Tuesday, October 30, 2012


You hear about these things...you can sympathize...and you pray that they never hit the ones you love.  This time, my family was not to be spared.

In Sandy's wake, she destroyed my son's (Eric) house, furniture, cars...all of his and his girlfriend's (Moireen) worldly possessions.  They have, but the clothes on their backs...and each other.  And the "each other" is quite a force stronger than Sandy can ever hope to claim.  Watching in horror and disbelief as the water from the Raritan invaded their home...rising quickly to somewhere around four feet...they kept their wits, and their commitment to keeping their families informed of their situation and well being...all while watching this water rise inside their house.  Furniture floating...floors, walls, appliances, treasures destroyed...both cars outside now totaled by the river of water...but not able to stop Mother Nature's fury.  

All of those "things" can be replaced.  Thankfully, Eric and Moireen remained safe in the upstairs of their house...shaken...shocked...I'm sure somewhat scared...but safe.  Because THEY are irreplaceable.  

I love you both and know that you will be even stronger after this.  

To quote Moireen:  Eric & Moireen-1; Sandy-0.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


What is it about the aroma of basil?  Next to mint and rosemary, I'm not sure there's a more fragrant and appealing scent.  Right now, I've got an abundance growing on my lanai, and rather than make pesto, which I will also do, I wanted to use it in a sweet, rather than savory way.  So, those who know me know how much I love biscotti, and I decided to incorporate it--make it the star--of this versatile cookie.  Hope you enjoy!

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped, toasted almonds
1 cup chopped fresh basil

Prepare two heavy baking sheets with single layer of parchment paper on each.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place butter and sugar in a mixing bowl; blend until smooth and creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated well; stopping to scrape bowl once or twice.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, anise seeds, and salt; add to butter mixture, along with extracts; mix only until completely blended; add nuts and basil, again mixing just until evenly combined.  Dough will be sticky.  

With lightly greased hands form half of dough into a 10" x 2" log on each baking sheet, smoothing edges and top.  Place in preheated oven, and bake for 25 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through cooking so they bake uniformly.  Remove from oven; let sit for 5 minutes.  Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.  Carefully remove each log to a cutting board and slice each on the diagonal.  Place each cookie back on the baking sheets, and continue to crisp and lightly brown, about 5 to 10 minutes, watching closely so they don't burn.  

Remove to cooling racks; cool completely.  Keep in a cool, dry place for up to two weeks, or pack in tins to freeze for future use.