Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Biscotti and Marcella

Things have, well...pretty busy lately, but I have been cooking some here and there. My favorite of the week were the almond biscotti for Alex. They are really the perfect biscotti - light and dense at the same time, blanched slivered almonds, almond extract...yeah, he likes him some almonds. 

I have been reading the memoir of Marcella Hazan, the Italian lady who brought "real" Italian food to America in the seventies and eighties. It is amazing that she never intended to be anything more than a science teacher in Italy, and she became this foodie idol. She never even cooked anything until after she was married! It is funny in her books to, she gives off this vibe like, well, they wanted me to write a cookbook, so here it is, but hey, don't ask me to do another one!  She really tells it like it is. I saw her on Martha Stewart and she even treated Martha like "whatever, you are just like everyone else". Gotta love that old Italian gal. Just truly herself in every moment. Something to aspire to. 

So I went back to my cookbook library and when all this crazy stuff at home is over and done, I will start again working on my "Master Class" book by Mrs. Hazan herself. I will never get a chance to work with her in person, so I'll settle for the correspondence class. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Here is one of my favorite recipes...

Cranberry Almond Granola

3 cups rolled oats 
1 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup sweet coconut
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a large bowl combine oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar. In a separate bowl combine syrup, oil and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto two cookie sheets. Cook for 20 minutes then switch lower pan to top, top pan to bottom rack. Cook for an additional 20 minutes then switch again. Cook for 10-20 minutes more until golden, then let cool. Transfer to a big bowl or ziplock bag and add the dried cranberries. 

Variation - omit coconut, rough chop 1 cup almonds and 1 cup pecans...chunkier, and really good.


Inspired by my super-talented crafty cousin and her super-talented crafty friends, I decided that I wanted to start a record of something (aka blog)...but, no matter how much I wish it, I am not in the talented crafty group. So I thought about what it is that I have something to say about...and then it hit Well not literally, though it is entirely possible with a 5 month old and a 2 year old. Yes, food. 

Mundane? Well, I guess it is in the sense that we eat every day, day in, day out for every day of our natural lives. Yet, there is something magical about food when you get it right. The look of satisfaction on someones face when they really enjoy the creation you have made...that is my art. Just describing a delicious food can make mouths water and experiencing a food masterpiece is a whole body experience. 

The thing I really love about it though is you can never, really ever know everything about it. There is always something to learn, some way to improve, a thousand different recipes for a chocolate cake...

So here is the start of my recorded journey to food mastery. I hesitate a bit at the word mastery, but why not aim high? I want to be a master - the yoda of food. So here we go...and don't worry Owl cook!