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Matcha-Cranberry Biscotti

In Cookies, Candies & Sweets, Holidays On December 9, 2018 0 Comments

Hey, Everyone – following that “Matcha” craze? I thought it would be a great idea to combine some Matcha tea powder (green) and dried cranberries (red) for a holiday recipe. Here are some mean Matcha-Cranberry Biscotti. The best thing about making these is that you can make them now and freeze them until Christmas!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 – 30 minutes
Makes: 25 – 30 biscotti

3-3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Matcha tea powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1-3/4 cup unbleached, granulated sugar (you can substitute regular granulated sugar)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (sunflower or safflower preferred)
3/4 cup slivered, roasted almonds

Prepare Dough & Shape Dough Logs:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Line two 18″ X 12″ baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

3. In a 1-quart bowl, combine the flour, Matcha tea powder, salt and baking powder; set aside.

4. In stand mixer fitted with a bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and oil on medium speed until well-blended. Alternatively, you can use a 3 to 4-quart mixing bowl with a hand mixer.

5. Gradually stir in the almonds and the flour mixture (a little bit at a time) until a smooth, uniform batter has formed.

6. Transfer the batter to a smooth, floured surface and gently knead. You should add enough flour so that the batter does not stick to the surface.

7. Divide the batter into 3 even balls; set aside.

8. Take one ball and gently roll it out on a lightly-floured surface until it measures about 13 to 15 inches long. Transfer the log onto the baking sheet (leave room for two more logs).

9. Repeat rolling and transferring the dough log onto baking sheet, leaving about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in between each log.

Bake the Dough Logs:
1. Place the baking sheet with dough logs on a rack fitted in center of oven.

2. Bake the logs for 25 to 30 minutes or until dough springs to the touch and feels firm.

3. When done, transfer baking sheet with logs onto a a counter top; cool 5 minutes.

Cut Biscotti & Bake:
1. After 5 minutes, using a serrated knife, on a diagonal slant, cut down 1/2-inch from edge of one log (DO NOT USE A “SAWING MOTION” OR LOG WILL CRUMBLE).

2. Continue cutting 1/2-inch thick biscotti from the baked log; repeat cutting biscotti from the two remaining logs.

3. Place biscotti – cut-side down- on baking sheet.

4. Return baking sheet to oven and bake 5 minutes.

5. After 5 minutes, transfer baking sheet with biscotti to countertop.

6. Turn the biscotti over and bake once more for 5 minutes.

7. When done, transfer the baking sheet with biscotti to countertop to cool.

8. Freeze biscotti in double freezer food bags up to 1 month.
Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real



Italian Roasted Potatoes & Yams

In Holidays, Sides, Vegetables On November 13, 2018 0 Comments

Here’s a Thanksgiving recipe my family and I have made for years. The potatoes and yams get the “Italian” from the rosemary, garlic and olive oil. You mix the ingredients together and the oven does the rest! Happy Turkey Day!

Prep time: 15 minutes for peeling & cutting
Prep time: 30-40 minutes for roasting
Serves: 8 to 10

4 medium-large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & placed in a bowl with cold water
4 medium-large yams, peeled & added to potatoes in bowl with cold water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Two 3-inch sprigs fresh rosemary, removed from stem, chopped with shears & set aside in a small bowl
3 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Drain potatoes and yams; dry them with paper towels.

3. On a chopping board, cut potatoes and yams into 2-inch chunks; immediately transfer them to a large 16 x 10-inch Pyrex® baking dish or rectangular, disposable aluminum baking pan.

4. Add the olive oil, chopped rosemary leaves, garlic, salt & black pepper; toss together until all ingredients are uniform.

5. Place Pyrex® baking dish or aluminum baking pan with potatoes & yams on a rack set in center of oven.

6. Roast potatoes and yams, uncovered, for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, check doneness by tasting a potato (potatoes will take a few minutes longer to bake than the yams). If potato is still a little firm, roast for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

7. Serve immediately as a side to turkey, meat or seafood.

Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real



Halloween Cake

In Cakes & Cupcakes, Holidays On October 1, 2018 0 Comments

Enjoy baking and decorating this cake with kids – young & old. Happy Halloween!

One 16.25-ounce cake mix (Betty Crocker® preferred), any flavor
One 16-ounce  ready-made white frosting
One package Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme®
One tube orange frosting decoration, fitted with a star tip
Assorted Halloween cake candy decorations, including orange sprinkles

1. Prepare cake according to package directions, using two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans.

2. Bake cake according to package directions.

3. Cool cake on a countertop.

4. Invert one layer cake onto a serving platter; place 3-inch wide foil strips between cake and platter (this will avoid frosting spreading to platter).

5. With a frosting knife, spread 1/4 cup white frosting evenly onto middle of cake.

6. Invert second layer cake over frosting.

7. Frosting sides of cake first and then top of cake.

8. Next, using frosting knife, spread the marshmallow creme onto sides of cake and then over top of cake.

9. If marshmallow creme is sticky, wet your fingers in a bowl of cold water and spread the creme manually.

10. Add the orange frosting to the cake – use any pattern you like.

11. Lastly, add Halloween candy decorations.

12. This cake can be made one day ahead and covered with tented aluminum foil – place toothpicks over top of cake and tent the aluminum foil over it.
Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real


Apple Galette

In Pies & Sweet Tarts On August 29, 2018 0 Comments

This is a great dessert for Summer’s end and for our Labor Day celebration. Enjoy  this French apple tart or apple galette with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Prepare the pastry dough first. As it chills, you will prepare the apples. Then, lay out the apple slices onto the rolled out pastry – et voilà! You’re all done and ready to enjoy the party. But heck – if you don’t want to make the pastry, just buy it ready-made in your grocer’s freezer section.

Prep time: 15 minutes for pastry; 15-20 minutes for apples
Bake time: 35 to 40 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients for Pastry:
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch thick squares
1/3 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons water (room temperature or cold)

Prepare the Pastry:
1. Measure flour, salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl.

2. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter squares until mixture is coarsely blended and particles resemble peas.

3. Sprinkle 1/3 cup water over flour-butter mixture and blend in.

4. Mixture should amalgamate (stick together). If it does not amalgamate, add 1 more tablespoon water.

5. If dough still does not amalgamate, add 1 more tablespoon water.

6. Gather pastry dough into a ball; seal it in plastic wrap.

7. Place the wrapped pastry dough in freezer for 10 minutes.

8. After 10 minutes, take the cold pastry dough and unwrap it.

Rolling Out the Pastry Dough:

1. Working on a flat, lightly-floured surface, flatten the pastry dough to a 6 to 8-inch circle.

2. Place the flattened dough between two floured waxed paper sheets measuring 16 inches long.

3. Using a rolling pin, gently begin rolling the dough out from its center. Use even, rolling motions so the dough will not be bumpy.

4. Every once in a while, unpeel the top waxed paper sheet and LIGHTLY FLOUR THE DOUGH; place waxed paper sheet over top of dough.

5. Quickly flip the dough over; peel off the top waxed paper sheet and LIGHTLY FLOUR OTHER SIDE OF DOUGH. Place waxed paper sheet over top of dough again.

6. Continue rolling out dough until it measures 15-inch circle (approximately).

Placing Pastry Dough on Baking Sheet:

1. Gently lift off the top waxed paper sheet from pastry dough.

2. With one hand underneath bottom waxed paper and dough and other hand over baking sheet, make a quick flip.

3. Gently lift off the remaining waxed paper sheet from pastry dough.

4. Using a fork, poke holes intermittently on entire pastry dough.

5. Working inside the pastry and one-inch from border, crimp the edges. This means, roll the edges inside and with your fingers, slightly curl/crimp the edges. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the apples:

Ingredients for Apples:
4 medium-large apples, any variety (you can mix apples varieties, as well)
juice from 1 lemon or lime
½ cup granulated sugar
aluminum foil strips measuring 2 inches wide

Preparing Apples & Assembling the Galette:

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Peel apples and cut them into fourths.

3. Core the apples.

4. Crosswise, cut apples into ¼-inch thick slices.

5.  Set the pointed, small end slices aside for another use.

6. As you slice the apples, place the slices that are uniform in size in a medium-large bowl.

7. Immediately sprinkle lemon or lime juice over apples and gently stir.

8. Next, working on the inside edge of pastry, make a concentric, overlapping circle of apples.

9. Continue assembling apples in concentric circles until you reach the center.

10. Fill the leftover, small space at center of dough with overlapping apple slices.

11. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over apples.

12. Cover the pastry edges with aluminum foil strips that measure 2 inches wide.

Bake the Apple Galette:

1. Set the baking sheet with galette on a rack positioned in center of oven.

2. Bake the galette for 30 minutes.

3. After 30 minutes, remove aluminum foil strips from tart edges.

4. Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until pastry edges are light golden brown. Remove galette from oven and transfer to a wooden board to cool slightly.

5. Gently slide a long, flat spatula underneath galette so that it loosens.

6. You can leave galette on baking sheet or slide it onto a serving platter

7. Serve Apple Galette with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or gelato.

Recipe & Text ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real




Strawberry Mascarpone Terrine

In Desserts, Creams & Sauces On July 23, 2018 0 Comments

Looking for a refreshing and beautiful summer treat? You found it here! The strawberry gelatin and the mascarpone cream elements of this dessert take 15 minutes each to prepare. While you sleep (overnight), this Strawberry Mascarpone Terrine will chill all by itself! The next day, just slice and serve – easy enough, right?

Prep time: 15 minutes each (strawberry gelatin and mascarpone cream)
Inactive prep time: 5 hours to overnight (for gelatin and mascarpone cream to set)
Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients for Strawberry Gelatin:
One loaf pan (1.5-quart)
vegetable oil, for greasing loaf pan
1 envelope plus 2 teaspoons Knox gelatin (unflavored)
3 tablespoons water (room temperature)
One pound (16 ounces) fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons water (for boiling the strawberries)
3  tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 to 4 fresh mint leaf sprigs (for garnish)

Directions for Strawberry Gelatin:
1. Lightly oil the loaf pan and set aside.

2. In a small bowl or cup, mix together the Knox gelatin with water; set aside.

3. Wash & immediately pat dry all the strawberries – set 8 strawberries aside for later use.

4. Hull the remaining strawberries; discard green stems.

5. Cut up the hulled strawberries into 1/2-inch pieces; place them in a 4-quart saucepot.

6. Add water and lemon juice to the strawberries in saucepot.

7. Bring the strawberry mixture to a boil; with a potato masher, smash the strawberries as they cook and soften.

8. After 5 minutes of cooking, stir the sugar and the set gelatin into the hot strawberry mixture.

9. Mash the strawberry mixture well so that all ingredients are blended and gelatin dissolves.

10. Transfer the hot strawberry gelatin mixture into prepared loaf pan.

11. Set the loaf pan with strawberry gelatin mixture in refrigerator to set – about 2 hours or overnight.

When strawberry gelatin has set and is firm, prepare the following Mascarpone cream-

Ingredients for Mascarpone Cream:
One envelope plus 1 teaspoon Knox gelatin (unflavored)
3 tablespoons water (room temperature)
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
8 ounces Mascarpone cheese (this is Italian cream cheese)
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (whole milk or 2% milk fat)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachio nuts

Directions for Mascarpone Cream:
1. In a small bowl or cup, mix together the Knox gelatin and the water until dissolved; set aside.

2. In a stand mixer bowl or in a 1-quart mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat together the Mascarpone cheese, yogurt, sugar and lemon juice. Set aside.

3. In a small saucepot set on low heat, dissolve the set gelatin with 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream for 30 seconds to 1 minute. DO NOT LET MIXTURE SCORCH!

4. Gently stir the gelatin-cream mixture into the Mascarpone cream mixture.

5. Divide the Mascarpone cream mixture in half.

6. Add the pistachios to one-half of the Mascarpone cream mixture; set aside.

7. Take 4 of the reserved strawberries and hull them; discard green stems.

8. Chop the hulled strawberries into 1/2-inch pieces.

9. Add the chopped strawberries to the remaining half of the Mascarpone cream mixture; set aside.

10. Gently spoon the Mascarpone cream with pistachios over the set strawberry gelatin in loaf pan.

11. Next, spoon the Mascarpone cream with strawberries over the pistachio Mascarpone cream.

12. Refrigerate the Strawberry-Mascarpone Terrine for at least 3 hours or overnight.

13. At serving time, garnish the dessert with remaining strawberries, mint leaf springs; dust with powdered sugar. Slice and serve.
Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real