Meet the baker! Enrico Biscotti’s own Jonathan Polley! A 28-year-old husband and father, Jonathan stumbled upon a job that has become his true passion in life.
Not really sure what he wanted to be when he grew up, but technically an Economics major, Jonathan started his career at Enrico Biscotti as a dish washer.
Under the instruction of the great Larry Lagattuta, Enrico Biscotti’s proprietor, Jonathan has developed a love for mixing dough and found his calling as a baker.
He became immersed in an apprenticeship over the past six years centering on his desire to learn, quest for perfection, and a dedication to see the company grow and flourish. I was and am so impressed by his confidence and knowledge.
Jonathan never skipped a beat while slicing fresh mozzarella and roma tomatoes as I endlessly questioned him about Erico’s history, his boss, his development as a baker, his future goals, and of course his personal life!
The story of how Enrico Biscotti came to be is no fairy tale but a twist of fate for a man who had a love for baking. Jonathan explained how Larry Lagattuta switched from the corporate world to the baking world. It is no wonder that Larry sees the potential in employees like Jonathan and a few others I met like him, Adam and Ryan for sure. Larry teaches them his art, his process. He let’s them mess up and come into their own, to become great.
The second time I caught up with Jonathan it was 5am on a Saturday morning for bread making. Jonathan was in his element, I saw something glowing in him that day.
Effortlessly, he mixed the dough, explained the humidity challenges of a baker, rolled out perfect loaves atop a cornmeal lined table, and raved about the brick exposed wood-fired oven. The bread is baked the morning after the oven was used and is still very hot!
As I opened the door to the café, where 1500lbs. of flour is mixed and transformed each week, I smelled and saw the enormous freshly baked scones! Ryan was adding a beautiful finishing drizzle. Enrico’s pastries are gorgeously presented and super huge!!!
Biscotti translated means “twice baked cookie” and it is the obvious top seller. Jonathan says the macaroons are a close second, but everything is delicious!
Enrico Biscotti offers both first and last Friday dinners and Bread making class with Larry one Sunday per month!
Using the freshest ingredients, and Larry’s grandmother’s recipe, Enrico Biscotti is built on a biscotti but held together with the love and passion of its people!
I wish Larry, Jonathan and the Enrico Biscotti family the best as the company prepares for its near future production facility expansion. I can’t wait to hear what’s next!
To schedule first/ last Friday dinners or to enroll in a bread class head to www.enricobiscotti.com
2022 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15222
B.C. (Before Children) this day meant big azz margaritas for all at Mad Mex!! Maybe a few tequila shots, too! A.D. (After Developing No Alcohol Tolerance) We still love to go out for this holiday, but on a Monday? Skinnygirl Margarita on the rocks at home for me, thank you.
If you are staying in too, because it is a Monday, I have a quick and easy Cinco de Mayo dinner for you!
Lately, I have been experimenting with spices. My perfect storm right now is cinnamon, with cayenne pepper and cumin.
Orange Pepper Grilled Shrimp Skewers
2 1/2 cups raw shrimp, thawed and peeled.
1 cup onion cubes
2 cups bell pepper cubes
2 cups orange slices
1 lime sliced or lime juice
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. garlic salt
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
Heat your grill to medium heat.
Add peppers, onions, shrimp and oranges to the skewers in any pattern.
Sprinkle both sides with seasoning.
Add skewers to the grill.
Grill 5-8 minutes then flip.
Cook until shrimp are no longer transparent.
Serve with a squeeze of lime juice! Great idea, Angela!!
I grilled corn on the cob and steamed brown rice. This is so easy and delicious!
Lately, many peppers I have cut open contain tiny baby peppers growing inside of them! I just throw them away while cleaning out the seeds! Do people eat these little peppers? What are they? Are peppers safe if they have these parasitic twins inside?
Apparently, the scientific term is “internal proliferation.” The way it is formed is called “parthenocarpy” the formation of fruit without fertilization. Botanists have seen these abnormalities since 1891!
As for its safety, nobody really knows! Some say they are perfectly safe to eat and others say they are alien babies placed in peppers to attack our brains…what??????
Plant breeders and USDA researchers consider this abnormal mini pepper undesirable, so I do, too. Throw them out! For now!
My grandma always has cookie sheets of hard bread in her oven. It’s just the way it is and always has been for as long as I can remember at my grandparents’ house. Empty the oven before use or, as grandma says, “Oh my God, Oh my God,” you might smell a little something burning!! Breadcrumbs are never on the grocery list.
Why do we buy breadcrumbs? If you are lucky, your store bought plain jane breadcrumbs contain less than 30 ingredients. 30??? Hmmmmm, basic bread contains flour, yeast, salt and sugar…ok that’s 4?
Mary Ann Esposito, creator and star of the best cooking show ever Ciao Italia ( I might be a superfan) posed this exact question on her blog and I had to ask her…what about Panko? See her blog and her response to me in the comments section…
Stale days old or frozen country bread.
Bake in 300 degree oven until hard and brittle.
Roll with a rolling pin.
In a recent New York Times article “Left with the Crumbs? Lucky You,” Melissa Clark discusses the importance of homemade breadcrumbs and her personal method! She uses a food processor to make very fine breadcrumbs. Do the breadcrumbs change the taste of the food? You bet!
For starters, Throw your bread ends in a cloth on your counter or on a cookie sheet in your oven. Have a few ends? Bake them and have fresh breadcrumbs on hand! Experiment with different types of bread at different stages.
Experiment with flavors. Add dried oregano, thyme, basil, garlic powder.
Bread some chicken and taste test!
My favorite tasting breadcrumbs are made from slices of fresh bread baked until hard, and then ground. You lose the stale taste that we have become accustomed to with the preservatives added to processed breadcrumbs. They are more crisp and fresh!
I realize daily how much I have learned from my grandma, and I am so grateful for the time I spent with her throughout my childhood. I wish we lived closer so my kids could have even more of her influence.
After hearing the latest Sriracha headlines, “Residents of Irwindale (Sounds totally like Arrendale from Frozen – although opposite problem -is the Southern California city where it is made-Go USA!!) Say The Air Is Too Spicy and Are Fighting to Close Sriracha Plant,” to “America’s Most Popular Condiment” and “Sriracha Shortage Imminent,” I was dying to buy some and try it!!
I love sweet and spicy together! The most flavorful taste combo!
So here it is, the family says the best meal I have ever made.
Honey Sriracha Grilled Chicken
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 2 1/2 to 3 inches thick
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup Sriracha sauce
Mix 1/2 of the honey and half of the Sriracha in a bowl.
Remove chicken from package and place in a container with an airtight lid.
Brush or spoon to coat raw chicken and marinate.
Refrigerate to marinate 1-9 hours ( I did mine at 8am and pulled it out at 4:30 to grill.)
Heat grill on medium high heat to 350 degrees.
Cook chicken on one side for 12-15 minutes.
Coat with another mixture of honey sriracha.
Flip and cook another 8-10 minutes.
Coat with remaining sauce.
Pineapple Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa uncooked
1 1/2 cup water
1 can pineapple chunks, drained
Baby greens salad
Pint of grape tomatoes
2 tbsp. red pepper flakes
Cook quinoa in a saucepan.
Add water bring to a boil.
Simmer for 20 minutes until water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, add lettuce to a serving bowl.
Layer it with tomatoes, quinoa and pineapple.
Sprinkle on red pepper flakes.
Serve together or make your own sides! I think corn on the cob was the only thing missing tonight!
We woke up in the mood for breakfast muffins! I absolutely love this recipe! It is quick and easy! 5 minutes to mix the ingredients and 20 minutes to bake! Bonus, they are gluten free!!
Makes 9 muffins!!
Bethenny Frankel’s Skinny Blueberry Muffins
(We add chocolate chips, too! And maybe a spoon of chia seeds!)
1 1/4 cups oat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup soy milk
3/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup blueberries
(We add 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1 tbsp. of chia seeds!)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Insert baking cups into muffin tin or spray with nonstick spray.
Mix dry ingredients add wet ingredients and gently stir in blueberries and chocolate chips last.
Fill half of muffin tins with batter.
Bake for 20 mins. Rotate pan half way at 10 minutes.
As we strive to learn the key ingredients in our forever young and healthy life recipe, we are experimenting with superfoods, eating more vegetables, and taking the processed “fake” ingredients out of our diets. A deli worker told my kids that cheese is white and yellow cheese is just white cheese dyed yellow. True statement, BUT they translated that into “fake” cheese. Ever since, I have been on a mission to make dishes with “fake” cheese alternatives. This led to our latest obsessions with Fontina, Manchego and my absolute favorite, Parano.
Gruyere is known to make the best potato casseroles, so I tried it for Easter!! 100% correct! Gruyere did not dissappoint! In fact, I can’t remember what cheddar scalloped potatoes even taste like anymore! Here is my recipe!
Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes
7 large potatoes scrubbed and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
1 large onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 lb. freshly grated gruyere cheese
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Warm the cream and garlic in a scauce pot and add 2 cups of Gruyere 1/2 cup at a time continuously stirring.
Add sliced potatoes to a deep baking dish.
Pour cheese/cream mixture from the saucepan over the potatoes.
Top with the remaining Gruyere cheese, the Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes at 350 degrees. It will be creamy and bubbly. Mix well and let stand 10 minutes to thicken and serve hot!