Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gingerbread Biscotti

Cookies, Coffee and Christmas!

The holiday cooking classes are over and our staff has mixed, rolled, shaped and baked 9 different cookies for 80 students. If you are looking to add some new ideas to your holiday cookie trays and cookie exchanges, think about joining The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's International Market next year for our annual cookie extravaganza held in the beginning of December. With the class schedule winding down for 2014, we decided to take a break, have a cup of coffee and enjoy a ginger scented, crunchy biscotti. Leigh added a pretty holiday touch with a drizzle of white chocolate and a sprinkle of coarse sugar. Great aroma and taste - the perfect combination! The recipe for Gingerbread Biscotti from Fine Cooking is an interesting recipe that yields great results. Biscotti last a long time when stored in a tin and are a perfect treat when you're finally able to put your feet up and enjoy a well-deserved rest after the holidays.


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda. 


In a measuring cup, lightly whisk the molasses, eggs, and orange zest. 


Blend the dry ingredients on medium-low speed until well blended.


On low speed, briefly mix in the pecans and apricots.


With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the egg mixture. Continue mixing until the dough is well blended and comes together in large, moist clumps, 1 to 2 minutes.


Dump the dough onto an unfloured work surface.


Shape each pile into a log that's 10 inches long and about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, lightly flouring your hands as needed (the dough is a bit sticky). Position the logs on the lined cookie sheet about 4 inches apart. Bake until the tops are cracked and spring back slightly when gently pressed, 30 to 35 minutes.


Carefully peel the biscotti logs from the parchment and transfer to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, saw each log into diagonal slices 3/4 inch wide. Return the slices to the cookie sheet (no need for fresh parchment) and arrange them cut side down. It's all right if they touch because they won't spread.


Bake until the biscotti are dried to your taste, about 10 minutes (for slightly moist and chewy) to 20 minutes (for super-dry and crunchy). Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and let the biscotti cool completely. The biscotti will still give slightly when pressed, but will harden as they cool. When cool, store in airtight containers.


Leigh's decorative tip: Melt 2 ounces of white Ghiradelli chocolate, put it in a sandwich bag and snip off a corner and drizzle over the baked and sliced biscotti.



Gingerbread Biscotti
recipe from Fine Cooking

10 oz.(2-1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp. ground ginger
1-1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. baking soda
4 oz. (1 cup) pecans, coarsely chopped
4 oz. (1/2 cup) lightly packed dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup molasses
2 large eggs
2 tsp. finely grated orange zest (from about 1 medium navel orange)



Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda on medium-low speed until well blended. On low speed, briefly mix in the pecans and apricots. In a measuring cup, lightly whisk the molasses, eggs, and orange zest. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the egg mixture. Continue mixing until the dough is well blended and comes together in large, moist clumps, 1 to 2 minutes.

Dump the dough onto an unfloured work surface. Divide into two equal piles (about 1 lb. each). Shape each pile into a log that's 10 inches long and about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, lightly flouring your hands as needed (the dough is a bit sticky).

Position the logs on the lined cookie sheet about 4 inches apart. Bake until the tops are cracked and spring back slightly when gently pressed, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a rack and let cool until the logs are cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

Carefully peel the biscotti logs from the parchment and transfer to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, saw each log into diagonal slices 3/4 inch wide. Return the slices to the cookie sheet (no need for fresh parchment) and arrange them cut side down. It's all right if they touch because they won't spread.
Bake until the biscotti are dried to your taste, about 10 minutes (for slightly moist and chewy) to 20 minutes (for super-dry and crunchy). Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and let the biscotti cool completely. The biscotti will still give slightly when pressed, but will harden as they cool. When cool, store in airtight containers.

Leigh's decorative tip: Melt 2 ounces of white Ghiradelli chocolate and drizzle over the baked and sliced biscotti.















Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Steak and Red Wine Soup

Sumptuous Soup

If this soup could be rated, The Cooking School staff at Jungle Jim's International Market would give this the "Adult with Discriminating Taste Only" rating! We used the very best ingredients for this winter weather, hearty Steak and Red Wine Soup. Cooking school students enjoyed a Wine and Food pairing class with Leigh Barnhart Ochs, Dave Schmerr and Chip Emmerich. Wine aficionados will recognize the Burnet Ridge Winery label. Burnet Ridge Winery is a Cincinnati gem and if you have not tried Chip's wines, please consider doing so. After class, we had some award-winning Purple Trillium, so we used it in the soup. When using wine in cooking, use a wine you would drink. Anything labeled "cooking wine" is not something you would drink, nor would you want to, so don't use it in your cooking!


The beef we used for the soup was superb - 2 pounds of medium-rare New York Strip roast. A top sirloin would work, too. The beef was already cooked perfectly; it was leftover from the Wine and Food class with Burnet Ridge. Cut it into ½-inch dice. If you don't have leftover beef, you can sear a steak or grill it and use it for the soup in place of the New York Strip roast. 


Heat the olive oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sauté the onions, carrots, celery and garlic.  



Saute until the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 8-10 minutes. 


Stir in remaining ingredients...



Including the delicious red wine and bring to a boil. 


 Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Enjoy the tantalizing aroma. 


After 30 minutes of simmering, check for seasoning and dine with gusto! 



Steak and Red Wine Soup

Warm and satisfying, this hearty soup is a meal in a bowl. Add a chunk of crusty bread for a quick and delicious dinner.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds rare to medium rare steak, NY Strip, top sirloin, etc., ½-inch dice
4 cups beef broth
1 cup dry red wine
28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons steak sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Salt, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sauté the onions, carrots, celery and garlic until the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serves 6-8



Leigh’s Tips: Like most soups, this can be served immediately – but will taste even better if refrigerated overnight. Steak and Red Wine Soup freezes well for 2-3 months.