Monday, November 25, 2013

Trio of Biscottos

Dear Turkey,

This is a story of three biscottos (just making sure you're awake). Their names were "healthy," "chocolate," and "marzipan." Tofu made them all the same way: throw all ingredients into a big bowl with abandon, mix with hands, pour onto a parchment-ed cookie sheet, smoosh into a log, bake once (un-scotti), slice, bake again.


2 c whole wheat flour, 2/3 c sugar, 2 t baking powder, 1/2 t salt, 1 c chocolate chips, 4 eggs, 2 t vanilla.  
1st bake: 350 degrees, 20 minutes
2nd bake: 300 degrees, 10 minutes

2 sticks butter (melted), 4 c whole wheat flour, 1 c cocoa, 2 t baking SODA, 2 T (each) cinnamon, cardamom, orange peel, 1/2 t salt, 2 c sugar, 4 eggs, 1 c chocolate chips.
1st bake: 350 degrees, 25 mins
2nd bake: 300 degrees, 8 mins

1 c canola oil, 6 eggs, 2 c sugar, 2 T almond extract, 6.5 c flour, 2 T baking powder, 1 t salt.
1st bake: 375 degrees, 20 mins
2nd bake: 375 degrees, 15 mins
Thanks, Dad.
And they all lived happily ever after,

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Daisie1983's Extra Special Banana Pancakes

Dear Turkey,

Here is a guest post from Daisie1983. I think we all know who that is:

There were two bananas turning brown on my counter this morning. I told my husband I could turn them into muffins, bread, or pancakes. He chose pancakes. Side note: They make for good running fuel. After I ate two of them, I was able to run 5.5 miles.  

Here's what you need to recreate the deliciousness:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking POWDER (I used 2:1 cream of tartar + baking soda because according to, that's how you turn baking soda into baking powder...if for some reason you happen to have cream of tartar in your spice cabinet, but no baking powder.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar (you can reduce or omit this)
1 egg (magical egg from your local farmer's market preferred)
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter at room temperature
2 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or however much you want
Lots of chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chips)

A cute baby to watch your every move
An awesome husband to rave about the pancakes and clean up afterward
Jack Johnson's "Banana Pancakes" playing in the background
Hazelnut coffee with steamed milk as a beverage

Start by mixing the flours, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg, then mix with the melted butter, milk and bananas. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture. It will be a bit lumpy but that's OK. 

Add the walnuts and chocolate chips. You might want to save some of the walnuts for a topping, like I did. Grease up your griddle or pan with butter and cook pancakes at medium-high till golden brown on both sides. They are a bit hard to flip, so don't make them too big. 

Makes a dozen-ish pancakes. Serve with 100% pure New York maple syrup (obvi) or peanut butter. 
Warning: Your husband may like these so much, he will polish off three before you even sit down.

Thanks, Daisie1983!

Hoya Saxa,

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dear Michael Pollan,

Thank you for letting me review my local library's copy of Cooked, your latest book. I also appreciate how toned my arms are from holding it up, since my library only had the large-print edition. Although you do go off on your predictable rants, I agree with those rants, so I really enjoyed your book (even though reading it in bed gave me carpal tunnel syndrome). In fact, you inspired me to make this bread: 

...the most beautiful loaf of bread that I have ever made. As you know, I am a lazy baker, and I'm usually satisfied with whatever I make, as long as it has plenty of fat, salt, and/or sugar (preferably and). However, your chapter on bread made me realize that I do have a lot of bread tricks in my repertoire, and, while I do use them sometimes, I don't usually use them AT THE SAME TIME (crucial detail). [I also have a lot of cheese tricks in my repertoire, like, "honey, will you PLEASE make some cheese?!?"]

This bread was inspired by one of everybody's favorite bakers (her Pugliese recipe), and tofu-ified, by, well, me. First, I kneaded together a lot of sourdough starter (like a cup -- I consider that a lot), 2 c flour, 1 c warm water, 1 t yeast, 1 T sugar, and 1.5 t salt. I kneaded it in a bowl (I always do that, but you re-iterated how it's helpful for wet dough, so I'm mentioning it here) for five minutes, which is five minutes longer than I usually knead (you motivated me there, too).

Second, I let it rise for about five hours in a covered bowl; during that time (thanks to you) I folded it onto itself three different times. It took about ten seconds total and I really think it made a difference (I don't really believe in punching down, but this was a nice compromise). You also reminded me how awesome it is to bake in my Dutch oven (which I actually preheated, for once; I also generously salted and oiled it). 

I baked the bread at 475 degrees for 5 minutes and then 450 degrees for 20 minutes, all with the lid on. Then I took the lid off and finished it at 450 degrees for another 5 or 10 minutes until it started to brown. 

I didn't let anyone slice it until it was cool (also a rarity in my house). 

According to you, real bakers take pictures of the inside of the bread.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Dear Lt. Veggie Nugget,

Remember when you were little and you called biscotti "spigotti?" Well, you probably don't remember, and you definitely don't remember when I used to call cats "odden-oddens" (yeah, it's weird, and, no, I don't know why). Here is some new baby vocab from my life:

Helicopter: "ha-coo-kai"
Guacamole: "guac-coo-kai"
Cock-a-doodle-doo: "cock-coo-kai"

Speaking of "spigotti," I finally decided to make something besides muffins. Biscotti are really not that hard -- to make or to bite into, at least mine, because I can't stand the ones that practically break your teeth. These are a variation on my usual recipe (click the link for informative pictures). For this version, I shortened the second baking time even more, to ten minutes, so that the outsides were crunchy-but-not-too-crunchy and the insides were basically like a cookie: 

Perfect for a morning like this:


Monday, November 11, 2013

Creamy Cauliflower Bisque

Dear Turkey,

Remember that. cauliflower. that I got as a present? Well, I had only used half of it, and it was time to use the rest. Since I have OCD, I hate it when I can't see the back of my fridge at all times (or when I can't see my reflection in any given shelf at any given time). So I emptied the fridge and challenged myself to make the contents disappear (and not by putting them in the compost). 

Roasting and pureeing are two of my secret weapons for turning a lot of food into not a lot of food. (My other secret weapon is just sitting down and eating it all up.) So I made a soup and a chutney.

Creamy Cauliflower Bisque:

In a big Pyrex baking dish, coarsely chop the following and roast it at 425 degrees for about an hour:

3-4 c cauliflower
2 small sweet potatoes
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 handful of fresh parsley and oregano (who says you can't roast parsley?)
1 poblano
1/4 c olive oil (you don't have to chop that)
1/2 stick butter
lots of salt

Then heat up 6 c of veggie broth, several tablespoons of cumin and lime juice, and add the roasted veggies and all of their delicious juices. Puree it and stir in a tablespoon or two of cream. Decorate with the chips and chutney, and serve with a sliced serrano on the side for non-wusses:

For the "chips" I ripped up some corn tortillas and sprinkled/drizzled them with olive oil, salt, lime juice and cumin and baked them at 425 degrees for ten minutes. For the chutney: blend 1 c (each) parsley, cilantro, and mint with 1 or 2 t (each) sugar and salt (start with 1), and several tablespoons of lime juice. It would be a lot easier if you had a Vitamix. Oh, wait, you do. But I don't. 

I was inspired to make the cake by this cool blog. If you click on her link you will see how much easier (but less beautiful) my version is. The cake is just our standby Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (PCCB) without the chocolate chips:

3.5 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
3 c sugar
1 c oil
4 eggs
2/3 c water
1 regular-size can pumpkin

Mix until combined. Bake 1 hr in a greased pan at 350 degrees. 

I used her recipe for the frosting, but on her blog it is "the filling." It was not hard and it was totally worth it. I'd been reading a lot lately about how good homemade butterscotch is and I needed to know if the hype was real. It's real, Turkey. 

So, stale corn tortillas, almost-expired cream and broth, and a two whole grocery bags of veggies and herbs that are almost dead + a couple of hours + someone to watch your baby + Vitamix = happy full family.

I moss you,

Monday, November 4, 2013

Get Your Hour Back Pasta Master

Dear Turkey,

It's 5 AM. Your constituents are sleeping. Your body thinks it's 6 AM; your eyes are darting back and forth like a bad guy in a cartoon and you haven't even had your chai yet. What to do with the extra hour? Snuggle back under that comforter, put your phone on silent (so nobody can hear you clicking and judge you) and email your Christmas/Hanukkah list to your mom. 

By lunch time your body will think that it's already time for Second Lunch, so you'll be extra hungry. Cook some delicious egg noodles and put the rest of that cauliflower that tastes even better (aka more garlic-y) today on them with some cheese and red pepper flakes:

Now that I have your attention, I would like to introduce you to my favorite seasonal snack:

M & Ms and pecans. Way more than the sum of their parts; try it before you judge.
We all know that M & Ms are in season right now -- just look at those fresh fall colors. But since we don't want to get too full of ourselves and healthy, add some delicious fattening pecans. 
Have your mom store them in beautiful jars so that you don't have to worry about portion control. Just pour out as many as you want. And then take some to work in a tupperware. This high fat/calorie/sugar snack will keep you feeling full for hours, especially if you eat a lot of it.

I moss you,

Friday, November 1, 2013

Purple Cauliflower Tastes Better

Dear Turkey,

This is a story of a present that I got the other day. It weighed 15 pounds and I had to lower the shelves in my fridge in order to squeeze it in there.

It was a purple cauliflower. Let's just call it purple because some of my constituents aren't that crazy about pink. 
Here is my hand so that you can see how beautiful -- ahem, how big the cauliflower is. 
Dustbusting required. 
Guess which of these I used all of?
Obligatory taste test (1 of 10). Even after about 30 minutes at 425 degrees it's starting to caramelize.
I finished it under the broiler.
I moss you,