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Valentine’s Day Tuna Tartare Rolls

In Appetizers / Starters, Fish & Shellfish, Fun Foods, Holidays On February 2, 2018 0 Comments

If you want to stay in on Valentine’s Day, make this tuna tartare appetizer. It’ll pair well with the bubbly. And – you’ll have fun in the kitchen!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Makes: 12 to 14 bite-size starters

Ingredients:
One 5 to 6-ounce sushi-grade tuna filet, chopped in 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons finely-chopped chives or stems from green onions
1/2 teaspoon grated, fresh ginger
juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
dried, crushed red chili pepper, to taste
salt, to taste (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt)
4 Persian cucumbers, peeled and tips cut & discarded

Directions:
1. In a 4-cup mixing bowl, combine the chopped tuna filet, chives or green onions, ginger, lime juice, olive oil, chili pepper and salt.

2. Taste the tuna tartare and, if needed, adjust seasoning and olive oil levels.

3. Cover the tuna tartare and set aside.

4. Meanwhile, using a sharp knife or mandolin, take one cucumber and make paper-thin slices lengthwise.

5. Repeat slicing remaining cucumber.

6. Working with one cucumber slice at a time, place scant 3/4 teaspoon tuna tartare at one end.

7. Gently and tightly roll up the cucumber slice; secure the tuna tartare roll with a toothpick.

8. Set each tuna tartare roll on a serving plate.

9. When all rolls have been assembled, serve them immediately.
Wine Pairing: Champagne, Prosecco or Sauvignon Blanc wine
Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

Nancy’s Lebkuchen (German Spice Cookies)

In Cookies, Candies & Sweets, Holidays On December 12, 2017 0 Comments

Lebkuchen are sweet, spicy cookies that pop up during Christmastime. These cookies derive from a honey cake dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.

Today’s lebkuchen were invented by monks in 13th-century Franconia, Germany. Image.Lebkuchner1520WikipediaA Lebküchner from a manuscript c. 1520, in the Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg

Although lebkuchen are baked in a variety of shapes, round is most common. These cookies are made with honey, molasses and spices, including nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts) or candied fruit. They are then frosted with a lemon glaze and decorated in a festive manner.

The coolest thing about my recipe is that it contains no white sugar & you can prepare the dough a day ahead and refrigerate it. The next day, just cut and bake! Enjoy the lebkuchen with coffee, tea or eggnog during the Holidays!

Note: Lebkuchen in photograph are made without almonds and candied fruit.

Active Prep time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep time: 2 hours to overnight (refrigeration of dough)
Bake time: 12 to 14 minutes
Makes: 20 cookies

Ingredients for the Cookies:
3-1/4 cups sifted all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)
1/2 cup candied fruit, finely chopped (optional)
vegetable oil, to coat dough prior to refrigeration

Ingredients for the Lemon Glaze:
1 large egg white, beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Directions for the Cookies:
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and salt; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, brown sugar, molasses, butter. If using the almonds and candied fruit, stir them into batter and beat together.

3. On a lightly-floured board or surface, gather the dough into a smooth ball and dust off the excess flour.

4. Lightly oil the dough, cover and seal in plastic wrap and refrigerate it from 2 hours to overnight.

5. After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 400°F.

6. Grease and flour two baking sheets measuring 12 X 18 inches. Alternatively, line the sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

7. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the dough to 1-4-inch thickness.

8. Using a 2-inch, round cookie cutter (or other shape), cut out rounds from the dough. If you do not have a cookie cutter, use the rim of a glass, turned upside down.

9. Place the cut rounds of dough onto the baking sheets, spaced 1-1/2 inches apart.

10. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until firm to the touch.

11. After 12 minutes if lebkuchen are too soft, bake for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

12. Cool lebkuchen to room temperature.

Directions for the Lemon Glaze:
1. In a small bowl, stir together the beaten egg white and lemon juice.

2. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth.

3. Lightly brush the glaze over lebkuchen and immediately decorate with green and red crystal sugars.
Text & Green/Red Lebkuchen Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

Spider-Web Biscotti

In Cookies, Candies & Sweets, Holidays On October 16, 2017 0 Comments

Biscotti (Italian, for “twice-baked) are Italian cookies that are baked as logs on a cookie sheet. After cooling, they are cut and baked once more – this makes them dry and crunchy.

Make these Spider-Web Biscotti by frosting them with swirly lines. Kids of all ages will love’em. Happy Halloween!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 to 30 minutes
Makes: 22 to 24 biscotti

Ingredients for the Biscotti:
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached white flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s Cocoa® preferred)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Dash ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 lb (1 stick) unsweetened butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup roasted, slivered almonds (optional)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Ingredients for the Orange Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cold water
4 drops yellow food color
1 to 2 drops red food color

Preheat Oven & Prepare the Cookie Dough:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Line one 18 X 12 baking sheet with parchment paper. Alternatively, butter the baking sheet, add 1 tablespoon flour; shake off excess flour and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

5. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract; stir in the almonds and chocolate chips.

6. Gradually (a little at a time) beat in the flour mixture until all ingredients are amalgamated or uniform.

7. Shape dough into one ball. Divide the ball in two smaller balls.

8. On a lightly-floured surface, gently roll out one ball until it forms a log, measuring 14 inches long by 1-3/4 inches wide.

9. Gently lift and place the log on the baking sheet – about 1 inch from the long edge (this ensures that there is room for the next log).

10. Repeat rolling instructions for the remaining log and place it about 3 inches away from the first log.

Bake the Cookie Logs:

1. Place the baking sheet on a rack positioned in center of oven.

2. Bake the cookie logs for 25 to 30 minutes or until they spring to the touch.

3. When cookie logs have baked, transfer the cookie sheets to a rack or a counter.

4. Leave cookie logs on sheets to cool for 5 minutes.

Cut & Bake the Biscotti:
1. After 5 minutes, gently transfer one cookie log on a cutting board.

2. Using a serrated knife, cut DOWN into the log in this manner: You will cut 3/4-inch wide biscotti by positioning the point of the knife at top edge of the log.

3. In one motion, bring the knife down and cut through the log.

3. Cut the remaining biscotti into 3/4-wide slices.

4. Carefully place the biscotti, cut-side down on the baking sheet.

5. Bake 5 minutes per side. Remove baking sheet from oven and set aside on a counter – let biscotti cool completely.

Prepare Frosting & Decorate the Biscotti:
1. In a 3-cup mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the water. If the mixture is too dry, add about 1/2 teaspoon more water. It should not be too runny nor too hard.

2. Add the food color – you may need to adjust the tone by adding 1 more drop yellow or red food color.

3. Transfer the orange frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a narrow tip.

4. Lay out the cooled biscotti on a baking sheet and drizzle the frosting over each one, creating a web-like pattern.

5. Serve biscotti immediately or store them in a tightly covered container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Text & Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

Pico de Gallo & Bean Tostadas (Vegan)

In Appetizers / Starters, Fun Foods, Holidays, Vegetables On May 1, 2017 0 Comments

Thinking of a quick, no-brainer recipe for Cinco de Mayo? Make these organic & delicious vegan tostadas. You’ll probably have to double or triple the recipe because these starters will vanish in no time!

Be sure to use Amy’s Vegetarian Organic Refried Beans®. This bean product contains meat or animal fat products. Anything you make with these beans will taste wholesome and natural.

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (with pulp discarded)
1/2 cup finely-chopped red onion
1 teaspoon finely-chopped Serrano chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (you may add more, to taste)
1/2 cup finely-chopped fresh cilantro leaves
One 15.4-ounce can Amy’s Vegetarian Organic Refried Beans®
12 blue or yellow corn, flat tostada shells
Avocado slices (from 1 avocado), optional
1/2 cup grated, dry cheese (Cotija, Parmigiano Reggiano or other variety)

Make Pico de Gallo Salsa:
1. In a 1 to 2-quart mixing bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, onion, Serrano chile pepper, salt and cilantro leaves. Taste and adjust chile pepper & salt levels.

2. Set Pico de Gallo aside, covered.

Warm Up The Refried Beans:
1. Meanwhile, transfer the refried beans to a small saucepot.

2. On medium-high setting, warm up the beans, stirring constantly.

3. As beans warm up, if consistency is too thick or dry, add a little water.

Assemble Tostadas:
1. When beans are hot, spread about 2 tablespoons on each tostada set on a serving platter.

2. Top the beans with 2 tablespoons Pico de Gallo Salsa.

3. If desired add 1 or 2 thin slices avocado, followed by a sprinkle of grated cheese.

4. Serve with Margaritas or Tequila shots – Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Text & Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

Green Omelet

In Eggs Selections, Holidays On April 7, 2017 0 Comments

The word “green” has a healthy connotation these days. If we’re eating “green”, then it can be assumed that your intake of foods consists mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Here’s a recipe for a green omelet. The eggs turn green when you add finely-chopped spinach or chard. Add parsley, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and serve the omelet at your Easter Brunch! Happy Easter!

Prep time: 30 minutes
Serves:4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely-packed
3 cups spinach leaves (you can combine fresh chard & spinach leaves), loosely-packed
3/4 cup Italian parsley leaves, loosely-packed
10 to 12 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
dash ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:
1. In a salad spinner, combine the mint, spinach (and/or chard) and parsley leaves.

2. Wash, drain and spin dry the leaves – finely chop all leaves.

3. After leaves are finely-chopped, set them aside in a 3-quart mixing bowl.

4. In another 3 to 4-quart mixing bowl, combine the eggs, salt, black pepper and grated cheese.

5. Using a fork or a wire whisk, beat the egg mixture.

6. When egg mixture is uniform, stir in the chopped leaves to combine.

7. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet; when oil is hot but does not smoke, pour the egg and leaf mixture into skillet.

8. On high setting, check that the edges of the omelet begin to curdle; immediately set heat on medium-low and cover the skillet.

9. Every so often, using a spatula, lift sides of omelet and title skillet so that the raw egg escapes to bottom of skillet.

10. Cover the omelet and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes.

11. When omelet top has set, using the spatula, cut it into fourths.

12. Gently flip each omelet fourth over and cook on low heat for about 4 to 5 minutes.

13. Check underside of omelet. If it looks golden-green, the omelet is ready to be served.

14. Transfer omelet to a serving platter. Cut omelet to yield 10 to 12 pieces. Serve as part of a breakfast menu or at lunch with a green salad.

Text and Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real