Category:  Holidays

Home » Archive by category "Holidays"
Image.SpiderWebBiscotti10.16.17

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

Image.PicodeGallo&AvoTostadas

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

image-frittatatopost

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

image-pienewyears12-28-16

New Year’s Pie & Show “Waitress”

In Holidays, Pies & Sweet Tarts On December 28, 2016 0 Comments

Here’s a delicious and fun way to end 2016 and celebrate New Year 2017 – catch the show, Waitress, now on Broadway. And since the show is all about pies, no doubt you’ll be cravin’ pie afterwards.
image-waitressmusical

Simply make your own apple pie in advance. After the show, just hang out with your friends and enjoy pie with the bubbly! Check out this easy apple pie recipe with pre-made crust from Trader Joe’s®.

image-traderjoespiecrusts

Prep time: 30 minutes (cutting apples & assembling the pie)
Bake time: 35 to 45 minutes
Makes: One 9-inch pie

Ingredients:
6 large apples (Granny Smith, Pippin or a mixed variety)
1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar (use unbleached or bleached sugar)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 Trader Joe’s® Gourmet Pie Crusts (follow thawing instructions, per package)
One 9-inch pie plate (discardable aluminum, porcelain or glass)
3 to 4 one-inch wide aluminum foil strips (for pie edges & to prevent burning)

Prepare the Apples:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Peel and cut apples into fourths; remove cores and discard.

3. Thinly slice the apples and set them aside in a large mixing bowl.

4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and allspice.

5. Gently stir the dry flour-sugar-spice ingredients into the apples until uniform; set aside.

Assemble the Pie:
1. Gently unfold the thawed pie pastry (crusts).

2. Remove the top plastic wrap of one pastry.

3. Place inverted pie plate onto pastry.

4. With one hand underneath the bottom plastic wrap and the other on inverted plate, quickly flip the plate over on a work surface.

5. Remove the plastic wrap and discard.

6. Using a fork, poke random holes in bottom pie pastry in plate.

7. Using a large serving spoon, transfer the apples (in a mound – do not pack them down) onto the pie pastry in plate. Set aside.

8. Repeat removal of plastic wrap of second pie pastry. With one hand underneath plastic wrap and the other over pastry, quickly flip it over and onto the apple filling in plate.

9. The pastry should hang over plate edges by 3/4 to 1 inch. If it is longer than this, using a knife, gently trim it.

10. Using fingers, turn edges of pastry underneath and crimp the edges all around pie plate. To crimp edges, gently press pastry in between fingertips to seal the pie.

11. Cover pastry edges with aluminum foil strips.

12. Place pie on a rack positioned in center of oven and bake as follows:
Aluminum plate – 45 minutes
Glass or porcelain plate – 35 to 40 minutes (glass and porcelain cook faster, as they retain more heat).

13. During last 5 minutes of baking, remove aluminum foil strips so that edges can turn light golden brown.

Tip: To check doneness of pie, insert a pointed knife in center. If it goes through apples easily, it means they are tender and cooked. If not, bake for an additional 5 to 6 minutes.
Text and Pie on Blue Background Photograph ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real

image-stuffed-mushroomsxmas2016

Stuffed Mushrooms

In Appetizers / Starters, Holidays, Vegetables On December 8, 2016 0 Comments

Need a great starter to go with the bubbly at Christmastime? Assemble these stuffed mushrooms a few hours ahead and refrigerate them. At serving time, preheat the oven and bake them. Made with all-vegetarian ingredients, the mushrooms will be devoured in no time. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Prep time (stuffing): 15 minutes
Bake time: 15 to 17 minutes
Makes 12 to 14 stuffed mushrooms

Ingredients:
One 8-ounce package white mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely-chopped brown or white onion
3 to 4 slices day-old Italian bread
1 large egg, beaten
3 tablespoons grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons minced, fresh mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash ground black pepper

Directions for the Stuffing:
1. Remove stems from mushroom caps; finely chop the stems and set aside in a small bowl.

2. In a 10 or 12-inch skillet, heat the oil on high.

3. As soon as the oil is hot (it should not smoke), lower it to medium-high and stir in the chopped mushroom stems.

4. Using a wooden spoon or cooking spatula, stir-fry the chopped mushroom stems on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes.

5. After 2 minutes, add the chopped onion and stir-fry for an additional 2 minutes or until onion is translucent.

6. Transfer the mushroom-onion mixture to a bowl – set aside to cool for a few minutes.

7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.

8. Take 3 bread slices and quickly pass them under cold water; squeeze the excess water out of bread slices.

9. Discard the crusts and crumble the softened bread into a 2-cup bowl.

10. Add the beaten egg, grated cheese, minced mint leaves, salt and black pepper; stir to combine.

11. Stir in the mushroom-onion mixture. If mixture is too wet and does not amalgamate, soak the remaining bread slice (discard crusts) and crumble it into the mushroom stuffing.

12. Taste stuffing for salt level. If needed, add a tiny amount of salt.

13. Divide the stuffing onto the inverted mushroom caps.

Directions for Baking the Stuffed Mushrooms:

1. Oil a baking sheet and place the stuffed mushrooms (stuffing side up) on it.

2. Set the baking sheet with stuffed mushrooms on a rack positioned in center of oven.

3. Bake the mushrooms for 15 minutes.

4. After 15 minutes, check to see if stuffed mushrooms have turned light golden brown. If not, bake them for an additional 2 minutes. Serve stuffed mushrooms hot.

Text and Photograph ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real