Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Like Milk (only better)

One of the great things about coffee is how well it goes with cookies. It's so amazing to see how many of coffee's subtle undertones become apparent with a good pairing. Chocolate brings out the nuttiness of a medium-bodied brew that you never thought had so many layers in it. Biscotti is maybe the best cookies for dipping. It's not too sweet, so it won't compete with the rich taste of your coffee, its long and narrow shape is ideal for multiple-dipping, and it can be flavoured using a variety of nuts, dried fruits, and pantry staples like chocolate or toffee. Feel free to substitute almond syrup for vanilla to get a more bitter, grown-up biscotti. And remember, you can enjoy these with your evening liquor of preference as well.

Cherry Almond Biscotti

2 c all purpose flour
3/4c granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1 c whole almonds
1/2 c dried cherries (or cranberries)
1 tbsp lemon/orange rind
3 eggs
1/2 c olive oil (use half canola if you'd like)
1/4 c orange juice

Preheat the oven to 325 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, almonds and cherries in a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together eggs and oil. Stir in the juice and rind, then mix.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture in. Work the liquid into the dry ingredients slowly to form a dough. Knead for a minute or two (grease your hands if they're too sticky).

Divide the dough in half and form two logs no more than an inch in thickness. Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with salt and sugar. Bake for 30min or until dough is golden coloured. Don't worry if the logs cracks on top.

Cool for 10-20min. Take a sharp bread knife and cut the logs into 1/2inch slices (if you cut on an angle, you get taller biscotti). Now, bake your biscotti for another 10-15min on each side until golden. Cool before storing. Watch closely during the rebaking, because each oven is a little different.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

WWJD to make nachos?

One of the most enticing things about small town living is the curiosities of local cuisine, which is really just a long-winded way of saying that there's some awesome pub grub in Peterborough. For instance, Macthirsty's pub, easily accessed as its in the same building as our apartment, serves up some truly kick ass nachos. I'm not saying they rival the Tex Mex kings of Toronto--- Sneaky Dee's infamous Kings Crown nachos (I swear to god, we once watched a guy eat one of those behemoths by himself). But Macthirsty's does have a nice twist for everyone's favorite dippable meal replacement. Like a true Irish pub, they make their own in-house sliced spuds and then pile on nacho toppings, making what they call Irish nachos. It's pretty gruesome and (according to our friend, Dave) maybe even worth the ninety minute drive from T.O. The only problem, like everything in this town, they're closed Sunday. Which means I'm stuck making my own nachos before the game starts. Also, these happen to be vegan, not by design but just because ground beef and cheese turn chips into corn paste, instead of keeping that nice crunch.

The Works Nachos

1 bag blue corn nachos
1 mango, peeled and cubed
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 avocado, pitted and cubed
1 quart cherry tomatoes
1/2 C kidney beans
1 medium white onion, peeled, halved and sliced
1 bunch, green onions, sliced
2 jalapenos, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sour cream, for dipping

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread out your whole bag of chips on a baking sheet. Now add, in order the mango, the bell peppers, the avocado, tomatoes, kidney beans, white onion and green onion and finally jalapenos. (I do it in this order because I like to have certain things on top when I dig in, but you can experiment). Also, add cheese and meat at your own risk. If you do add beef, please, make sure that you cook it well before hand and drain the fat. Serve with beer, a side of sour cream and enjoy the game. (I'll probably watch the Bills lose, but you can take your pick here).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This Lonely Pear

If a red bowl (half full of soup, but that's a whole other philosophical matter) falls and shatters all over the place but there's no one (other than me of course) there to see/hear it, is it still broken? I sure hope so because otherwise I just spent a long time cleaning up nothing...

Other Pear is in the big city and I'm finding it hard to play the what do you wanna do for dinner game. It's no fun to play it alone because It ends too quickly. So here I am on this windy Thursday night, I just made a half recipe of my pizza dough and set the table for one but to tip my hat to Ev I'm adopting his method: only using what I've got at home.

Home Alone Pizza
(double amounts if feeding more than one)

3/4 cup warm water
1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups Flour

Mix the yeast, water, and honey in a small bowl and let sit until it starts to bubble and froth. Add salt and olive oil and stir to mix. Add flour in thirds mixing with a wooden spoon. When the dough starts to form turn it out on a dry surface and use the rest of the flour (or more if needed) to knead for 5-10 minutes or until you have a smooth elastic ball that does not stick. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat, cover, and let stand in a warm draft free place until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 550.

Punch down and roll out onto an oiled baking sheet/pizza stone. Perforate using a fork and brush with olive oil. If you are using pesto like I did, spread the pesto in a thin layer.

Arrange desired toppings and cheese evenly. I only used pesto, crushed garlic, ricotta, and pecorino. Bake until crisp and golden. Depending on your oven this will take 5-10 minutes, but the only sure way is to watch your pizza closely.