Archive for December, 2010


Every year around the holidays I like to bake an assortment of cookies which I put into little bags and hand out to all my friends. This year I decided to up the ante by adding some other homemade treats to my list. On the menu was Biscotti, salted caramels, vanilla extract and a sweet & spicy rub. Although I’m really glad I decided to do this it was quite a stressful process trying to get everything made and packaged nicely in one weekend.

Here is the recipe for Bisotti. I decided to use  hazelnuts instead of pistachios since hazelnuts are in season and a local nut.  I roasted them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, then chopped them coarsely. I also skipped the sugar sprinkles called for in the recipe and used dark chocolate instead of white chocolate.

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes
Level: Easy
Yield: The recipe says two dozen but it came out to one dozen for me


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
12 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.

Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.

The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

Salted Caramels

The one year anniversary of Spicy Living was December 6th. I know I’m a month behind but I’m thinking of having a giveaway next week to celebrate.


Read Full Post »

Roasted Pumpkin Curry

Fall will officially be over in a few days and the last remaining holidays will fly by leaving us with only cold, wet and dark days of winter. This is my least favorite time of year and also the time when I wish I owned a vacation home somewhere close to the equator. It’s even harder to get through the Winter when you’re single. HELLO, no one to cuddle up with! I’ll be taking applications for a cuddle partner so I can survive the Winter or I’ll just have to cook warm dishes like this to keep me from going insane.

I think you can leave out the sugar in this dish entirely. I used about 3 tablespoons and felt like it turned out a little too sweet but that could be because I used a sweeter pumpkin. I also used slightly less fish sauce because I didn’t want the flavor to be too strong. I would normally recommend not skipping the fish sauce, but I think you could leave it out of this dish if you chose. Last, I didn’t have edamame so I left that out and served with quinoa for extra protein.

One small tip about pumpkins and winter squash… they are much easier to peel if you roast them first. Just cut it in half, take out the seeds and roast in the oven at 400 F for about 30 minutes or until you can poke through it with a fork. You’ll want to wait for it to cool down before you peel the skin.

Rainbow Carrots from the Montavilla Farmer's Market

Recipe adapted from Nibbledish

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Level: Medium
Yield: 4 servings

1/2 of  1 small pumpkin seeded, peeled, and cubed
1 can of coconut milk
1/2 cup of water or chicken/vegetable stock
2 or 3 tbsp of red curry paste
2 or 3 tbsp of fish sauce
4 or 5 tbsp sugar
1 red bell pepper julienned
1 cup edamame
1 cup of green peas
1/2 cup of chopped carrots
1 cup of steamed jasmine rice

Turn broiler on high and roast pumpkin until slightly golden. Meanwhile, bring coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, and curry paste to a boil. Reduce heat and add bell pepper, carrots, edamame, green peas, and roasted pumpkin. Simmer until bell pepper and carrots are soft. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Read Full Post »

Cranberry Nut Bread

Did you know that cranberries are a native Oregon fruit? I had no idea! There are several cranberry farms in Oregon, so I highly recommend that you choose locally when you purchase this scrumptious fruit. Here is a great video Edible Portland did on how cranberries are grown and harvested. It’s fascinating!
This is my favorite cranberry recipe. The first time I experienced this wonderful bread was only last year. I’ve been thinking of it ever since and was so excited to finally make it again. I used fresh, local cranberries which I purchased from New Seasons. I also didn’t chop the berries, I really don’t think it’s necessary. Last, I added a 1/4 teaspoon cardamom because I’m obsessed with the flavor these days. Hope you enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Gourmet

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Level: Easy
Yield: 1 loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 large egg
1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

In a food processor or in a bowl with a pastry blender blend together the flour, the sugar, the baking powder, the salt, the baking soda, and the butter until the mixture resembles meal and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together the zest, the juice, and the egg, add the mixture to the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined. Stir in the cranberries and the walnuts and transfer the batter to a well-buttered 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Bake the bread in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 1 1/4 hours, or until a tester comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes and turn it out onto a rack.

Read Full Post »