Genius is rare. So is good television. The two intersect in executive producer David E. Kelley's programs, which are, in my opinion, some of the only ones worth watching these days. If there are any fans out there of Kelley's canceled show Picket Fences (a show which incorporated hospital, courtroom, and family drama, Law and Order-type scenarios, and mysticism in each episode) you will be happy to know that you can still catch Fyvesh Finkel, who played Douglas Wambaugh, the infamous defense attorney, on Kelley's newest series, Boston Public.


Finkel portrays a high school history teacher whose latest faux pas earned him the epithet of "Shakespeare Bigot," on this show, which has a great deal of potential. Not your typical high school series, it is a far cry from Dawson's Creek, or anything of that nature. In fact, it shares more similarities with Kelley's legal drama The Practice than it does with shows in its genre.


The school depicted is not your typical high school. Kelley blends media-documented realities such as Columbine-inspired situations with exaggerated scenarios such as a student spiking a teacher's coffee with Ecstasy and a suicide club. There's also a Daria-esque character in whose hands the fate of the school seems to rest, as she maintains a website which defames a new student, teacher, or administrator each minute. The school has attempted unsuccessfully to sue this student a number of times, which provides Kelley with an opportunity to enter into the familiar terrain of the courtroom to portray some interesting legal battles.


Each week, the show wrestles with right to privacy and First Amendment issues, as teachers cite Supreme Court cases as rapidly as the attorneys on The Practice, and students flirt with the line between freedom of expression and "indecency." It is precisely the blend of harsh realism with borderline fantasy, present in almost all of Kelley's work, that lends this show its power. We can escape from our world for a brief moment and yet still be able to identify with the characters and situations.


Not only can Kelley transform a stale genre into something that is truly innovative (as he is doing in Boston Public) and create something that is sui generis (as he did in Picket Fences) but, he can also create such divergent programs that it would seem impossible for the same mind to have produced them. Witness The Practice and Ally McBeal. That Kelley can move from something as light, whimsical, and ridiculous as Ally to the somber and intense Practice is remarkable. And that he can be successful in both areas, having won Best Drama and Comedy in the same year, is even more so.


The Practice was labeled "one of the best shows you're not watching" a few years ago, and I should hope that that has changed. The ethical dilemmas, societal problems, and intriguing legal situations, as well as the emotional charge that pervades every episode, make for an incredibly powerful viewing experience. And, perhaps more importantly, something that can be said of The Practice, as well as the majority of Kelley's acclaimed shows, is that they make you think, which is a remarkable feat for television.

Archived article by Lisa Dorfman

November 19, 2015

Gobble Up Gluten-Free Alternatives to Traditional Thanksgiving Desserts

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As Ithaca’s once-green leaves alchemize into the warm, autumn hues of reds, yellows and oranges, students recognize what holiday is approaching: Thanksgiving! The time has come to prepare ourselves — and, more importantly, our appetites — for endless hours of feasting and good company.

And what better way to start than by looking at some healthier alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving meals? With the help of my gluten-free, Teen Chopped champion and ultimate foodie friend, Max Aronson ’19, I have compiled a couple of my favorite recipes to satisfy even the palettes of the gluten-free.

Let’s start with a gluten-free cheesecake that is to die for:

Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes

Crust:
Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups of your favorite gluten-free gingersnap, graham cracker or cookie
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325° and grease a nine-inch spring-form pan with  the coconut oil.
  • Grind the gingersnaps with the dark brown sugar in a food processor.
  • Add melted coconut oil and continue to pulse until it folds over on itself or sticks together when touched.
  • Pour into pan and mold to the bottom. Press together evenly.
  • Bake for 15 minutes and let cool.

Pie:
Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces low-fat cream cheese
  • 6 ounces low-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, 2 egg whites
  • 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free, all-purpose flour
  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée

Directions:

  • Place a roasting pan filled halfway with water in the oven, still at 325°.
  • Blend the cream cheese and yogurt in an electric mixer on medium speed for three minutes.
  • Add the sugar and blend until smooth. Add the eggs on low speed and mix for two minutes.
  • Once smooth, add the vanilla, spices, flour and pumpkin. Blend on medium speed until creamy.
  • Pour into the crust and drop the pan lightly on the counter to prevent air bubbles from forming.
  • Bake for 50 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for one hour.

Topping:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  • Melt the sugar and butter in a non-stick pan until smooth and bubbling.
  • Add milk slowly and mix. Remove from heat and fold in the pecans.
  • Refrigerate for five minutes before topping the cake.
  • Top each slice with two tablespoons of the caramel-pecan sauce.

These minor substitutions make for a healthier yet equally delicious alternative to a traditional cheesecake. As my friend Max said, “Enjoy responsibly. This is slightly addictive.”

Following the gluten-free trend, this next recipe is for a delectable apple pie, because, as we all know, no Thanksgiving is complete without pie!

Grandpa Barry’s Apple Pie

Crust:
Prep time: 10 minutes
Inactive time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten-free, all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks cold, diced, unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 3 eggs

Directions:

  • Mix dry ingredients with n electric mixer on the lowest speed.
  • Add the diced butter and mix on medium speed until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.
  • Add the eggs and beat on high speed until the mixture comes together.
  • Dust a work surface with flour. Knead the dough on the surface three times and cut in half.
  • Shape into discs and wrap each separately in plastic. One disc makes one pie with a top and bottom crust.
  • Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Pie:
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 disc of previously made pie crust
  • 6 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Divide the crust into two even sections.
  • Roll out the crust to be ¼ inch thick and place in a nine-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges.
  • Poke holes in the crust.
  • Bake the bottom crust for 10 minutes, or until edges  turn golden-brown.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes.
  • In a large bowl, mix the cinnamon, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla and cornstarch.
  • Add apples and fold together to evenly coat every slice.
  • Pack the apples into the crust, forming a slight mound in the middle.
  • Roll out the second half of the crust and drape over the top of the pie. Seal the edges by matching the top layer to the crimping on the bottom layer.
  • Using a knife, make an “X” on the center of the top crust.
  • Beat the egg and use a pastry brush to brush it over the crust.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden-brown.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Serve with ice cream and enjoy!

So, for the Cornell gluten-free community, Thanksgiving no longer needs to be a struggle. With these recipes, nothing stands in your way from enjoying traditional delectable desserts with a twist!

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