As an Italian child, you become familiar with your family’s signature dishes. They become staples in your upbringing and you can’t imagine life without grandma’s Sunday sauce or dad’s turkey soup with acini di pepe. Yet, in high school, friends (familiar with my Italian background) began inquiring about things like gnocchi and rice balls. Um, what? Out of fear for embarrassing myself, I would either lie and say, “duh, who hasn’t heard of (insert unfamiliar food here)” or “…that’s not a thing.” I was not about to let someone put a scuff in my boot-shaped ego. I did, however, have curiosity about this “gnocchi” they spoke of. Once I accepted that I didn’t know all things Italian (which was a big first step), my world completely changed. As it turned out, there were tons of traditional Italian foods my family hadn’t incorporated into their kitchen routines. At this time, I decided that I would embrace the unknown and begin my own recipe traditions. Enter biscotti.
Last week, there wasn’t much to do except wait for the storm that was about to hit. In preparation for this storm, my apartment (read: large room with a kitchen) was near spotless. I am in love with the light that floods through the windows. It is generously diffused by the sheer curtains (from fabric that I purchased at Mood. Thank you, Mood!). This sight encourages me to bake because this light makes me happy and I associate happiness with baking.
This particular biscotti recipe is from my favorite cookbook, A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. Her book includes the basic baking groups (i.e. bread, muffins, cakes, cookies, etc) but the recipes always have a little twist. Everything I’ve made from this book, with the exception of the strawberry tart (pastry dough and I have had our disagreements), has been amazing. And of course, the KitchenAid makes everything a little bit easier (and gets you to the eating part faster).
Until I master the art of French pastry, chopping seems to be my favorite part of being in the kitchen. So much so, that the chop-slap actually hurts my feelings a little bit. Because of this interest, my fridge is usually full of pre-chopped onions, parsley and tomatoes all holding “Occupy Fridge” signs.
Lately, I’ve really been attracted to mason jars. I know, I’m a few years late for the mason jar trend. They remind me of the country and I’ve become very aware of how much I miss the idea of country living in this big city. If I had my way, everyone would wear cowboy hats and call me “little lady” while opening doors for me.
When you eat these biscotti, they tease your sense of smell with the overwhelming pepper aroma and subtly sting your mouth with the saltiness of the parmesan. Their addictive flavors are responsible for the binge eating that’s transpired in my home this past week. Needless to say, there are none left.
And when my kid’s friends are asking her about Chianti and Parmesan Biscotti, she can honestly say, “duh, who hasn’t heard of Chianti and Parmesan Biscotti?”