Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti recipe #GardenCuizine

Christmas Cranberry  
Pistachio Biscotti

Red cranberries and green pistachios are the stars of these Christmas cookie jar favorites. I first saw this holiday combination dipped in white chocolate in Bon Appetit in 2003. Since then I've seen several variations online that seem to have dropped the anise seeds. I dropped the white chocolate instead. This is my take on a great holiday cookie with fruit and nuts that we always find time to make during the holidays. Enjoy!

Yields: approximately 6 dozen


1 pkg Craisins (or dried cherries)
3/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons whole anise seeds

4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs (1 for egg wash)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
lemon zest from 2 lemons

1 1/4 cups shelled raw pistachios 
Putting it all together
prepare 2 cookie sheets with foil or parchment; no need to spray
preheat oven to 350 deg. F
  • Roast pistachios on a baking sheet; set aside to cool.
  • Place orange juice, anise seeds and Craisins in medium pot and heat to boiling. Turn off heat and let sit until cool. After cool, allow to strain in colander.
  • Meanwhile, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light.
  • Crack 4 eggs into measuring cup; add vanilla.
  • Add 4 eggs to butter/sugar mixture one at a time, mixing well after each addition
  • Slowly mix in flour mixture and lemon zest until just combined.
  • Fold in nuts and dried cranberries.
  • Divide dough and press and form into 4 logs directly on cookie sheets. Tip: wet hands under water and shake off excess to help prevent dough from sticking.
  • Whisk remaining egg with a splash of water for egg wash. Brush logs with egg wash and bake until golden. remove from oven and cool on counter 20 minutes before peeling off foil from bottom. Move cookies to a cutting board and slice on an angle into 1/2 inch slices.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325 deg. F. Position sliced biscotti back on cookie sheets and bake again on each side for 10 minutes or until desired dryness.
  • Cool completely before storing in airtight containers.
Merry Christmas!
Related Links
Pistachios, small nut - Mighty Nutrition 
Diana's Anise Biscotti

Recipe and photo Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.
Craisins are a registered trademark of Ocean Spray.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Warm up with homemade Broccoli Soup #GardenCuizine

Broccoli Soup
Afraid to make your own from scratch soup? If you're planning on using an instant broccoli soup packet mix, may I make a suggestion? To prevent sodium overload, only use 3 tablespoons rather than the entire packet as the directions often call for. Don't worry, your broccoli soup will still taste delicious! Broccoli soup is a nutritious beginners soup that can be easily made without using soup mix. 

2-3 cups chopped Broccoli: reserve 5-7 small florets
4 cups low fat milk
1 potato, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon butter (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic

pinch thyme (dried or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese and sea salt to taste
  • OR 3 tablespoons* instant broccoli cheddar cheese soup mix
*Note: often times instant soup packets call for using the entire packet which would be far too much sodium per serving (often greater than 1,200 mg sodium) and not necessary. Do not use the entire soup mix packet! Instead, try using just 3 tablespoons to provide plenty of flavor. Taste and see for yourself. You can always add more. 

You decide if you want to add soup mix or not. Instant soup mixes often contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils such as palm kernel and cottonseed oils, as well as flavor enhancers (disodium guanylate), corn syrup solids and artificial colors.

Serves 3-4

Putting it all together
  • Saute onion in oil/butter blend. 
  • Add garlic and saute until the onion is transparent. 
  • Stir in the thyme, chopped broccoli and potato. 
  • Pour in the milk. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cover and simmer until the veggies are soft, stirring occasionally.
  • Using an immersion blender, pulse the soup to a puree texture directly in the soup pot. 
  • Stir in the reserved broccoli florets and cheese (or soup mix). Cover and simmer until florets are tender.
  • Serve and enjoy with toasted whole grain bread. 
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved.