Thursday, February 26, 2009

Black Pepper, Lemon, and Walnut Biscotti, and, AWARDS!!

What a week it's been! I have been hard at work at my Royal Foodie Joust entry for March. I'm not quite finished with my whole recipe for the Joust, but thought I would unveil part of it. AND I am so thrilled, I received 2 more awards for my blog, from the ever-gracious Gloria Chadwick at Cookbook Cuisine, which I will tell you about below.

The ingredients for this month's Joust are oranges, edible flowers, and shallots. This has been a challenging combination to work with! I developed these Black Pepper, Lemon, and Walnut Biscotti to go with the Main Event, which I will post about either on Friday or Saturday.

People's reactions to biscotti remind me of a conversation I had once with my college roommate, who, like me, hailed not only from South of the Mason-Dixon, but from Appalachia (Chris was from Bluefield, W VA, while I grew up in Asheville, NC). There we were, in our tiny little snow-covered studio apartment in the middle of the frigid NH winter, eating what was for us a novelty food: bagels. (This was the 80's, and not a lot of people back home were accustomed to eating those bad boys.)

I loved the bagels, and even went so far as to attempt making my own. But Chris was never that fond of them. Her comment was, "If I wanted to eat a hard donut, I'd get a hard donut." And I know the texture of biscotti is off-putting for some. They are intended for dunking, usually in espresso, which is why they are so crunchy. In fact, biscotti means "cooked twice." As you will see, these are indeed baked twice.

I've had so much fun making my biscotti! If you've never tried making them, they are pretty easy to do. My Black Pepper Lemon and Walnut Biscotti are bit different because they are intended to be a mostly savory accompaniment to my (secret) dish. I know that not everyone enjoys biscotti, but I think these would be perfect with a glass of wine. (Couldn't you just about enjoy anything with a glass of wine? "Would you like some cardboard with that Albarino, madam?")

I wanted to give my biscotti some punch and so I added black pepper as well as a generous amount of lemon zest. I think I succeeded: you may wish to add less black pepper to taste to yours :D ! I also tossed in some yellow cornmeal to give them a nice, sandy bite. My guys loved them, and I hope you will enjoy them, too!

So here's what you will need to make my

Karen's Black Pepper, Lemon and Walnut Biscotti

2 t. whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2. t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
2 T grated lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
2 t. chopped fresh thyme
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. shredded Robusto cheese (you can substitute parmesan)
1/3 c. yellow cornmeal
3 T chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. whole milk
1 egg, preferably extra large
1 T walnut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
Egg wash: 1 egg, beaten

First, preheat your oven to 350F. Then spread the walnuts out on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Set them aside to cool. Put the peppercorns in a spice grinder and process until coarsely ground.

Mix the dry ingredients, flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, 1 1/2 t. black pepper, lemon zest, shredded cheese, and thyme. Blend well.

Next, add the butter and cut it into the mixture with a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingertips, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the walnuts.

Mix the wet ingredients together in a small glass measure. Beat the milk and egg together, then add the walnut oil.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to form a soft dough.

Turn it out onto a floured surface and shape into a flattened log about 14 in. long x 2 in. wide by 3/4 in. high. Place the log on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 t. coarse ground pepper, 1/4 t. coarse salt and 1/4 t. sugar. (I was thinking, if only I had some coarse crystal sugar, that would be really neat!)

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until pale golden and firm. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven heat to 300F.Cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, until warm.

Carefully place on a cutting board and with a sharp, serrated knife slice the log diagonally into 1/2 in. slices.
Place the slices cut side down back on the baking sheet and bake at 300 for 35-40 min., or until crisp and golden. Turn slices over after 2o min.

Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a rack before storing.

I'm hoping these will be just the thing to complement my new dish!

Black Pepper, Lemon and Walnut Biscotti

Savory, slightly sweet biscotti made with cracked black pepper, lemon ...

See Black Pepper, Lemon and Walnut Biscotti on Key Ingredient.

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of recognizing Gloria Chadwick's contributions to our little corner of the blogosphere by giving her the Sisterhood Award for her blog Cookbook Cuisine. This award is for those bloggers who show gratitude or great attitude-- and by sharing the secrets to her success as a successful cookbook writer, Gloria certainly fits the bill!

She turned the tables and recognized all the members of our cookbook writing class (sisters in crime :) ) with the Sisterhood Award. So it boomeranged right back to me!! Thank you, Gloria!!

Gloria also passed along the Lemonade Stand award to me! I am so humbled and honored by this kind and thoughtful gesture! Thank you so very much, Gloria!

This award is for those whose blog is refreshing, like lemonade on a hot summer day.
I would like to pass the Lemonade Stand award along to:

Donna of My Tasty Treasures, because she is too fun, her irreverent posts ALWAYS make me laugh and also because her food is gorgeous, and her musical taste (had a Bad Day, anyone?) is impeccable :)

Grace of A Southern Grace, for her wonderful sense of whimsy (you gotta love anyone who calls her blog comments "noogies"!), her cinnamon obsession, and her willingness to admit she can't stand curry. :)

Elle of Elle's New England Kitchen, because she is celebrating her 1 Year Blog-i-versary! Congratulations, Elle! You're an inspiration! :)

PsychGrad and Giz at Equal Opportunity Kitchen, because not only is their blog Tried, Tested and True, they give back by participating in the Adopt a Blogger program.

Tiersa at ChefBliss
for baking 6+ of the most inventive birthday cakes you've ever seen in the past 2 weeks, for supporting the Oregon FoodBank through her blog, and for extending a friendly hand to all us newbies!

Kat at A Good Appetite for her lovely, original, and inspiring cupcakes, and for introducing me to the idea of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which I am looking forward to trying this year! Kat and Matt's inventive use of fresh, seasonal and local food in their weekly menu is an inspiration! :)

Nuria at Spanish Recipes for her joie-de-vivre, for helping us to celebrate the distinctive flavors of Catalan cooking, and for giving us a whole new look at, er, organically-produced poultry!

Congratulations, ladies! Thanks for the kind words, encouragement, and laughter. :)


  1. Karen- What an interesting biscotti. I love biscotti. I will have to try and remember this!! Thank you so much for the award, you are so sweet!! I truly am touched when I receive one. Im glad to know someone actually reads my mumbojumbo. Thank you again!

  2. That's super sweet of you thanks!

  3. Thank you Karen - so nice of you and what a lovely award. I so laughed at your description of Nuria's organic chicken - I'm still laughing. Biscotti with pepper - I'll bet that's got an interesting kick to it.

  4. Karen, you are too kind! Thank you so much for the award, I'm enjoying your blog tremendously. And I think you've inspired me to FINALLY make biscotti!

  5. Love these biscotti with pepper and walnut oil - delicious! Congrats on your award! Thanks so much for your comments on my blog and I'm looking forward to keeping in touch!

  6. Your biscotti looks like pure heaven!

  7. Hey, Donna-- Thanks! :) if you try them, let me know how you like them!

    Kat-- you are welcome! I really enjoy your blog.

    Hi, Giz-- You are so right, I was sort of discombobulated by Nuria's photos, then fascinated, then totally amused by everyone's reaction to them. We love the biscotti, but then we do love things spicy around here!

    Hi, Tiersa-- thanks for your kind words about the blog! It means a lot to me, especially when I feel sooooo booooring... :) Give these bad boys a try, and let me know what you think. I am now addicted to them.

    Hi, 5-Star Foodie! I love your blog!! I have been so amazed at the wonderful people I've met since I started my blog. Thanks so much for reading! :)

    Thanks, Kendra! I hope you will give the biscotti a try. I've been meaning to tell you, I am in complete sympathy with you abou the kniting. I have so many unfinished and messed up projects lying around it's too funny. Golly, I wish I were good enough to make myself a "snwefy" cloth! :) K

  8. aww, thanks for the award and kind words, karen--you're a doll!! i really enjoy your blog too--i truly appreciate your picture tours. :)

  9. Thanks so much, Karen! I truly appreciate the award. :) And your biscotti look fantastic! Can you believe I've never made those? I really need to change that.


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