Hi there – Hope this finds you well. I left the sunny beaches of South Florida and have been zipping up some serious skymiles. Currently I am writing from New York en route to Philadelphia for the Les Dames d’Escoffier conference.


Last I touched base I had just taught in Maine. Since then, I’ve made a little jaunt through Indiana and Ohio, had a great time in Greenville SC at Euphoria with Shaun Garcia and his posse at Soby’s, taught in Savannah and had a great food and wine dinner at Local 11 Ten with chef Jeff Rodgers. I always try to sample the local – the really local food when I am in town. So, in Owensboro KY I sample BBQ mutton, West Lafayette IN, I paid a visit to the XXX – no! not that kind of XXX, and in Cincinnati? You’ve got it – SkyLine Chili!


After Philly, I have a brief stop in Memphis on Tuesday 6 October, I will be in Memphis teaching a class on Mother Sauces at the Viking Culinary Arts Center I love, love, love teaching that class!


I’m kicking of The World of Coca Cola Cooking with Coke Series on October 10. Click through on the link above to buy tickets. It’s a great value for a fun night out. I’ll be doing a demo and there will be free samples created by Tony Conway’s team at A Legendary Event as well as Wine and Specialty Beverage Tasting and a Tour of the World of Coca-Cola. Finally, parking is FREE. I'll be doing a booksigning, so you can purchase books onsite or bring your copy to have signed. The holidays are just around the corner, so think about anyone who may need a copy of BAY for a gift. (Shameless plug, I know.) The deal is, the folks who follow me are none other than Atlanta chef Richard Blais and Food Network star Paula Deen! They told me that, and I was pretty incredulous, to put it mildly. You want ME to lead off?

Paula & VA

Speaking of Paula – my appearance on her show aired again recently. Thanks so much to everyone for their notes, emails, and FB messages. She was a blast. I’ve also been asked to write for her new website, so keep your eyes open for that!


Another really pretty cool thing going on is that my friend, colleague, and James Beard award winner Martha Foose and I are featured Cookbooks of the Month on Chowhound ! Can you believe it? Pretty ding dang awesome if you ask us! It’s really, really great. Real live readers, real people are cooking from our books, giving feedback, and asking questions. You know, I wrote yesterday that all the awards and nominations in the world mean a lot, but there’s nothing like someone showing up to my class with a dog-eared, stained copy of my cookbook. Nothing. Thanks Chowhounders!

There are a couple of professional events I want to tell you about, as well. My colleague Lisa Ekus-Saffer and I have developed a program called Honing Your Edge It’s media training for culinary professionals. We have 2 series of seminars coming up, one in DC and one in Seattle. There is also an additional seminar in DC on Cookbook Publishing 101.

Click on the link to find out more about it. In DC IACP members receive a 15% discount and in Seattle, we are extending the discount to members of LDEI. For more information, shoot Daniele an email at Daniele@Lisaekus.com

Just around the corner? Charleston SC, Athens GA, and St. Louis MO! Mexico, DC, and Seattle! Who knew there were so many folks liking Southern food all over?! Lot’s of fun classes, events, and ways to participate in good food and cooking all over. So, please come out and have a great time.

In the meanwhile, please enjoy my recipe below for Mama’s Apple Pie. Apple season is upon us and there’s not much better than a steaming, spicy slice of hot apple pie.

Bon Appetit, Y’all!



Mama’s Apple Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie

Even though peaches are considered the quintessential Southern fruit, the phrase “as American as apple pie” applies to the South, too. Apples grow in the cooler mountainous regions from Georgia to Virginia. There is no longer an issue with refrigeration, but apples were an important fruit for people in the country who lived off the land. When held in a cool cellar, apples lasted for months, providing much needed vitamins and nutrition in the winter.

Many factors affect an apple’s juiciness: the age of the apple, the weather and climate where it was grown, and how it has been stored. In a pie, there’s sometimes a fine line between juicy and sopping wet. Flour is one ingredient that will help absorb some of the cooking juices.

This is my sister’s favorite dessert and she always requests it on special occasions.

Double recipe All-American Pie Crust, in 2 disks, (see below)
7 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar, plus more for topping the pie
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of fine sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 tablespoon water

Prepare the pie pastry. To shape the crust, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out one disk of the dough into a 13-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough round to a 9-inch pie plate. With a sharp paring knife, trim the dough flush with the rim of the plate. Freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes.

To make the filling, place the apples in a bowl; sprinkle over the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir to combine and coat. Place the apple mixture in the unbaked pie shell. Dot with butter bits.

Roll out the remaining half of the pie crust on a lightly floured surface. Cover the filled pie crust with the round of dough, and trim so that 1 inch overhangs the pie plate. Fold the dough under, and crimp the edges by pressing with a fork or your fingers. Chill in the refrigerator until the crust is firm, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush the top of the pie with the water. Sprinkle over a teaspoon or so of sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes.

Transfer to a rack to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

All-American Pie Crust
Makes one 9-inch pie crust

When I was her apprentice, Nathalie Dupree spent hours on my baking and pastry education, patiently showing me again and again how to create perfect pie crusts, homemade breads, puff pastry, and rolls, until I had the techniques down cold. She crafted this recipe for beginners: it’s an easy crust for novices because it’s made in the food processor and because of the combination of butter and shortening. Shortening does not melt as readily as butter does and makes for a more forgiving dough. As Nathalie knew, a beginner’s first taste of sweet success in the pastry kitchen can be inspirational.

For a double-crust pie, simply double the amounts and divide the dough before rolling out.

11/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, preferably Crisco, chilled and cut into pieces
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
3 to 8 tablespoons ice water

In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour and salt, then add the vegetable shortening and butter. Process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

With the processor on pulse, add enough of the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together without being sticky or crumbly. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until firm and the moisture has distributed evenly, about 30 minutes.

Flour a clean work surface and a rolling pin. (If making a double-crust pie or 2 pie shells, work with one disk at a time, keeping the second disk chilled.) Place a dough disk in the center of the floured surface. Starting in the center of the dough, roll to, but not over, the upper edge of the dough. Return to the center, and roll down to, but not over, the lower edge. Lift the dough, give it a quarter turn, and lay it on the work surface. Continue rolling, repeating the quarter turns, until you have a disk about 1/8 inch thick.

Ease the pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim 1 inch larger than the diameter of the pie plate; fold the overhanging pastry under itself along the rim of the plate. For a simple decorative edge, press the tines of a fork around the folded pastry. To make a fluted edge, using both your finger and thumb, pinch and crimp the folded dough. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.