Do you know what’s always welcome in the Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen? Cake! The Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen cookbook, Favorite Cakes is brimming with fresh ideas for cakes that have that unmistakably delicious homemade flavor, but look like the handiwork of a professional decorator.
One trend the Test Kitchen incorporated throughout the book was layer cakes—statuesque, show-stopping works of art that look like they could be made for a wedding, but are easy enough to make for a birthday party. From a carrot cake with a “naked cake” look, mini layer cakes with champagne and raspberry, or a gorgeous ombré layer cake, the book is all about making these over-the-top layer cakes completely do-able at home.
In the process, they learned how to troubleshoot some of the most common layer cake issues. From a layer that’s stuck in the cake pan to a cake that’s starting to lean, they’ve seen it all. Here, our test kitchen cooks answer some common layer cake Qs.
Get the recipe for this Gingerbread Cake with Maple-Mascarpone Whipped Cream.
What kind of cake pans are best?
Nothing is worse than baking a batch of cakes only to find them all stuck to the pan, so choosing the right pan is essential. Our Test Kitchen loves
Stuffed with tender potatoes and sweet peas and flavored with fragrant curry powder and garlic, these air-fried treats are a great part of a healthy Indian-inspired meatless Monday meal. Airfrying puff pastry gives these samosas a crisp, flaky texture.
Air-Fried Samosas with Cilantro Sauce
For the samosas:
For the cilantro sauce:
1. To make the samosas, in a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and potato and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 12 minutes. Add the peas, curry powder, garlic and 1 tsp. salt and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Preheat an air fryer to 390°F (199°C).
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 7-by-14-inch (18-by-35-cm) rectangle. Cut into 2 strips lengthwise, then into 4 sections crosswise to create 8 squares. Working with 1 pastry square at a time, lightly brush the edges with some of the egg wash. Spoon a scant 1 Tbs. potato mixture into...
At their tiny but influential San Antonio restaurant, Mixtli, Chefs Diego Galicia and Rico Torres buck the city’s reputation for Tex-Mex by serving an ever-changing tasting menu of ultra-regional Mexican cuisine. Here, they share their recipe for chile verde, which, they explain, “is such a hit on cold days. And hot ones too. The brightness of the green chiles pairs so well with the tanginess of the tomatillos.” Like most braises, this dish is even better the second day, when it’s perfect served as breakfast with a couple of fried eggs and tortillas. If you can’t find Hatch chiles, increase the quantity of poblanos, and feel free to adjust the number of jalapeños to suit your preference for spiciness.
Mixtli Chile Verde
For the tomatillo-chile puree:
1. Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil.
2. To make the tomatillo-chile puree, spread the tomatillos, chiles,...
Thick wedges of polenta topped with an easy-to-prepare chile, corn and black bean salsa—this dish has all the flavors of black bean tamales, but it requires a lot less effort, making it the perfect centerpiece for a hearty weekend brunch. Prepare the polenta the night in advance and the rest comes together quickly. If you can’t find queso fresco, you can substitute feta cheese instead.
Grilled Polenta with Black Bean Salsa
1. To make the polenta, in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 5 1/3 cups (43 fl. oz./1.3 l) water and 1 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook, whisking frequently, until the polenta is thick and creamy, about 45 minutes. Add up to 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) water, a few tablespoons at a time, if the polenta begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. (Be careful, as the hot...
Plus: David Chang’s Ssäm Sauce is going national, the environmental impact of paper versus plastic at the grocery store, and the best food pairing for Champagne.
Smart tip: Instead of using dried beans as a pie weight, try sugar! [Food52]
Thanks to Kraft Heinz, David Chang’s Ssäm Sauce is going national. [Bloomberg]
You’ve probably been asked this at the grocery store a hundred times: Paper or plastic? When it comes to choosing the more environmentally sustainable option, the answer is more complicated. [Kitchn]
It turns out that one of the best possible food pairing for Champagne is French fries! Let’s pop some bubbles to celebrate. [Extra Crispy]
It’s been a bad week for leafy greens. The E. coli outbreak for Romaine lettuce has spread to 53 cases in 16 states. [New York Times]
Have you ever noticed the colored lids on your milk jugs? Red caps indicate whole milk, brown caps indicate chocolate, and purple caps usually indicate skim. [TODAY]
Facebook users are obsessed with this $135 mug that looks like a unicorn. [Refinery29]
The post Food News: The Best Pie Weight...
Originating in the Spanish town of Valls, near Tarragona, the calçotada is a springtime celebration in which the season’s first new spring onions (calçots) are roasted over coals until the outer skins are blackened and the interiors are sweet and toothsome. The point of the calçotada is the contrast between the partly caramelized, tender onions and the sensational, richly nutty sauce. Be sure to seek out Spanish pimentón, a spice made from dried smoked red peppers, which is available as dulce (sweet), agridulce (bittersweet) and picante (spicy), dulce being the most commonly used. The flavor of paprika simply can’t compare.
Grilled Spring Onions with Romesco Sauce
1. Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high. Grill the garlic, turning until browned on all sides, 13 to 15 minutes. Grill the tomatoes, turning once, until the skins are browned and wrinkled, about 5 minutes. Let the garlic and tomatoes cool, then peel.
2. Meanwhile, place the spring onions on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until...
Fish with two sauces in the kitchen at Contramar. All photos: Con Poulos
Even the most experienced eaters can get overwhelmed by the dizzying to-do list in Mexico City. From sizzling street food to hot reservations, there’s plenty to try. Here’s what’s at the top of our list of dining priorities. If you’ve recently spent time in the capital, then be share your favorite meals in the DF with us below.
1) Fish with Two Sauces at Contramar The fish served changes regularly at Contramar, but there’s always one that’s butterflied, grilled whole and topped with a red chile sauce on one half and a fresh, green herb sauce on the other. It’s a don’t-miss dish that represents the fresh seafood Contramar is known for and the best of the bright, flavorful sauces that define Mexican cooking. Contramar Durango 200, Col. Roma Norte +52 55 5514 9217 2) Tlacoyo at a Street Stall Look for these football-shaped masa cakes on streetside griddles around the...
From classic to creative, here are five of our best guacamole recipes that we guarantee will hit the spot.
Molcajete Guacamole Prepare guacamole the traditional way: with a molcajete, a mortar and pestle carved from volcanic rock. It’s the perfect tool for turning ripe avocados into creamy guacamole. If you want your guacamole to have an extra-spicy bite, use the seeds from the jalapeño in addition to the flesh. Bar Amá Guacamole Celery puree is the secret ingredient in this recipe from Los Angeles restaurant Bar Amá. Trust us: No one will be able to guess what’s in the guacamole, but everyone will agree it’s delicious. Traci des Jardins’ Guacamole “Guacamole is so easy, and everyone will love you for making it,” San Francisco chef Traci des Jardins says. “The trick to keeping it from browning isn’t leaving in the pit or adding a ton of lime juice. If you start with fresh avocados, keeping the...
An Instant Pot isn’t just for soups and braises. Did you know that the pressure cooking function can be used to make a cheesecake with a lusciously tender texture? The only special tools you need are a 7-inch (15-cm) springform pan that fits inside the pot, plus a sheet of aluminum foil. Fold a piece of foil that’s 20 inches (50 cm) long into a sling that’s 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide. Place it under the springform pan to lower it into the Instant Pot. Leave it under the pan while cooking the cake, then use it again to remove the cake when it’s done.
Instant Pot Blueberry-Pecan Cheesecake
For the crust:
For the filling:
1. To make the crust, in a food processor, combine the graham crackers, pecans and brown sugar and pulse to fine crumbs. Add the butter and pulse until combined. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a 7-inch (15-cm) round springform pan. Set aside.
2. To make...
Slicing shrimp in half lengthwise for pizza is great for two reasons: it makes it easier to nestle the shrimp into the toppings and it helps to stretch an expensive ingredient. For the prettiest presentation, arrange the shrimp with the cut side down. The recipes for the dough and roasted red pepper pesto make enough for two pizzas, so double the quantity of toppings and make two pies if you like, or save the remaining pesto and dough to make pizza later in the week.
Shrimp and Feta Pizza with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
For the pizza dough:
For the red pepper pesto:
For the pizza:
1. To make the pizza dough, in a food processor, combine the flours,...
Chef Ray Garcia has made a name for himself with his creative interpretations of classic Mexican cuisine: At his Los Angeles restaurants Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria, he’s famous for standouts like clam-and-lardo tacos, refried lentils and cauliflower al pastor. Yet he’s guided by the flavors and the food memories of traditional Mexican dishes that he grew up eating.
For instance, take carne asada, the street stall favorite made by grilling slices of marinated beef. The third-generation Angeleno and Williams-Sonoma Chefs’ Collective member loves to make this dish, marinating his beef overnight in a mixture of beer, dry mustard, and orange juice, among other ingredients.
As fellow taco obsessives, we implored chef Ray to share some of his advice for making the best possible tacos at home. “There aren’t a whole lot of rules when it comes to tacos so I encourage home cooks to be bold and adventurous in their creations,” he told us.
Still, he had plenty of advice to offer, from his tips for best taco assembly to suggestions for the most flavorful cuts of meat. Read on to see why he believes tacos taste better when topped with not one but two salsas, and what he thinks is the best beverage pairing for the...
Recipes for kofta (also known as kufta and kefta) appear in the earliest Arabic cookbooks; the little meat patties can be seasoned with anything from mint to chiles and are typically baked, fried or simmered in curry, although they are grilled for an extra layer of smoky flavor. Za’atar, a spice blend usually made from thyme, sumac and sesame seeds, is available at many grocers and any Middle Eastern market. You will have leftover tzatziki. Store it, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days, and serve the leftovers as a dip with pita chips or alongside roast meats.
Lamb Kofta Burgers with Za’atar Tzatziki
For the tzatziki:
For the burgers:
This is the perfect way to use spring’s bounty of vegetables, including new potatoes, leeks and baby artichokes. Serve alongside soft polenta, or, for a hearty meatless meal, top with fried or poached eggs. If you’re not a vegetarian, you might want to crumble some cooked bacon on the finished ragout.
Slow-Cooker Spring Vegetable Ragout
6 oz. (185 g) new potatoes or small red potatoes, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
3 leeks, white and pale green parts, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
1 lb. (500 g) fresh baby artichokes, trimmed and halved lengthwise, or 1 package
(14 oz./440 g) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and halved lengthwise
1 cup (6 oz./185 g) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
10 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) dry white wine
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 tsp. white wine vinegar
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g) fresh or thawed frozen English peas
1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1. In a slow cooker, combine the potatoes, leeks, fresh artichokes (if using frozen hearts, reserve for adding later), tomatoes, garlic, onion, wine, broth, oil, vinegar, thyme, 1/2 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper and stir to mix well. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. If using frozen artichoke hearts, add them to...
What we love about no-knead bread is that it not only requires no actual kneading, but it’s completely foolproof making us crave home-baked bread every single time. This recipe is almost effortless to make because it requires no kneading. Instead, the dough is allowed to slowly rise over a long period of time. Then it is baked in a preheated covered bread pot or Dutch oven, which helps produce a crispy, bakery-style crust on the finished loaf.
JIM LAHEY’S NO-KNEAD BREAD Ingredients:
We’re enamored by Mexico City, a world-class city with an array of noteworthy restaurants. We asked one of Mexico’s most acclaimed chefs, Jorge Vallejo of the restaurant Quintonil, to share his ultimate Mexico City restaurant guide. Here are his current favorite spots to grab a bite, meet a friend for a drink, or enjoy a memorable meal.
1. El Califa – For tacos, Vallejo loves El Califa, a taquería in Mexico City’s trendy Condesa neighborhood. “It has great tacos, especially the al pastor,” he tells us. “And the salsas are really, really good.”
Taco al pastor at El Califa. Photo credit: Facebook/El Califa
2. Sud 777 – For a nice meal in a beautiful place, you can’t go wrong with Sud 777, a multi-concept with lots of plants, mysterious lighting, gorgeous terraces, and an exhaustive wine list. “The chef there, Edgar Núñez, really has a way with vegetables,” Vallejo says.
Making classic Mexican tamales can be an all-day project, but using an Instant Pot cuts the time in half—streamlining the process by cooking the meat quickly and in the same pot that steams the finished tamales.
Instant Pot Pork and Green Chile Tamales
1. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper. In an Instant Pot set to “sauté,” warm the oil. In batches, sear the pork until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a plate. Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cumin and garlic powder, return the pork to the pot, add the broth and chiles, and stir well.
2. Lock the lid in place and turn the valve to “sealing.” Set...
Plus: Pixar’s new short film about a Chinese dumpling, the Pioneer Woman’s hotel, and the controversy behind Heinz’s “Mayochup” condiment.
The EWG just released the 2018 list for the “dirty dozen” — the produce that has the most pesticide contamination, and you should always buy organic. The worst offender? Strawberries. [CNN]
Watch the trailer for Pixar’s new short film “Bao” which follows the story of a Chinese dumpling. [BBC]
The Pioneer Woman’s new hotel room — the Boarding House — opened up for reservations this week, and the first six months sold out in just 30 minutes. [People]
Heinz sparked a controversy this week with their “Mayochup” condiment, which is essentially just mayonnaise and ketchup mixed together. [Washington Post]
Martha Stewart has a new gig as a judge on Chopped, and you know her commentary is going to be so good. [Food & Wine]
A man ate the world’s hottest pepper and ended up in the hospital with an awful headache. [New York Times]
The post Food News: Strawberries Top the 2018 List of Produce You Need to Buy Organic appeared first on Williams-Sonoma Taste.
Rich and a bit crumbly, cake doughnuts have a sturdier structure than yeast doughnuts, making them good candidates for coatings and toppings. Here we’ve used a vanilla glaze for a classic doughnut, but you can make these your own by pressing the tops of the freshly glazed doughnuts into any of your favorite toppings, from flaked coconut and finely chopped nuts to miniature marshmallows or even crystallized ginger.
Vanilla Old-Fashioned Doughnuts
For the doughnuts:
For the vanilla glaze:
1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg. In a measuring cup, stir together the butter and vanilla. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs, buttermilk and sugars on medium until well combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined, then beat in the butter mixture until just combined.
3. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until the dough comes...
New and longtime Vitamix owners alike tend to, at some point, fall for the gadget so hard that they look for any excuse to use it more often. Maybe smoothies were your gateway recipe, but you quickly found yourself moving to homemade nut butters, pestos, sauces, dressings, and even raw chocolate tortes. The power of the mixer means you can completely transform a sturdy vegetable such as kale into a silky soup. Here are a few of our favorite ways to give the Vitamix a workout.1. Hollandaise Sauce
The power of the blender means that the sauce shown here is somewhat less likely to break on you, and it sure makes it a breeze to make. This recipe is a twist on the classic French croque madame, swapping in Parmesan for Gruyère and adding springy asparagus, to boot.2. Green Goddess Dressing
The best green goddess sauces are delicious on salad, alongside roast chicken, and in dip or dressing form. Bright, packed with herbs, with a luxe character thanks to buttermilk or mayonnaise, they’re also quite flexible. If you don’t have the green...
Combining asparagus with two kinds of peas, this beautiful salad captures the freshness of the new season. The vegetables are cooked briefly in boiling water, a technique known as blanching, and then plunged into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color. To tame the bite of the raw shallot, we toss it with a little vinegar and let stand for a few minutes before tossing the salad.
Asparagus, Pea and Mint Salad
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Have ready a large bowl filled with ice and water. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook until bright green and just tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Using a spider or a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to the ice bath. Add the English peas and sugar snap peas to the boiling water and cook until bright green and just crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to...