Recently, Del Posto (of the Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich restaurant empire) has expanded its dining experience with a series of classes that take you more deeply into the culture of Italy and its kitchen. I attended the first of the series last week, "Like Wine for Chocolate: Chocolate-Making and Wine Pairings with Del Post," led by sous chef and chocolatier Roger Rodriguez and sommelier Josh Eisenhauer. Here are snapshots of tempering chocolate on marble slabs, making chocolate trees, and more.
Pound cakes are among the purest flavored cakes; in this version, chamomile adds a subtle twist.
Simple, clean flavors make this orange cake a year-round go-to.
Blackberry preserves get an unexpected exclamation point with fresh thyme and lemon zest in this crumbly, buttery cake that's a cinch to make.
This cake is all about adding brightness and color to the dull winter months while celebrating one of the season's favorite citrus fruits: Meyer lemons.
These tiny triple-decker sandwiches are buttery, toasty, and oozing with cheese. They're a cross between a crouton and a grilled cheese.
These mini-sandwiches require no effort but will be the first thing to fly at your party: warm crescent rolls stuffed with sweet-and-sour glazed cocktail sausages.
Hot chocolate becomes cake in this recipe that incorporates moist chocolate cake, marshmallow whipped cream, and hot chocolate sauce.
Do you know someone who loves baking layer cakes, just because, or brings a perfectly decorated tray of cupcakes to every occasion? This is definitely the time of year to reward their interest—who knows, maybe you'll get a sweet gift in return.
Crisp-shelled, marshmallow-chewy meringues are layered with lightly sweetened butter into a cloudy white cake that's an unexpected surprise.
Butternut and acorn squash are my go-to squash, but for a recent photo shoot I picked up a couple of spaghetti squash. Why don't I eat this variety more often? The light yellow flesh is sweet and delicate, and when scratched with a fork, transforms into slender strands that resemble the pasta it gets its name from.
This dense, brownie-like chocolate concoction is rich, thick, but not saccharine, a simple and pared down dessert that surprises with hints of French florals and proper English stiff-upper-lip sternness.
Plump, tangy, briny marinated anchovies are a far cry from the desiccated little monsters you see on pizza. Give them a chance, anchovy-haters!
Tarte amandine aux poires, the classic French almond-pear tart, is ubiquitous in Parisian pâtisseries. This cake is a nod to that tart, whose simple ingredients never cease to achieve quiet perfection.
The classic Club is a triple-decker sandwich made up of three slices toasted white bread, deli-sliced turkey or chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise. The middle slice of bread has been decried, most famously by James Beard, however, if the club was to be robbed of that slice, where would the signature toothpicks that hold it together?
Huevos rancheros—ranch-style eggs—are one of Mexico's most instantly recognizable breakfast dishes: fried eggs topped with a thick layer of spicy tomato sauce.
Pillowy, moist, and tender, with autumnal flavors that linger well after the last crumb has been cleaned off the plate, this cake doesn't need to be tricked out. A dusting of confectioners' sugar and a fork is all you need.
This sandwich is just such a construction of misplaced bits I found in the crisper drawer: thin slices of French ham, a hunk of good cheese, stray leeks, and leftover bread turn into a French bistro-worthy open-faced sandwich that's hearty and rich.
These mini- dark chocolate cheesecakes are perfect party food anytime of year, but for a season-appropriate topping, decorate them with white chocolate icing in a spider web design or any other spooky decoration that may strike your fancy.
What's in a meatball sub? Roll, meatballs, sauce. So very simple, yet so very satisfying. At first bite while you try to hold the messy construction together, chunky tomato sauce and bits of meat tumble out, leaving a big splatter on the plate, and often the shirt, below and around the point of impact.
Warm, rich, and luxuriously thick, champurrado is Mexican hot chocolate with an unexpected secret ingredient: corn masa.
Caramel cake is a Southern comfort, and it's a no-brainer to see why: tender yellow cake is smothered with caramel. This recipe preserves the basic elements of the cake but includes a few twists to balance the sweetness and add nuance to the standard vanilla flavor.
This sandwich is modeled on a cheese plate: it's filled with Stilton, crisp pear, and sweet dates.
Warm, rich, and luxuriously thick, champurrado is Mexican hot chocolate with an unexpected secret ingredient: corn masa.
Forget chicken noodle soup, and matzoh for that matter. This Latin American soup has corn masa-based chicken meatballs spiked with culantro and mint. Once you go Latin...
In my family, Thanksgiving is all about family (or at the very least, all about pretending that it's all about family for a night). Christmas, on the other hand, is where we tend to get a little wild. It's the one meal of the year where we go for a no-holds-barred, pedal-to-the-metal, full-tilt blowout. It's like we go all year saving up our calories for a rainy day, and that rainy day is Christmas. Missing the point of Christmas? Maybe. Overly extravagant? Possibly. Extremely, mind-blowingly, opulently delicious? You bet your a$$. Here's what a typical Christmas dinner at the Alt family might look like.
Spider web-decorated cupcakes with a chocolate cheesecake base.
At home, you have the freedom to use pork or lamb's tongue in lieu of the more classic beef or veal tongue. You cut up the tongue, put down a pat of oil or lard in your pan, and stand over the skillet until the tongue is ready to be moved onto the tortilla, and not one second before. Simple as that.
I love the warm flavors of a chocolate chip cookie, all brown sugar and butter. This cake, golden and tender, takes those flavors and pierces them with shards of bittersweet chocolate that melt in beautifully. On top, there's a dark, shiny topcoat that is playfully swirled on.
Like loose change lurking in couch cushions, half eaten boxes of Nilla Wafers populate our cupboards; buried treasure lost amid the Seven Cs (cookies, crackers, chocolate, cereal, candy, chips, and cola). No Pantry Pirate ever sets out to find Nilla Wafers, instead, Nilla Wafers reveal themselves with the time is right. Just as despair sets in, the weary snacker sets eyes on their golden shores.
I grew up in a Russell Stover household. Every holiday and special occasion was marked with a box of chocolates that came from the local pharmacy. My dad's birthday and Father's day were my favorites, when we'd present him with his candy of choice: a long sleek box of chocolate covered cherry cordials.
We couldn't help but notice that the city's cookie jars are brimming with sandwich cookies. The key to these confections, whether filled with tart, fruity jam, thin layers of buttercream, or utterly insensible mounds of cream cheese frosting, is the cookie-to-filling ratio. Here are 9 of our L.A. favorites.
After trying thirty-three kinds of peanut butter over the course of a month, you form an opinion or two. Above all I confirmed that I much prefer crunchy peanut butter over smooth. Most of it is textural: those bits of nuts provide a satisfying crunch and a stomach-warming chew. Though I'll admit that part of it is the comfort of knowing that the company that produced my peanut butter at least owns real peanuts.
I've been gathering and researching Latin American recipes in preparation for each week's installment of "Dulces" and decided to start with those that are most familiar; the ones I grew up eating. My husband couldn't wait for me to make this one: it's one of his favorites because it's all cocoa and sugar, but especially because it's one that he learned to prepare alongside his grandmother.
In Nicaragua, pastel de piña is what you'd be most likely to find cooling in the kitchen and for sale at any bakery. Though "pastel" translates into "pie" there, this is more of a tart with a lattice top. The pineapple filling is cooked until thick, sticky, and jam-like, the flavor intensifying and acquiring caramel notes as it simmers. It peeks out glossy and golden from the lattice screen that presses it against a crisp layer of buttery crust.
I was vaguely familiar with the dessert named after a famous bicycle race before I came here, but I'd never see what it could really be. It's made by piping out a large ring of choux pastry and baking it until it's puffed and golden, then splitting it and filling it with a base layer of praline cream then topping it with stiff whipped cream.
A puffy taco is not a crispy taco, a crunchy taco, or a soft taco. It is strictly a puffy taco, and after having one (or three), you may be willing to forsake all other taco forms. Chef Diana Barrios-Treviño Los Barrios in San Antonio will readily admit that she didn't invent the puffy, but she and her family have perfected them over the years. Maybe you've seen her make them on Throwdown with Bobby Flay (and win)? The puffy taco shells are super-crisp on the outside but soft within—surprisingly light for fried dough. We were recently in San Antonio and learned how to make the Tex-Mex specialty.
It's almost Derby Day! Adam Bereitenstein of Mozz in Louisville, KY recently welcomed us into his family home to show us how to make the ultimate mint julep. Simple in its components, the mint julep's complexities are in the details.
It's a simple motto: Bread-cheese-butter-victory. Over 200 amateur cooks and professional chefs answered this call to arms at the Grilled Cheese Invitational on April 25, last weekend in Los Angeles. Cheeseaholics mobbed Center Studios downtown to gorge on thousands of sandwiches involving everything from Krispy Kremes to duck foie gras.
When I first learned how scallion pancakes are made, I was floored. Whoah, ancient Chinese secret! was what ran through my head. It took me several years to realize that conceptually, the method is almost identical to that of making puff pastry, croissants, or any number of laminated pastries, which makes scallion pancakes a perfect subject for exploring in this week's Food Lab.
Tucked into nearly every ubiquitous strip mall in Los Angeles is some sort of fried dough purveyor. From the old-school with pink boxes to the gourmet bakery to that uniquely California mash-up, the Chinese food and doughnut shop. This town is nuts for doughnuts. Here are our favorites: from cake doughnut to French cruller to jelly-filled and even doughnut sandwiches.
I've always thought that there aren't enough egg-cooked-in-hole dishes. With the Grilled Cheese Eggsplosion—that's a grilled cheese sandwich made from two slices of bread with holes cut out and an egg fried in the center of each one—I doubled my personal repertoire. Today, we add yet another to the list, and it's a pretty awesome one.
Yep, we love sandwiches at Serious Eats, and L.A.'s got some heavy hitters—Langer's #19; Bay Cities' Godmother; the tongue from Attari. But even as they fill your belly, many of these big name sandwiches have the opposite effect on your wallet. Not to worry: there among the pricier specimens is a bounty of beauties that can be yours for just a few bucks. So, as we did with New York, we offer a sampling of our favorite sensational L.A. sandwiches for six bucks and under. From cemitas in Van Nuys to tuna salad in Larchmont, we've got you covered.
I spotted my first crocus of the season last week and knew exactly what I had to do next: get to Burdick's for an iced hot chocolate.
As a half-Japanese kid in the '80s, I grew up eating instant ramen at least once a week, and it still holds a special place in my gut. That said, my tastes have changed and expanded considerably over the years, and sometimes that little flavoring packet just isn't enough. As such, I've spent a lot of time devising ways to upgrade my ramen in cheap, easy ways. Ghetto gourmet, if you will.
There is a fancy gourmet market in my neighborhood that sells the most delicious pistachio butter. Brilliant green, slightly sweet, and intensely nutty, it's easily one of the best spreads I have ever eaten. The trouble is, it's imported from Italy and costs $30 a jar. Since I just can't live without it slathered on my morning toast, I decided to see if I could make a passable version at home for a fraction of the price.
Monkey bread. Because kids go ape over it. You know what else they go ape for? Pizza. Let them help you make pizza monkey bread and they'll go positively King Kong in the kitchen. Making this stuff is way easier than making pizza, too, since you don't have to worry about stretching the dough or precise cook times. All you'll need are these recipes for dough and pizza sauce as well as and some Parmesan, mozzarella, and fresh basil.
A pig's foot is so well-composed. Think about all those little bones in the foot, all that cartilage, all those tendons and all that meat bundled up in skin. I think of each foot as curated package of pig, an indispensable tool in the cook's arsenal. In fact, I wrap my trotters individually in plastic wrap to keep in my freezer. That way, I'm never more than a pig's foot away from the perfect soup or stew. A pig's foot is so well-composed. Think about all those little bones in the foot and all that cartilage in the joints. Not to mention the tendons and the meat, and everything bundled up in skin. I think of each foot as curated package of pig, an indispensable tool in the cook's arsenal. In fact, I wrap my trotters individually in plastic wrap to keep in my freezer. That way, I'm never more than a pig's foot away from the perfect soup or stew.
When you've reached the end of your box from your local Scouts, there's a surefire solution for sweet gratification: make your own batch of Samoas! Or Caramel de-Lites, whatever you want to call them.