Somehow biscotti manages to avoid many of the problems that plague regular cookies. When you go to a coffee shop first thing in the morning and pick out a huge chocolate chip cookie for breakfast, you may get a side-eye from the cashier. But a biscotti with your cup of morning joe just seems to make sense. They often have nuts in them (a healthy fat) or contain some sort of dried fruits (a good source of fiber). Why, at that rate, a biscotti is just one step away from a granola bar, which is totally acceptable to eat for the “most important” meal of the day.
But it’s not just in the morning that biscotti dodges the stigma of its sugary brethren. It’s also at the end of a meal when you are so stuffed that you can’t even contemplate looking at a dessert menu. You order a shot of espresso or a small glass of Vin Santo instead but when it comes accompanied by an innocent looking biscotti, you eat it without a second thought. It’s not really a cookie, it’s merely an enhancement for your beverage.
I am a (in theory) breakfast person. I love eggs, I love crispy bacon and sausage, and of course pancakes, waffles and the like. Heck, even cereal makes me pretty happy. But since I like sleeping in as much as possible, I rarely have more than a granola bar for breakfast during the work week. Which, when I throw in my 8-mile bike ride to work every day, doesn’t ever seem like enough. In fact, usually by 10 am I am staring at my lunch and by noon, I’m starving.
To help my day begin with a bit more giddyup, I finally decided to make a recipe I pinned forever ago — baked oatmeal with berries. The best thing is that it’s easy to make, the second best thing is that it’s easy to reheat. And, considering that I bike my breakfast to work, the fact that it’s easily portable was also a plus. Nothing is worse than finding out your food leaked all over your work clothes. I once had to hose out my backpack when a small container of pickled peppers got loose after a particularly rowdy ride to work.
Anyways…even though it was hellaciously hot last week, I cranked up my oven and made some baked oatmeal.
The temperature has been hovering around 90 degrees (and then some) for the past few days and I absolutely love it. Yes, it is hot. Yes, it makes my bike commute borderline painful. Yes, I can step out into the sun and basically wilt into a puddle of sweat within minutes and yes, I still love it.
But even though I adore the heat, I can definitely appreciate a few things that offer some cool relief — a cold shower, an even colder beer and, of course, an icy refreshing dessert. And while I have been absolutely digging Ben & Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt this summer, there is nothing quite like homemade when it comes to frozen treats. And, coincidentally, my husband recently brought home a brand-new ice cream machine that needed to be broken in.
Our first creation was a little different than the usual ones he makes at work (think foie gras ice cream and nutterbutter gelato). I wanted something lighter and slightly healthier, so I convinced him to make a frozen yogurt instead.
I remember when I first discovered pesto. My great-aunt Kay made it for me when I was about 12 or 13, more than 20 years ago. My family was in Vancouver BC, visiting Kay and other relatives, and she had a big family dinner planned for one of the nights that we were in town. Kay was known for not only being an extraordinary cook, but also for preparing — in true Italian fashion — enough food to feed an army. One of the dishes she made that night was pasta in pesto sauce. I had never even seen pesto before and was a little hesitant to try it. I had no idea its green color came from basil and the idea of a green pasta sauce threw me for a loop.
I should take a quick moment to explain that I am from a small town on an island in Alaska. The produce in our grocery stores was certainly not of the best quality and I honestly can’t remember having seen fresh basil before. So this was definitely a first for me.
Once I took my first bite, I was hooked. It was amazing. I requested it again and again in the following years and my mother would always make some variation of it for me. To this day, one of my favorite combinations of all time is pesto mixed with any kind of pasta and broccoli.