What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin | A Cuppa Joe for the Daily Grind
Special to the Tribune
The word is coffee is no longer a vice. Studies abound are circulating around the globe and showing java junkies that a cup (or more) daily has its health perks. On Sunday afternoon I was going to hit the kitchen and whip up alfredo rotini with vegetables. Instead, I put together two Italian favorites: coffee and biscotti with a sweet home-style spin. And I’m still feeling the buzz. (Not really but I did.)
Okay, so I didn’t bake up a batch of biscotti. However, a few years ago, a dear bakeress soul mate friend, Gemma Sciabica did that for me. One night, pre-Callie’s Cabin days, I begged my phone lifeline to send me homemade biscotti so I could share the Italian cookies with Tahoe locals at a book lecture/signing (for my olive oil book) at Lake Tahoe Community College.
“Please Gemma,” I cried. “I can’t bake these cookies. They won’t turn out.”
I knew how much time and effort goes into baking these lovely gems from scratch-the mixing, baking, cutting and rebaking. I was afraid they wouldn’t look or taste the way they should. I was sure I’d fail like one of the chefs being chopped on Food Network. My surrogate fairy godmother came to the rescue. A small crowd greeted me. Instead of olive oil talk, I dished out chat about a quake swarm near Reno. The biscotti made a bigger hit.
On Sunday, May 22, after being dog-tired from following the May 21 end of the world prediction (and my anti-prediction on national radio and print media), I turned to pre-packaged gourmet biscotti and a cappuccino mix. I glanced at the coffee pot which still had fresh brewed coffee in it. I gave the crispy confections (with nuts) a java frosting spread; and paired it with a skinny beverage.
Quick Mocha Nut Biscotti
1 box of all natural gourmet biscotti
11⁄2 cups Confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tablespoons coffee, brewed
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 70 percent cacao
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl combine sugar and coffee. Add cocoa powder and vanilla. Stir till consistency is spreadable. Frost one side of biscotti. Let dry. Serve two per person.
In a small saucepan, put 1⁄2 cup water; in another saucepan put 1⁄2 cup 2 percent organic low-fat milk. At the same time, boil water and heat milk but do not boil. Remove from stovetop. Put two to three teaspoons of instant flavored cappuccino mix into an eight ounce coffee cup. Pour in milk and water. Stir well. Add a dollop of whipped cream and mix till frothy. Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon. Serves one.
OK, so I didn’t use a fancy cappuccino gadget and the froth wasn’t like a pro barista would do. But when I dipped the biscotti into my cup of cappuccino I got a sweet pick-me-up to help me work on two books in progress, walk the Brittany duo, play with the cat, and jump on the treadmill for peace of mind. It was just another day at Tahoe with a little help from Joe.
Motto: Living life to the fullest and helping others can be challenging. If you can take a shortcut and make it work-do it. You’ll feel good before, during, and after.
P.S. An extra must-have to java and biscotti is good for you fresh fruit! To celebrate Memorial Weekend, add a bowl of strawberries and blueberries with a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy.
– Cal Orey is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate) published by Kensington. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.