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March 2, 2014 | Noelle Carter
Mardi Gras is Tuesday -- do you have your king cake? At first sight, it may come across as, well, a little unusual. A large wreath-shaped cake bedazzled in vibrant shades of purple, green and gold - there's nothing subtle about it. It might be flavored simply with a touch of cinnamon sugar, or maybe it's decked out with any of a number of creative fillings. Help yourself to a slice, or two - just be careful you don't accidentally bite into the plastic baby. Behold the wonder that is the king cake.
February 26, 2014 | By Noelle Carter
It's Gluten-Free Wednesday. If you're like so many who crave pasta but need to stay away from wheat, fret no more. Check out these ideas: Rice noodle bowl with stir-fried beef: You can't go wrong here when you're craving a great noodle bowl. A fresh, crunchy salad is topped with a mound of noodles and richly flavored stir-fried beef. Garnish with fried shallots and peanuts and serve alongside a dipping sauce for a simple one-dish meal that comes together in about an hour.  Cashew cream fettuccine Alfredo: With its rich flavor, you might not guess this dish is both gluten-free and vegan!
February 22, 2014 | By Noelle Carter
If you're like me, you probably don't need an excuse to lift a celebratory margarita. Still, even this classic cocktail gets its own holiday. That would be today. So Happy National Margarita Day! To celebrate, we've compiled 13 of our favorite recipes . If you love a classic margarita, we've got you covered. Of course, we'll also take care of you if you'd like to get creative with a little blood orange, pomegranate or guava. Or perhaps you'd like to add a little jalapeno, horseradish or cilantro to the mix. We include a variety of recipes, including favorites from restaurants known for great drinks: El Coyote, Mas Malo and Border Grill.
February 21, 2014 | By Noelle Carter
You know February is National Pie Month, right? If you haven't celebrated yet, there's no time like the present. If you've got some extra time this weekend, celebrate with a homemade pie or two. Here are some tips and tricks to take your pies to the next level: CRUST RECIPES: 52 favorite pies from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen Passionate pie bakers tend to have a religious zeal about what type of fat goes into their crust, and...
February 15, 2014
Beet and fennel salad 50 minutes. Serves 6 to 8 LEMON VINAIGRETTE 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, finely minced 1 tablespoon lemon zest (1 to 2 lemons) 5 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed 2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey (to taste) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil In a medium bowl, whisk together the shallots, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, agave syrup, salt and pepper, then slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify.
February 15, 2014 | By Jessica Gelt
The plum sour was created to complement the modern Chinese cuisine served at chic Hakkasan Beverly Hills. This tart libation combines woodsy Japanese whiskey, tangy fresh-squeezed lemon juice, aromatic plum liqueur and pleasingly sweet brown sugar syrup. A single shaken egg white gives the cocktail frothy wings. Hakkasan Beverly Hills, 233 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 888-8661, Plum sour 2 minutes.
February 14, 2014 | By Noelle Carter
Looking for last-minute ideas for Valentine's Day? Let's start with dessert. Each of these treats comes together using only a handful of ingredients and no special equipment. I will warn you, two of them take a little time to set up: the lemon posset -- a pudding-like dessert -- needs chilling time, and the other, a frozen chocolate zabaglione, freezes like a creamy gelato.  Hazelnut zabaglione: Try a sherry-based zabaglione, whisking in a moderately sweet oloroso with just a touch of hazelnut liqueur.
February 12, 2014 | By Noelle Carter
So you're planning a romantic dinner at home for Valentine's Day. Whether this is your first time cooking for someone new, or you've celebrated with the same special someone for years, this is one meal you want to be special. And we're here to help. I've combed through our recipe database to find 43 special recipes perfect for two. From colorful first courses and salads to elegant main dishes -- including beef, fish, poultry and even vegan options -- the list covers everything to cater to a wide variety of tastes and diets.
February 9, 2014 | By Noelle Carter
Have you ever lusted after those great brick ovens you see in pizzerias and bakeries? Well, for about $40, you too can bake like the pros. I did a story a couple of years ago on homemade pizza, and did a bit of research (actually, I got a little obsessed) on converting a normal home oven into a brick oven. As you can see from the photo above, a brick oven conversion is not complicated at all. You'll need to get the right bricks (you need firebricks, as regular bricks aren't made to withstand the heat)
February 9, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
People like rich, tasty food - and sweet, smooth desserts. That's a recipe the Cheesecake Factory Inc. has been following for more than three decades. The company's roots can be traced to the home kitchen of Evelyn Overton, who ran a small baked goods business from the family home in Detroit in the 1940s. She and her husband, Oscar, later moved to California to launch a bakery. In 1978, their son, David, opened the first Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Beverly Hills. "I didn't know what I was doing," David Overton told The Times in a 2011 interview.
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