Dutch-Norwegian Girl Makes Biscotti; Brags About It

Yes, yes, yes. I know I’m supposed to be related by blood to my Italian cousins in order to gain any street cred when it comes to making biscotti. Consider me the Vanilla Ice of the Furfaro clan and jump me in, anyway. 

These sumptuous delicacies are not like what you get from the cookie aisle in the grocery store. You can actually bite into them and chew them without losing half of your teeth. They will cause you to gain weight because you will eat the entire batch in one sitting, so go get you some phat pants and get thick, girl.

Dough ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (if mixing and kneading by hand, butter should be softened not melted)

3/4 cup sugar

1 whole large egg + two large egg yolks

2 1/2 to 3 cups unsifted flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add butter and sugar to mixer and beat until well combined. Add eggs and quickly beat into butter and sugar. Add 2 1/2 cups four, the baking powder and salt, and beat until smooth. If it doesn’t hold it’s shape when you form a ball, add another 1/2 cup of flour and beat until smooth. Slow the mixer and let it knead the dough for around 60 seconds, adding spices nuts, etc. while it kneads.(If hand mixing and kneading, knead dough until it no longer sticks to surface.) Dough will be shiny and very smooth. 

Gather up the dough and place it onto an un-greased baking sheet. Form a rectangle about 3/4 inch high, 15 inches long and 6 inches wide. IMG_3331

Bake for 20 minutes, or until it is firm to the touch, crinkly and very lightly browned on the bottom. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.IMG_3332

With a sharp, large knife, carefully slice into 3/4 inch by 6 inch lengths. Turn lengths on sides, rearrange on sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until very slightly browned on the side touching the baking sheet. Turn off oven, open oven door a little and let the biscotti sit inside until the oven cools. Cookies will be firm, buttery and easy to bite.IMG_3333

My favorite flavor combinations:

*1 tablespoon aniseed, zest of 1 orange, 1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds

*1 tablespoon poppyseed, zest of 1 lemon

*1/2 cup pistachios, 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Serving suggestion: a bit of quick dunking in a rich cup of coffee (coffee instructions elsewhere in this blog).IMG_3334

By Special Request from Doctor Anonymous

Warning: some of these works of genius are not safe for work; or public squares; or bathroom reading. If you feel compelled to print out some or all of these ecards and post them on your office wall (and you will) go right ahead. Just remember to give credit where credit is due.

“Having this woman as a patient has been the most–shall we say–challenging part of my career. I keep moving my office. She keeps finding it. Anyway…” and gesture toward the cork board.

1342723852504_6141514 copy 482646_10200770411688581_1457288846_n MjAxMy02NzYxZDY0ZmYxY2YzMzIx copy MjAxMy1hMGJmZTdkZTg2ODVmZjJj copy MjAxMy03YzkwYWRlYTI4OGEzN2Qx copy 1338741349373_6429175 copy MjAxMi1hNzQwNzFmZDJiNzczN2Ez copy MjAxMy0zNjU1MzJiYzQ0YTA4OTEy copy MjAxMy05OTdmNGZkMmQzNDkyM2Y3 copy 1345154604641_5937522 copy MjAxMy1jMDgxYjY1YjczMjVkOGE5 copy MjAxMy01ODRjYWQ3MTM5NTY2NzEy copy MjAxMy1hMzdkODA3NTE2ZDZhYTEy copy Rottenecards_3865332_2bfgvfzj5b copy Rottenecards_5565646_65kcnvfq55 copy Rottenecards_16452164_rk9dk3fjfn copy Rottenecards_55329238_mxsp6d332s copy

Cookies for Oldsters

Chewy, buttery, loaded with regularity and middle-aged goodness, this recipe is so similar to the Quaker Oats oatmeal cookie recipe that I should probably be arrested for plagiarism (or grand theft auto, but that’s a story for later). Instead of oats, however, there is bran in these here cookies.

Bran, as you are no doubt aware, tastes like sawdust. The texture is much like sawdust, too, and requires plenty of moisture to make up for its inherent dryness. There is a lot of butter and brown sugar in this recipe. A lot. Do not labor under the illusion that these are low calorie. I don’t do low calorie.

I bumped up the spice factor to delight the palette and bury the sawdust taste in the woodworking shop where it belongs; and the end result is so good, I ate six of them in an hour. I can’t wait for them to kick in… if you catch my drift.

THE INGREDIENTS:

1 cup margarine or 1 cup butter, softened (Please use butter. Please.)
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon (Also add 1/2 teaspoon cloves, cardamom, allspice and/or nutmeg. Whatever you got.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups Allbran, Bran Buds or a generically branded sawdust
1 cup raisins or currants (I prefer the latter because they stay chewy and aren’t quite as sweet.)

SOME INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars by hand or in mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Dip-level-pour the flour (or sift, if you’re like that) and add it and the salt, soda and spices to the wet ingredients. Stir until combined. Add the bran and the raisins or currants, and stir to combine well.

Place walnut-sized blobs of dough around two inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet, and bake for approximately 10 minutes. They should be slightly dark around the edges, and the sheen from the center should be almost gone. Cool them briefly before removing from sheet. Makes around 40 amazingly tasty cookies full of fiber, iron and whatever vitamins they put in the cereal.

A PHOTO OF THREE COOKIES:

brancookies

Christmas Morning Agenda, Circa 1969

Men:

Wake at 8:00 a.m.

Shave

Put on pants

Eat a few sugar cookies

Go to a movie

Home to drink too much eggnog and watch the kids fight over gifts

Sleep it off

______

Women:

Wake at 5:30 a.m.

Take rollers out of hair

Style hair

Apply makeup

Squeeze into holiday pantsuit and heels

Make stuffing

Put turkey in oven

Peel potatoes

Get kids out of bed

Get kids dressed

Give kids sugar cookies and plop them in front of Rudolph rerun

Make green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, creamed onion casserole

Bake pies

Mash potatoes

Set the table

Clean up broken ornaments and scold kids

Go to movie

Home to secret stash of vodka

Watch kids fight over gifts

Quick dust and vacuum before 20 guests arrive

sallyron

How to Relax on Saturday

…in ten easy steps:

1) Cat and dog fight, cat hides for two hours. Spend an hour helping them kiss and make up.

2) Alcoholic tells me the shooting in Seattle the other day reminds her of when her son was shot as if I knew that, which I didn’t, and acted annoyed when I had to ask. She then tells me I don’t call the police enough when I see stuff happen at the bar. I tell her I use my own discretion. She doesn’t like that.

3) Head of local Bloods gang asks me out for a drink in front of drunk woman. She says, “Just lie and tell him you have a boyfriend.” Instead I say, “I don’t usually drink and I’m old enough to be your grandmother, young man.” Woman says, “Well you don’t have to lie to him!”

4) After he walks away she tells me I should at least go to coffee with him to stay on his good side, because he can offer me protection. I hug her for the loss of her son and walk away as fast as I am able.

5) Back inside, pour a bath, get in, building’s fire alarm goes off. Get out, toss on clothing while yelling, “There’d better be an actual fucking fire this time, instead of those fucking moron testers accidentally setting it off!”

6) Grab dog and leash, head to stairs, neighbor lets my dog out after I’ve asked him to wait a second before opening the door. Once sensing his freedom, dog runs up to nervous other dogs, who, miraculously, are too distracted from the commotion to cause a fight.

7) Other neighbors have cats, birds, rats, etc. in carriers. My cat is hiding again so I had to leave her behind. “I guess a fire would be bad, after all,” I say, so the neighbors think I’m a good mother.

8) Woman who’s bird I called pretty puts the thing on my shoulder and it starts to snag its beak in my hair. “I feel like I’m a talk show host and you’re a naturalist I’m interviewing, and you just handed me a tarantula and said, ‘It doesn’t usually bite,'” I say, to subtly let her know that birds freak me out. She takes the bird back. “What’s its name?” I ask, again, trying to seem normal. “Tippi, as in Tippi Hedren from The Birds,” she says. I say, “I like how you went right ahead and pulled the bad juju toward you with a rope instead of waiting for it.” We share a laugh.

9) Firemen arrive, check things out, come back out and tell us it was a false alarm… again. “Can we go back in?” I ask. “I suppose,” says one of them, shrugging his shoulders in a reassuring fashion.

10) Back inside, I get back in the tub. The alarm goes off several more times, cat hides, dog cries, sirens blare, I add more lightly scented bubbles to the water.

The End

Image

Mama Wendina’s Brew

Hi. I’m Mama Wendina. Am I Italian? No, not really. There are a few Italians hanging from my mother’s branch of the tree, but this post isn’t about my lovely cousins, Toni and Tina, their uncles or Grandma Angelina’s splendid Sunday gravy. (That’s red sauce, for those of you not in the know.)

What Mama Wendina has in common with Italians is a passion for a strong, smooth, sumptuous cup of coffee*, and I make-a da best. The two ex boyfriends who’ve had the privilege would lay testament to that. In fact, they’re probably sharing a cell in a maximum security facility, talking about my coffee and trying to decide which of their mothers to kill first when they get out. One of them will be heavily armed and the other is clinically psychotic, so avoid the greater Seattle area if you can.

First, let’s discuss beans. Buy these beans: http://bargreencoffee-store.stores.yahoo.net/frenroas.html End of discussion.

They have an organic French roast but it doesn’t cook up as nice. Other coffee snobs and snobettes are finding these beans to be near the best, and have even blogged about them. Imagine that? If you live near Seattle (and haven’t encountered one of my exes) you’ll find Bargreen Coffee at Bartell Drugs, so make sure to grab a bag of the whole beans while waiting for the pharmacist to refill your happy pills.

If you don’t own a grinder, buy one. I have a typical home grinder that holds around two-thirds of a cup of beans. Fill it to the top, then grind the holy heck out of those poor beans until they are almost an espresso worthy paste. On any given morning, my neighbors can hear horrific cement grinder sounds, followed by loud slams on the counter as I loosen unground beans from the sides of the well. Then back to RRRRWRRRRWWRRRR SLAM! BWEEERRRRRWRRR… They hate me.

While you’re shopping for a grinder, also purchase a #2 plastic Melitta cone and some #2 filters. I sometimes buy the unbleached filters for aesthetic reasons. At this point, bleaching my brain cells won’t make much of a difference. The plastic cone will cost less than a latte, and a box of 40 cones will run about the same.

Heat water until you see a hint of steam. Do not let the water reach a full boil. If you’re using a tea kettle, you’ll be pulling it off the heat well before the whistle blows. Hotter, and you’ll add bitterness**.

Put a filter in the plastic cone.

Scoop half the ground beans (around 1/3 cup) into the filter, and place the rig on top of a coffee cup that holds 10 or 12 ounces.

Slowly pour hot water over the beans until you reach the top of the filter.

Gently stir the contents to incorporate all the grounds into the water and form what is known in the espresso world as crema. Crema is the caramel colored swirl that forms on top, and is an indicator that the essential oils in the coffee are now flavoring the water.

DO NOT bump the cone full of hot water and grounds with your elbow and splatter the wet grounds all over your kitchen. I cannot stress this enough.

Let the water filter all the way through, until there is absolutely none left in the cone. You’ll have around eight ounces of coffee at which to sip.

I take mine with two huge spoons of raw sugar and one large spoon of non-dairy creamer. Sounds sacrilegious, but non-dairy creamer doesn’t water down the coffee, it has a Twinkie-like shelf life and it’s great for those of us who can’t even look at a glass of milk without getting gassy. If you do use a milk product, use heavy cream.

If you insist on using one of those flavored creamers, please don’t tell me about it or I’ll have to ‘unfriend’ you on Facebook. Years ago I pulled espresso at a friend’s cafe. When someone would order a “nonfat, single tall, decaf vanilla latte with two packets of sugar substitute” we referred to it as a “why bother” and banned them from the premises.

My next post will be a continuation of my Christmas cookie series. Don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of time between now and then to finish reading Atlas Shrugged.

*I also have a violin case, but there’s a violin in it.

**If you’re like me, you’re already bitter enough.