Biscotti

I have been making this biscotti for over ten years. I don’t usually bake it twice because I don’t like a really hard cookie.

4 oz unblanched almonds
1.6 oz whole pistachios
3.5 oz cold unsalted butter
5.25 oz white sugar
8.8 oz unbleached flour
1 tbsp. anise seeds
1 tsp baking powder
grated zest of one lemon
pinch of salt
2 large eggs

1 beaten egg white for egg wash

Preheat oven to 300 and place almonds and pistachios on a sheet pan and toast for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.

Preheat oven to 350.

In an electric mixer using the paddle attachment beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes, the mixture will hold together in a soft dough. Add the cooled nuts and blend.

Remove from bowl and roll into two separate “ropes” on a floured surface. Transfer to a parchment covered baking sheet and flatten the “ropes” slightly with your hand. Brush beaten egg white on top of dough and place in oven for approximately 30 minutes. Bake until golden brown.

Let cool slightly and slice on a diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Dip in melted chocolate, if desired.

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All in Two Days’ Work

My Christmas baking is almost done. Florentines, madeleines and toffee. Tomorrow is pecan sandies and I have to finish the chocolate truffles. Sunday I start the Brioche for the sticky buns I serve every Christmas morning while we open our gifts.

More to come!

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Stuffed Chicken Breasts

2 boneless skin on chicken breasts
2 tbsp. drained sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp chopped sage
1 tbsp softened unsalted butter plus 1 tsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a small bowl mix the tomatoes, sage, butter, cheese and salt and pepper to a paste. Gently loosen the skin from the chicken breast and carefully put the paste between the skin and the breast. Avoid tearing the skin as you put the paste in the “pocket”. Tidy up the skin by stretching it over the breast as evenly as possible. Repeat with the second breast. Chill in the freezer for about five minutes to firm up the filling.

Remove the chicken from the freezer and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat cast iron skillet and add oil and tsp of butter. When the butter stops foaming add chicken breasts skin side down. Do not move for one minute to avoid tearing the skin. Cook until the skin is well browned approximately four minutes.

Carefully slide a thin spatula under the chicken and flip it over, taking care not to rip the chicken. Put the pan in the oven and continue cooking until chicken is no longer pink inside about ten minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees at the thickest part.

Remove chicken from oven and let it rest for three to five minutes, tented with foil.

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Bittersweet Chocolate Madeleines

Every Christmas I make a few batches of Madeleines. They are basically a miniature chocolate cake. I first read about them in Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust.

I have a recipe from Chocolatier magazine which I have used for years. I also use Lindt Bittersweet Chocolate when making these.

As you can see from the photographs, if you are organized, they are not difficult to make. Do yourself a favor and purchase the silicone pans. I have the old stainless steel ones and they are real pain when you are trying to release the Madeleines.

When you taste them, you will agree that they are definitely worth the effort!

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Pork Tenderloin

Tonight I decided to make pork tenderloin. I sautéed sliced mushrooms and leeks in some olive oil. I butterflied the meat lengthwise and seasoned it with salt and pepper. I filled the centre with the cooked leeks and mushrooms and tied the tenderloin with butcher’s string. I then rubbed the outside of tenderloin with olive oil and placed it in on a half sheet pan. I baked it at 350 for approximately thirty minutes.

This was a great make ahead recipe which we can all use this time of year.

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Girls Night In

Last night I hostessed my annual dinner party for my oldest friends. I served duck breast, leek bread pudding, green beans and raspberry tarts for dessert. Of course, there was also some wine involved.

Here are a few photos. Unfortunately, I didn’t photograph the finished pudding or duck because I had to get it on the table before it got cold.

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Crab Salad

Last night we had crab legs for dinner. There was quite a bit of crab meat leftover so tonight we are having a salad. I just hard boiled some eggs, chopped up a yellow pepper, sliced some cucumber and add the leftover crab meat.

I then made a simple vinaigrette to dress the salad with. I will serve it with a fresh baguette and it is a nice easy dinner which everyone can use in their repertoire this busy time of year.

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Winter Fruit Salad

I always crave citrus fruits when the weather is cold and gray.

I like to make a large batch of fruit salad with pink grapefruit, fresh pineapple and naval oranges.

I supreme the grapefruits and oranges and then squeeze all of the juice from the leftover membranes. I quarter the pineapple, remove the rind and core and then slice it into pieces similar in size to the grapefruit and orange segments.

I store this in a covered glass bowl.

You can eat this alone and over your favorite yogurt.

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Candied Orange Peel

Every Christmas I make florentines and the recipe calls for candied cherries and candied orange peel. I like to do this a few days before I make the actual florentines.

Here is the recipe

2 navel oranges
3 cups of sugar
3 cups of water

Wash and peel the oranges and slice the peel into narrow strips

Place orange peel, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water into a saucepan and bring to a slow boil.
Remove from heat and strain saving the peel and discarding the syrup. Start again in the same pot combining sugar and water and add the same peel. Remove from heat and strain discarding the syrup. For the final time combine remaining sugar and water. Add the peel and heat to a slow boil. Remove from heat saving both syrup and peel. Allow peel to cool in the syrup. Decant into a glass jar and over. Chill under ready to use.

To use: Remove desired amount of peel from jar with a fork or tongs and place in a strainer and drain for 20 minutes. The candied peel is now ready to use.

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