Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cran-Pistachio Biscotti

Who doesn't love biscotti with their morning coffee or tea? My parents sure love it. I made them some of this biscotti at the holidays. You probably think making biscotti is difficult, but it's really not. You just have to bake them twice, which is what biscotti means. First you form the dough into a log and bake and then after the log cools you cut slices and bake those again. This recipe originates from Giada De Laurentiis. You could melt white chocolate and dip half the finished biscotti into the chocolate, but I have done it before and it is really a pain in the ass, so I skipped it this time.

What You'll Need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.

Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

A Tale of Two Quiches

My hubby likes quiche so I have made a couple recently. The popular quiche Lorraine that has ham and cheese and for Christmas brunch at my parents' I made a very yummy broccoli and cheese quiche. Both were delicious and don't have to be limited to just breakfast. Pair with some potatoes or a side salad and you have lunch or dinner. Both recipes are below.

Quiche Lorraine:
1 pie prepared pie crust (I like Pillsbury)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Dash ground nutmeg (optional)
3/4 cup chopped cooked ham
1-1/2 cups shredded cheese, I like the combination of cheddar and provolone (6 ounces)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Prepare and roll out Pastry for Single-Crust Pie or unroll refrigerated pie crust according to package directions. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry. Trim; crimp edge as desired. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Bake in a 450 degree F for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes more or until pastry is set and dry. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl stir together eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in ham. In a small bowl toss together the cheese and flour. Add to egg mixture; mix well.

Pour egg mixture into hot, baked pastry shell. (If it overflows some and goes under the crust, don't worry. It turns out fine.) Bake in the 325 degree F oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Broccoli and Cheese Quiche
1 prepared pie crust
1-1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar and provolone again are my fave)
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, drained
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups half-and-half
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and prepare the pie crust the same as above. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees.

Sprinkle half of the cheese evenly onto bottom of crust. Top with broccoli and remaining cheese.

Beat eggs and half-and-half with wire whisk until well blended; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over ingredients in crust.

Bake 40 to 45 min. or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 min. before serving.