives (or more of them, if that’s possible) in Butler. Others will resort to leaving passive agressive notes to Butler seat-savers, or crying alone in our rooms. We’ll get more stressed, more tired, and more feeling like why are we doing this again than we have for most of the past semester.

The bright spot?

29 November is Giving Tuesday! Just in time to kick off the giving spirit.

And what better to give than…food?

More than that, food from the heart.

There are lots of ways to do this. First off, there is the GS Student Council Food Bank, which is conveniently collecting donations every Tuesday for the rest of the semester. Despite Columbia’s millions of dollars in endowment, many of our classmates face food insecurity on top of the stress of class and finals. It takes maybe a dollar to donate something – stop by Lerner from 11-2 on a Tuesday with some cereal, pasta or something else on their suggested list! It’ll take maybe 10 minutes, and we all probably need a study break that long anyway.

If you’ve got about 50 more minutes and want to bring more joy into people’s lives, I’ve found cookies are surprisingly effective at doing so. One batch of the recipe below makes THREE DOZEN. Two cookies each for EIGHTEEN people.

What are you waiting for?


Special thanks to my mom for making them and to the Crisco shortening package for the inspiration.


3/4 cup Crisco® Butter-Flavored Shortening (or 3/4 cup + 1.5 tbsp butter)*
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups (1 package) semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2. Cream shortening/butter and brown sugar. Mix milk and vanilla until well-blended; beat in egg.

3. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into other ingredients until jussstt blended.

4. STIR IN THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS (a bit at a time works best!).

5. Taste some.

6. Roll the dough into whatever size you want your cookies to be, and press them onto an ungreased cookie pan.

7. Taste one.

8. Bake 8-10 minutes for chewier cookies, or 11 to 13 for crisper ones!

9. Taste one.

Well, there you have it folks – how to spread the love on Giving Day and beyond.

tl;dr: Give to the GSSC Food Bank on Tuesday, then make cookies to brighten a few more people’s days.

And remember – soon we’ll see the light again! Be they for Christmas or just all we’ve been missing from the sun while in Butler.

*Buy the shortening, you won’t regret it.


Cranberry Pecan Tart

Photo Credit: Pippa Biddle

I love pie. I really love pie. I count tarts as a form of pie. One pie/tart I have never understood is pecan pie. I mean, I’d be kidding you to say that I don’t enjoy a mouth full of gooey sugar every now and then but something about pecan pie is just to much. Every Thanksgiving, when it came to choosing what desserts to make, we left out pecan pie in favor of apple pie, pumpkin pie, and chocolate cake.

A few years ago Bon Appetit published a recipe for a Cranberry Pecan Tart that seemed to be the perfect mix of sweet and tart. You see, I love all things sweet and sour and desserts are no different. Over the past 3 years this has become a staple not just for Thanksgiving dinner but also throughout the fall and winter. It is a universal crowd pleaser and is epic when served with homemade vanilla ice cream or bourbon whipped cream!

A sampling of our Thanksgiving desserts!

Continue reading Cranberry Pecan Tart

Upcoming Events: Holiday Cookies!


Yes, we love cookies THAT much.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, December 6) at 9:30 pm in the Satow Room (Lerner, 5th Floor), the Culinary Society will be hosting its final study break of the semester: Our 3rd Annual Holiday Cookie Study Break!

Join us as we share some tasty treats such as Chocolate-dipped Peppermint Meringues, Drunken Gingerbread, and White Chocolate Rice Krispies. We will also be providing plenty of milk and EGGNOG! (After all, who would be heartless enough to provide cookies with no milk? Also, sidenote, eggnog is delicious.)

The event is completely FREE, so just bring yourself, bring some friends, and come partake of the holiday cheer! Hope to see you tomorrow!

Also, if you so desire, come attired in your holiday best! Personally, I’m donning my reindeer pyjamas along with a very festive hat. Til then!

Food-themed Holiday Windows!

Drowned in studying for finals and hurriedly writing papers, I felt like I needed a little holiday spirit.  I gathered a few of my friends, created a detailed exploration plan (I come from a long line of logistics-lovers), and set off to 5th Avenue.  From those of you not from New York, 5th Avenue’s elegance and decadence puts every other holiday display to shame.  The stores that can afford to be on 5th Ave can afford to create beautiful displays.  Matt wrote in one of his blogs a few weeks ago about Barney’s food themed windows.  My mom reminded me about it a couple of days ago, and I knew I had to see it before I got too caught up in work and went home for the holidays.

Barney’s only one of several of the stores we walked to see (thirty blocks in all), but it was definitely our favorite.  The displays were incredibly elaborate (the ILLY coffee one was awesome – I would totally wear a dress made of coffee bags).  Food Network stars made several appearances, including a Paula Dean that had packages of butter sticking out of her apron and a rather adventurous looking Bobby Flay.  Julia Child appeared as a giant “creative” spoon.  My friend Max was very disappointed because there was no Alton Brown – really, Barney’s?  No Alton?  How am I supposed to enjoy the chemistry of food without him?

Oh yeahhh, I guess I could enjoy the chem on my final! … There’s no way to make that sound pleasant.

To all the Columbia (and other schools’) students – good luck on your finals!  To everyone else not in college…you are very lucky during this time of year.  Enjoy the photos of the windows if you won’t be able to make it out there yourself!

Additionally, if you’re in New York and you’re not sure what to do over the next week, check out this special exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) – “Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen.”

[Photos and post by Amanda]

Culinary on CBS’s The Early Show!

A few days ago, just as I was settling in to my Art Humanities class, I received an ecstatic text from Matt: “We’ve been invited to be on the Early Show!  Want to come?”  My response was to drop my phone in surprise, and then quickly write Matt back – “HELL YEAH!”  Matt had been contacted by some of his friends at allrecipes.com to decorate cookies with them on the Early Show.  Of course, Matt accepted and requested to bring along a few friends. Request granted.  So, today, the results of that text came to fruition.

Matt, Kelcey, Helenka, and I met up at the 116th Gates around 6:15.  It was still pitch black out, and approximately 25 degrees.  Armed with Starbucks, we hopped in a cab and headed down to the CBS studios on 5th Avenue.  We were some of the first ones there.  We anxiously hopped around and shivered as more people arrived.  We were then arranged to be smiley and cheerful for a preview pan of the audience at 7 AM.  We spent the next hour and a half doing a variety of activities to stay warm.  Matt created a hopping dance while he tried to thaw the bottles of frosting (which, in the cold weather, had started to freeze). We also chatted up other friendly foodies and discussed the art of cookie decorating.  Several times, the camera crews and news anchors would return to us and we would all start cheering and waving.  We talked to the Early Show anchors and they thanked us for making it out there and sticking around, despite the cold winds.  In between the frantic dancing and jumping to keep warm, we were able to decorate a few cookies, too.

It was so exciting to be on national television!  A friend texted me randomly saying “DID I JUST SEE YOU ON THE EARLY SHOW?”   Also, it was great to be contacted by allrecipes!  We were also there with members from Cookies Across America and Drop-In-and-Decorate.  Both programs are trying to encourage people from all over the country to donate and decorate cookies to various charities. We think it’s a great idea to unite people through yummy cookies. (:

[Post and pictures by Amanda.  For those of you who are on Facebook, more photos of us will be uploaded –  including one of Matt wearing his Cookies Across America t-shirt over his coat.  That’s one you won’t want to miss. (:]

Delicious Cookies and Happy Holidays!

First off, many thanks to everyone who showed up to the event!  We had a great turn out at our 2nd Annual Holiday Cookie Study Break.  Students quickly filled in and sat anxiously in Lerner’s boxy armchairs, waiting for the event to begin.  Matt welcomed everyone to the study break and introduced the various dishes.  We had Peppermint Chocolate Cookies, Russian Tea Cookies, Maple-Walnut Cookies, Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies, and a Holiday Cupcake.  As soon as Matt finished his introduction, the table was rushed by more than twenty hungry students, clamoring to get their first choice.  There were plenty of cookies to go around.  Some students eagerly tried one of each, and others quickly pocketed their favorites for later.  This was our last Culinary Society event for the year – it’s been a great first semester!  Keep in touch for various blog posts over  the coming weeks and winter break.  (Expect a snarkier and probably pasta-related post from me within the next month.)  Also, look for a few of us on CBS’s Early Show on Thursday morning starting around 7!  We will be decorating cookies! :)  Enjoy the pictures, have a wonderful winter break, and happy holidays!

PS: Don’t you love the new CU Culinary logo?  Well, I do. :)

[Photos and post by Amanda]

Breaking News! (Foodie Style)

  • Yigit Pura has been named the first ever Top Chef Just Desserts winner! For those of you who have been following the show, I hope you shared my enthusiasm for this contestant–I definitely felt like he was the best choice out of the three finalists. We’ll have to watch his next move as he progresses in the world of pastry. Look out for his feature in Food and Wine Magaine!
One of the windows features pieces made out of Illy products
  • Barneys has finally unveiled their “Have a Foodie Holiday” windows as of yesterday! The windows pay tribute to chefs such as Jean Georges, Daniel Boulud, Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray, Emeril, Paula Deen, Mario Batali, and many more! There are also several “foodie” gifts available in Barneys for the coming holiday season. I can’t wait to go see them myself! (Barneys is located at 660 Madison Avenue if you have some time to check out the windows this weekend.)