Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Eataly: NYC

My new favorite place on the planet: Eataly -- Alti Cibi(high class food)
 Justin and I took a trip out to NYC to a wedding and basically we ate ourselves into oblivion.  On Saturday I ate a giant steak then ate a 5 course meal at a wedding until midnight.  I had visions of that movie, "Seven"(back when I watched R rated movies) where that murder kills people who were guilty of committing the 7 mortal sins.  I totally felt like the obese man who was forced to eat until he died.  I ended up curled up in bed with a totally sick stomach, waiting for the food to digest, but I could tell I was headed for upheaval so I didn't waste any more time missing the after party and I just gagged myself so I would feel better.  I don't know if there's anything I hate more than throwing up.  I even broke some blood vessels in my eyelids.  haha.  Hideous.  I ended up putting my make-up back on and joining Justin at the after party for about an hour and felt fine for the rest of the trip.  Normally I could have pounded down all that food easily, but my stomach has shrunken and I just don't have my bottomless pit pregnancy stomach. 

Fresh Italian bread
So, this place, Eataly, is like an indoor replica of an outdoor Italian market place.  The name is so catchy as well because the correct way to pronounce "Italy" or "Italia" is not the frequently mispronounced, "Aye-tal-ee-ya" or even "Iht-a-ly"  It is said just like the word "Eataly" or "EE-tal-ee-ah".  So clever.  Anyway, there are like 10 different counters that sell pizza, pasta, freshly made mozzarella, seafood, bread, cheese, meats, etc.  and the rest of the place is like an Italian grocery store.  It's pure genius and totally delicious.  Justin and I ate two balls of fresh warm mozzarella, incredible prosciutto, olive oil, basil and salt, then we slurped down some raw oysters on ice - delish, and topped it off with a pizza and some wild boar ragu pasta.  There were Italians everywhere and we were speaking in Italian the entire time we were eating and ordering.  It was such an incredible experience and it made me realize how excited I am to go back to Italy this summer! We are taking the kids and Lucy on a month long trip to Italy before Justin starts work.  It's going to be epic!

$5 pasta bags

My favorite pasta of all time: fusili bucati lunghi.  This particular bag was $ we left it behind

These are also really fun long straw-like pastas.  I wish I could have bought some!

Authentic Italian deliciousness

Even though these look pretty, don't be fooled by Italian pastries.  Most of them are not worth the money or the calories. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Accidental chocolate salted caramel volcano cake

Erupting with sweet, delicious dulce de leche(DDL)

The other day I baked a chocolate cake from scratch with all the best ingredients.  It was for the adults at Henry's Family Birthday dinner.  I followed the instructions exactly, but one thing I did not count on was the cake batter spilling over the sides of the cake pan because our oven is not perfectly level in our rental house! We started smelling smoke and I had no choice but to open the oven to take out the bottom pan of our oven so the smoke wouldn't fill the whole house and make the cake taste like smoke.  

Result: volcano cakes.  

All the cakes had sunken pits in the middles and so I just had to deal with it by shaving off a little on top and pouring an insane amount of caramel on top to fill it in.  Nobody minded at all.  I made one large cake for our whole family and kept the smaller cake for later.  I made home-made dulce de leche and toasted coconut for the filling and toppings.  I also tried to make ganache for the frosting on top, which is almost the simplest recipe in the book and somehow managed to curdle it, wasting about $10 of the best chocolate money can buy!  It was an unusually bad day for baking, but in the end, you can't go wrong with chocolate salted dulce de leche cake! Oh, and be generous with the salt.  The saltier the better!
This was actually the small one.  I didn't want to take a photo of the large one.  I was just too frustrated after the whole ordeal!

Toasted coconut or TC is always delicious with DDL

Recipe for Dulce De Leche

I have to say, there are many shortcuts to making this final product, but none are as good as this.  It's a labor of love, but it's worth the time!
DDL and salt together are my new best friends.  I have a tub of this in my fridge and it calls my name every time I open it. Yum.


  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 12 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds in a large, 4-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the baking soda and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered at a bare simmer. Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture. Continue to cook for 1 hour. Remove the vanilla bean after 1 hour and continue to cook until the mixture is a dark caramel color and has reduced to about 1 cup, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month. 

We put Dulce de Leche on vanilla ice cream with toasted coconut on top.  It's to die for!