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Almond Cornmeal Cookies

In Cookies, Candies & Sweets On March 26, 2021 0 Comments


These almond-cornmeal cookies will steal the show at. your Easter brunch or dinner!

Prep time: 20 – 25 minutes
Bake time: 12 to 14 minutes
Makes: 25 cookies

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
3/4 cups cornmeal (raw polenta)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/8 cups unbleached, granulated sugar
2/3 cups blanched almonds, toasted & ground
7 ounces unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

25 blanched whole almonds (to place at top center of each cookie)

Directions for Mixing Dough:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Make sure the butter has softened and come to room temperature.

3. Line two 18 X 12-inch baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

4. Sift the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt into a 3- quart mixing bowl.

5. Make a well in center of flour mixture; stir the sugar, ground almonds, butter, egg yolks & vanilla extract in center of well.

6. Using a pastry cutter, combine all ingredients; mix to form a dough.

7. Knead the dough until it is uniform.

Shaping & Baking the Cookies:
1. Shape dough into 1-1/2-inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

2. Press a whole blanched almond on top center of each cookie dough.

3. Bake cookies for 7 minutes.

4. After 7 minutes, invert top baking sheet with lower baking sheet; bake for an additional 8 to 13 minutes or until cookie edges turn light golden brown.

5. Cool and serve.

6. Alternatively, cool completely and store cookies in double Ziploc® freezer bags for up to one month.
Text & Photograph ©2021 Nancy DeLucia Real

Chicken with Peppers & Cherry Tomatoes

In Poultry On March 3, 2021 0 Comments


Don’t know what to make with leftover chicken? Here’s a great dish that’ll comfort everyone!

Prep time: 20 – 25 minutes
Serves: 3 to 4

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 cups shredded, precooked chicken
2/3 cup chopped red bell peppers (1/2-inch pieces)
2/3 cup chopped white or brown onion (1/2-inch pieces)
1 to 1-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup cherry tomatoes, whole

1. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil.

2. When oil is hot but does not smoke, stir in the shredded chicken.

3. Stir-fry chicken on medium-high heat until it has warmed through and begins to brown.

4. Add bell peppers and onion; stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is translucent.

5. When onion is translucent, stir in 1/2 cup of the broth.

6. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes.

7. When broth has reduced, add another 1/2 cup of the both and cook 2 to 4  more minutes.

8. After 2 to 4 minutes, if chicken is too dry, add remaining 1/2 cup broth and reduce over medium heat.

9. Stir in the salt and pepper, to taste.

10. Add the cherry tomatoes; stir and cook over medium heat, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes.

11. When cherry tomatoes have wilted, transfer the chicken stew to a serving dish.

12. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Text & Photograph ©2021 Nancy DeLucia Real


Cookies with Raspberry Jam

In Cookies, Candies & Sweets, Holidays On February 3, 2021 0 Comments


These delicious cookies are fun to make. The best part is of all is that they’re Vegan!

Prep time: 20 – 25 minutes
Bake time: 12 to 14 minutes
Makes: 16 cookies

1-1/2 cups almond flour (blanched)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup agave or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ground almonds or pistachios (optional)
1/4 cup raspberry preserves, stirred


1.In a 2-quart mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt.

2. When mixture has combined to form a dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 2 hours.

3. After 2 hours, line a 18 X 12-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F.

5. Pull off about a one-inch piece of dough and shape it into a ball.

6. Repeat this with remaining dough until you have made a total of 16 balls.

7. If desired, roll each ball into ground almonds or pistachios.

8. Place dough balls about 2 inches apart on lined baking sheet.

9. Using a melon ball scoop, press down into center of each cookie, making a 3/4-inch indentation.

10. Fill each cookie center with about 3/4 teaspoon raspberry jam.

11. Place baking sheet with cookie dough on a rack positioned in center of oven.

12. Bake cookies 12 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown around edges.

13. When cookies are done, transfer baking sheet to a counter and let cookies cool 5 minutes.

14. When cookies have cooled, transfer them to an airtight container. Cookies will keep, refrigerated, up to 1 week.
Text & Photograph ©2021 Nancy DeLucia Real


Rapini & Beans (Vegan)

In Soups and Stews, Vegetables On January 7, 2021 0 Comments


Rapini or broccoli rabe  is a green, cruciferous vegetable with edible leaves, buds, and stems. The buds resemble broccoli, but do not form a large head. Rapini has a slightly bitter taste, and is part of Mediterranean cuisine.

I learned how to make Rapini and Beans as a teenager in Avellino, Italy (in the Campania region). Although I serve this dish to family and friends year round, it’s especially comforting during the cold winter months. Make this dish in minutes and enjoy it with crusty bread and a glass of wine.  You’ll warm up in no time!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 to 4

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 whole garlic cloves
1 bunch fresh Rapini, cut into one-inch pieces; rinsed & drained
3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
One 15.5-ounce can Cannellini, Navy, Great Northern or other white beans
Freshly-grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, as garnish (optional)

1. On medium-high setting, heat olive oil in a 4-quart sauce pot.

2. When oil is hot (but not smoking), add the garlic cloves.

3. On medium-high heat, stir-fry garlic until it turns golden brown (not blackened).

4. When garlic is golden brown, add the cut and rinsed rapini.

5. Let the mixture warm through.

6. When rapini mixture sizzles or bubbles, add  1-1/2 cups cold water.

7. When the rapini and water come to a boil, stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt.

8. Rinse and drain the beans; add them to top of rapini mixture in saucepot.

9. Warm through and taste. Adjust salt level, if needed.

10. Serve Rapini and Beans immediately with slices of crusty Italian bread, if desired.

11. Garnish with grated Pecorino Romano cheese (optional) and enjoy with white wine.
Text & Photograph ©2021 Nancy DeLucia Real



Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Cake

In Cakes & Cupcakes, Desserts, Creams & Sauces, Holidays On December 14, 2020 0 Comments


After I purchased sandwich cookie cake molds at a local Williams Sonoma® store, I was inspired to make this cake for our 2020 December holidays – (this is to memorialize a year of C19 lockdowns in March and in December).

Mirroring our current lives, the cake is simple, with no frills. But it’s delicious, too.

Enjoy this comforting dessert with your favorite coffee, tea or liqueur after your Chanukah, Christmas or New Year dinner!

Prep time: 20 minutes (cake); and 10 minutes (frosting
Bake time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves: 12 to 15

Ingredients for the Cake:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower) or unsalted butter (for greasing cake pans)
1/2 cup cocoa powder or more (for dusting cake pans)
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar (unbleached)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup milk (whole or low-fat)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces melted, unsweetened chocolate (cooled)

1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Grease two Williams Sonoma® Cookie Cake Pans or two 9-inch round cake pans.

3. Sprinkle cocoa powder over greased cake pans; shake off excess. Set pans aside.

4. Measure remaining ingredients in a large (12-cup) mixing bowl.

5. Beat 1 minute on low speed, constantly scraping bowl with a spatula.

6. Beat 3 minutes on high speed; scraping bowl occasionally.

7. Pour cake batter into pans until they reach 2/3 height. If there’s extra batter, grease and dust with cocoa a 2-cup baking dish (make a third cake to use for a separate purpose).

8. Place cake pans on a rack positioned in center of oven; bake for 25 to 30 minutes (bake small, extra cake for 15 minutes; check doneness).

9. Test doneness of cakes by inserting a pointed knife in center of each one. If knife comes out clean, the cakes are done.

10. Remove cakes from oven and set aside on a cooling rack or trivets on a counter for 15 minutes.

11. Invert the cakes onto a parchment paper-lined cutting board.

12. Meanwhile, prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 to 3 teaspoons milk (whole or low-fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

1. In a large (12-cup) mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, milk, vanilla with handheld  mixer. Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with a bowl.

2. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed, until smooth and spreadable. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, using a spatula, turn one cake over and set it on a serving platter (with print side facing down).

4. Spread the frosting evenly over cake on platter.

5. Place the second cake, printed side up, on top of frosting.

6. Serve immediately by cutting cake into slices or refrigerate cake (covered) up to 2 days ahead.

7. If making this cake ahead, remove from refrigerator 2 hours prior to serving.
Text ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real