Saturday, November 27, 2010

Winter Biscotti

Here is a great biscotti recipe I came up with the other day. I love a crisp biscotti with a dark cup of coffee. It was snowing outside, so it seemed like the perfect day for baking. My little girl helped me make these, and she loves them. She enjoyed hers with a glass of homemade hot chocolate, and then another with a glass of soy milk! I think the fruit-chocolate-nut mixture would make a great chewy cookie as well.

Winter Biscotti
-2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-3/4 cup evaporated cane juice
-1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
-1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-2 large organic eggs
-1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts (walnuts would be delicious also)
-1/3 cup dried cranberries
-1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment or baking paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a medium sized bowl just to blend. Using an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, butter, orange zest, and salt until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and slowly incorporate the nuts, cranberries, and chocolate chips.

Form the dough into a 14 inch, 3 inch wide log on the baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes.

Place the cooled log on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices. Arrange back on the baking sheet, cut side down. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden and dry, about 15 minutes. Cool completely and store in a large Ziploc bag. So delicious with a good French press of dark organic coffee!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sauteed King Oyster Mushrooms with Cool Weather Herbs and Cream

I found some beautiful King Oyster mushrooms at my farmer's market last week and just had to buy some. Back in my restaurant days I cooked a lot of King Oyster mushrooms glazed in demi glace and cream and finished with chopped parsley and thyme. While quite delicious, they were so rich. With this recipe, I decided to keep some of the decadence with a little half n' half added at the end, but without the huge amount of calories. I used a mixture of terrific cool weather herbs; thyme, parsley, and tarragon. Make sure to add the half n' half at the very end and only cook for a brief second to keep the mushrooms coated.

King Oyster Mushrooms with Cool Weather Herbs and Cream

-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-8 oz King Oyster mushrooms, halved lengthwise if small, quartered if large
-2 shallot lobes, minced
-2 tablespoons of mixed herbs such as tarragon, thyme, and parsley
-1/2 tablespoon butter
-2 tablespoons half n' half or heavy cream
-Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add in the mushrooms. Season with a little salt and saute the mushrooms, stirring or flipping often, until they begin to soften and brown on the edges, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the shallot and briefly saute for 1 minute more. Add in the herbs and butter, stir to coat. Add in the half n' half or cream and cook just until the half n' half is warmed through and the mushrooms are coated. Pull off the heat and season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve hot.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Now that I am trying to post again, I have updated the "In Season" list, as well as "My Top Five Farmer's Market Picks". The "In Season" list is a general list of what is available in California. Most everything on it I found at my local market. I am going to try and post 2-3 times a month, at least. My daughter is becoming more independent everyday, so cooking is getting easier again. As much as I love food, I love my daughter more, and I had to let something go for awhile (it had to be the blog). Thanks everyone for coming back!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Carrot-Apple-Fennel Salad with Walnuts

One of my most favorite autumn vegetables (as if they all are not my favorite) is fennel. I think fennel is the best in autumn, even though you can get it year round in mild climates. When raw, it is crisp and refreshing with a licorice like scent and flavor. When sliced paper thin, it's crunch really adds a wonderful texture to salads. My husband and I actually love just plain raw fennel salads dressed simply with lemon juice and olive oil and some parsley, delicious! It is also wonderful cooked too. If someone tells me they don't like fennel, I make them some simple roast fennel and they take back their words every time. When cooked, it will lose much of it's licorice like flavor.

In this salad, paper thin fennel slices are combined with sliced apples and shredded carrots for a beautiful, colorful combination. I add raw walnuts for a little nuttiness and extra fat (the walnuts can be toasted, but their omega-3 fatty acids will be damaged in the process). A simple dressing and some fresh herbs is all this salad needs to finish it off. I like to use the fennel's fronds as an herb, so if you buy your fennel with the stalks on, save the fronds for an herb and the stalks for vegetable stock.

This salad is great with any white fish, chicken, or even pork, or along side a tomato chickpea stew.

Sorry, no picture today, the camera is acting up and I can't get it to work. I will post one later if possible.

Carrot-Apple-Fennel Salad with Walnuts

Serves 4-6
 Autumn

-2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
-1 sweet, crisp apple (such as Gala)
-1 bulb fennel, fronds removed and reserved
-2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
-1 tablespoon agave nectar
-1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 tablespoon chopped parsley
-1 tablespoon chopped fennel frond
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
-Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Place the shredded carrots into a large bowl and set aside.
Quarter the apple lengthwise and cut out the core. Halve the fennel bulb and cut out the core. Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice the apple and fennel thinly and add to the bowl with the carrots. Squeeze 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice over the vegetables and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl whisk together the agave nectar, apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, parsley, and fennel frond. Pour over the salad and toss to coat. Add in the walnuts. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice if necessary.