Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nigella's Chocolate Cheesecake



If you are looking for an amazingly rich dessert, Nigella's Chocolate Cheesecake is the one. I have made this several times and pulled this recipe out again to make for Christmas Eve. It really is fabulous. It is very rich like I said so serve small pieces.

Ingredients

Cheesecake base:

  • 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa

Cheesecake filling:

  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped small
  • 2 1/2 cups cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon custard powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

Sauce:

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dark corn syrup
  • Special euipment: 9-inch springform pan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the base, process the graham crackers to make rough crumbs and then add the butter and cocoa. Process again until it makes damp, clumping crumbs and then tip them into the pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan to make an even base and put into the freezer while you make the filling.

Put a kettle on to boil.

Melt the chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler, and set aside to cool slightly.

Beat the cream cheese to soften it, then add the sugar and custard power, beating again to combine. Beat in the whole eggs and then the yolks, and the sour cream. Finally add the cocoa dissolved in hot water and melted chocolate and mix to a smooth batter.

Take the springform tin out of the freezer and line the outside of the tin with a good layer of cling wrap, and then another layer of strong foil over that. This will protect it from the water bath.

Sit the springform tin in a roasting pan and pour in the cheesecake filling. Fill the roasting pan with just boiled water to come about half way up the cake tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble to it.

Peel away the foil and cling film wrapping and sit the cheesecake in its tin on a rack to cool. Put in the refrigerator once it is no longer hot, and leave to set, covered with plastic overnight. Let it lose its chill before unspringing the cheesecake to serve.

To make the chocolate sauce: very gently melt the chopped chocolate, cream and syrup. When the chocolate has nearly melted, take off the heat and whisk it to a smooth sauce. Let it cool a little, and pour it over the chocolate cheesecake on its serving plate.

Recipe courtesy Nigella Lawson of the Food Network

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lemon Ricotta Cookies With Lemon Glaze


Giada's Lemon Ricotta Cookies are one of my favorite cookie recipes. I think they are so much better than sugar cookies but I have never been a fan of sugar cookies. These cookies are so tender and delightfully lemony. I make many of my friends and family a goodie basket for the Holidays and these are always in them.


Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cookies:

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Glaze:

Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies into a decorative container.


Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Favorite Pecan Pie

I am going to continue with my Thanksgiving feasting and add one last recipe and it is a good one. This is a very good but not too sweet pecan pie. It also has chocolate and coffee in it so I knew it was going to be good. This great recipe yet again comes for Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.


Ingredients

makes 8 servings


3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (about 7 ounces) pecan halves or pieces
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 9-inch single crust, partially baked and cooled


Getting ready: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

In a large bowl, whisk the corn syrup and brown sugar together until smooth.. Whisk in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until you have a smooth, foamy mixture. Add the espresso powder, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and give the batter a good mix. Rap the bowl against the counter a couple of times to pop any bubbles that might have formed, then stir in the pecans and chocolate. Turn the filling into the crust.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make a foil shield for the crust by cutting a 9-inch circle out of the center of an 11-or 12-inch square of aluminum foil.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Place the foil shield on top of the pie—the filling will be exposed, the crust covered by the foil. Bake the pie for another 15 to 20 minutes (total baking time is 30 to 35 minutes), or until it has puffed (the middle and the edges should be fairly evenly puffed), is beautifully browned and no longer jiggles when tapped. Transfer the pie plate to a rack, remove the shield and cool to room temperature.

Serving: Pecan pie is good at any temperature, and different at each one. It’s softest and most puddingish eaten warm (about 45 minutes out of the oven), most flavorful eaten at room temperature and most candy-like when it is chilled. At any temperature, it’s good with ice cream—vanilla, chocolate or coffee would be my choices.

Storing: Once cooled to room temperature, the pie can be covered and refrigerated for 1 day.


Recipe from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nutty Greens with Bacon and Blue Cheese

I made this dish to go with our Thanksgiving meal. I thought these beans were unbelievably delicious. At first I got some grumbling that I did not make the traditional "green bean casserole" (BORING!.....but good I must say) but after everyone had tried some there were no longer any complaints. I could not get enough of these. For a healthier version one could discard the bacon drippings and use olive oil but hey, it was Thanksgiving so I was all about the bacon drippings. :)
Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound haricots verts, trimmed
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, cut into small chunks (recommended: Shropshire)
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted whole pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the haricots verts and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the beans from the water and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Remove the haricots verts from the ice water and set aside in a medium bowl.

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and place on paper towels. Add the beans to the bacon drippings and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the blue cheese and toss just until it starts to melt. Break the cooked bacon into bite-size pieces and add to pan. Finish by stirring in the toasted chopped pecans. Season with the freshly ground black pepper and just a tiny pinch of kosher salt. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy Claire Robinson via The Food Network.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Herb-Rubbed Turkey




I made this herb-rubbed turkey for my first thanksgiving last year and it got great reviews. I am for sure making it this year and I suggest giving the herb-rub a try. It was very moist and more flavorful I think than your average bird.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh thyme leaves
  • 22 medium garlic cloves (about 3 heads)
  • 1 (10- to 12-pound) turkey, preferably organic or free-range
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced into thin rings
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
(I double this recipe because I use a 21-24 pound bird)

Directions

One day ahead:
Process herbs and garlic in food processor until finely minced. Set aside.

Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Trim excess fat. Place turkey in large nonreactive bowl. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by gently inserting fingers between skin and meat. Sprinkle kosher salt and pepper under and over skin.
Then spread some of the garlic-herb rub under skin and gently press skin to adhere. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck into turkey. Then rub remaining garlic-herb rub over the turkey skin. (I also coat the skin with butter or more olive oil). Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

To Roast:
Let turkey stand at room temperature 1 hour before roasting. Set oven rack at the lowest position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. I use Reynolds Oven-Roast Turkey Bags. Add 1 tablespoon flour to the bag and shake, this stops your bag from bursting. Place your turkey in the bag breast side up. Butter the top of the turkey and season. Use the ties that come with the bag and close the bag. Make about 6 slits in the bag about 1/2 inch long, this helps to let the excessive steam out.
Put your turkey in the bag in a pan a little larger than your turkey, and with 2 inch sides . Put your pan in the oven making sure that the bag does not touch any part of your oven, racks or broiler element. I occasionally bast my turkey so I make sure on of the slits in the bag in low enough where a can grab some juices. Cooking time per weight(un-stuffed): 12-16 lb., 2 to 2 1/2 hours; 16-20 lbs., 2 1/2 to 3 hours, 20-24 lbs., 3 to 3 1/2 hours. It will take 1/2 hour longer if you stuff the bird. The bird is done when a meat thermometer reaches 170 degrees inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and juices run clear.. When the bird is done, I remove the bag and place on a serving plater (Let the turkey rest 20 minutes before carving). I then release all the juices from in the bag into my pan to make my gravy.

Recipe modified from Epicurious.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper & Chipotle Soup



Normally this type of soup contains cream to make it rich and creamy. I make this healthy soup velvety by using potatoes. It really does the trick and you don't miss the dairy. It is spicy and smoky and will really warm you up.

Ingredients

Serves 4
  • small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle peppers in adobe, minced (heaping if you like it hot)
  • 1 15oz can low sodium vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Char the red pepper either over a gas stove or under the broiler. Place blacked peppers in a air-tight container and set aside and allow to steam. Place a small amount of oil in a large sauce pan and heat over medium high. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add the potatoes, minced chipotle peppers, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer until potatoes are soft. Meanwhile, remove the black skins and de-seed the red peppers. Dice and add to the simmering sauce pan. Simmer another 5 minutes. Using a stick blender or transfer soup into a blender, puree and serve.

Recipe by me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Apple Cake



This is a revised version of my Grandma's apple cake recipe with a healthy twist. This version is actually vegan but is just as good as the original (as tested by my grandma) and very moist.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed plus 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup whole what pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 cups chopped & peeled apples

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper or silicon baking cups.
  2. Combine the first 5 ingredients and stir well. Add all the dry ingredients and mix. Fold in the apples and nuts.

  3. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Recipe adapted from Grandma de Vries

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chickpea and Spinach Soup




This is a great tasting and super healthy soup I got out of a new cookbook I recently purchased called The Anti-Cancer Cookbook by Julia B. Greer, MD, MPH. In this cook the author explains the benefits of each recipe. For example, the spinach contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, and many vitamins as well as the antioxidant lutein. The chick-peas are loaded with fiber and are protein-rich. She also adds that this recipe's folate (spinach) and fiber (garbanzo beans) may help prevent ovarian and colon cancer. I also love the ingredient are all staples in my pantry.


Ingredients

Makes 6 servings
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup shallots finely chopped (I used 1/2 medium sweet onion)
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • Pinched red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups fat-free, low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, not drained
  • 1-1/4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced (or 15 oz can, not drained)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped (I used 5 oz frozen spinach, half a box)

Directions

1. Place a large soup or stock pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add garlic and shallots (onions) and saute 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Add celery and red pepper flakes and continue to saute another 1 to 2 minutes. Add vegetable stock, rosemary, chickpeas, rice, tomatoes, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 30 minutes. Pour about half of soup into a blender and puree (I use a stick blender, easier). Return puree to pot. Season with salt and black pepper as desired and add spinach. Simmer on low heat 6 to 7 minutes. Serve hot.

Recipe from The Anti-Cancer Cookbook by Julia B. Greer, MD, MPH

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chocolate Crunch Tart



I unfortunately did not get to taste this tart myself so I will have to make it again. I did however taste the ganache and caramel separately and it was very good. I made this for a church auction which I was not able to attend but my mom reported that people said it was delicious. I am guessing it probably tastes a lot like a heath bar. The caramel set really hard so it was more like a peanut brittle so I may try not cooking it quite so long next time.


Crust
Fully baked and cooled 9" tart crust (I used Dorie's Sweet Tart Dough recipe)

Caramel
Scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

Ganache
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

3/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 9-inch tart shell made with Dorie's Sweet Tart Dough (p.444), fully baked and cooled

Getting Ready: Because you have to work quickly once the sugar caramelizes, you should have all the ingredients for the caramel measured out and at hand before you start. Also have a medium heatproof bowl at hand to hold the hot caramel.

To Make the Caramel: Bring the heavy cream to a boil.

Meanwhile, put a medium skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat and sprinkle in about 3 tablespoons of the sugar. When it melts, stir it with a wooden spatula or fork and sprinkle over another 3 tablespoons. When that sugar is melted, add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar - the sugar in the pan may already have started to color, and that's fine. Stir in the corn syrup and boil the syrup until it reaches a deep caramel color - it will probably begin to smoke, and that's normal.

Stand back and stir in the butter. The caramel will bubble furiously and may spatter, so make sure you're away from the action. When the butter is in, add the warm cream - the caramel will bubble furiously again. Lower the temperature just a tad and let the caramel boil for just 2 minutes (226F on candy thermometer). Pour the seething caramel into the heatproof bowl and set aside while you make the ganache.

To Make the Ganache: Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and have a whisk or a rubber spatula at hand.

Bring the cream to a boil. Then pour half of it over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Working with the whisk/spatula, very gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles. Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don't stir any more than you must to blend the ingredients - the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be.

Cover the ganache with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface to create an airtight seal. Set aside at room temperature for the moment.

To Assemble the Tart: Stir the peanuts into the caramel. If the caramel has cooled and is too thick to spread easily, gently warm in the microwave in 3-second spurts. Spread the caramel over the bottom of the tart shell; you'll have a thin layer. Refrigerate the tart for 15 minutes to set the caramel.

Check the ganache. If it has thickened, warm it in 3-second spurts. Rap the bowl to break any surface bubbles, pour the ganache over the caramel and jiggle the pan to even it.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes - no longer - then keep it at room temperature until serving time.

Recipe from Baking: From My Home To Yours By Dorie Greenspan

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spinach Frittata



This is a very easy dinner/lunch that is packed with healthy ingredients. You can really add what you want here. I try and get as much spinach in as possible and the sundried tomatoes are also really good for you. I just started reading a great book, Anti Cancer A New Way OF Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD. I am learning about what the food we put into our bodies does at a cellular level and how it effects cancer cells. Foods like organic free range eggs, spinach, garlic, onions are all great cancer fighting foods. So far one of the most powerful things I have read in this book is that we all have cancer cells that are dormant within our bodies but not all of us will develop cancer. Food and our environment is showing to have a huge part in this and you can bet I will be adding as much anti-cancer food to my diet as possible.


Ingredients

Makes 3 or more servings
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 3 tbsp sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 chicken sausage, cubed (I used precooked spinach and feta chicken sausage)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

To make the frittata: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in the spinach, sausage and sundried tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach in the skillet. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the egg mixture is cooked on the bottom and almost set on top. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake in the oven until the eggs are set and the cheese has melted, 5 to 10 minutes.

Recipe by me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe is really good. The flavor is perfect and the dumplings are very tender. This is the second time I have made this within a week because I made it for our Harvest Party and it went so fast that some of my family requested I make it again so they could try it. The first time I made it I took some short cuts and recommend that if you are short on time. I bought a rotisserie chicken and chicken broth from the store which saves a lot of time. Yesterday I had more time and I did the whole thing from scratch. It takes about 3 hours but most is inactive time. Both versions turned out very good. A few things I have noticed about this recipe is that is says the "Supreme Sauce" should be able to coat the back of the spoon. Mine never got that thick and don't think it needs to be. Also, unless you are using a pot with a lot of surface area you will have trouble not crowding the dumplings. I actually think there may be too many dumpling so you can either not add as much or just don't worry about it. Mine were crowded but I stirred them gently to make sure they all got cooked. With the first batch that I made I had transferred the soup into a crockpot and added the dumplings right before serving but it was not hot enough to cook them quickly so I ended up putting the whole pot into the oven and baking it. The dumplings all rise to the top so it turned into more of a chicken pot pie than dumping but it was still very delicious and the dough was still very tender.

Ingredients

Serves about 6

Roasted Chicken:

  • 1 (3-pound) whole chicken
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 lemon, halved and juiced; halves reserved
  • 1/4-cup fresh chopped herbs such as thyme, parsley and rosemary
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Fresh whole herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and parsley sprigs

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of the chicken and discard. Rinse the chicken under cold water, inside and out. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Season the body and cavity of the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, mash together the butter, lemon juice, and chopped herbs. Rub the herbed butter all over the chicken, as well as under the skin. Put the lemon halves, onion, garlic, and whole herbs inside the chicken cavity, for added flavor. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Roast for 1 hour until the meat is no longer pink. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat, discarding the skin and set aside. Reserve the bones for chicken stock.

Chicken Stock:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved
  • Reserved chicken bones
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
To prepare the stock, coat a large stockpot with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the vegetables and saute for 3 minutes. Add the reserved chicken bones, water, and herbs; simmer for 1 hour. Strain the stock to remove the solids and set aside.

Dumplings:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
To prepare the dumplings: sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs and milk together; pour the liquid in the dry ingredients and gently fold. Mix just until the dough comes together, the batter should be thick and cake-like.

Supreme Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4-1/2 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
To prepare Supreme Sauce: In a Dutch oven, melt butter and heat oil over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes to cook the flour and remove the starchy taste. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.
Let sauce simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Stir in heavy cream.
Fold the reserved shredded chicken into the sauce and bring up to a simmer. Using 2 spoons, carefully drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the hot mixture. The dumplings should cover the top of the sauce, but should not be touching or crowded. Let the dumplings poach for 10 to 15 minutes until they are firm and puffy. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.
Recipe from Tyler Florence of the Food Network.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lenox Almond Biscotti



From Dorie Greenspan's Baking From my Home to Yours

The coming of fall has really made be want biscotti. I think that it must be because it is now time to enjoy a warm beverage and biscotti is the perfect treat to go along with them. As far as cookies go I usually like soft and chewy but I make an exception for biscotti because you can dunk them of course!! This biscotti recipe is one of Dorie's top ten recipes from Baking From my Home to Yours and she says in the book she got the recipe from the owner of one of her favorite restaurants, the Lenox in New York City. This biscotti has great almond flavor and is very adaptable. I dunked mine in chocolate but you can easily add dried fruit or change up the nuts.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3/4 cup sliced almonds, blanched or unblanched

Directions

GETTING READY: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the cornmeal and whisk again to blend.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed for 3 minutes, until very smooth. Add the eggs and continue to beat, scraping down the bowl as needed, for another 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light, smooth and creamy. Beat in the almond extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. You'll have a soft, stick-to-your-fingers dough that will ball up around the paddle or beaters. Scrape down the paddle and bowl, toss in the almonds and mix just to blend.

Scrape half the dough onto one side of the baking sheet. Using your fingers and a rubber spatula or scraper, work the dough into a log about 12 inches long and 1 1¿2 inches wide. The log will be more rectangular than domed, and bumpy, rough and uneven. Form a second log with the remaining dough on the other side of the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the logs are lightly golden but still soft and springy to the touch. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and cool the logs on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.

If you turned off the oven, bring it back up to 350 degrees F.

Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the logs to a cutting board and, with a long serrated knife, trim the ends and cut the logs into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the baking sheet — this time standing them up like a marching band — and slide the sheet back into the oven.

Bake the biscotti for another 15 minutes, or until they are golden and firm. Transfer them to racks and cool to room temperature.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lentil and Rice Pilaf

This is a good meatless week-night meal. Pretty easy to put together, filling and healthy. Lentils are high in protein, heart healthy fiber, B vitamins and other minerals. I have noticed others serve this dish with a yogurt sauce on top which is something I should try sometime. I just serve this with a bunch of vegetables and call it good.


Ingredients

Makes 10 or more servings
  • 1 cups brown lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 celery ribs diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • toasted walnuts

Directions

1. Fill a medium size sauce pan with water and add lentils and boil uncovered for 10 minutes.

2. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and drizzle the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Add the cumin seeds and garlic and cook for one minute. Then add the onion, carrots, celery and the rest of the spices and saute until the onions are tender. Add the rice and cook until the rice is slightly toasted.

3. Add the lentils to the dutch oven and add 4 cups of low sodium vegetable or chicken broth. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Serve as a side dish or main dish with vegetables and with toasted walnuts on top.


Recipe by me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jalapeno Jelly


My bagels turned out well but they were eaten too quickly so I did not get any pictures. So I decided to go ahead and try making my own jalapeno jelly and post that this week. Since we went through one jar in no time after smoking the salmon; and a small jar ranges from 5-7 dollars I decided that It would also be cost effective for me to make my own. I am sure there will be much more smoked salmon in our future too( the coho are following the pinks). The cream cheese, jalapeno jelly, and smoked salmon is just an awesome combo. It is so good!!!

Ingredients

Yields approximately 6 1/2-pint jars.

  • 13 large jalapeno peppers
  • 2 medium red, yellow or orange bell pepper (I used orange)
  • 1/3 cups lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups vinegar (white or cider, I used cider)
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 6 ounces liquid pectin (2 pouches of Certo brand, ONLY USE CERTO brand other do not work well I hear)
  • Red, green or orange food coloring, optional (I choose to not use food coloring because I wanted the jelly to be all natural and I personally think the red and green jelly looks a little scary and it reminds me of maraschino cherries which I hate!).


Directions

1. WEAR RUBBER GLOVES!! IF you don't your hands will burn for days and be careful to not touch any part of your body while handling the jalapenos. Wash and remove the stem of all 13 jalapenos; discard stems. Place 7 of the whole jalapenos in a food processor.

2. Remove the stems and seeds of the bell peppers. Chop into large pieces and add to the food processor.

3. Process the pepper mixtures until pureed.

4. Removed the seeds from the remaining 6 jalapenos and finely dice and set aside.

5. Add the pureed pepper mixture to a large sauce pan and add the lemon juice and vinegar. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes.

6. Remove the pepper mixture from heat and strain using cheese cloths or coffee filters. You should have a little over 1 cup of liquid.

7. Add the liquid back to the large sauce pan and add the diced jalapeno. Add the sugar to the mixture and bring back to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the liquid pectin and bring back to a rolling boil and cook for 1 minute. You can add the food coloring at this point if you wish.

8. Carefully ladle jelly into prepared canning jars leaving 1/4" of head space. Wipe any spilled jelly from the jar rims. Center lids on top of jars and tighten screw bands securely. Process jars in a water bath for 10 minutes. Test seal after cooling with finger. If the middle pops up the jar is not sealed.

Recipe modified from What's Cooking America.
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