toni lee Profile - (13307056)

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toni lee

toni lee
Home Town: Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Living In: Belleville, Michigan, USA
Member Since: Nov. 2008
Cooking Level: Expert
Cooking Interests: Baking, Slow Cooking, Italian, Dessert, Gourmet
Hobbies: Gardening, Walking, Reading Books, Music, Charity Work
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About this Cook
I am a 53 yr old semi-retired nursing professional, who recently moved to Michigan after living in NYC for 12 yrs. I miss the ethnic mix of the people (and food) in NYC very much. I have a Masters Degree in Nursing from Rutgers University and when health permits, I work as a Nursing Instructor at a local community college here in Michigan.
My favorite things to cook
I love cooking ANYTHING Italian, as I am a REAL Italian-o-phile. I love making homemade pastas like cavatelli, ravioli and gnocchi. I enjoy cooking all types of authentic pasta sauces from the Campania Region of Italy. I make my own crusty Italian bread. I like to cook chicken marsala, chicken with wine sauce, pork with gorgonzola sauce, pasta con crema ai funghi, chicken scarpiarelli, cheese tortellini with ham and peas in cream sauce.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I have recently rediscovered one of my mom's FAVORITE baking traditions...biscotti! I love making all varieties of these biscuits and I make dozens every week! I also enjoy making homemade pastas.
My cooking triumphs
I make an INCREDIBLE Chicken Cacciatore, which is one of my husband's favorite dishes. I make great varieties of Italian biscotti. I enjoy making homemeade pasta. I make a superior bolognese sauce & I also make Italian red wine and Italian black pepper & fennel biscuits. All of my Italian cooking is superior.
Recipe Reviews 4 reviews
Anise Biscotti
I think these biscotti turned out just okay; however my husband LOVED them! We made a pot of coffee after dinner tonight and he downed several of these biscotti...I ate one or two. While the biscotti are tasty enough, to me they lack something...seems like a key ingredient is missing! As a child, I often made Anise Biscotti with my beloved mom and the anise flavor was really intense, which I like a lot. To me, these biscotti are flavorful but way too light on anise. I calculated the recipe to make half the amount of servings as written (I yielded about 26 biscotti) and doing so, I actually DOUBLED the anise extract from the ORIGINAL recipe that yields 60 biscuits (I used 3 teaspoons of anise extract). I also used 2 full heaping tablespoons of anise seed for my dough recipe even though I halved the original recipe. Perhaps working with the dough and the biscotti for an hour or so dulled my sense & taste for anise! At any rate, I will definitely be making these biscotti again but I'm gonna tweak the recipe a bit. Also, just as a mention...the dough is very wet, sticky and rather difficult to work with. Rather than wet my hands, etc I just floured my board and my hands really well before turning out the dough & prior to shaping it. On parchment paper that I placed over my cookie sheet, I used a long, floured carving knife to sorta mold and push the dough into 2 long and low log shapes. Doing all of this made working with the dough much much easier.

24 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Jan. 10, 2011
Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
I made these biscotti for the holidays because they are apparently a popular holiday item. I think the biscotti turned out just okay. I am 100% Italian-American and an exceptional Italian cook. I grew up cooking and baking with my beloved mom and I've made MANY biscotti in my lifetime. After reviewing similar recipes, I made some simple changes to this recipe because I think doing so makes the biscotti a bit more authentic & tasty. For starters, I increased my oven temp to 325F degrees; you might also do 350F degrees, a standard temp for biscotti. I increased the flour to 2-2 1/4 cups, added 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp orange extract & 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. I changed the olive oil to 1/3 c vegetable oil 'cause I think olive oil is way too heavy for biscotti. I also added even cups of dried cranberries and pistachios. I ALWAYS bake biscotti on parchment paper! As the biscotti cooled, I melted 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate with 1 tsp of shortening and when melted, dipped the biscotti into the mixture. I think without a chocolate glaze, the biscotti are way too bland...I think chocolate makes the biscuits a LOT more interesting. Finally, if you are into baking biscotti like I am, invest in a simple electric knife for cutting the really is the only way to go! Also, forget all the flipping and turning. Simply cut your biscotti while warm, space them a bit, keep them upright & return them to the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Enjoy and happy baking!

62 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Jan. 3, 2011
Aunt Carol's Apple Pie
I have not made an apple pie in years but decided to do so today because I wanted to use up some McIntosh apples before they went bad. I previously used my mother's apple pie recipe, which wasn't great (not an Italian specialty-smile). OMG!!! When I cut into this pie, I couldn't believe it! Could not believe that I made this pie! I used the Pillsbury Refrigerated Rolled Pie Crust (delicious) and followed the recipe to a near "t" with the following changes: I added 1/2 tsp of fresh grated nutmeg and 1 tsp of vanilla to the apple mixture, I baked the pie at 450 degrees for 15 minutes then 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Pie came out PERFECTLY!!!! Not too sweet, not gooey, not too wet or too dry, perfect mixture of sweet and spicy, tender & tasty apples, perfect crust! Absolutely wonderful! Can't wait for my dear husband to taste this tonight! Will definitely be making this pie again and again and again!!!

46 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Nov. 17, 2009

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