So I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things I needed to make some biscotti and meals for the next few days (answer based on what was on sale in the meat department: boneless chicken breasts baked in coconut milk and thai chili, served over sushi rice - topped with scallions & furikake with pickled ginger on the side). Cooking for one is kind of a drag in that you end up having the same thing for lunch and dinner for a few days running, unless you're into freezing and reheating (I'm really not - things end up sitting in my freezer for aeons) but it certainly takes less time and effort than having to cook every day.

Which reminds me: my mother is back in Kansas City. My brother's whole family came down with the flu, and she's up there taking care of the baby, toddler, parents, house, cooking, etc. - seriously, just thinking about it makes me want to go to bed. Having done that routine before, I have to say: it's exhausting and overall miserable.

I put on my frog earrings and fuzzy hat and furry coat and went to the store:

I saw this in the checkout line:

Rush, you come on out of the closet. A nation of burly man-bears waits to embrace you as their patron saint.

I baked biscotti, talking to Daphne on the phone while creaming the butter and sugar - it was a very good conversation, and I happily forked and fluffed away at the mixing bowl for  a very long time. So it has a nice crumb, this cookie. Really good. Most store-bought biscotti is like a freaking brick made out of flour and will shred your gums and blunt your incisors unless you soak it in your coffee so long that it ends up in a gritty slurry on the bottom of your cup. It would be easier to gnaw an actual bone. These are super crunchy, but lighter, not too dense.

The biscotti were supposed to be made with candied orange peel, but I couldn't find any at the store. Evidently it's seasonal. The nice people at Marsh found a container of lemon peel in the back though, and I was happy with that. Candied citrus peel, whatevs. I have to say that they smelled really really good baking up, and they taste delicious, but I would change the recipe next time - I'd use some candied ginger in addition to the citrus peel to give it a kick (Penzey's makes verrrry good candied ginger), and probably insist on the candied orange peel (I should just make some myself). I think I might also use just a teeny amount of gingerbread spice. Orange and ginger demand cinnamon, cardamom, and clove: they're like a band of brothers. No-one gets left behind. That's not to say the lemon wasn't nice - it was really nice. But I think for a lemon biscotti I'd use lemon zest, candied lemon, and maybe a little lavender. And a lemon glaze.

Unless you bake a lot, you might (like me) have baking soda and baking powder in your pantry which is... Not fresh. Or even close to fresh. It might be more than a year old. Or worse. Throw that shit out and buy some new - that stuff is wicked cheap, and if it's stale your dough is going to bake up very bricky and you will say: wow that recipe sucks. Flour also gets stale and even mildly rancid as it sits on the shelf, ditto cocoa, and oh - just about everything but salt and sugar. Just because something isn't moldy doesn't mean it's still kitchenworthy.  That's my PSA for the day.

Orange biscotti:

1/3 c. butter
2/3 c. sugar
1/4. t baking soda
1 t. baking powder
2 eggs
2 1/4 c. flour
3/4 cup candied citrus peel
zest from 2 lemons
1 tbs Grand Marnier

Cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the baking soda and baking powder and beat it up. Add two eggs, beat some more. Fold in a cup of the flour and blend. Cut in the other cup of flour - about halfway through you'll have to tip the bowl and commence kneading. Do not! knead on a floured surface, for the love of biscotti. Knead on a silpat if you have one. My Silpat is wrecked so I used my bamboo cutting board, buttered. Buttered bamboo board! Ha.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Cool for 10. Cut into inch-thick slices and toast in the oven for 8 minutes on each side. Easy as knittin' kitten mittens.



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