Caramel Cake


INGREDIENTS

16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
3¼ cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
6¼ cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
1¼ cups milk
16 tbsp. salted butter
2 12-oz. cans evaporated milk

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat oven to 350°. Making sure all ingredients are at room temperature, grease two 9″ round cake pans with 1 tbsp. unsalted butter; dust with 1½ tbsp. flour, tap out excess, and set aside. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together; set aside. Beat remaining unsalted butter and 2½ cups sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk alternately in 3 batches, beating smooth after each addition. Divide batter between pans. Bake until golden, 30–35 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes; remove cakes; let cool completely. Slice tops off cakes to level them.

2. To make icing, cook remaining sugar and salted butter in a pot over high heat, stirring constantly, until light brown, 7–8 minutes. Carefully stir in evaporated milk; reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring constantly, until smooth, 8–10 minutes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until icing registers 240° on a candy thermometer, about 1½ hours. Remove from heat; beat with a wooden spoon until thick, glossy, and spreadable, 20–25 minutes. (A dollop dropped on a plate should ooze only slightly.) Ice bottom layer of cake; top with second layer and ice the outside. Chill cake until set.

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Broccoli and Italian Sausage Ravioli


INGREDIENTS

  • FOR THE DOUGH:
  • 8 oz. rigatoni
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt
  • Olive oil, for greasing

  • FOR FILLING AND FRYING:
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 oz. hot or sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. broccoli rabe, cut into ½” pieces
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. grated parmesan
  • 2 hot cherry peppers, seeded and minced
  • 10 slices deli-style mozzarella
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Make the dough: Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. saucepan. Add pasta and reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is very soft, about 20 minutes. Let pasta cool in water; drain completely and transfer to a food processor. Add salt and purée into a smooth, sticky dough. Divide dough between 2 sheets of greased parchment paper. Top each with another sheet of greased parchment paper and flatten; chill 30 minutes.

2. Make the filling: Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high. Cook sausage, stirring and breaking up into small pieces, until browned, 4–6 minutes. Transfer sausage to a colander set over a bowl; set aside. Add remaining oil to skillet. Cook garlic until golden, 1–2 minutes. Stir in broccoli rabe, salt, and ¼ cup water; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, covered, until broccoli rabe is tender, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to colander with sausage and let filling cool. Transfer filling to a bowl; stir in parmesan and peppers.

3. Assemble the ravioli: Working with half the dough and using a rolling pin, roll dough ⅙” thick. Remove top sheet of parchment paper; using a 4½” round cutter, cut out 10 circles, gathering and rerolling scraps. Place 1 slice mozzarella over each circle and top with 2 tbsp. filling. Fold circle in half and pinch edges to seal in filling.

4. Fry the ravioli: Heat 2″ canola oil in a 6-qt. saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate shallow dishes. Working with 1 ravioli at a time, dredge in flour, dip in eggs, and coat in bread crumbs; fry until golden and crisp, 2–3 minutes. Transfer ravioli to paper towels to drain; serve hot.

The Ultimate Veggie Fried Rice


  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 small carrot, diced (¼ cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced (¼ cup)
  • 1 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice, crumbled or broken up
  • 2 cups leftover vegetables, beans, etc., optional

1. Heat skillet over medium-high heat, and add oil. Sauté onion, carrot, celery, herbes de Provence, and salt 10 to 15 minutes, or until well browned. Add a little more oil if pan seems dry. Add cooked rice, and stir-fry 5 minutes, or until mixture is hot and well combined.

Per 1-cup serving:

  • Calories: 189
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Total Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 308 mg
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Sugar: 3 g

A Sazerac… for Mardi Gras


The official drink of Mardi Gras in New Orleans

INGREDIENTS

½ oz. absinthe (preferably Lucid)
2 oz. rye
¼ oz. simple syrup
Peychaud’s bitters
Angostura bitters
Lemon twist

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour absinthe into an old-fashioned glass; swirl to coat, and discard liqueur; fill glass with ice. Shake rye, simple syrup, 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters, and 1 dash Angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Discard ice in glass; strain cocktail into glass. Rub the rim with a lemon twist and drop twist into cocktail.

Colored Pasta.. can you do that?


Spinach Pasta


Squash instead of Pasta??


The fibrous flesh of spaghetti squash resembles long noodles after cooking and shredding. Although the squash noodles differ in flavor from traditional flour-based pasta noodles, you can use them in much the same way as pasta. The squash has a mild, nutty flavor that complements lighter pasta sauces, making it a healthful low-carbohydrate replacement for spaghetti in your favorite dishes. Use the squash as the focal point of a light meal or as pasta-like side dish.

Step 1

Cut a washed spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out of the center.

Step 2

Lay the squash cut side down on a baking sheet. Poke the rind all over with the tines of a fork. Bake in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the flesh is tender enough to pierce with a fork.

Step 3

Flip the cooled squash halves over to reveal the flesh. Scrape a fork down the length of each squash half, separating the spaghetti-like strands from the rind.

Step 4

Toss the squash strands in a tomato-based pasta sauce to create a meal similar to spaghetti. Alternatively, coat the strands in melted butter with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and crushed pepper. Most pasta sauces, except heavy cream sauces, complement the squash noodles well.

The Truth Behind Pasta


Pasta is a global favorite, but not all pasta is alike. Whole-grain pasta has a chewier texture than regular pasta, but it’s also more nutrient-rich. Whole-grain pasta wins out over regular pasta every time as your healthiest choice. If you’re having trouble making the switch to whole-grain pasta, start with a half-and-half blend of the two pastas and increase the percentage of whole-grain pasta each time you cook it.

Milled vs. Unmilled

All grains are whole before they are milled or refined. Whole grains contain an inner layer called the germ, a middle layer called the endosperm and an outer layer of bran. When whole grains go through the milling or refining process, the nutritious bran and germ are removed, leaving only the starchy endosperm, which is what regular white pasta is made from. Check the ingredients list on the pasta food label to ensure the words “whole grain,” “whole wheat” or another whole grain is listed as the predominant ingredient.

Fiber Content

Whole-grain pasta beats regular pasta when it comes to fiber content. A 1-cup serving of cooked whole-grain pasta contains 3.9 total grams of fiber, while the same amount of white pasta contains 2.3 grams. Fiber is the part of a plant food that your body can’t digest. It is crucial to a healthy diet because it helps move food waste through your digestive tract, reducing constipation. It helps lower blood pressure and also helps keep your body’s blood sugar levels stable.

Nutrient Content

Regular pasta may be fortified with iron and other nutrients, which means that certain nutrients like B vitamins and folate that were removed during the refining process are added back into the pasta. While the carbohydrate and fat content of both pastas is similar, whole-wheat pasta provides the most protein, and the calcium content for whole-wheat pasta is double that of regular. While a 2-ounce serving of regular pasta contains 108 milligrams of phosphorus and 30 milligrams of magnesium, its whole-wheat counterpart contains 147 milligrams of phosphorus and 82 milligrams of magnesium. Phosphorus helps build and protect your bones and teeth. Magnesium is crucial for many chemical reactions in your body.

Resistant Starch Effects

When certain starch-rich foods, such as pasta, are cooked and then cooled, their starch changes form, making it more resistant to digestion. Resistant starch, which is a form of fiber, helps maintain good colon health and low blood cholesterol levels. To get the most benefits from nutrients and resistant starch, it’s best to choose whole-grain pasta instead of pasta made from refined white flour. A cold pasta salad makes an excellent resistant-starch choice.

Glycemic Index Rankings

While the glycemic index, which refers to the effect food has on your body’s blood sugar levels, ranks both regular pasta and whole-wheat pasta in the low range — under 50 — the whole-wheat variety still comes out the winner with a GI of 37 compared to regular pasta with a GI of 41. Overcooking your pasta swells and gelatinizes its starch grains, making them more available for digestive enzymes. This increases the food’s GI. Serve your pasta al dente — firm to the bite — so that it is digested more slowly, so about 7 mins.

French Flan


INGREDIENTS

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 1¼ cups flour, plus more for pan
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat oven to 425°. Butter and flour a 10″ pie plate; set aside. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Whisk milk, vanilla, and eggs in another bowl until combined. Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients to make a smooth batter. Pour batter into prepared pie plate; bake until browned in places, puffed in the center, and set around the edges, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Chill 30 minutes before slicing.

A French Valentine for 2


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Magret duck breasts, skin scored in a cross-hatch pattern
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup duck and veal demi-glace
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • ¼ cup armagnac
  • 3 tbsp. black truffle butter

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Season duck generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Place duck skin side down in a 12” skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Cook, without flipping, until fat is rendered and skin is crisp, 5–6 minutes. Flip duck; cook until browned and to desired doneness, about 3 minutes for medium rare or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the duck reads 130°. Transfer duck to a cutting board; let rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing on an angle.

2. While duck is resting, make the sauce: Drain all but 1 tbsp. duck fat from pan; add shallot to skillet and cook, 2 minutes, until translucent. Add demi-glace and red wine and reduce by half, 20 minutes. Add armagnac and cook until alcohol is cooked off, about 3 minutes. Whisk in butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve over duck breast.