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By Elizabeth Karmel The Associated Press

Mini pies take centre stage as holiday dessert option

When I have a lot of people coming over, I love to make mini pies, or “pie cups.” I coined the name “pie cup” when I created a “pie program” for one of my restaurants and vowed to make pie the new cupcake in NYC.

Since then, the mini, hand-held pie has exploded in popularity. The beauty of the mini pies is that they are portable, easy to make and the perfect proportion size.

Green Genie sandwich spread transforms ham and cheese

My sister sent me a text about a green spread that said, “you have to make this...love it on sandwiches, crackers, eggs, etc.”

And she was right ‚Äî this green spread is a sandwich genie. It is also a great way to get a few more vegetables in your diet. Better yet, it’s made with ingredients that you almost always have in the pantry.

Grandmother’s apple cake signals fall

My grandmother, who lived with us when I was growing up, had a serious sweet tooth and would bake something almost every day.

In the spring, it was coconut cream pie. In the summer, home-made ice cream and peach pie. And during fall apple season, she would bake this very simple apple cake and serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

’Ugly’ tomatoes are beautiful in grilled gazpacho

Gazpacho is ubiquitous in the summer and one of the best ways to use those delicious but “ugly” tomatoes that are bursting with flavour but may not be pretty enough to slice.

And, often, tomato vendors at farmers’ markets will sell the “dented” tomatoes at half price. Snap them up ‚Äî they’re perfect for gazpacho and tomato sauce.

’Ugly’ tomatoes are beautiful in grilled gazpacho

Gazpacho is ubiquitous in the summer and one of the best ways to use those delicious but “ugly” tomatoes that are bursting with flavour but may not be pretty enough to slice.

And, often, tomato vendors at farmers’ markets will sell the “dented” tomatoes at half price. Snap them up ‚Äî they’re perfect for gazpacho and tomato sauce.