Category:  Holidays

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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

Ingredients:
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

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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!

Ingredients:
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

Instructions:
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

 

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