Food

11 Reasons to Embrace Citrus Season

You may not think of winter as the most vibrant of seasons when it comes to produce, but citrus is sweeter and juicier than ever. Cozy up to these bright dishes with pops of lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit. Cold and flu season, who??

Lemon-Pistachio Cheese Ball

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The Pastry School Diaries: The Foodie Flame that Never Fades

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! 

 

While spending 12 hours a week in a kitchen may sound tedious to some people, there are some weeks when those 12 hours of class don’t even feel like enough! I’ve always enjoyed cooking meals at home and baking for friends and family member, so even though I can barely find time to scramble eggs these days, I’ve been making a conscious effort to sneak in some personal time in my kitchen on weekends and non-school nights.

 

When I started school I was nervous that I would lose interest in even setting foot in my kitchen after a long week of work and class. However, that was absolutely not the case. I wanted to use this week’s blog post to promise anyone considering enrolling in culinary or pastry school that your recreational culinary interest will not be lost. When you love something as much as I love cooking and baking, you find time in your life for it—no matter what. And although not every night is a Michelin-quality production (or even something I’d serve to loved ones), I know my passion has not faded. Here’s what I’m up to while at home.

 

Utilizing my pizza dough forming skills to make a white pizza with mushrooms and kale

I made a pear gallette using my school’s recipe for pie dough

Learning how to temper chocolate came in handy to dip these strawberries!

Everyone loves a good homemade snack mix

Chocolate-espresso puddings with homemade vanilla whipped cream. Yum!

Check back next week for more sweet adventures!

How to Make a Coconutty Bunny Cake

When Rachael and her older sister, Maria, were growing up in Upstate New York, Easter was full of sweet surprises. Their grandfather would arrive bearing 4-foot-tall hollow chocolate eggs filled with Italian Easter candies. Dozens of family and friends would gather at their house for a ham or lamb feast prepared by their mom, Elsa, followed by a fun dessert, like this adorable bunny cake. These days, Maria is the family baker. She’s made pony, lizard and ladybug cakes for her kids’ birthday parties, but the bunny cake, which she learned to make alongside her mom, is still her favorite. “It feels like home,” she says. “It’s familiar and comforting and reminds me of all of those good times.”

 

Photography by Will Styer. Food styling by Maria Del Mar Sacasa. Prop styling by Sarah Guido-Laakso

 

 

Coconutty Bunny Cake

Serves 12

Prep 25 min

Bake 30 min

Assembly 30 min

 

Cake

3 3/4 cups cake flour

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

2 sticks butter, melted and cooled slightly

9 large egg yolks

5 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

4 large egg whites

3/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

 

Frosting

3 sticks butter, at room temperature

5 3⁄4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1⁄4 cup whole milk, plus more as needed

1 tbsp. plus 11⁄2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

 

1. Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven; preheat to 350° for light pans and 325° for dark pans. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, 2 cups sugar, the baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, butter, yolks, oil and vanilla. (If you really like coconut flavor, use 1 tsp. coconut extract and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.)

3. In a medium bowl using an electric mixer on high, beat the egg whites until very soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar; beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.

4. Using an electric mixer on medium, gradually beat the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture just to blend. Using a rubber spatula, fold half the egg-white mixture into the batter until almost blended. Fold in the remaining egg-white mixture and the sprinkles. Divide the batter among the pans.

5. Bake the cakes, switching the pans between the top and bottom racks halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack, about 15 minutes. If needed, run a thin knife around the edges of the pans to release the cakes, then invert onto the rack and let cool completely.

6. For the frosting, in a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing to blend between additions. Beat in 1/4 cup milk and the vanilla. Increase the speed to medium-high; beat, adding milk by the tablespoon if too thick, until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Assemble and frost the cake as shown here.

 

It’s Pizza Week!

Have you gotten your March issue of Rachael Ray Every Day yet? We’ve got exclusive pizza recipes from Rachael’s newest cookbook, Everyone is Italian on Sunday, and we want to celebrate! All week we’ll be sharing Rachael’s best pizza recipes and tips—both old and new—from making perfectly crisp dough in just one hour(!!!) to fun ways to turn pizza ingredients into a brand new meal.

 

Get the recipe for Rach’s Capricciosa Pizza + get the entire pizza story here!

Plus, we want you to join in on the fun! If you make any pizza-related recipe this week, take a picture and tag it on Instagram with #RRPizzaWeek. We’ll be regramming our faves all week long! Boun Appetito!

The Pastry School Diaries: Style Like You Mean it

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! 

 

I have about a month left of classes before I have to start focusing on my final cake design. I’ve said this over and over, but one of the biggest takeaways I’ve discovered from enrolling in pastry school is that my level of patience for intricate designs and desserts is not very high. I definitely have more of a rustic, homemade-looking style. While I originally thought this wouldn’t help me succeed as a cake decorator, I now know that this will set me apart as an artist. I can incorporate my true style, talents and taste to make a cake I am genuinely proud of—perfect or not. Here are some cakes that have inspired me and my personal style.

 

photo credit: Baked

This simply frosted cake with a signature swirl and gorgeous ombre roses from Baked NYC

photo credit: @bk_floral_delight

These incredibly realistic-looking roses in muted correlating colors by Brooklyn Floral Delight

photo credit: Grace Rasmus

The “naked cake” look perfected by Momofuku Milk Bar

Check back in the upcoming weeks for progress on my cake design skills, plus truffle and candy making galore!

7 Romantic Recipes to Cook with Your Sweetie

While going out for a romantic dinner can be delightful, there’s something about cooking dinner with your honey at home that feels a lot more intimate. Try something different this Valentine’s Day and spend the day cozying up in the kitchen. It is a long weekend, after all!

 

Start the day off with heart-shaped Spiced Pastry Bites

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The Pastry School Diaries: When Appearance Matters

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! 

 

It’s hard to believe I’m three-quarters of the way through with pastry school, but as we near the end, it is becoming more and more apparent to me how important the visual appearance of each dessert really is. Everybody knows, you eat with your eyes first, but at home when I bake for my friends and family, I rarely receive feedback about the appearance. However, in a professional kitchen, the way a dessert looks is just as—if not more—important as the way it tastes.

 

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m far from perfecting the art of a layered celebration cake, but the past few lessons have shown me the importance of patience, practice, advance planning and creativity when it comes to crafting a styled dessert. Even in something as simple and rustic as a tray of cookies has incredible potential to be beautiful.

 

We’ve also worked on more advanced techniques, like making molding chocolate, wrapping it around a cake and forming it into ribbons to adorn the top. (We got to experiment with extra-fancy gold dust, too)

 

I had to execute more patience and handiwork than usual to get these ribbons to look effortlessly placed, yet perfectly formed.

And then there’s the art of the plated dessert: crafting a restaurant-worthy dish with multiple components, garnishes, flavors, textures and colors. Each element was made ahead of time, and then placed out on a table for our creativity to run wild.

The components of this dessert include: a chocolate mousse bombe sitting on top of a shortbread cookie, coated in chocolate sauce, caramelized banana, vanilla bean ice cream, chopped roasted hazelnuts and a painting of hot fudge on the plate. Each of my classmates’ plates looked completely different, which was fun to see everyone’s different creative styles.

I’m definitely enjoying seeing my progress as not only as a baker but also as an artist. I can’t wait to even further explore my personal creative style—stay tuned!

Our 6 Favorite Store-bought Salsas Perfect for Game Day

These delicious dips will have you dancing in the end zone! They beat out almost 200 other products to earn a spot in your Super Bowl spread.

 

Best Mild: Frontera Roasted Tomato Salsa

Celeb chef Rick Bayless’s smoky salsa has a trio of tomatoes (fire-roasted whole, juice and paste). OJ adds sweet citrus notes. ($3.99 for 16 oz.)

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7 Cozy Breakfasts to Keep You Warm

Its only fitting that February is National Hot Breakfast Month, given the plummeting temperatures and general desire of coziness. Bundle up with these 7 recipes that are guaranteed to warm you from the inside out. Whether you’ve got 10 minutes before work or an entire lazy Sunday, you can start your day off on a warm and hearty note.

Mushroom & Bacon Oatmeal

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6 Updated Recipes Perfect for Your Superbowl Party

With just one week until game day, it’s time to get serious about your snacking situation (because we all know, the best part about the whole event is the food). Rather than call for pizza or thaw some frozen pigs in a blanket, step up your finger food game this year with fun recipes with a bit of a twist. Say, “buh-bye” to Buffalo wings and “see you later” to spinach dip: these unique bites are so much better.

 

Thai Peanut Chicken Wings

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