Orange, Almond & Apricot Biscotti

You know the best thing about having sisters? It’s like having mandatory friends – friends who visit and bring you food. You know what’s even better than a sister? A little sister who likes to bake, which mine does. Hallelujah! Baby sister Bee was in town a few weekends ago to deal with some grad school applications and she brought me up some fresh baked biscotti!

When she was just a little tot in elementary school, I remember her attempting to bake lemon bars by herself one Saturday morning and being absolutely crushed when they came out terribly. So adorably sweet. Such terrible, terrible burnt lemon bars.

Well, she’s come a long way from those days! Because these biscotti were absolutely addicting. They were dense and doughy but crispy on the edges. Each bite was chock full of crunchy almond bits and chewy sweet pieces of dried apricot. They probably should have been a bit crispier, but Bee says she may have over done it with the orange juice. Remind me to tell you another time why we always called her the juicer growing up!

I killed about four of them and then decided later that evening that they would go great with jam. So cue some last minute midnight jam making! Nothing fancy – I had a bag of frozen mixed fruits (namely strawberries, peaches and pineapple) that I use for smoothies. I threw some of those in a pan with some orange juice, a bit of stevia, and some cinnamon. Soften, smash, reduce and voila! Jam!

I let it cool in the fridge overnight and treated myself to some biscotti and jam with my coffee the next morning. Yum! Anywho, if you don’t have a little sister to do your baking for you, try out this recipe she used: Orange, Almond & Apricot Biscotti.

Some tips from baker Bee if you do:

  • Bake at a higher temp. It takes much longer to golden than expected.
  • Measure out your juice.
  • Cut smaller pieces on the diagonal if you want to get the full 24 slices.
  • It’s a super sticky dough. Get ready to put use some elbow grease.

Happy Eating! xo.

Happy Valentine’s Day | Easy Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cookies

I’ve kind of always loved Valentine’s Day. Single or not, it just seemed like a good reminder to get a little cheesy and share some love. I wanted to do something a little special for my guy this year, but between training and work I didn’t have a ton of time. Cue the easiest cookies in the world.

Warning: If you’re not the type of person to eat peanut butter just straight out of the jar, this is not the cookie for you, my friend.

I came across Ovenly’s Peanut Butter cookie recipe through Food52’s Salted Peanut Butter Pie recipe. I clicked the link and bookmarked, then came across it again on Smitten Kitchen’s blog the very next day. I figured that was a sign. Everyone was raving about them in the comments. Plus, there are literally only 3 essential ingredients. Chances are you’ve already got them sitting around your kitchen right now.

Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • Light brown sugar (335g)
  • Creamy Peanut Butter (450g)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Course Sea Salt (optional)
  • Butterscotch chips (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F . Whisk together eggs and brown sugar.

Fold in peanut butter, vanilla extract, and your toppings of choice. I’ve been craving butterscotch cookies so I tossed in plenty of chips into the dough.

Freeze dough, then scoop cookies in desired size/shape onto a baking pan. Freeze again for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle each with a little bit of sea salt and pop those babies in!

They should take anywhere between 14 – 18 minutes to finish depending on how chilled the dough is. Just keep an eye on the color and pull them out when they’re golden. They don’t flatten too much, so don’t wait for that!

The freezing is an important step! This helps the cookies keep their bite-sized ball shape and finish with that crispy on the outside, dough-y in the middle texture that I love.

I didn’t have a little scooper so my cookies were more mismatched and oddly shaped, but honestly still wonderful. Weird-looking sweets is part of the charm in baking from scratch anyway, right?

I wish I had nicer photos to share, but I baked these in the wee hours of the night and didn’t stop much to capture the steps. Whoops! They’re delicious, though. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! My peanut-butter loving valentine ate ten for dinner. If I weren’t on a diet, I absolutely would have too.

It’s such a simple recipe, I feel like you could really go crazy with it. I have a hunch they’d make fantastic cookie sandwiches with some jam in between. PB&J, anyone?

I don’t really bake much, but this was so much fun. What are your favorite baking recipes? I’d love to try them out!

Boiling Crab Seafood Boil Recipe

If you’ve ever been to a Boiling Crab, Kicking Crab, The Crab Shack or any similar restaurants, you’re probably pretty familiar with the giant mess that is a cajun seafood boil. Funnily enough, despite being so heavily marketed as a Southern, Louisiana cuisine, these seafood shacks are very closely tied to Vietnamese American families. An influx of refugees ended up in the Southern states post-war. The social, hands-on casual style of the seafood boil is something that resonates quite strongly with the Vietnamese. We’re all about any type of finger food that you can slowly work through with a beer at your side surrounded by friends.

Ironically, I had no interest in Boiling Crab until college. (Too many shrimp heads, which baby Jeannie found gross). But then I tried it and went through a food phase where it was all I wanted every time I ate out. Unfortunately, the neighborhood I live in now doesn’t have a convenient one around for miles. Not even one close enough to deliver. So I had to make do. While this isn’t perfect, the recipe’s close enough to hit the spot!

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Ingredients

  • 1lb Shrimp shell-on
  • 1 Potato
  • 1 corn (I use the sweet frozen ones)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon red curry
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • A little bit of louisiana hot sauce if you want it spicier. You can also just add more cayenne pepper.

Instructions

1.  Bring pot of water to boil.
2.  Throw potatoes in for 10 minutes.
3.  Add corn and a couple minutes later, shrimp.
4.  Once shrimp turns pink, immediately pour whole pot out into a strainer. If you overcook the shrimp, it gets really hard to peel.
5.  Add butter and garlic to pot.
6.  Once the butter is all melted and the garlic has gotten soft, mix in all your spices.
8.  Add extra seasoning to taste.
9.  Combine shrimp, potato and corn in a big bowl with the sauce.
10.  Shake it up and eat!
Happy Eating!
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