Almond Biscotti

Almond Biscotti

Biscotti are Italian cookies. The cookies are baked in the shape of a log. The biscuit is cut into long slices and baked again.

The ingredients below yields twenty 3 inch biscotti’s.

Ingredients:

  • Whole Almonds – 1/2 cup
  • All purpose flour – 2 cups
  • Baking powder – 1 + 1/2 tsps
  • Unsalted butter – 6 tbsps, softened
  • Sugar – 2/3 cup
  • Vanilla extract – 2 tsps
  • Almond extract – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Egg – 2

Method:

    • Preheat oven to 350F.
    • Line a baking tray with foil.
    • Place the almonds on the tray and roast the almonds for 5 minutes.
    • Remove the almonds from the tray and let them cool down completely.

Almond Biscotti

  • Chop the almonds and set them aside.

Almond Biscotti

  • Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl and set them aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix butter, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt together until well combined.

Almond Biscotti

 

Almond Biscotti

  • Add egg and mix until well combined. Scrape the sides of bowl and mix well.

Almond Biscotti

 

Almond Biscotti

  • Add flour mixture little by little and mix until just combined.

Almond Biscotti

  • Add the almond pieces and mix until combined.

Almond Biscotti

  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Use your hand to mix the dough and separate the dough into two half.
  • Roll the dough into two balls using your hand.
  • Gently elongate the two balls into a 9.5 inches x 2 inch log about 3/4 inch tall.
  • Place the logs on the parchment paper and flatten the tops using a wet spatula.

 

Almond Biscotti

  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove it from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
  • Brush the logs completely with water(except the bottom).

Almond Biscotti

  • Wait for 5 minutes. Slice the biscotti diagonally or straight into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch slices.
  • Place the biscotti’s again on the baking tray cut side down (not like the ones in the picture )and bake them for 15 minutes. Until they are dry and golden brown.
  • They will harden as they cool down.

Almond Biscotti

  • Cool the biscotti’s on a wire rack.

Almond Biscotti

 

 

Advertisements

Mushroom Risotto

Pan Seared Lamb Chops 6

This is my version of mushroom risotto. Cook the mushroom and peas in butter and add it to the cooked risotto.

I used the entire carton of chicken broth.

Ingredients:

  • Butter – 1 tbsp + 2 tbsps, divided
  • Olive oil – 1 tsp
  • Mushroom – 4, sliced
  • Frozen peas – 1/4 cup
  • Shallots – 1/3 cup, finely chopped
  • Arborio rice – 1 cup, do not wash the rice
  • Chicken broth – 32 fl oz
  • Grated Parmesan cheese – 2 – 3 tbsps plus more for garnishing
  • Parsley – finely chopped, for garnishing

Method:

  • Heat 1 tbsp butter in a small pan.
  • Add mushroom and peas. Saute until the mushrooms are cooked. Set it aside.
  • Heat 2 tbsps of butter and olive oil in a heavy bottom pan or dutch oven.
  • Add shallots and saute until they turn transparent.
  • Add arborio rice and saute until they turn opaque on medium heat. Stir continuously
  • Add 1 cup of chicken broth to the rice and let the rice cook. Keep stirring at regular intervals. Do not let the rice burn.
  • When the rice absorbs the broth, add another cup of chicken broth.
  • Keep adding chicken broth until the rice is cooked but not mushy.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Stir in the cooked mushrooms  and peas.
  • Add shredded Parmesan cheese and parsley. Mix well.
  • Top the risotto with Parmesan cheese while serving.
  • Risotto is best served hot.

Notes:

  • For a spicy version of risotto; add minced garlic(2 garlic cloves) and Serrano pepper( 1 and a half Serrano pepper slight lengthwise) to the onions while cooking.
  • Adding warm chicken broth to the rice speeds up the cooking process.

 

Homemade pizza

Pizza 1

Pizza is easy to make at home and requires few basic ingredients. You need to follow instructions to make the crust but can customize the toppings as required.

I mixed the dough in the afternoon and let it rest until dinner.

The pizza sauce is a spicy version.

I did not have ripe tomatoes, so had to use half a can of tomatoes.

Pizza 3

The ingredients below yields one large pizza.

Ingredients:

  • Milk – 1/2 cup
  • Water – 1/2 cup
  • Dry Yeast – 2 + 1/2 tsp
  • Sugar – 1/4 tsp
  • All purpose flour – 2+1/2 cups
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp, I ran out of olive oil and used canola instead.
  • Salt – 2 tsp

Ingredients for Pizza Sauce:

  • Oil – 1tsp
  • Garlic – 3 small cloves, minced
  • Serrano pepper – 1/2 a pepper
  • Tomatoes – 3 very ripe tomatoes, ground into a fine paste without adding water.
  • Salt – to taste
  • Pepper powder – to taste
  • Dried Basil – 1/4 tsp or more

Toppings:

  • Bell pepper
  • Sausage
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • mozzarella Cheese – as required.

Method to prepare pizza dough:

  • Mix milk and water in a sauce pan and heat it for a minute until it is luke warm.
  • Mix yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl and add the milk mixture to the yeast mix.
  • Mix well and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in olive oil and salt.
  • Add flour and mix until the dough comes together.
  • Knead the dough on a lightly floured counter for 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Brush the large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough in it.
  • Spray the dough with olive oil and cover the bowl.
  • Let the dough rest on the counter at room temperature for three hours or more. Or place it in the refrigerator overnight for the dough to raise slowly.

Method for making tomato sauce:

  • Heat oil in a saucepan.
  • Add the minced garlic and Serrano pepper. Saute until the garlic turns golden brown.
  • Add the ground tomatoes.
  • When the water from the tomatoes reduces, add salt, pepper and basil.
  • Turn off the heat and remove the Serrano peppers from the sauce.

Assembling the pizza:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Punch the dough when you are ready to make the pizza.
  • Place the dough on a pizza plate or stone and spread it out.
  • Make sure that the edges are thicker
  • Prick the base of the pizza with a fork to prevent the pizza from rising in the center.
  • Spray the center of the pizza with olive oil.
  • Apply a thin layer of tomato sauce.
  • Garnish with vegetables and top off with mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake in the oven until the cheese and the edges are brown. Approximately 15 minutes. Check the pizza often.
  • Cut the pizza into wedges and serve.

Chicken Lasagna

Chicken Lasagna 1

Lasagna is our favorite Italian dish. It is also easy to make. Have used chopped chicken breasts  in this recipe.

I have used Barilla spicy marinara. You can use any brand of marinara.

I use an 8 inch square glass dish for this recipe. So I used 6 sheets of Barilla no boiling required pasta.

Ingredients:

  • Oil – 1 + 1/2 tbsps
  • Minced garlic – 3 big cloves
  • Onion – 1/2 cup finely chopped
  • Finely chopped chicken pieces – 1 lb
  • Salt
  • Pepper powder
  • Heavy cream – 1/4 cup
  • Marinara sauce – 737 g
  • Ricotta cheese – 15 oz,I used part skim ricotta cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese – 1 cup + more for topping
  • Dried Basil – 1/2 tsp
  • No Boiling required/ Oven ready lasagna sheets – 6 sheets
  • Shredded Mozzarella cheese – 8 oz

Method:

  • Heat oil in a saucepan.
  • Add minced garlic and finely chopped onion to the oil and saute until the onions turn transparent.
  • Add the chopped chicken, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper powder.
  • When the chicken is half-cooked, add heavy cream.
  • When the chicken is fully cooked, add the marinara sauce and let it cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix grated Parmesan cheese,ricotta cheese, basil, salt and 1/4 tsp pepper powder.
  • Divide the cheese mixture and spread it on the 6 lasagna sheets and set then aside.
  • Spread a thin layer of chicken sauce in the bottom of a 8 inch square baking dish.
  • Place 2 lasagna sheets coated with cheese mixture in the pan. The cheese mixture facing upwards.
  • Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese.
  • Pour the chicken sauce over the cheese.
  • Now, place 2 lasagna sheets coated with cheese mixture in the pan. The cheese mixture facing upwards.
  • Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese.
  • Pour the chicken sauce over the cheese.
  • Place the last 2 lasagna sheets coated with cheese mixture in the pan. The cheese mixture facing downwards.
  • Pour the remaining chicken sauce over the lasagna sheet and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Spray oil on a sheet of aluminum foil and cover the lasagna tray.
  • To prevent spills while baking, place the lasagna dish on a baking tray lined with foil.
  • Bake the lasagna for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Rotate the lasagna dish half way while baking.
  • Let the lasagna cool down a bit before serving.

Chicken Lasagna 2

Tiramisu

Tiramisu 10

The first time I had Tiramisu was at an Italian restaurant when we went out for dinner with friends .The description said that it was made of lady fingers.We were discussing if it was made out of ladies finger(oakra).My husband googled and mailed us the link about lady fingers.Lady fingers are sponge cakes that resemble a finger,hence the name lady fingers.But believe me,they don’t look like one.It was pretty hard to get the lady fingers.We got a set of soft lady fingers from Kroger and then our friend told us that you can also get them at H.E.B. But the lady fingers there are crispy and a bit hard.There is no need to worry,they will turn out soft when soaked in coffee,Kahlua and cheese mixture.I get the  mascarpone cheese from Fiesta or H.E.B. Have never seen one at Walmart.My husband loves to make tiramisu.I just watch him do it 🙂

There are few important points to note while making this dessert.Never dip the lady fingers in the coffee mixture for more than a second.Over soaking will give the tiramisu a bitter taste.Do not skip the Kahlua(coffee liqueur).It adds taste to the dessert.3 Tbsps wont do much harm.You can get small bottles of Kahlua at liqueur stores,near the check out counter.The biggest mistake one can commit while making this dessert is to refrigerate it and eat it as soon as it chills.Never do that.It will take time for the lady fingers to soak.So refrigerate it overnight.

The cheeses can be used directly from the fridge.The ones at room temperature creams easily.The cream filling can be doubled,if you like a thick layer of cream.The recipe below yields 9 pieces.But the first piece will  be tricky to dish out from the tray.The other pieces will be easier to scoop out with a flat spatula.

Ingredients:

  • Egg Yolks – 2
  • Milk – 2 tbsps
  • Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Mascarpone cheese – 8 oz
  • Cream cheese – 4 oz
  • Vanilla extract – 1/8 tsp
  • Lady fingers – 24
  • Coffee powder – 1/2 cup,I used Folgers classic roast medium
  • Water for brewing coffee- 1 cup
  • Kahlua- 3 tbsps
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – for dusting

Method:

  • Brew the coffee and let it cool down to room temperature.
  • To create a double boiler,heat water in a big saucepan.
  • When it simmers,place a medium saucepan containing egg yolks,milk and sugar over the big saucepan.
  • The medium saucepan must touch the water.
  • Tiramisu 1

  • Whisk continuously till it turns thick and light yellow.
  • Tiramisu 2

  • Remove from heat and let it cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl,cream the mascarpone cheese,cream cheese and vanilla extract till well combined.
  • Tiramisu 3

  • Add the egg mixture to the cheese mixture and mix till combined.
  • Tiramisu 4

  • Mix the coffee and Kahlua together in a wide bowl.
  • Have the lady fingers,coffee mixture,8×8 inch glass tray and the cheese mixture ready.
  • Dip the lady finger in the coffee mixture just for a second and place it on the tray.
  • Repeat till you line the tray with one layer of lady fingers.
  • You can also break the lady fingers to fit.
  • Tiramisu 5

  • Spoon half the cheese mixture over the lady fingers and spread them evenly.
  • Gently tap the tray on the working surface or give it a light shake.
  • The cheese will spread out evenly and will fill the gaps between the lady fingers.
  • You can fill out the air pockets if there are any.
  • Dip the lady fingers in the coffee mixture and form a layer on the cheese mixture.
  • Tiramisu 6

  • Spoon the remaining cheese mixture over the lady fingers and gently shake the tray.
  • Tiramisu 8

  • Take a little cocoa powder in a strainer and dust the cocoa powder over the cream mixture  by tapping the strainer with your finger.
  • Give it an even coating.
  • Tiramisu 9

  • Cover the tiramisu and let it refrigerate overnight.