Monday, March 29, 2010

Cranberry Walnut Biscotti

One of my dh favorites!  Cranberry and walnut biscotti.  So easy to make, so delicious.  Here's the recipe:

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla (or 2 teaspoons orange flavored liquor)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
3/4 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Combine first seven ingredients.  Whisk eggs and vanilla together.  Add wet to dry and blend until combined.  Fold in cranberries and walnuts.  Divide batter in half.  With wet hands, make a log out of each piece.  It should measure about 14 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide.  I just make them on the cookie sheet (not greased).  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, lower oven to 300 F.  Slice on a diagonnal and separate.  Return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes.  If still not dry, turn off oven and let sit for 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool.  Store in a cool dry place.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Birds gathering for a drink - or a discussion!

Maybe they're talking about how late spring is this year.

Can't be too far off now, it's supposed to be 80 degrees later this week - hooray!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rock Garden Markers for my herbs

It's difficult for me to remember what I planted where so I got this idea (from somewhere...Martha Stewart?) to make it easier to mark my herbs and veggies.  I use most of the herbs in my cooking and this saves time.  Here are the results:

Parsley which is coming back!  Great for so many things.

Lavender is coming back after a long, snowy winter.  Love the scent, I have a jar of it on my counter.  The lavender buds, not the scent...although wouldn't that be nice...

Some of my markers for other plants to be!  Oregano, lettuce, swiss chard, bay leaf and beets.  The sedum is for the rock garden.

Nothing like having an herb garden close to hand.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Braised Corned Beef in Stout

Tonight I made a braised corned beef in honor of St. Patrick's Day (although a day late.)  It is called Stout Braised Corned Beef.  Here is the recipe:

1 3lb corned beef brisket
3 bottles of stout (your choice, I used Oatmeal Stout)
1 spice packet
3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place corned beef, spice packet and the beer in a dutch oven.  Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  When done, remove from oven and place corned beef on a plate.  Cover it with tin foil.  Take the dutch oven and place it on the stove .  Add the sugar to the beer and heat until syrupy.  Add a lump of butter.  Slice corned beef and drizzle sauce over it.  Drink with your favorite beverage!

Irish Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup cooked Irish Oatmeal
1 banana
1 egg
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons flax
1/3rd cup raisins and/or chocolate chips
Sugar for sprinkling

Oven preheated to 350 degrees F

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter for several minutes until it is a pale yellow color. Add the banana and continue to cream until you reach a smooth consistency. Beat in the egg and the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, gently stir together the oatmeal, flour, baking powder and baking soda, just enough to combine the ingredients.Add this mixture tp the butter mixture to combine.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto the cookie sheets.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies are firm and the edges just beginning to brown. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Shrimp and Lobster Risotto

Seafood Risotto Ingred: Shrimp, Lobster claws, Arborio rice, garlic, basil, shrimp stock or clam juice, sherry or white wine, marscapone cheese, salt and pepper (to taste).

Peel the shrimp but place the shells in water  to cover.  I sometimes add leftover carrot shavings and onion skins that I've saved.  Also, add a tablepoon of oil and boil for about 30 minutes.

Strain the stock and keep simmering.

In a risotto pan, heat 2 tablespoons of of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter.  Add a sprig of basil and heat until you smell the basil, a minute or so.  Add a minced clove of garlic and heat in the oil for another minute.  Add Arborio rice and saute for a few minutes (according to your package's instructions) or until you see a small dot in the center of the rice.  You may add a little wine or sherry at this point.  Then, take a ladle of the stock and add it to your rice.  Stir until the rice has absorbed the stock, add another ladle, stir and wait, add another ladle, etc.  It should take about 18 minutes.  You don't want to add too much stock at a time, just enough to feed the rice.  It should get creamier as it absorbs the stock.  Taste a grain and it is done if it is a little al dente.  Add a dollop of marscapone cheese.  Set aside off flame.

In a separate pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter.  Add chopped lobster and saute for a minute or so or until done.  Remove and add to the risotto.  In the same pan as the lobster, add the shrimp and cook until pink.  Also add to the risotto. Mix in carefully.  Chop some parsley and sprinkle it on top.  Season to taste.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

More Artisan No-Knead Bread

Start the night before.

Recipe for one loaf:

3 cups flour
11/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a crock or plastic container.  Cover lightly but do not completely close as it will explode over.  Keep on kitchen counter for at least 2 hours.  Put in refrigerator overnight.  The next morning, throw a little flour on the counter.  You don't want to incorporate too much flour into the dough.  Cut off a grapefruit sized piece of dough.  Shape into a ball by stretching the dough to the bottom, turning it by a quarter each time.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Let rise in a warm place for an hour and a half, turning the oven on to 450 degrees F after an hour.  I place a large cast iron skillet in the oven with a roasting pan underneath it.  The cast iron needs to get hot because you will be placing the dough on it for some great "oven spring."  Before putting the dough in the oven you can brush it with water or sometimes I use oil (flavored with basil leaves) and add some seeds (here I used flax seeds).  With a very sharp scissor or knife, make four 1/4" deep x 3" long cuts in the top of the dough.  Bake for 40 minutes or until done.  Remove the bread from the oven and leave in the cast iron pan to cool.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Veggie(?) Cakelets

These were some of my favorite things to bake.  I used a pan that I bought at Williams Sonoma.  The cakes were from a mix.  As my niece says "FUN!"

Also, take a look at Foodie Friday: