Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Williams-Sonoma's Biscotti all'Arancia (Orange Biscotti)

I was doing what I'm always doing, looking for a way to cook and bake with what I have. I always volunteer to bake at my niece and nephew's school bake sales. This time I was trying to make something non-chocolate. As I was thinking about what to make, I remembered that one of the parents mentioned how much she liked biscotti. And, I LOVE to make biscotti but, how do I make a non chocolate one? Hmmmm.....

I checked Williams-Sonoma's recipes and came across Biscotti all'Arancia. Doesn't biscotti all'arancia  sound so much prettier than orange biscotti. I really think that the Italian language gives you a better idea of how special this biscotti is. It's not just blah orange. It's WOW orange. Ya feel me?
Since this was my first time making this recipe, I didn't change anything. I can't copy it to my blog unfortunately but I'm going to give you this link which will take you right there. OK? You're going to love it, I swear. 

You'll notice that candied orange is one of the ingredients called for in the recipe. I'm going to tell you how to make it. Easy peezy.

What you'll need for candied orange peel: 3 large oranges, 2 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar.
  • Remove just the orange part of the peel with a potato peeler. 
  • In a sauce pan, cover the the peel with cold water and bring to a boil.
  • Drain the water.
  • Return the peel to the sauce pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. 
  • Drain the water and remove the orange peel.
  • Make a simple syrup by combining 2 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar and heat over medium.
  • Once you see that the sugar has dissolved, add the orange peel and boil over medium heat for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the orange peel and let it dry. Once it's dry, you're ready to rock n' roll.
  • Before you add it to the biscotti dough, chop it up. OK? 

    Tender Greens in Liberty Station

    A friend of mine wanted to meet up for lunch and then walk around with the kids. Liberty Station is perfect for that, there's a path along the water and a couple of playgrounds. There's also a plethora of dining establishments. She suggested we eat at Tender Greens. I had never been but she swore they had the freshest most delicious salads. Ok, let's go.

    I pretty much loved it. After walking in and looking up at the menu, you place your order. I must say though, good luck making a decision. There's so many yummy options. I did end up ordering the tuna nicoise salad. After passing the food prep area you are then presented with giant scrumptious looking cookies. Seriously the oatmeal one was calling to me. I settled on the chocolate chip though because I knew I was going to share with my son. 

    So let's talk about that salad. Tomatoes, potatoes, olives, capers, egg, tuna, and tender greens tossed perfectly in a sherry vinaigrette. They really were tender greens. Way to go on naming the restaurant. And the cookie was yummy too. My kiddo loved it. But I still want to try that oatmeal one. Maybe next time. 

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Jameson Irish Whiskey Buttercream Shots

    Boozy Buttercream, oh yeah.

     Today we are celebrating my dear friend's birthday and St. Patrick's day all in one. My friend loves frosting. Even when we were little kids, she would eat the frosting and I would eat the cake. And it's not that I don't like frosting, because I do, I just know how much she loves it.

    So to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and Jill's birthday I have made Jameson Irish Whiskey Buttercream Shots. These are yummy and boozy and just perfect for today. Please note that these won't be very tasty for the kiddos and should be served only to adults.

    • 2 sticks softened butter
    • 2 cups powdered sugar (you might need a few more tablespoons)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 tablespoons Jameson
    In your stand mixer, blend the butter on low and add the powdered sugar a cup at a time.  When the sugar has been incorporated, stop the mixer and scrape everything down. Add the salt and whiskey. On medium, mix all of the ingredients for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, taste the buttercream. If it's not strong enough for you, add a tablespoon of whiskey and mix again until the whiskey has been incorporated completely. Taste. You can repeat this a couple of more times but you will need to add a tablespoon of powdered sugar for every tablespoon of whiskey added or the buttercream will be too wet. Now you can pipe your buttercream into little shot glasses. I used SOLO 1.25 ounce plastic shooters.
    This recipe is too soft for cake. You can stiffen up the frosting with more powdered sugar though if you want to try it.  :)

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Lickety Split Coq Au Vin

    I love making old fashioned coq au vin (French for rooster with wine and pronounced coke oh van) but I don't always have all of the ingredients. Traditionally it's made with lardons, pearl onions, carrots, and mushrooms. So I make a scaled down version that's always a hit.

    8 chicken thighs
    1 medium size onion, chopped
    1 cup of red wine
    1 cup of chicken broth
    1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
    (salt, pepper, maybe oil)

    If you are using a non stick dutch oven, please add a couple of tablespoons of veggie oil to it. I switch back and forth between my ceramic one and my non stick one. You want your pot very hot. Once it's hot, brown your thighs on both sides. This is also a good time to salt and pepper your chicken. After they are browned, remove them from the pot. Turn the heat to medium and add the chopped onion. Once it has caramelized, add all of your liquid and deglaze, meaning remove all the bits of chicken and onion with the liquid. When the liquid starts to boil reduce to a simmer. Add the chicken back to the pot and cover. Let it all cook for 20 minutes.

    If you are interested in making traditional coq au vin, try Ina Garten's recipe. It's terrific.

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    The Vine Cottage in La Mesa

    I tried The Vine Cottage on a good recommendation. The Vine Cottage is a little neighborhood gem located on the corner of Lake Murray and El Paso. I highly recommend coming here on Sundays. It's happy hour all day. Pretty fab. Pizzas and salads are half priced, appetizers are $3 off, wine by the glass is $3 off, and draft beer is $4.

    I had the beet salad and sweet potato fries pictured below. I also ordered this great glass of wine. It was a 2009 Novellum, a Chardonnay. Thinking about it now makes me want to go tomorrow for another round of Sunday happy hour. My husband ordered The Vine Cottage burger. Delicious. If you like burgers, you should really try this one.

    So here's my recommendation to you, check this place out for their quality food and great happy hour. I know I'll be going back. Enjoy!

    roasted beet and wild arugula with goat cheese and citrus vinaigrette

    sweet potato fries with Spanish paprika, cilantro, and lime

    The Vine Cottage grass-fed beef burger with drunken goat cheese, Anaheim chilies, and a fried cage-free egg