Siri’s Biscotti

Happy Holidays everyone! I just finished all my finals (and hopefully passed all of them…) and am back in sweet, sunny California! After Thanksgiving break, my house got in the holiday spirit with decorations, and I started craving some holiday themed treats. This is a recipe I got from one of my former roommates, whose ultimate frisbee nickname is Siri, so I call them Siri’s biscotti. I’ve made this recipe a few times now, making some adjustments along the way, and these come out wonderfully every time! I really like the original combination of mix-ins, which is white chocolate, dried cranberries, and pistachios, especially since they add a little pop of red and green to make these holiday-themed. I can also think of many other combinations that would be delicious, like chocolate and orange zest, or maybe butterscotch and pecans if I’m feeling adventurous.

I tend to cut the biscotti relatively thick and don’t bake them till they’re super crunchy, but you can increase the baking time a little bit or slice them a little thinner for crispier cookies. These have been very popular with my friends and family, and they also hold up well to give as gifts. Here’s the recipe!

Siri’s Biscotti

Makes about 30 cookies (thick cut)

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth, then beat in the vanilla and eggs until fluffy. Stir in the salt and baking powder, then add the flour and mix until well-combined. Mix in the cranberries, white chocolate chips, and pistachios until evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Divide the dough in half and form each into a flattened log about 3” wide and 9” long. Place on the parchment paper. Bake for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes. Use a large knife to slice the logs into diagonals about 3/4” thick (or 1/2” if you want crispier cookies). Lay the cookies cut side down on the parchment, return to the oven and bake for 7 minutes, then remove, flip over, and bake for another 7 minutes, or until desired crispness. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Enjoy!

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Curry Lentil Squash Soup

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I just got back to Seattle after a wonderful long weekend with my family and friends at home. Just a couple more weeks of class before we break for the holidays, but I’m looking forward to the Seattle holiday activities while I’m here!

I made this soup a couple weeks ago during a cold spell, and it’s a wonderful, warming winter soup. The curry adds a great flavor to the squash, as well as a nice orange-y color, perfect for fall or winter! You can use whatever squash you like, I just decided to try it with acorn squash. If you want the soup to be a bit sweeter, I would suggest butternut squash or maybe kabocha. Either way, with soup,

I find that if you just add things to the pot and blend it all up and taste as you go, you can’t go wrong! Here’s the recipe I made:

Curry Lentil Squash Soup

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

2 acorn squash (about 4-5 lbs)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 sweet onion, roughly chopped

1 ½ cups dried brown lentils

4 cups vegetable broth

1 14oz can coconut milk

1 ½-2 tbsp curry powder

2 cups water (to desired consistency)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 410˚F. Cut the acorn squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Drizzle olive oil on the cut part of the squash, then place cut side down on the baking sheet, bake for 35-45 minutes, until the squash are easily pierced with a fork. Remove and allow to cool enough to scoop out the flesh.

While the squash is cooling, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and saute until the onions start to become translucent. Pour in the lentils and toast them slightly, then pour in the vegetable stock and increase heat to medium-high.

Bring the lentils to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the coconut milk and curry powder and continue to simmer over medium heat for 10-20 minutes, until the lentils are soft. If necessary add more water (I added about 2 cups, maybe 3) to thin the soup enough to blend easily. Add the squash and heat through.

Use an immersion blender (or allow to cool slightly and carefully transfer in batches to a regular blender) and blend the soup until smooth. Add more water if necessary to desired consistency. Serve warm with some crusty bread. Enjoy!

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Spiced Brown Sugar Cutout Cookies

Happy Sunday! Fall is in full swing up here in the PNW, and we actually had snow last week, so winter is definitely looming. Which means it’s time for cookie decorating! We had Friday off classes, so I used some of the extra time to make these holiday cookies, then had a couple friends over for a decorating party! I took this recipe from Everyday Annie, and it’s a good one. I slightly increased the spices, as I usually do, but other than that kept the recipe the same.

These turned out wonderfully soft, but also sturdy enough to hold up to our decorating efforts. I like my cookies on the softer side, so I reduced the baking time a bit, but I did break a few while decorating, so you could keep the original bake time if you want crispier, sturdier cookies. I made a simple icing, and my friend brought buttercream frosting and lots of fun sprinkles, so had a nice variety of decorating options. In any case, these cookies were delicious on their own, but even more so with frosting, and provided us a great rainy day activity. Here’s the recipe!

Spiced Brown Sugar Cutout Cookies

adapted from Everyday Annie

Makes about 30 cookies

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp allspice

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Direction

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt,and spices in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until a smooth paste forms. Beat in the egg and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Add the dry ingredients and stir together until combined. Divide the dough in half and roll into logs/disks, then chill for about an hour (if you chill it longer, give it a little extra time to soften up when you take it out of the fridge so the dough doesn’t crack when you roll it out).

When you are ready, preheat the oven to 350˚F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the first portion of dough to about 1/4 inch thick, then use cookie cutters to cut out cookies and transfer to baking sheets. Repeat with second portion of dough.

Bake the cookies for 9 minutes (10-11 if you want crispier cookies), then remove and allow to cool completely. Then, decorate as you wish! Enjoy!

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Caramelized Onion Lentil Casserole

Well I’m back in Seattle after attending the most amazing wedding I will probably ever go to. My college roommate got married in Santa Barbara this weekend, and it was absolutely wonderful to celebrate with her and her husband, as well as hang out with all of our college friends. I’m currently ignoring the tests that I have this week and instead reminiscing about the weekend and writing this post about the lentil casserole I made for dinner last week. I adapted a recipe from The Kitchn based on my tastes and what I had available. I liked the idea of a casserole, but instead of using rice, I just used all lentils. Instead of mushrooms, I added some spinach for the leafy greens, but the mushrooms would also be a great addition. The result was a hearty casserole, perfect for the chilly fall nights that are about to become the norm here. Here’s my recipe!

Caramelized Onion Lentil Casserole

adapted from The Kitchn

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup brown lentils, dried

3 cups vegetable/chicken broth

1 sweet onion, sliced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 cup milk (I used nonfat)

3 eggs

Herbs to

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

taste

Ground pepper, to taste

1 16oz package frozen spinach

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.

Combine the lentils and broth in a rice cooker and set to cook (alternatively, cook on the stovetop).

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions, and cook until the onions are caramelized, about 15 minutes. While the onions are cooking, preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Beat together the milk and eggs. Stir in the cheese and herbs and make sure to stir well.

Once the lentils are cooked and the onions are caramelized, combine the lentils, onions, and spinach in the pan. Pour the milk and egg mixture on top and stir to combine. Sprinkle the shredded Parmesan on top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove and allow to let cool before serving. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Ginger Spice Cookies

It’s definitely fall here in Seattle, and I’m loving the changing colors of the leaves. As promised, here’s one of the fall-inspired recipes I’ve made recently. I took a recipe from Two Peas and their Pod and adjusted it a little based on my tastes and the amounts of ingredients that I had. The result was a cookie wonderfully flavored with pumpkin and spice, and deliciously chewy and soft, thanks to the molasses. I wouldn’t call them gingersnap cookies, since they’re soft through and through, but they do have a nice gingersnap flavor to them.

I did try baking a few of them without chilling, and they turned out much too cakey and fluffy, so unfortunately the chilling is necessary. But these cookies are worth the wait! I had a little more pumpkin left in my can than half a cup, so I increased the amount of pumpkin to 3/4 cup. I think that made the cookies turn out softer and fluffier than the original recipe, and the dough was also pretty sticky, so I omitted the extra step of rolling these cookies in sugar. They turned out sweet enough anyway, and it would have been difficult to do without getting cookie dough stuck to everything. Here’s the recipe I used:

Pumpkin Ginger Spice Cookies

adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Makes about 4 dozen small cookies

Ingredients

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup (half a 15oz can) pumpkin puree

1/2 cup molasses

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until a smooth paste forms. Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg, and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until well combined.

Chill for 2 hours, or overnight. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Drop small rounds of dough (about 1-1 1/2 tbsp each) a couple inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until the cookies are just set. Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before transferring to racks or plates to cool completely. Enjoy!

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Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well I’m officially back in Seattle for my second year of physical therapy school. After an amazing clinical internship in Eugene, OR in August, and a brief few weeks at home in sweet California, I drove straight from summer sun into fall clouds and rain. Fall is a wonderful time of year, with the changing leaves and the arrival of all the seasonal autumn goods at the grocery store. Which leads, of course, to baking adventures! I’ve baked quite a bit over the last week, and there are many fall-inspired recipes to come, but the one I have today is a variation of one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes with a matcha twist.

dscn8363.jpgI recently discovered that I really enjoy matcha tea, so I bought myself some matcha powder. However, it came in a rather large can, so I decided to think of some other uses for it other than making matcha lattes, and matcha-flavored baked goods are relatively popular, so I figured I’d try my hand at it. The results were great! The powder is pretty potent, so a little goes a long way in this recipe. You could also probably omit the chocolate chips for just plain matcha sugar cookies, but perhaps that’s a recipe I’ll try another day. In any case, here’s the recipe I came up with!

Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen small cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp matcha powder

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Cream together the butter and sugars until a rough paste forms. Beat in the vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and matcha powder, and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix until the chips are evenly incorporated into the dough.

Drop scoops of dough, about 1 tbsp each, a couple inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 8 minutes, until just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a couple minutes before transferring to racks or plates to cool completely. Enjoy!

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Edamame Dumplings

Happy Sunday! It’s been a beautiful weekend in Seattle, and I went on two hikes this weekend, to two beautiful lakes. I’m trying to soak up as much Seattle summer as possible when I’m not in class! If you’re in the area, I highly recommend Lake Melakwa, which I hiked with a couple friends yesterday. It’s a great workout to get to the lake, and I jumped in to cool off. The water was quite refreshing (very cold), but it was quite peaceful around the lake, and lots of people had tents or hammocks, and it was nice to just chill for a bit before hiking down. Today, I went with a few other friends to Lake 22, which had very different scenery. We walked through rainforest to get to the lake, and Mount Pilchuck which is beside Lake 22 was shrouded in clouds and mist at the top. I didn’t get into the water on this one, since it was a little colder today, but it was quite a beautiful lake!

Now for the food. Last weekend I had a potluck and game night with some friends, and we all brought various Asian foods. I decided to try and replicate the edamame dumplings I’d had recently at True Food Kitchen when my parents took me, and I was actually quite successful! I used the frozen shelled edamame from Trader Joe’s, which made the process quite easy, then just threw in a bunch of flavors that I thought would taste good, sealed them nice and tight in dumpling wrappers, and boiled them in miso soup, and they turned out wonderfully! The basil flavor really came through, but the ginger and garlic were also great additions. Here’s the recipe.

Edamame Dumplings

Makes 50 dumplings

Ingredients

12 oz shelled edamame (About two cups, I used one Trader Joe’s package)

4 green onions, sliced

2 tbsp miso paste

1 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced

1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tsp dried basil

1 tbsp marsala wine/cooking wine

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp white pepper

1 package round wonton wrappers (50 wrappers)

Optional broth for cooking (I used miso soup)

Directions

For the filling:

Bring a salted pot of water to a boil, then add the edamame and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, pulse together the edamame with the rest of the ingredients until a rough paste forms, leaving the edamame slightly chunky.

To form the dumplings, dip your finger in some water and run it around the outside of the wrapper, then place about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half and press the top together, then crimp the wrapper together starting at the sides, and forming a crescent shape. See here for a video of how I do it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjW_ntpIj2E but you can fold them any way you like. Repeat with all 50 wrappers. I got lucky and had exactly enough filling for the 50 wrappers, but depending on how full you stuff your dumplings, there might be slightly too much or too little filling.

To cook the dumplings:

Bring a large pot of water or broth to a boil. Drop the dumplings in, making sure they don’t touch and stick together, and boil for 3-4 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Remove from the water/broth with a slotted spoon and repeat until you have boiled the desired number of dumplings. Serve warm, with on a plate or in bowls with the broth, if you chose to cook them in broth.

If you don’t cook them all at once, lightly dust a baking sheet with flour, place the dumplings on the pan so they are not touching, then freeze. After they have frozen, you can remove them from the pan and place them in a bag or container for easier freezing, and they will keep well for a few months.

To cook these, you can also use the pan frying method, outlined here https://dinewithdeja.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/jiao-zi-chinese-dumplingspotstickers/

Enjoy!

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