Hi everybody. This is Lianne Coble-Dispensa, your humble Editor-in-Chief of the Met Artists Newsletter. Normally you’d just be seeing my name in a byline for an article or two, but in a moment tinged with necessity, mild narcissism, and a tinge of laziness, I decided to step in and take over the recipe corner this month. Why? Well, it’s the holiday season, and one of the things I love most about the holidays is the fact that making (and eating) cookies is not just encouraged, it is practically mandatory.
Name: Lianne Coble-Dispensa.
Hometown: Liverpool, NY.
Years at the Met: Joined the Extra chorus in 2010, and the full-time chorus in 2015.
My favorite opera is: Tosca. But Otello and Rosenkavalier are right up there, musically speaking.
One of my most memorable experiences at the Met so far is: I’m going to give two examples, since I can (and I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting). Most recently, the Party in Hell (a.k.a. Walpurgisnacht) scene in Mefistofele. It was basically the only time I could do karate and aggressively play air guitar—half naked—during an opera and instead of getting fired, I got a paycheck. The second is listening to Sondra Radvanovsky absolutely slay the Three Queens during my first full-time season. I don’t cry easily, but she got me every time.
Other than opera, my favorite type of music is: Alt-pop and trashy techno for gym purposes, Gabriel Kahane, folky Americana, anything Baroque, and polyphonic choral music. My sister-in-law said she’s listening to Mongolian pop now, so who knows, I may try that out, too.
When I’m not at the Met, you can find me: Running, Crossfitting, doing just about anything at the gym, puttering around with the Met Artists Newsletter, and cooking. Basically, just constantly cooking.
The most outrageous thing I've ever cooked (or eaten) was: Scott & I usually leave the tricky stuff for the experts, so besides roasting a goose for Christmas or making homemade pasta, our outrageous experiences are reserved for restaurants. And on that note, we ate some amazingly innovative (and a bit challenging) things at Noma in Copenhagen and Faviken in northern Sweden. Think reindeer, colastrum, and some interesting uses of seafood.
The three things in my kitchen I can’t live without are: My Instant Pot, Breville countertop convection oven, and a cast iron pan.
Currently, my three go-to ingredients are: Kale, Kerrygold butter, and alder smoked sea salt.
If I had to choose, my “last meal” would be: I feel like this answer could change at any given moment, but right now, it’s a combination of the following: the honey butter biscuits from Moss Cafe; a truly excellent burger, perhaps from The Burger Stand in Lawrence, KS: the bread and butter course from Eleven Madison Park; and to round it out, fois gras with a nice glass of Sauternes. Hey, it’s a last meal.
As the title of the article insinuates, I’m reluctant to share this recipe with you all, mainly because I give these cookies as gifts every year, and once everyone sees how easy they are, I may become redundant. That being said, I found this recipe on the web, so it’s not like they’re an original family creation shrouded in secrecy. In fact, I found them here, on the Kitchen Trial and Error blog (which looks like it hasn’t been updated in a while, but still has the glorious cookie recipe posted from 2010, so I can give the blogger credit).
These are infinitely customizable, but if you like cranberries, pistachios, and white chocolate, you can’t go wrong with these. Start hitting the gym now; you’ll want to make room for the extra calories.
Cranberry, Pistachio & White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
adapted from ina garten
30 minutes, plus chilling, makes 3 1/2 - 4 dozen.
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1 cup roughly chopped pistachios
1 cup white chocolate chips
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. mix in the vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour and salt.
Add the flour & salt to the butter mixture. mix on low speed until it just starts to come together. Add the cranberries, pistachios, and white chocolate a half a cup at a time until it's incorporated. Mix until the dough forms a ball. (Editor’s note: You don’t have to use a hand mixer, or even a stand mixer. It might help, though.)
Roll into a log about 2 inches in diameter (roll it wider or skinnier depending on how big you want your cookies). Wrap the log in some wax paper. (Editor’s note: plastic wrap is fine, too.)
Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Slice the log into 1/4 inch slices. Place the slices on the sheet pan. They don't spread much, so they can be pretty close together.
Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown.
Remove from the pan and cool to room temperature.