Tag Archives: orange

Candied Orange Peel

Buying gifts can start to quickly add up, and it’s hard to not feel generous during the holidays. Though I try to set a budget for each person on my list, it can be really hard to stick to; I aspire to be one of the greatest gift givers in my family and sometimes overdo it. To help ease the pain on my wallet, while utilizing my knack for baking, I set out to churn dozens of sweets out of my own kitchen to give my favorite people on the planet presents that are homemade and edible.

I entered my culinary arena at 10 a.m. last Saturday and lost myself in batches upon batches of cookies, cakes and candies. When I finally came to, after a whirlwind day of stirring, mixing, and whisking, it was getting dark outside and I happily realized I spent the entire day in the kitchen. True, I was definitely proud of my accomplishments as I looked around my kitchen and admired my own work: freezer bags and Tupperware containers practically overflowing with holiday treats. But, I was also overcome with excitement as I imagined my confections wrapped in red and green paper, tied with ribbon. What was even more thrilling was the thought of them being eaten. Read More…

Traditional Italian Biscotti

Coffee is, for some people, as necessary a part of their day as brushing their teeth or checking their e-mail. The joys a piping hot cup of coffee can bring are often overshadowed by the sheer habit of incorporating the beverage into a morning routine. Most of the time, It serves as a kick-start for those of us who have a little trouble getting out of bed. Admittedly, I am so used to having at least 20 ounces of coffee before 10:30 AM that, if I fail to consume it before then, I will get a massive, pounding headache that cannot be undone.

I remember my first cup of coffee like it was yesterday, which is funny because it was a very, very long time ago. It had the overpoweringly sweet and creamy flavor that a standard Dunkin’ Donuts coffee offers, so it’s no surprise I became hooked at that very moment. My Aunt Colleen (who also was responsible for taking me to get my ears pierced, I might add) is partly to blame for my knowledge of coffee’s necessity at such a young age. I was often her shadow during frequent Italian Market or Reading Terminal trips, and the reward for a few hours of browsing, sampling, and shopping was a cup of quality coffee.

Another treat that occasionally coincided with the hot caffeinated beverage was one of the varieties of Italian biscotti displayed in jumbo glass jars located on the countertop of most of the coffee shops we visited. My first encounter with the cookie-like confection was also a memorable one, as I bit into mine not knowing the crunchy texture was extreme. My aunt then introduced me to my now favorite way of enjoying biscotti; dunk it in your hot coffee, then bite. Your teeth will thank you. Read More…

Mulled Wine

I’m not the biggest fan of cold weather, or hot weather for that matter. I prefer crisp days or warm weeks. If it gets to the point where it’s just impossible to look cute in layers upon layers of clothing, or if I am fanning myself in sweat soaked clothing, well, I’m just not a happy camper. There are not many cures for days when the weather is extreme; if it’s hot, I simply sit as still as possible, helpless and miserable, in my own puddle of sweat. If it’s cold, I head to North 3rd for a glass of their mulled wine.

The memory takes me back two winters, to a bitterly cold (though not snow filled) evening. Joe and I had parked a mere two to three blocks away from North 3rd, located on 3rd and Brown in Northern Liberties. Aside from the fact that my hunger pangs were, as always, pretty vocal, the short walk to the restaurant was almost unbearable. We could barely carry a conversation through our chattering teeth and the uncontrollable, convulsion-causing chills that somehow managed to sneak their way through down feathered coats, mittens and scarves. When we were seated at the restaurant, it was frustrating how long it took for us to thaw out and get comfortable. Examining the menu, still wrapped like an Eskimo, I became fixated on the mulled wine listed as part of the cocktail menu. One sip melts the frost from your fingertips, and leaves you with a warm, happy feeling. Read More…

Sautéed Chicken Breast in Orange Dijon Sauce

The Book and The Cook Fair at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in 1999 was a memorable moment. My mom and I walked into the exhibit hall to an overwhelming lineup of tables with representatives from restaurants, catering companies, new products, and culinary arts colleges. Located on the sides of the hall, small stages were set up for cooking demonstrations; however, the highlight of the event was an appearance from Emeril Lagasse on the main stage.

That year, I started contemplating my future and where I’d be attending college; after The Book and the Cook Fair, I was sold. My mom and I left that day with a bag full of information from culinary arts colleges, and I finally knew what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” One thing led to another, though, and my talents for drawing and painting became a more logical focus, as I had opportunities to receive scholarships from local schools.

Though I never became an artist OR a chef, I still make both activities a hobby, but always wonder what would have happened had I taken the culinary arts route seriously. Last fall, I attended a 6 week series of community classes at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in University City. Though the classes are non-credit and won’t make you an Iron Chef overnight, I learned valuable cooking basics – information that every chef knows like the back of their hand. Taught by Restaurant School instructors, each session followed a method of cooking, which we reviewed in a book from the school that now sits proudly among my other cookbooks. Not only were we allowed to keep this useful cooking manual, the classes ended with each student taking home a meal they had made that evening. It would have been nice to have something to show off my talents when I came home; however, the delicious meal never made it that far – I always devoured it on the car ride home. Read More…

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