Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday, January 31st - prepping for Super Bowl

For breakfast, I had to eggs over medium on a piece of a baguette sliced and toasted. I garnished it with some cilantro. I had a cappuccino but I cheated. I steamed the milk in my mug because I couldn't be bothered to use the milk pitcher.

For lunch, I bought a Spanakopita at my favorite greek grocery on Commercial. I believe it's called the Mediterranian food shop. It has a deli counter and with loads of greek cheeses and olives. It has the best BEST spinach pies in town. I've tried several. I prefer it when there is more spinach than phyllo. I had it with a diet coke and then a glass of cranberry.

Later I'm going to make the biscotti for the party tomorrow. I was going to make regular cookies but since I have time. I make the biscotti.

Cherry and Hazelnut Biscotti
SERIOUSLY I should have done half this. I'll have biscotti forever.

3 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups dried cherries

Have two baking sheets ready!

Position 1 rack in center and 1 rack in top third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Using handheld electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in very large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time just until blended. Mix in orange peel, baking soda and salt. Add 3 cups flour, hazelnuts and dried cherries; stir until well blended. Add 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring until well incorporated.

I used Dom's Kitchenaid mixer. His is a regular model. I have a stronger motor. You could really tell. His started to smell like it was over worked as I got to the end of the flour. You'll want to consider that and go slow until just incorporated then knead by hand more.

Transfer dough to floured work surface. I didn't have a big enough counter and it was pretty big so I pulled out enough to do the logs one at a time. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Knead each piece until dough holds together well. Do not be alarmed, it is crumbly and VERY VERY stiff dough. mash it and refold it and push it into a log like old playdough. Form each piece into 9-inch-long by 3-inch-wide log. Place 2 logs on each of 2 large ungreased baking sheets, spacing about 3 inches apart (logs will spread during baking). Bake until logs are golden and feel firm when tops are gently pressed, switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through baking, about 55 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheets 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Using long wide spatula, transfer logs to cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut warm logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices cut side down on 2 baking sheets. Bake biscotti 10 minutes. Turn biscotti over; bake until light golden, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer to racks and cool completely. You'll have to do this in stages because as you slice them, a log sliced will take more space than the whole log. Slice after the 15 min cooling cuz waiting until you have the oven space may end in disaster and crumbling. You need the loaf slightly supple.

Cool entirely and as you need room on the rack, stand some up on their side.

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