Black Pepper and Cheese Biscotti

It’s exam time which means it is snack time and I desperately needed a break from studying and a snack. Making these delicious biscotti was the perfect solution – not healthy, but very satisfying. A warning, you have to love pepper or you will find the pepper too dominant in these delights.

Black Pepper & Cheese Biscotti - A Pat & A Pinch

This recipe is adapted from the Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti recipe found on the blog Smitten Kitchen which in turn was adapted from Gourmet, December 2006. Being somewhat lactose intolerant, I prefer to make it with a Pecorino Romano which I find easier to tolerate. This time I made it with a lactose free Bella Lodi that I found at the Chop Shop at the Root Cellar here in Victoria. The recipe yields 5 to 6 dozen biscotti but I often cut the recipe in half.

Black Pepper and Cheese Biscotti

1 1/2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

4 1/2 oz hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, finely grated (2 1/4 cups)

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 large eggs

1 cup milk

Special equipment: an electric coffee/spice grinder or a mortar and pestle

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Pulse peppercorns in grinder or grind in a mortar until coarsely ground.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups cheese, and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper in a large bowl. Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 3 eggs with milk and add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and quarter dough. Using well-floured hands, form each piece into a slightly flattened 12-inch-long log (about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inch high). I find that this is most easily accomplished by forming the dough into a 12-inch sausage with my hands and then flattening the sausage to a rectangle on the floured counter or board. Transfer the logs to 2 parchment-lined or ungreased large baking sheets, arranging logs about 3 inches apart. Being a fan of easy cleanup I prefer to use parchment.

Whisk remaining egg and brush some over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 tablespoon ground pepper. Bake, rotating sheets 180 degrees and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes total. Cool logs to warm on sheets on a rack, about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Carefully transfer 1 warm log to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange the slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs, transferring slices to sheets. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total. Cool the biscotti on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.

Black Pepper & Cheese Biscotti - A Pat & A Pinch

These would be perfect with a glass (or two) of red wine and are a simple solution to those events where you are asked to bring an appetizer. As my son moves into grade school, I anticipate that this will be a go-to recipe for bake-sales aimed at adults. For now, they are the perfect escape from studying.

Doreen’s Lemon Loaf

Doreen's Lemon Loaf - A Pat & A Pinch

It has been some time since I posted – law school is definitely time consuming.  Today, however, I needed a break from trying to understand the rule against perpetuities and wanted to make something simple and with good memories.  My grandmother’s lemon loaf was the perfect solution.  My grandmother, Doreen, wasn’t a great cook, but she made a few things that have definitely stuck around as favourites for me.  Two of them involved lemons, this cake and a lemon meringue pie that was to die for.  This is easy. The lemon meringue pie is more complicated.

Any type of lemons will work, but I had a bag of meyer lemons that I decided to use. The recipe calls for one lemon, I used 3 but they were small and not the juiciest.  As my dad says, you can’t have too much lemon.

Usually I spend a great deal of time on the photographs, but right now I don’t have the luxury of time, so I have gone to my point and shoot. I hope that the photo still entices you to give this simple and yummy recipe a try!

Doreen's Lemon Loaf - A Pat & A Pinch

Doreen’s Lemon Loaf

6 tablespoons butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 lemon, zested and juiced

½ cup milk

1 ½ cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar (for glaze)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 8.5×4.5″ loaf pan or two smaller loaf pans with parchment paper.  I prefer to use two small pans and reduce the baking time.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl.  Add the beaten eggs, lemon zest, and milk to the creamed mixture.  Sift together the dry ingredients (excluding the sugar for the glaze).  Mix the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients.  Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. I sometime find that it helps to lay a piece of parchment over the pan after the loaf begins to brown, to prevent over-browning. Remove the loaf from the oven.

Mix together the lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar.  Carefully loosen and remove the still-warm loaf from the pan discarding the parchment paper. Return the loaf to the pan, pouring the lemon sugar glaze over it.  Allow the loaf to cool and absorb the liquid.  Remove the loaf from the pan when the liquid is absorbed. Cut, serve and enjoy with a cup of tea.

Ginger-Orange Marinated Carrots with Miso Vinaigrette

This recipe is from My New Roots and was a fun was to use our beautiful rainbow carrots that I found at the local market. Everyone enjoyed these including, and perhaps especially, the adorable 1-year old that lives just across from us.  While this made a surplus of dressing, my mother pointed out that it would be nice on a good piece of halibut as well, something to try another day perhaps.  The recipe is very easy to throw together and I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did!

Ginger Orange Marinated Carrots with Miso Vinaigrette - A Pat & A Pinch

Ginger Orange Marinade
Serves 3-4
zest of 2 oranges
juice of 1 orange
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. coconut oil melted
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
pinch sea salt
Directions:
Whisk all marinade ingredients together.

Mellow Miso Dressing
Makes ½ cup dressing
Ingredients:
¼ cup light miso
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. brown rice vinegar ( or apple cider vinegar which I used)
1 tsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. water
½ tsp. tamari (or high-quality soy sauce – I used Bragg’s as I wanted to keep this gluten free)
Directions:
1. Whisk all ingredients together. Store leftovers in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week.

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Prep carrots by removing the tops (if they have them), and giving them a good scrub to remove any dirt (don’t peel them) . Cut into quarters lengthwise if the carrots are large. Place carrots in the bowl with the marinade and toss to coat. Pour carrots and marinade out onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and place into preheated oven. Roast for 15 minutes or so, just until the raw edge is taken off. Keep a close eye on them – do not overcook.

While the carrots are roasting, make the Miso Dressing. Remove carrots from oven, plate them, drizzling with the dressing.

Ginger Orange Marinated Carrots with Miso Vinaigrette - A Pat & A Pinch

Joanne’s Simple Artichoke Dip

This dip is simple and divine…but (warning) not particularly healthy.  It got passed onto me by my mum who got it from one of her best friends, Joanne.  Of course it pairs perfectly with crackers or tortilla chips and is always a party hit!

Many thanks to the brilliant Peter of Joshua Lawrence Photography for the camera tutorial.  Hopefully my pictures will now better reflect the appetizing recipes I post.

12 oz. marinated artichoke hearts

1 c. mayonnaise

1/2 c. grated parmesan

3 cloves garlic

Pepper to taste

Chop the artichoke hearts and finely chop the garlic.  Mix all ingredients together and bake in a shallow pan at 350F for 20 minutes.  Broil for another 2 minutes to get a nice brown colour on top.

Soy Sauce Marinated Cucumber Salad

This dish was my favourite way of eating veggies as a picky little girl.  It’s simple, quick to prepare, and a tasty side to anything you toss on the BBQ.

2 tbsp soy sauce

1.5 tsp white sugar

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 english long cucumber halved, and seeded and thinly sliced (about 1 mm)

sesame seeds

Place the slices of cucumber in a dish or bowl.  Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar and pour over.  Use a fork to gently ensure that the cucumber slices are coated and refrigerate for 3 hours, occasionally re-coated slices in their marinade as the ones near the bottom will absorb the most. Serve cold as a side garnished with sesame seeds.

Preparation time: approx. 15 minutes (if you are a slow cutter like me)

Note: you can replace the white sugar with brown if you need to and although I haven’t tried it myself, I imagine this would work with Tamari or Bragg’s for a gluten free version.