With the weather getting colder and the coffee getting stronger I thought we needed something to sweeten our mornings the Italian way. So I though to would share with you my Biscotti recipe. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (you could also put 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of pumpkin spice into the mix as well)
- egg replacer, the amount equivalent to 3 eggs (I use Energ brand)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 bag of Dark Chocolate chips for dunking (I sometimes add the zest of one orange into the chocolate as it is melting to give it a citrus note) (or maybe some crushed candy canes to give it that peppermint kick)
NOTE: Get creative with this. If you don’t like a certain flavor, add the one you like. Don’t like dark chocolate maybe white chocolate is more to your fancy or none at all. Like almonds? Use almond extract instead of vanilla and add slivered almonds into the dough. It’s up to you!
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the oil, prepared egg replacer, water, sugar and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, stir into the wet mixture to form a heavy dough. Divide dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a roll almost as long as your cookie sheet. Place roll onto the prepared cookie sheet, and press down and flatten until its about 1/2 inch thick.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. When The Biscotti logs are cool, slice each one crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes on each side for a total of 12 to 16 minutes. Slices should be lightly toasted and golden brown on edges.
- Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler and dip the flat bottoms of the biscotti to cover the bottoms. Let cool until the chocolate hardens and enjoy!
This last 4th of July weekend I traveled to the most Vegan friendly city in America, Portland, Oregon. While I was there I was determined to sample some of that cities great Vegan fare.
When we arrived with no reservations on a Friday night around 6pm. We asked for a table and were told that they were all booked up and the wait would be about an hour and a half unless we wanted to dine at the bar. My party and I where hungry and so we agreed to sit at the bar.
The menu offered a limited amount of plates but this is a Trattoria which in Italy is larger than a cafe but smaller than a full restaurant and so the menu reflected that nicely. The offerings hit some of the traditional Italian fare. Gnocchi, ravioli, manicotti and much more.
They have a tasting menu, for $38, where you choose any three items from the menu and one desert. What else would any self respecting food blogger do than to order the tasting menu while reviewing a restaurant? I was there with two other people, so we all ordered the tasting menu and snuck tastes from each others plates, you know… so I could review a wide variety of their offerings.
We started with a basic kale caesar and an order of roasted rainbow carrots. Both were very good. The ceasar salad dressing was outstanding, they sell it there by the bottle. We were told that the portion sizes where a little smaller because it was the tasting menu size.
In my Italian family gnocchi is the king, the dish of all dishes, served only with pesto and not red sauce, so one of the first things I look for on a menu at an Italian restaurant is the gnocchi and if its served with pesto or red sauce. Portobello serves a gnocchi that is the best I have had this side of my grandmother’s homemade gnocchi. They add a few wonderful twists by first pan crisping the gnocchi leaving it a bit caramelized and crispy on one side as well as adding some finely chopped broccolini and a few cherry tomatoes, wow! It was so good I ate half of it before remembering to snap a photo. (This happens way too often to me it seems).
Seeing manicotti on the menu was a surprise to me because manicotti is mostly cheese and in my opinion is hard to make Vegan and still have that rustic Italian flavor and mouth feel. Well Portobello has done it well. Filled with spinach creamed cauliflower topped in marinara sauce and sprinkled with walnut parmesan.
I also ordered the breaded abalone mushroom with potato celeriac gratin, wilted spinach and dill lemon dressing. It was good but reminded all of us of a piece of English style fish & purple potato chips.
On to the desert.
One of us had the salted caramel sundae. It was salted caramel ice cream, caramels sauce, hot fudge, coconut whipped cream and candied walnuts. It was so good. All the flavors worked so well together and was not too sweet as to make you want to put down the spoon for a break.
We also enjoyed a s’more baked alaska. It was a meringue (made from aquafaba) covered chocolate ice cream with a graham cracker bottom. (It is not on the website menu pic above). Again, another outstanding desert. Spot on!
My understanding is that they change their menu items occasionally. While on Yelp looking at the reviews for Portobello I saw photos (290 of them) of plates that some of which were not offered the day we were there. All in all I will be back again. It was high quality food with friendly service and the only all Vegan Italian restaurant I have seen. 4 and a half stars out of 5.
Here is a classic Italian entree that is made with Gardein chick’n and is outstanding.
4 4oz Gardein “Chicken” style breasts
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons vegan butter I use Earth Balance
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine I use Chardonnay
1/4 cup capers rinsed and drained
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon chopped shallot
1/8 cup sugar, if needed
1. Defrost and season the Gardein breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge them in flour and shake off any extra being very careful because the breasts can crack and break very easily.
2. In a large skillet melt 3 tablespoons of the vegan butter with two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
3. When you see the pan start to bubble, add the floured breast to the pan carefully, cook them until brown on both sides. Remove the breast onto a paper towel.
4. Lower the heat to low and add the lemon juice, stock,wine, capers, garlic, and shallots.
5. Bring heat up to med and bring sauce to a boil, be sure to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
6. Check the flavor of the sauce and add some salt or pepper if needed. If the sauce is too lemony or bitter add some sugar to mellow it.
7. Continue to cook the sauce and let it reduce and thicken a bit, about 3-4 minutes till garlic and shallots soften a bit.
8. When your ready to serve, add the breast back into the pan with the sauce and heat them back up.
9. Plate the breasts then spoon the sauce over the breasts and serve.