Archive for March, 2013

Gingerbread Biscotti

I enjoy “gingerbread” flavors in traditional cookie form, so I don’t know why it took me so long to make this recipe!  Crisp and slightly spicy, these are a healthier option than the gingerbread men we see during the holidays and the gingerbread crisps from the grocery store.  I prefer my gingerbread more on the spicy side, however.  If you do, too, I would suggest adding another tsp of ground ginger or even some grated fresh ginger for some added zing.

Gingerbread Biscotti, from here



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Lemon poppyseed is one of my favorite combinations in cake, scone, and muffin forms.  After rediscovering my affection for biscotti recently, I decided to infuse lemon and poppyseed into the traditional Italian cookie. 

Lemon adds a refreshing zing and the addition of poppy seeds do not go unnoticed.  The icing on the cake is literally the icing – a white chocolate lemon icing spiked with flecks of lemon zest.

I based my recipe loosely on this one, with the addition of 2 tbsp of poppy seeds (I like more!) and an additional tbsp of lemon zest in the white chocolate coating.


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We are on a shrimp kick.  Full of flavor, these are delicious in a sandwich or served with some rice.  I omitted the spice for the kids and added a few slices of ginger along with the garlic, but it is most definitely better with some chilis!  (These are served on a bed of sauteed onions, which my Dad always enjoys with shrimp.)


Salt-and-Pepper Shrimp
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. granulated sugar
Pinch of Chinese five-spice powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced into rounds
4 large scallions (green parts only), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1-1/2 lb. large shrimp (26 to 30 per lb.), peeled and deveined, tails left on
3-1/2 Tbs. peanut or canola oil
1 small lime, cut into 4 wedges


  1. In a large bowl, mix the cornstarch, sugar, five-spice powder, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. In a small bowl, mix the garlic, chile, and scallions; set aside.
  2. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Line a small baking sheet or large plate with a double layer of paper towels. Add the shrimp to the cornstarch mixture and toss until evenly and thoroughly coated.
  3. In a heavy-duty 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add half of the shrimp in a single layer. Cook without disturbing until deep golden and spotty brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, quickly flip each shrimp and continue to cook until the second sides are spotty golden brown, about 1 minute longer. (The shrimp may not be cooked through at this point.) Transfer the shrimp to the prepared sheet. Add another 1 Tbs. of the oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining shrimp, transferring them to the sheet when done.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the skillet. Add the garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the chile and scallions are softened andthe garlic is golden and smells toasted, about 1 minute. Return the shrimp to the pan and stir to combine. Serve immediately, with the lime wedges.

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Many biscotti recipes call for butter or oil.  It creates a “softer” biscotti.  To me, though, biscotti should be hard, worthy of dunking into a hot cup of tea or coffee without turning into complete mush.  This recipe is just right – sufficient crunch and texture without breaking any teeth!




3/4 cup (110 grams) blanched whole almonds
2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried fruit


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Toast almonds for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely. Set aside.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the sugar and eggs on high speed until thick, pale, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). At this point beat in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the chopped almonds and fruit.
  4. Transfer the dough to a well floured counter and roll into a log shape, about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) wide. You may have to flour your hands to form the log as the dough is quite sticky. Place on your baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).Transfer the log to a cutting board and cut into about 1/2 inch (1.25  cm) slices, on the diagonal. Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.
  6. Makes about 20-24 biscotti.

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I’m on an egg-white omelet kick for lunch these days.  It’s a love I share with my Dad, who has happily eschewed egg yolks for most his adult life.  Dad takes his egg white omelets with spinach, bell peppers, onions, and a touch of ham.  Me, on the other hand, I love shredded cabbage.  Stuffed into a whole wheat pita and topped with hot sauce, I couldn’t think of anything better after a long run or some weight training.

Since the boys in my house can’t stand the thought of egg whites alone (unless they’re used for meringues or marshmallows), I can understand if you’d prefer to use whole eggs here.  It’s definitely richer in flavor.  This recipe is loosely based on a Japanese okonomiyaki, of which there are infinite varieties.  Generally, though, the omelette or pancake is made from flour, nagaimo (yam), water or dashi broth, eggs, shredded cabbage and some meat or shellfish.  It’s quick, healthful and filling.  Today, mine is filled with cabbage, shredded carrots, mushrooms, and a few pieces of chopped shrimp.  Probably more cabbage and vegetables than anything else – just the way I enjoy it.

Cabbage Omelet, inspired by Okonomiyaki



5 large eggs

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup AP flour

2 cups cabbage, shredded with a mandoline or finely chopped

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped

3/4 cups (roughly) baby or chopped shrimp

canola oil for frying

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt. Gradually add the flour until incorporated. Fold in cabbage, scallions, and shrimp.
  2. Warm canola oil (or cooking spray) in a skillet over medium-high heat until glistening. Ladle the batter into the skillet as you would for regular pancakes. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Keep pancakes covered in a warm oven as you make the rest.

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My mother was not much of a baker.  In fact, I have fond memories of enjoying Betty Crocker yellow and white cake mixes.  When it came to cookies in our house, most came from the bakery or the supermarket.  One of the few cookies she prepared, however, was mexican wedding cookies.  Sprinkled liberally with powdered sugar, the little gems were melt-in-your-mouth buttery, soft, nutty, and blissfully sweet.  I never found the recipe she used, but most recipes available online and in cookbooks yield similarly delectable results.

I came across this “lightened” recipe recently and figured I’d give it a try.  (I’ll use any excuse to make these!)  It has a slight tartness from the addition of cream cheese which helps reduce the “bad” fat in the recipe.  While I like the use of whole wheat flour, truthfully, the recipe makeover isn’t drastic enough for me to use again.  Some things just can’t be messed with!

Recipe here.


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I love shrimp – the texture, the taste, and all that protein for very few calories.  This recipe is perfect for the cold of winter because it offers a warm salad.  I wasn’t sure how Rice Kernel would receive it, so I mixed in some raw romaine hearts for a familiar touch.  (I could hear him in my head asking, “a hot salad?!?!”)  His plate was served simply with some avocados, cucumbers, and a slice of baguette. 

Recipe inspiration here.


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