Foodie Beauty Bonanza

I love the Rachael Ray Every Day test kitchen. Dearly. Not only are the staffers tireless in their pursuit of recipe perfection, they’ll magically appear with food—like so many lunch fairies—if they even suspect you might be trapped and hungry at your desk.
One thing our test kitchen doesn’t have, however, is a view of Paris. So when I encountered another that did, I couldn’t help but be seduced. And I’m here to confess my fling.

It began not in the kitchen itself, but on a staircase landing I hit en route, where I fell under the hypnotic spell of a pink macaron whirligig.
Why the installation? It signals that you’re on the doorstep of the macaron maestro himself: one Pierre Hermé, also known as Paris’s “Picasso of Pastry” and general dessert deity about town.


Baussan, left; Hermé, right 

Among Hermé’s biggest fans is L’Occitane founder Olivier Baussan. And their new holiday collaboration is the reason I—and several other reporters—wound up in that test kitchen. Where better, thought Hermé and Baussan, to celebrate some of the foodiest beauty products in history? (I should note that the November attacks hadn’t yet happened, so everyone was feeling more festive.)

As Hermé’s staffers gave us macaron-making lessons—don’t overmix your batter, or it’ll be too runny to hold a nice shape—we talked ingredient combos that work as well on your skin as in patisserie. Take rhubarb, clove, nutmeg and grapefruit—a super-fresh foursome you’ll find in the Pamplemousse Rhubarbe Body Lotion, among other products. Or honey-crystallized mandarin, which scents the heavenly Miel Mandarine Hand Cream.

Then there was bitter orange blossom, jasmine and Immortelle flower—a trio I couldn’t get enough of, whether in perfume or pastry form. (Hermé makes tons of floral desserts, as I’d already discovered through careful recon at one of his ice cream outposts.)

Violet-flavored ice cream and candy mixed with other deliciousness 

“Many of the ingredients in L’Occitane’s holiday collection have appeared in my pastry,” he noted during the launch. “But while I normally work with my mouth, this time I was working with my nose.” (Lest you miss the pâtissier’s imprint on each scent, the perfume bottles are even shaped like abstract macarons.)
After a bit more chitchat, my dalliance with the dessert demigod ended.
I’ve since returned to the loving embrace of our own test kitchen—with the bonus pounds to prove it (I came back just in time for holiday treat testing). Still, monsieur Hermé, we’ll always have Paris.

5 Winter Weeknight Meals that Won’t Weigh You Down

Prepping meals in between the holidays can be a bit of a struggle. On one hand, you don’t want to make anything too elaborate because this is your one chance to lighten your kitchen load. On the other hand, you still want to make something delicious for your family that feels healthier than those hefty holiday meals. This week worth of dinners is here to save the day: They’re lighter than your typical winter fare but still have that wintery vibe down pat. After eating some of these, you’ll feel like the holidays never even happened!


Monday, November 30

Red & Green Salad with Roasted Squash

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6 Ways to Use Up Thanksgiving Leftovers

While you may be busy ironing out the final details of your Thanksgiving menu, we’re already thinking about the days after: what are we going to do with all those leftovers?! The tricky part about Thanksgiving leftovers is using them in a creative and new way that requires minimal work (because let’s be honest, no one wants to cook on the days after Thanksgiving). These 6 recipes are simple, fun and require minimal extra ingredients. Your leftovers couldn’t disappear quicker!


Potato and Turkey Soup with Parmesan Stuffing Dumplings

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The Pastry School Diaries: A Sweet Snack Attack

Editorial Assistant Lauren Katz is enrolled in the part-time Pastry & Baking Arts program at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her each week as she shares her sweet experiences! 


After spending five rigorous days mixing, folding, rolling, shaping and baking puff pastry, it’s safe to say I’m very relieved that this section of the curriculum is over. Puff pastry is incredibly versatile in how you flavor and shape it, and although there are plenty of written recipes and formulas to make items such as palmiers, mille feuille and—my favorite—cheese straws, the dough lends itself to the imagination very well.


My favorite part, however, about experimenting with a slew of ingredients, spices and herbs is a little unexpected for a pastry program: snack time!


In culinary programs, the students are surrounded by scraps and plates of food that are actually edible: some chopped vegetable here, a chicken entree there–you get the idea. However in pastry, we are mostly working with raw ingredients that can’t be consumed, like sugar, flour, eggs and butter. This was the case for our entire bread unit and during most days of my intro unit, until the final product was out of the oven. But I’ve found a way to wrangle all of the ingredients going into our dough creations and turn them into a delicious mid-class snack. I’ve also discovered some awesome flavor combinations on the way! For example:

I dipped fresh fruit into extra lemon curd from our fruit tartlets. I also took a container of the curd home and added a spoonful into Greek yogurt. It adds the perfect amount of sweet-tartness to my breakfast or snack!


To make apple tarts, we peel and thinly slice multiple apples. Since the apples add to the aesthetic of the tart, we only use the prettiest slices. Can you guess where the ugly ones end up?

These puff pastry braids were coated in parmesan cheese and paprika. The extra shards of parmesan make for a delicious pairing with my apple slices!


Finally, I’ve found my new favorite garnish or flavor profile for any sweet dough: a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger went into these palmiers. I am calling them “a chai’s best friend.”

Check back next week for more sweet tips!

Our 10 Best-Ever Cooking Tips

We’ve given hundreds of helpful cooking tips over the last 10 years, but we must admit, we have some favorites. We’ve hand-selected our best tip from every year of the magazine that we still use today. How many do you have in your cooking rotation?


1. When you’re done juicing lemons, use them to wipe down a cutting board to disinfect it and make it smell nice.


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7 Recipes to Help You Clean Out Your Fridge

Have you ever stared into your fridge (for what seems like hours) feeling uninspired by its contents? You see a smorgasbord of produce, dairy and condiments but can’t figure out how to make a cohesive meal out of what you have left? We’ve been there too, but the good news is that there’s hope! Whether you’re stuck with a bunch of herbs from that sauce you tried to make from scratch, a half-bottle of wine that didn’t get drunk or just some eggs that are about to hit their sell-by date, there are plenty of ways to use up these ingredients in creative and delicious ways. Here are some to try this week.


Got an open jar of marinara? Throw it into this Spicy Egg Bake with any extra eggs you have. It’s the perfect B-L-D!

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The Pastry School Diaries: Blurring the Lines Between Sweet and Savory

Editorial Assistant Lauren Katz is enrolled in the part-time Pastry & Baking Arts program at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her each week as she shares her sweet experiences! 


This week was all about making and rolling out doughs to use for various techniques and fillings. Sound familiar? While the second half of our doughs unit has focused on this subject matter, this week was a bit different in that when I say “rolling out doughs,” I really mean rolling out the dough. We spent the majority of our class time rolling and stretching linzer, puff pastry and strudel doughs to various sizes in order to be formed and filled.

The most manageable–and easy to make at home–was the linzer dough. You simply press half of the dough into the bottom of a cake pan, cover it with jam and then roll the remaining dough out into a flat sheet. Use a pizza wheel to cut straight lines that will become the lattice (or criss-cross) top and roll small balls to outline the tart. Sprinkle the top with almonds and bake until golden, brown and delicious! We used a hazelnut flour-based dough, which created a rich and warm flavor that tasted like fall.


Puff pastry dough is a bit more labor intensive, as you have to repeat a layering, folding and rolling process four times in order to create paper-thin layers of dough and butter. It is then rolled out into a uniform sheet, cut into strips, circles, halves–you name it–filled, formed and baked.


Rosemary parmesan straws

Turnovers filled with prosciutto, mozzarella and parsley


Strudel dough is an easy mixture of high gluten flour, salt, eggs, oil and water. The hard part comes in when you have to roll it. It took four people to roll the dough out to cover two entire tables (about 4 feet by 6 feet). We then poured one large row of filling at the end of the dough and began to roll it up. The strudel bakes in a large U shape and is cut into squares once it has cooled. This was a very fun and interesting process, but it is something I’ll probably never be able to do at home in my tiny kitchen (New York City problems).


I am particularly intrigued by (and value the importance of) these techniques because of how versatile these doughs are. We made a variety of sweet and savory fillings for each recipe because the doughs themselves contain very little sugar or salt. Rather, they are a blank canvas and serve more as a delicious vehicle for the filling. Here are some of my favorite sweet and savory filling combinations



Apples, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts

Farmer cheese, raisins, lemon and vanilla

Spinach and cheese

Butternut squash and leek


Puff pastry:

Parmesan and paprika

Smoked salmon and chive cream cheese

Cinnamon sugar

Spinach and roquefort


What are your favorite fillings for these doughs?


Check back next week for another delicious tale!

How to Throw a Sandwich Party

Here’s your next great party idea: a DIY sandwich party! Buy your sub rolls, all the fixins and let your guests get to work. It’ll be the best thing since sliced bread!


Here’s what you need to know:


Weigh to go

Plan at least three-quarters of a pound of meat and cheese combined per foot-long sandwich


Get bready

Buy one 12-inch loaf for each sandwich-maker. Split the loaves lengthwise and trim off the narrow ends. Once the sandwiches are stuffed, line them up end-to-end (and take a photo of your monster sammie!). To serve, slice into 2-inch portions


Nice spread

Set out condiments like mustard, mayo, dressing and barbecue sauce, or make the delicious creations below.


Caper Spread

Bacon Mayo

Top it off

Set up a selection of all sorts of cool, crunchy, tangy and sweet toppings, like sliced tomatoes, onions, pickles, peppers, fresh herbs, radishes, even apples!


Here are some recipe ideas to get you started:

Sliced Steak Club Subs

Italian Hoagies

Cheesy Sausage Subs

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The Pastry School Diaries: Crust is a Must

Editorial Assistant Lauren Katz is enrolled in the part-time Pastry & Baking Arts program at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her each week as she shares her sweet experiences! 


This was an especially production-heavy week, as we made five different doughs and about 20 filled tarts, pies and shells. What I’m learning–and loving–about the more rustic desserts is that they’re supposed to be imperfect. The filling itself is more of a trial and error process than a science. For example, we made a delicious plum galette, despite the fact that plums aren’t in season. To remedy this problem, we sliced the plums very thin and roasted them with lots of delicious flavor additions, like ginger and lemon zest.


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5 Ways to Dress Up Your Sandwich

There are so many ways to enjoy a sandwich, and so many reasons to love them: you can put just about anything you want on them, they work for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert, you can fit all–or most–of the food groups into one portable meal and the combinations are literally never-ending.  But for those times when you just can’t bare to look at another leaf of romaine or slice of cheese, we’ve rounded up five delicious sandwich additions that you’re sure to love.


Raw-Beet Slaw


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