Friday, May 31, 2013

Almond Biscotti

This is great recipe I have used for a long time. The cornmeal adds a nice touch.

Almond Biscotti Recipe
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  1. Position one of your oven racks in the center of your oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking liner.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cornmeal together until well blended.
  3. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or, if mixing by hand, in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed until very smooth, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs and continue to beat, scraping down the bowl as needed, for another 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light and creamy.
  5. Beat in the almond extract.
  6. With the mixer on low speed or while stirring with the spoon,add the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
  7. You should have a soft, sticky dough that will clump on the paddle.
  8. Stir in the almonds and mix just to blend.
  9. Scrape half the dough on to one half of your prepared baking sheet. Lightly dust your hands with flour and shape the dough into a 1 1/2 inch by 12 inch log.
  10. Shape the remaining dough into a log on the other side of the baking sheet.
  11. Place the baking sheet on the center rack of your oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the top of the logs are lightly golden but still soft and springy to the touch.
  12. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and allow the logs to cool about 30 minutes. (leave the oven set at 350 degrees or preheat again before continuing).
  13. Transfer the logs to a cutting board.
  14. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs on a slight diagonal into 3/4-inch slices. Use a gentle sawing motion to cut through the top crust.
  15. Place slices on the baking sheet standing them up on their 'bottoms'.
  16. Bake the biscotti another 15 minutes, or until they are golden and firm.
  17. Place baking sheet on a wire rack and allow the biscotti to cool completely on the sheet.
This recipe yields about 30 Almond Biscotti.
Recipe Source: This homemade biscotti recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours

As I always say, I like versatile recipes. Use this basic recipe and add whatever you like. I made a cranberry/white chocolate chip/walnut version with this recipe that turned out great. So, have fun with it, be creative with it, and enjoy it.

Buon Appetito!

Shoutout to the newest littlest member of the fam...2 (update)

I just wanted to post a quick update on our new niece Chloe. She is home now and getting huge! Well, not huge, but she is getting bigger. She has past the 5# mark now. and getting cuter every day. I was roaming the halls of the NICU this morning during my weekly volunteering and thought about Chloe, and was thankful she got to go home. It's always an exciting event when one of the little ones gets released from the NICU. So, here are few recent pics:

Chloe with big bro Caden and daddy
Chloe with her new hat that Auntie Sarah "commissioned" a friend to make 

Jus chillin'

And bigger than a wet wipe box now...

Been slack in posting places I wanna go...

Another nice photo sent by Attilio Salciccia.  "Amalfi", Campania.  Photo by Attilio Salciccia

Capri. Photo- Paul d'Ambra

Cetara, Campania  Photo by Alessandro Bonvini

Emilia-Romagna (Correggio)-Photo by Renaud Camus

Piazza Pio II (with the Duomo on the right), Pienza, Tuscany  Photo- Edgar Barany

Rome by Night. Photo- Paul d'Ambra

Santa Margherita, Liguria  Photo- gigi62

Teramo, Abruzzo  Photo- gigi62

For the love of all things bacon...

Ours is not to ask is to ask why not...

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf Cupcakes
Ingredients (for 12)
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 12 slices of bacon
  • 4-6 potatoes
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Making the Meatloaf: Line your muffin tin with the bacon so that each tin is circled by one strip.
  • Mix together the beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, salt, pepper, tomato paste, sugar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.  Form the meat into 12 equally sized balls and place them into the bacon-lined muffin tins. Fold the top of the bacon over, if needed.
  • Pop them into the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the meat is cooked through and the bacon is crisp.
  • Making the Potatoes: While the meatloaf is cooking, prepare your mashed potatoes. Dice up the potatoes and boil them in salted water until they’re soft. Drain the potatoes, pop them into a mixing bowl, and mash them with a fork until they’re completely smooth. Add your butter, cheese, milk, salt, etc and mix until fully combined. Move your mashed potatoes into a piping bag (or a zip-lock with an edge cut off) and save it until the meatloaf is ready.
  • Assembling the “cupcake”: Once the meatloaf is ready, take em out of the oven, and pipe them with the mashed potatoes! After they’re all piped, pop them back into the oven, and turn your heat up to 400-500 degrees. Heat until the tops of the potatoes are golden brown (it should be very quick – no more than 5-6 minutes).
  • Remove them from the oven, let cool for a bit, and enjoy!

Originally from:

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, May 30, 2013


This looked great, I am a fan of bacon and pork loin, but it's easy to dry out the pork loin. So, I'm trying this.

Bacon Wrapped Brown Sugar Pork Loin

It's pork. Wrapped in pork. And doused in a brown sugar glaze. What more could you ask for?
Serves 3-4
Pork Loin:
  • 3 pounds bone-in pork loin roast
  • 5-6 pieces of bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Brown Sugar Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  1. So let's line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and place your big hunk of pork on that sucker. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. In a small bowl, make your spice rub. Combine the salt, black pepper, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and chili powder.
  3. And give that pork a good rub down.
  4. Then we'll wrap the whole thing in some bacon. P.S. - the technical term for wrapping something in fat (in this case, bacon) is "barding."
  5. Place the roast in the oven and roast for about 50-60 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan under medium heat, combine the ingredients for the glaze - the brown sugar, flour, cider vinegar, and mustard powder.
  7. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
  8. Drizzle glaze over top of pork roast and continue to roast for about 25-35 minutes longer, or until internal temperature has reached 160F.
  9. Let rest for about 10 minutes and then slice into 1 inch thick portions. Serve with your starch of choice and enjoy!

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Looked great, quick, and easy...

Photo by: imOatmeal

    • 1 cup peanut butter ( your choice, smooth or chunky)
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • sugar, for rolling (optional)
  1. Mix peanut butter, sugar, and egg together until smooth.
  2. Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet two inches apart. If desired, roll in extra sugar before placing on cookie sheet.
  3. Press with fork; press again in opposite direction.
  4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Do not brown; do not over bake.

Buon Appetito!

Too good and too easy...

Photo by ms_bold

    • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    • 1 lb confectioners' sugar ( 3 to 3 1/2 cups)
    • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
    • 1 cup butter, melted
    • 1 (12 ounce) bags milk chocolate chips

  1. Combine graham crumbs, sugar and peanut butter and mix well.
  2. Blend in melted butter until well combined.
  3. Press mixture evenly into a 9 x 13 inch pan.
  4. Melt chocolate chips in microwave or in double boiler.
  5. Spread over peanut butter mixture.
  6. Chill until just set and cut into bars (these are very hard to cut if the chocolate gets "rock hard".

Buon Appetito!

Memorial Day, too

Well, it's been busy since we got home form our GA trip (5 1/2 hr trip home turned into 8 1/2 hr trip home, yea holiday traffic!). we had a great time with family and friends, and of course, ate and drank too much. The food was great as well as the company, so I believe everyone had a great time. We took the kids to the Coke museum in Atlanta one day, which was quite an experience, too. The history was quite interesting. These are the times to remember. Here are some pics.

Pasta night with 3 sauces, red, alfredo, and pesto (yes, homemade)

The kiddos

momma helping me make the fresh ricotta

More pasta night...

Talking with my hands, how unusual

Date night with our hosts, great food, company, and music

Go Sox!

All hands on deck.

Steak night with pollenta

Prep time

Making the tiramisu and prepping cheese and basil for pesto

The ceremonious cutting of the hazelnut/Frangellico/Nutella cheesecake

And again...cutting a cheesecake is quite a bit of work actually.

More steak night

momma at Coke museum

Go Sox! again

Nothing like free sugar!

The men at Coke

and the women at Coke

Free souvenir bottle

Back to food! Finished tiramisu, prepping for mozzarella caprese 

Finished pesto, red sauce, alfredo, caprese salad, and fresh ricotta appetizer (on crostini with lemon zest, olive oil, and salt)


Serving with a coffee mug...why not?



Our fam right before 8 1/2 brutal hours in traffic!

Thanks to our great friends, the Donaldson's for hosting, and our fam, the Austin's for coming down, and the Richter's for hanging, too! Always remember...

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Memorial Day part 1

Heading out tomorrow to visit family and friends for the weekend. So far, the panna cotta with triple berry compote is done, the 3-layer, hazelnut/Frangelico/Nutella cheesecake is done, and the tiramisu is started...(not to mention the 5 homemade liqueurs). We're looking forward to a great relaxing weekend, and hopefully will have some pics to follow up in Memorial Day part 2.

As we get ready for the weekend, we should bear in mind why we celebrate this coming Monday, and always be thankful for those that paid the price for our great country, especially those that paid the ultimate price.

Once again, comfort food...

Some traditions should not be forgotten. In this busy "rat race" world we live in, it's nice to be able to take the time to gather around the dinner table to "break bread". It's one of the things that has always been important in Italian houses, and one of the things we try to maintain. The kids don't always appreciate it since it does take time, but in the long run I think they will look back and see its merits. It's always a nice thing when their friends want to come to dinner, and I overhear my daughter tell her friend, "yeah, this is how we eat all the time" (with a "that's how I roll" hint to it). So, last night, both kids had friends over (they happened to be brother and sister as well), and everyone left the table happy. On the menu:
Baked haddock with butter, lemon slices, and fresh dill sprigs with a white wine/cream/dill reduction sauce.
Roasted potatoes with olive oil, garlic, salt.
Edamame with sea salt, and salad "fixins". I had made panna cotta with a triple berry compote for this coming wekend, so I let the kids sample some of that, too. All in all, it turned out great. The best thing about it was that our kids and their friends will be able to look back someday and hopefully see the benefit of keeping some old traditions.

Take the time to gather for dinners. Too soon, the kids will be grown and gone, and these times will become altogether too rare.

Buon Appetito!