Ward Off The Evil Eye With These Cookies

Biscotti pair perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee DIANA HELFAND PHOTO

Biscotti pair perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee

Kelsey Hanson moved back to Hawaii after spending 14 years on the Mainland, and she now lives in Maunawili with her grandmother, sister and cousin. Kelsey likes to sing and stays active by hiking, running and snorkeling. One of her main passions is volunteering at Joey’s Feline Friends, a nonprofit no-kill cat shelter in Kaneohe founded in 1997 by Tedra Villaroz.

Currently, it houses more than 150 cats and has had up to 300 in the past. There are multiple cottages to accommodate the cats’ needs, including a kitten cottage, a cottage where most cats live, one for adoptable cats and one for sick cats. They have taken in cats from the streets that have been abused, as well as from owners who could not care for their cats or were moving away.

Joey’s Feline Friends works with Pearl City Petco to offer adoptions each Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m., and Sundays, 1-4 p.m. You can find more information and a link to “like” its Facebook page on its website, joeysfelinefriends.com. They appreciate any donations and welcome volunteers.

This column is dedicated to Kelsey and Tedra for their caring and love for these animals.

One of the oldest cultivated spices, anise was used by the early Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. The Romans used it in a spice cake served at the end of rich meals and sometimes at the end of a marriage feast, as it was thought to prevent indigestion.

In England, the import of anise was taxed, and in 1305 that tax helped to pay for repairs to London Bridge. Anise also was thought to avert the “Evil Eye.”

Anise is the dried ripe fruit of an herb; the crescent-shaped seeds have a licorice-like flavor. It is used whole or crushed in cookies, cakes, breads, cheese, pickles, stews, fish and shellfish. Roasting enhances the flavor. Middle Eastern, Portuguese, German, Italian and French cuisines use anise in seasoning blends. Anise also is used in the preparation of cordial liqueurs, such as anisette.

Most anise is produced in Spain, but additional suppliers include Turkey and Egypt. Spanish anise is considered premium because of its better flavor, appearance and higher oil content.

Try these crispy cookies with a cup of herbal tea as an afternoon or evening snack.


* 1/2 cup Smart Balance margarine

* 1 cup sugar

* 3 eggs (may use egg substitute)

* 3 cups flour

* 1 tablespoon baking powder

* 1 teaspoon dried lemon peel

* 2 teaspoon anise extract

* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* 2 tablespoons anise seed (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

Cream margarine with sugar; add eggs and beat well. Sift flour with baking powder; and add lemon peel, extracts and anise seed, if desired. Combine with egg mixture.

Form into two long loaves and bake for 30 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes, then cut into 1/4-inch slices and bake 10 minutes more, or to desired crispness.