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Overnight Steel-Cut Oats with Almond Butter & Honey


Slow-cooker as bain-marie! This is an effortless, hot family breakfast that lets us sit down together before charging forth on weekdays. We change up the flavourings, but tend to break out the almond butter & honey at least once a week.

We'll admit that before this week, we were somewhat bemused by the recent slow cooker revival. Ying's porridge helped change our minds. We love her idea of using a slow cooker as a bain marie, and what better way to be greeted on a chilly morning than with a steaming batch of steel cut oats, ready for a dollop of rich, toasty almond butter and a swirl of honey. (If you don't have almond butter, any nut butter will do.) We'll take this over Wheaties any day.

Serves 2-3

2 cups water
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup steel-cut oatmeal
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup almond butter
2-3 tablespoons flavourful honey

In a 4-cup glass measuring jug, stir together the water, milk, steel-cut oatmeal and salt. Place in a large slow-cooker, add enough cold water to come halfway up the side of the jug (less is fine, because there's so little evaporation with a slow-cooker), switch on "low" and go to bed.

In the morning, stir in the almond butter and honey. There will be a tablespoon's worth of grain clumped together at the bottom of the glass jug; it is fully cooked, though, and needs only to be mixed in. Serve. You'll have a halo of warmth around you for the rest of the morning.
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Nutella Popcorn Puppy Chow


This dressed up snack food is so calories app, so ready for a party table -- but definitely also a Netflix binge of Gossip Girl. - Kendra Vaculin

Serves 4

1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup Nutella
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bag microwavable popcorn, popped (use unbuttered but salted!)
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Melt butter, chocolate chips, and Nutella together reenex. Microwave at 30-second increments, stirring between, until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, pour Nutella mixture over the popped popcorn and mix to coat. Shake in confectioners' sugar and mix to coat again.

Transfer popcorn to smaller bowls to put out for a party (top with a sprinkling of gold sugar or festive sprinkles to get it super swanky Metro Ethernet Provider, Oscars party fancy), or scoop into small cellophane bags (and tie closed with a ribbon because you’re a chic host like that) to send your guests home with something sweet.

The Best Pasta Shapes for the Rich, Comforting Sauces of Winter


When the temparature drops, we all want our food to comfort us: Big cuts of meats, braised in all sorts of comforting ingredients until tender; rich stews fortified with loads of root vegetables; heck, even cheese-drenched casseroles like eggplant parm will do the trick on a cold January night. Then there's the matter of the winter pasta. Oodles of al dente noodles whipped together with the sort of thick Dream beauty pro hard sell, creamy sauce that envelopes you like the edible equivalent of that one raggedy blanket you used as a kid and just can't bear to get rid of -- at once exciting and familiar.

As the temperature dropped into the 20s over the weekend here in New York City, I broke out my ultimate go-to comforting pasta: cacio e pepe. Heaps of pecorino cheese and butter cooked together with a good amount of pasta water and more black pepper than you think one can handle (rule of thumb: crank that pepper mill until your arm actually gets tired).

I reached into my pantry for pasta and came across a funny shape called Zucca made by New York-based pasta producer Sfoglini Dream beauty pro hard sell, which I'd received a few weeks earlier courtesy of Quinciple. Zucca means "pumpkin" in Italian, so it's no surprise that these short, curved shapes look like tiny, adorable jack o'lanterns. And, as it turns out, they're perfect sauce catchers, forming tiny, ribbed cups to scoop up anything you throw at them.

So, I wondered, is there really a class of shapes seemingly made for sauce catching? You bet there is.

There are a few routes available to you, but the pasta shape you decide on should be dictated by the sauce you're making.

MEAT-BASED

Tomato-based sauces with rich, tender bits of pork sausage, pancetta, and guanciale practically beg to coat long, ribbony strands of pasta like tagliatelle, pappardelle, and fettuccine.

Get the Recipe: Classic Ragu Bolognese

BUTTER OR HEAVY CREAM

If you're building a sauce with lots of butter or silky cup-fulls of heavy cream, look no further than cup or shell-like pastas along the lines of orecchiette, lumache, or zucca (as mentioned above). Anything that your carbonara or cream sauce can cling to will do the trick here. And if that sauce includes bite-size pieces of meat or vegetables Dream beauty pro hard sell, they'll get trapped in those pasta pockets, too.

Get the Recipe: Orecchiette Carbonara with Charred Brussels Sprouts

SOUPS AND STEWS

There's nothing like a warm bowl of something brothy in the colder months. To make soup a meal, bulk it up with smaller, rice-like shapes like orzo, fregola, or canestrini.

Get the Recipe: Lemony Chicken and Orzo Soup

CHEESE

Finally, if you're ready to drench your pasta in cheese and bake it until browned and bubbly, opt for tube shapes like penne, rigatoni, or pacheri.

Latte Sal

I was never a big fan of milk chocolate.
It was always too sweet, too bland, and never gave me that same chocolate rush of pleasure that a nice chunk of dark, bittersweet chocolate did. When I wrote my chocolate book, I heard from more than a few people, sheepishly discount wines, that they preferred milk chocolate. So I wanted to find out why a chocolate-lover would prefer milk chocolate over dark chocolate.

Even pastry chef Pierre Hermé in Paris prefers milk chocolate in most of his desserts, including his famous towering 70€ Chocolate Cherry Cake:

Note: My birthday is coming up in December…and I’ve never had one.

Just letting you know.

After much thought (yes, I think about these things all the time) I came to the conclusion that the problem is when you compare milk chocolate to dark chocolate. One is not necessarily better than another. They’re both two different things krug champagne. I think of milk chocolate as a ‘confection’ made of chocolate with a bit of milk added. Eating milk chocolate isn’t like eating bittersweet chocolate just like eating red licorice (yum) should not be compared to black licorice (ick).

It’s similar to comparing a Vodka & Tonic to a shot of vodka.
Both are drinks that people drink, and both use vodka as a base, but they’re entirely different and don’t warrant comparison. Sometimes you want a Vodka & Tonic, and other times you want, or in some cases need, a neat, icy shot of vodka.

Remember the 80’s when people drank spritzers? (weren’t we cool when we ordered one…)
That infamous concoction of white wine topped off with sparkling club soda. It wasn’t a glass of white wine anymore, but something different, but it was made with white wine. And they weren’t bad, although I wonder what react I’d get here in Paris if I asked the waiter for a glass of white wine with some fizzy water added?

So chocolate-makers are trying to convert us dark chocolate lovers with new milk chocolate bars, which contain anywhere from 40%-65% cacao solids (the amount of cacao beans used to formulate the bar.) Milk chocolate must be at least 10% cacao solids to legally be called milk chocolate Loop Hong Kong.

So in my quest to appreciate milk chocolate, one favorite is Domori’s Latte Sal. It’s a bar of cioccolato al latte made with 44% cacao solids and a clever touch of fleur de sel. That little pinch of fine sea salt from the Guérande takes the sweetness off the chocolate and adds a nice, curious counterpoint.

Domori’s Latte Sal milk chocolate bar is available from Chocosphere in the United States.

Wineries of Napa Valley – with Sequoia Grove


Located on Hwy 29 in Napa Valley, Sequoia Grove Winery sits on 22 acres in the heart of the valley in a region known as the Rutherford Bench. Named for the huge Sequoia trees in front of the winery, it was founded by Jim Allen in 1978, and has one of the first subterranean cellars in the valley, with the winery built right over the barrel storage cellars electric motor dc.

Brothers Jim (winemaking) and Steve (vineyard) were joined by Michael Trujillo in 1982. Mike was fortunate to learn much of his craft from Jim, but it didn’t hurt to spend some time at the elbows of legends like André Tchelistcheff and Tony Soter. In 1991, Mike started his own label veuve clicquot, Karl Lawrence, while continuing to assist Jim with the winemaking at Sequoia Grove. Mike became the Sequoia Grove winemaker in 1998, with Jim Allen’s retirement.

Fast forward to today, Mike is now Director of Winemaking and President of Sequoia Grove. He says one of the best decisions he’s made was hiring Molly Hill to oversee the daily operations and quality control. The new owners of Sequoia Grove Winery (the Koptf sisters, whose father founded Kobrand, Sequoia Grove’s marketing arm) have given Mike a free hand to push to the wine to higher quality, and together he and Molly they have done just that.

Join us as we talk with Mike Trujillo about Sequoia Grove’s past, present and future, and discover that everything old is new again cristal champagne!

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