Rachael Ray’s emotional reason for new book: ‘It’s…a mini-memoir of my life’

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray got teary-eyed on Tuesday when she told “The View” co-hosts why she wrote her new book “Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life”.

The TV personality and businesswoman told the co-hosts that she wrote her “mini-memoir” to celebrate her milestone 50th birthday and all that she’s accomplished in her life.

“The book commemorates my 50th year. Right when I turned 50 is when I sat down to write it,” said Ray, who is now 51. “This is totally different. It’s not just a cookbook. It’s a scrapbook, you know. It’s kind of like a mini-memoir of my life.”

“I wrote it because I wanted to celebrate all the wonderful opportunities — I feel like I’m going to cry — that I’ve had in my life,” she added. “I wanted to prove to people that anybody could be Rachael Ray. If you’re an American, the American dream is still alive. It’s a love story. It’s an ode to being an American — a grateful American — and a grateful American waitress and food professional.”

Ray’s path to fame began with her cooking show “30 Minute Meals,” which featured recipes that anyone could manage after a full day of work. In 2006, she began hosting her self-titled nationally syndicated TV talk show “Rachael Ray,” which is now in it’s 13th season.

Ray offered career advice for women who want a career similar to hers on “The View,” saying it’s now “easier than ever” for people to succeed in making their own brand.

“Everybody has a voice now. You can go on a number of platforms and create your own platform. For me, if you’re talking about the business side of things, it was filling a niche or creating a product that doesn’t exist,” Ray said.

“No matter your age, you can reinvent your life or start your life, but you have to be clear,” Ray added. “You have to have a vision and you have to be able to say specifically, ‘I want to do this and this is why, because this has never been done before.’ I think if you can narrow down your path and stick to it, it’s a better time than ever to start.”

As Ray discussed her career and book, “The View” co-hosts enjoyed Fried Onion S’mack Burgers, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio and more delicious dishes from the book. Check out the recipes and try them yourself!

Excerpted from “RACHAEL RAY 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life by Rachael Ray.” Copyright © 2019 by Rachael Ray. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Serves 4

You smack these burgers down, literally, with aburger spatula to “seal the deal” between the beef and the onions, but smack also refers to the sauce that makes these patties taste a little like a Big Mac — and you’ll be smacking your lips for sure! Fried onion burgers, a.k.a. Oklahoma-style burgers, are all about how thin you can shave the onion. You need a mandoline. Mandolines, if you don’t have one, are inexpensive and you can get one delivered.

Ingredients for Sauce
• 1/2 cup sour cream, Greek yogurt or Fabanaise or mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup ketchup
• 3 tablespoons pickle relish
• About 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Ingredients for Burgers
• 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced using a mandoline
• 1 1/2 pound ground beef, 80% lean
• About 1 tablespoon canola or peanut or other neutral oil
• 8 slices of American cheese
• 4 large, soft burger rolls, plain or sesame
• Sliced dill/gherkin pickles
• Chopped iceberg lettuce

1. Make the sauce: Combine the sour cream, ketchup, pickle relish and Worcestershire in a small bowl.
2. Make the burgers: Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
3. Slice the onions on the thinnest blade setting of a mandoline, carefully.
4. Place the beef in a bowl and score to separate into 4 portions. Roll the beef into balls.
5. Drizzle the oil in the pan or over the meat balls and place the meat in the pan with 3 inches separating each portion. Top each ball with a quarter of the onions and press the meat into flat patties, bonding the onions to the meat. Cook the beef for 3 to 4 minutes and flip, cook and press for 2 minutes. Add the cheese, 2 slices per burger, and cook for 2 minutes more, 7 to 8 minutes total between both sides.
6. Construct the hamburgers: bottom of bun, 2 tablespoons sauce, pickles, lettuce, patty, 1 tablespoon sauce and top of bun.

(Garlic and oil with anchovies, broccoli rabe, preserved lemon, and garlicky breadcrumbs)

Serves 4 to 6

To cheese or not to cheese, that is the question. Most Italians use breadcrumbs rather than grated cheese on pasta with fish. In my family, we like both. The more salt and texture, the better! We use dry vermouth — herb-fortified white wine — in many recipes with seafood because “it takes the smell out of the drapes,” but of course, white wine or a little chicken stock works well, too.

Ingredients for Crumbs/Croutons
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
• 1 large clove garlic, crushed
• About 2 cups coarse homemade breadcrumbs from Italian or white bread
• Salt (optional)
• 1 cup loosely packed freshly grated Pecorino (optional)
• 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Ingredients for Pasta
• Salt
• 1 large bunch of broccoli rabe, trimmed of tough ends
• 1/2 cup EVOO
• 8 anchovy fillets, drained
• 6 large cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
• About 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (1/2 palmful), or a generous spoonful of Calabrian chili paste
• 1/2 cup dry vermouth
• 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
• 1 pound spaghetti
• About 1/4 cup preserved lemon, finely chopped, plus a splash of brine

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. Make the crumbs: In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and, when it foams, add the garlic and swirl for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs, toss with the butter, transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, and season with salt or sprinkle with Pecorino, if using, then bake for about 12 minutes, until deep golden. Cool and toss with parsley.
3. Make the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season with salt.
4. Meanwhile, in a medium to hot pot, heat a few inches of water to a boil, salt the water to season it, and parboil the broccoli rabe for 4 to 5 minutes. Cold shock the broccoli rabe in an ice bath, then drain it and dry it. Chop it into 11⁄2-inch pieces.
5. In a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat, heat the EVOO, 6 slow turns of the pan, and butter. Add the anchovies and stir with a wooden spoon to break the fillets up until they literally melt into the oil. Then reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and red pepper flakes or paste. Swirl or stir for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the dry vermouth and parsley. Reduce the heat to low and add the broccoli rabe.
6. Cook the pasta to 1 minute less than the package directions for al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water and drain the pasta. Transfer the pasta to the anchovy and broccoli rabe pan. Add the chopped preserved lemon and a small splash of brine. Combine the pasta with the sauce and broccoli rabe for 1 minute using tongs, adding the starchy water as you toss. Transfer to shallow bowls and top with breadcrumbs.

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