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Breads and Desserts, Cookies, Cuppylicious!

Cinnamon Almond Biscotti

Cinnamon Almond Biscotti

Cinnamon Almond Biscotti

Total time:  1 hour.

3 cups cheap all-purpose flour (or 2 1/2 cups of King Arthur flour)
1 cup sugar
1 cup toasted, unsalted almonds
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl, set aside.

Beat sugar and softened butter until smooth. Add eggs, zest and vanilla, beat until smooth. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and mix just until just blended. Fold in almonds.

Divide dough into two pieces. Form into long flat loaves about 1/2 inch tall and 12-15 inches long. Place the loaves 3-4 inches apart on a prepared or non-stick baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10-15 minutes (or until you can handle the loaves without burning yourself) on a cooling rack or cutting board.

With a serrated or extremely sharp kitchen knife, cut diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Lay the slices flat on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, turning over once. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 2 dozen.

I used slivered almonds.

Breads and Desserts, Cookies, Cuppylicious!

Leftover Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Total time:  1.5 hours.

2 cups leftover steel-cut oatmeal
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened, OR 1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and both types of sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and egg, mix until smooth. Add salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, mix until smooth.

In a small bowl, combine half the flour and all the baking soda. Gradually add flour mixture to the dough.

Continue to add remaining flour slowly. If your dough starts to become “dry” before you finish, stop with the flour and move on.

Mix in oatmeal. Fold in chocolate chips and other optional ingredients.

Spoon out dough by large tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie.

Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets before moving to cooling rack.

Super moist deliciousness. Was it the cooked oatmeal? The shortening? I’m not sure, but my cookies were super soft, whether in the oven for 10 minutes or 18 minutes. They looked “undercooked” when I pulled them out at 13 minutes, but I found that 13 was definitely the magic number.

Be sure to let these cool on the cookie sheet before trying to move them, and if you’re using chocolate chips, make sure your spatula is tough enough to scoop the cookies off without ripping them in half.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Pasta & Rice, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Sushi Rice

Peanut butter, spicy grape compote, and apple slices

Peanut butter, spicy grape compote, and apple slices

The November 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was brought to us by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of The Bite Me Kitchen.

Preparation time: 1¾ hours consisting of :-
Rinsing and draining rice: 35 minutes
Soaking rice: 30 minutes (includes 5 minutes making the vinegar dressing)
Cooking and steaming time: 25 minutes
Finishing the rice: 15 minutes


  • 3 cups uncooked short grain rice
  • 3 cups water
  • For superior results use equal volumes of rice and water

Sushi vinegar dressing

  • 6 Tablespoons (75 mls) rice vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons (25 mls or 21 grams) sugar
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons (6.25 mls or 4.5 grams) salt
Maguro Nigiri (browned tuna nigiri style)

Maguro Nigiri (browned tuna nigiri style)

Rinsing and draining the rice

  1. Swirl rice gently in a bowl of water, drain, repeat 3-4 times until water is nearly clear. Don’t crush the rice in your hands or against the side of the bowl since dry rice is very brittle.
  2. Gently place rice into a strainer and drain well for 30 minutes.

Soaking the rice

  1. Gently place the rice into a heavy medium pot with a tight fitting lid (if you have a loose fitting lid use a piece of aluminium foil to make the seal tight).
  2. Add 3 cups of water.
  3. Set the rice aside to soak for 30 minutes, during this time prepare the sushi rice dressing.

Preparing the Rice Vinegar Dressing

  1. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl.
  2. Heat on low setting.
  3. Stir until the mixture goes clear and the sugar and salt have dissolved.
  4. Set aside at room temperature until the rice is cooked.

From the chopsticks, clockwise: California rolls, Seattle rolls, ebi nigiri, sake nigiri, tuna roll, maguro nigiri

From the chopsticks, clockwise: California rolls, Seattle rolls, ebi nigiri, sake nigiri, tuna roll, maguro nigiri

Cooking the rice

  1. After 30 minutes of soaking, bring rinsed and soaked rice to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed, 12-15 minutes. Do not remove the lid during this process. Turn off heat.
  3. Let stand with the lid on, 10-15 minutes. Do not peek inside the pot or remove the lid. During this time the rice is steaming which completes the cooking process.

Finishing the rice

  • Turning out the rice

  1. Moisten lightly a flat thin wooden spatula or spoon and a large shallow flat-bottomed non-metallic (plastic, glass or wood) bowl. Do not use metallic objects since the vinegar will react with it and produce sour and bitter sushi rice.
  2. Remove the dashi konbu (kelp) from the cooked rice.
  3. Use the spatula to loosen gently the rice and invert the rice pot over the bowl, gently causing the cooked rice to fall into the bowl in one central heap. Do this gently so as not to cause the rice grains to become damaged.

  • Dressing the rice with vinegar

  1. Slowly pour the cooled sushi vinegar over the spatula onto the hot rice.
  2. Using the spatula gently spread the rice into a thin, even layer using a 45° cutting action to break up any lumps and to separate the rice. Don’t stir or mash rice.
  3. After the rice is spread out, start turning it over gently, in small portions, using a cutting action, allowing steam to escape, for about a minute.

  • Fanning & Tossing the rice

  1. Continue turning over the rice, but now start fanning (using a piece of stiff cardboard) the rice vigorously as you do so. Don’t flip the rice into the air but continue to gently slice, lift and turn the rice occasionally, for 10 minutes. Cooling the rice using a fan gives good flavour, texture and a high-gloss sheen to the rice. The vinegar dressing will be absorbed by the hot rice. Using a small electric fan on the lowest speed setting is highly recommended.
  2. Stop fanning when there’s no more visible steam, and all the vinegar dressing has been adsorbed and the rice is shiny. Your sushi rice is ready to be used.

  • Keeping the rice moist

    Cover with a damp, lint free cloth to prevent the rice from drying out while preparing your sushi meal. Do not store sushi rice in the refrigerator leave on the counter covered at room temperature. Sushi rice is best used when it is at room temperature.

* Tip: While the rice is draining, soaking and cooking prepare your rice vinegar dressing, sushi fillings and toppings.

Cuppylicious!, Seafood, Side Dishes

Seafood-stuffed Lemons

Seafood-stuffed Lemon

Seafood-stuffed Lemon

Total time:  Approximately 35 minutes.

2 large lemons
1 cup chopped or shredded COOKED seafood
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 full scallion, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 stalk of celery, diced (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut each lemon in half the “short” way, so that each side can be cupped in a hand. Using a spoon, scoop out most of the fruit. Don’t dig deep!!!! If you cut into the rind, you’re likely to get some real bitter bites. The best way to do this is to just use a hand juicer to flatten the insides of the lemon. (I froze my leftover lemon juice in the ice cube tray, one tablespoon per cube.)

In a medium bowl, mix together meat, cheese, breadcrumbs, onions, celery, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.

Stuff each lemon half as tight as you can with the stuffing.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

I used 5 large prawns, a handful of crab meat, and a handful of tuna (leftovers from sushi night, fried in a pan). I was originally planning to put an egg in the mix to hold it all together, but I forgot. The filling was plenty moist and held together well, though, so I left the egg out of the recipe. Unless your meat is really dry, I see no reason to add an egg.

I baked my stuffed lemons in my cupcake pan.