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Pavlova Wreath with Berries

Pavlova Wreath | Amy Roth Photo

Like clouds in edible form, pavlovas are delicate and ethereal, and can really rain on your parade if the circumstances allow. It’s a meringue allowed to form the backbone of a dessert, so you’ll want to treat it with care because it’ll respond in kind. Warm the eggs before beginning your recipe. Make sure the whites, mixing bowl and beaters are completely free of any oil/yolk. Start whipping the egg whites slowly, then gradually faster until stiff peaks form. And follow the directions for baking in the recipe. It can be a delicate balance, making sure it’s cooked through and dried without browning, but you’ll be rewarded with a scrumptious and impressive-looking dessert, which you then pile high with whipped cream, berries and jam. It’s beyond delicious, and my favorite of our Sweets Week desserts by far. Please visit Darcie’s blog for more about this dessert.

So this is it for the Advent Calendar — I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts Darcie and I have shared this month! We’ll be taking off for the holidays now, but plan to be back in the new year with more posts, probably of the healthy/nourishing variety. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season’s Greetings, and Happy New Year! Catch you in 2017.

Pavlova Wreath Close-Up | Amy Roth Photo

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.
December 25, 2016|Advent Calendar 2016, Baking, Desserts, Eggs, Fruit|0 Comments

Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread Cookies | Amy Roth Photo

It never even occurred to me that someone might not like shortbread cookies. They’ve always been a favorite of mine for the reason I suppose a lot of people don’t like them — there isn’t a lot going on there, and the flavors aren’t bold. In fact, the primary flavor is butter, so you do have to use the good stuff. But Darcie came up with a fantastic spin on shortbread cookies with this recipe, adding macadamia nuts, chocolate ganache and — what really sets these apart — freeze dried raspberries crushed to bits. The flavors marry beautifully, and the raspberries give it an unexpected zing, plus make them look adorable and festive.

Shortbread Cookies 2 | Amy Roth Photo

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.
December 24, 2016|Advent Calendar 2016, Baking, Chocolate, Cookies|0 Comments

Gluten-Free Lemon Cake

Gluten-Free Lemon Cake | Minimally Invasive

If there’s one thing I hope I’ve made clear in this blog over the years, it’s that I hope you’re having fun in the kitchen and aren’t afraid to make substitutions. (Or is that two things? Oh, well.) Unless it’s a main ingredient like beef when I want to make pot roast, I don’t mind swapping out ingredients if I have something on hand that sounds appropriate.

Take this sunny, gluten-free lemon cake from Serious Eats. I haven’t had a great deal of luck with gluten-free cakes in the past, but this recipe sounded simple and intriguing enough for me to give it another go…with changes. I don’t often like the texture of cakes made with oil (and don’t keep vegetable oil in the house, anyway), so I used butter instead. I could’ve melted it to keep things simple, but wasn’t sure if that would leave me with the same texture I was trying to avoid, so I creamed it together with some sugar and hoped for the best. It smelled great and looked just fine coming out of the oven, so I was halfway there.

And then neither of the topping options sounded very good to me, so I whipped up a lemony cream cheese frosting that I thought would complement the cake. And it was tasty, but the cake’s texture was a little spongier than I like. But when I woke up the next morning, I gave it another try and was really happy to see that the cake had evolved overnight into something softer, almost pudding-like, probably the result of the humid weather we’re having. So I wholeheartedly recommend this recipe, especially if you like bright, lemon flavor without a lot of sweetness. […]

July 14, 2014|Baking, Cake, citrus, Gluten-free, lemon|0 Comments

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Free-Form Apple Tart, Gluten-Free | Minimally Invasive

Hi, everyone! It’s good to be back. We’ve celebrated a birthday and an anniversary since I last posted, but those milestones caused barely a blip on our radar, given the other major happenings in our lives. We had even greater cause to reflect on another journey around the sun when Gil left the job he’d held for 17 YEARS to form a trade association for a segment of advertisers in the magazine he edited. More than just needing a change as part of a (thankfully non-sleazy) mid-life crisis, this is his chance to build a new business from the ground up, so after a lot of talking, we decided he’d be crazy not to try. It means tightening our belts for a little while, but that’s ok.

So we’ve both been working from home. Hey, I heard that sharp inhalation and can practically see you wincing! But really, it’s been great. Gil’s been traveling a bit, so we haven’t had two straight weeks of each other yet, but even when he’s here, he’s at one end of the house and I’m at the other. So no, we aren’t sick of each other yet.

My big news isn’t nearly so momentous. I fully expected a freelance photography career to have its ups and downs, but it’s been mostly downs for a while now. I’m looking into a contract position doing photo production work for the summer so I can earn a steady paycheck and refill the coffers, but to get my business back on track, I registered for Marie Forleo’s B-School. It’s a big commitment, both monetarily and in time spent, but the course has […]

March 29, 2014|Baking, Gluten-free|1 Comment

The Christmas That Went All Pear-Shaped

Pastel Pears | Minimally Invasive

Hi everyone, I hope you’re enjoying the holidays! Do you have exciting plans for the new year, or perhaps for New Year’s Eve? Because Gil and I are antisocial, we’ll be dining at our favorite local-ish restaurant — Café Matisse — instead of going to a party. And because we’re old and geeky, our reservation is bordering on Early Bird Special territory so we can be home early enough to watch at least the first installment of the LOTR trilogy. (Tradition must be given priority, after all.)

For Christmas, we visited my family in Louisiana, though Gil’s visit was cut short when Ru and Otis got sick. The boys are on the mend now, but we thought it would be unfair to burden our teenaged dog sitter with arse-spraying mayhem when she should be with her family, enjoying a day free of frequent walks and poop-stained carpet (I hope), so Gil flew home on Christmas Eve to tend to them. I know what you’re thinking: “How will Gil survive a full year without boudin?” amirite? But don’t worry, I ate his portion at the family party that evening, so as a couple, we’re covered till next Christmas.

In a stab at healthy eating, I also indulged in loads of fresh citrus from my Dad’s trees this year. I gloried in satsumas, mandarins, kumquats and grapefruit, and even fit a couple of Meyer lemons into my bulging carry-on. My distress at coming back to a fruit-scarce home was unnecessary because I returned to find huuuuge […]

December 28, 2013|Baking, Breakfast, Cup4Cup, Fruit, Gluten-free, Pears|3 Comments

Cookies! Get Your Cookies Right Here!

GF Molasses Crinkles | Minimally Invasive

Though I normally don’t thrill to baking in quantity, The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap piqued my interest when I read about it on my friend Kasha’s Facebook page. The brainchild of Lindsay from Love & Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen, this event brings together bloggers from around the world to share cookies and support a worthwhile cause. After registering and paying a nominal fee, you receive the names of three bloggers and send each of them one dozen freshly baked cookies. In return, you receive one dozen cookies from three other bloggers.

How could anything go wrong? Pull up a chair and I’ll tell you how. Things can go wrong if you only skim the instructions then start baking weeks later without returning to them. If I’d reread the instructions before diving in, I might have saved myself a bit of time and a lot of trouble, but then three bloggers wouldn’t have received THREE DOZEN gluten-free cookies each. But it’s the season of giving, and I hope Sara from And a Little Chaos, Jackie from La Casa de Sweets and Jennifer from Nibbles ’n Bites are enjoying the cookies as much as I enjoyed baking them!

As you can imagine, all of this baking really put the damper on my already-minuscule sweet tooth, but I really did love all of the gluten-free cookies I received: Oatmeal […]

December 11, 2013|Baking, Christmas, Cookies, Gluten-free|9 Comments

Pop-Tarts for All You Adults Out There

Concord Grapes | Minimally Invasive

There’s something about Concord grapes that makes my toes curl. Until a few years ago, my only experience with them was in the form of Welch’s Grape Jelly, and I’ll admit that whenever I pop a Concord grape into my mouth, memories of Welch’s spread on buttered, crustless bread (thank you, Maw-Maw) come flooding back. I tried my hand at a grape focaccia a couple of times with decent results, but I wanted to focus on something more obviously dessert-y this time and ended up with hand pies and a LOT of leftover jam.

I won’t lie — making grape jam from scratch is a big pain in the ass because you have to pop the grapes from their skins, cook the pulp, then remove the seeds, but it’s worth the trouble (and the purple-stained fingers if you forget to wear gloves). Sweet, tangy and dusky all at once, it bears little resemblance to industrialized jelly and is just the thing to set off a flaky, buttery crust. Get the jam recipe at Apt. 2B Baking Co.

Fraisage | Minimally Invasive

I read about the promise of a flaky, buttery and gluten-free pie crust at the new-to-me blog The Bojon Gourmet and couldn’t wait to get started. It uses a manageable blend of gluten-free flours, lots of butter, and the fraisage method of bringing the […]

October 17, 2013|Amy Roth Photo, Baking, Desserts, Gluten-free, Grapes, Vegetarian|3 Comments

One of Us! One of Us!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Doughnuts | Minimally Invasive

I’m generally immune to the pumpkin-washed hysteria that grips the popular imagination this time of year. I figure there’s plenty of time for that sort of thing before we see pretty, leafy produce again next spring. Plus, it’s just kinda gross. (I’m looking right at you, pumpkin-flavored coffee.) But our days have been unseasonably cool and I had a delicious roasted ambercup squash for breakfast yesterday, so I felt primed for a little pumpkin dessert. It’s ok, right? I mean, it is October and you do need to know about these before your fall baking gets underway…

I picked up a couple of doughnut pans for baking last year, but the recipes weren’t quite right, so I never shared them here. The larger pan functioned very well, honestly, despite the flavorless batter I filled it with. Actually, the mini doughnut pan worked well, too, but I just don’t have the patience to deal with something so precious for such a minimal output. YMMV. But this outing was a success thanks to this recipe for Gluten-Free Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts from Serious Eats (with just a few minor changes). I gave up on baking with gums a while ago and use ground psyllium husks now, instead. Just a pinch is what the Gluten-Free Girl recommends for this type of baking and it gave me an absolutely perfect result. I brushed the pan with melted coconut oil and […]

October 1, 2013|Autumn, Baking, dessert, Gluten-free|6 Comments

Field to Feast: Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Bread | Minimally Invasive

Go on, treat yourself to a slice of chocolate zucchini bread with your morning coffee. I won’t tell.

As ever, the recipe from Elana’s Pantry is perfect — moist, rich and delicious. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a regular-sized loaf pan, so that’s probably why it fell in the center, but the flavor was unaffected. And for a dessert as unassuming as zucchini bread, imperfection just adds to the charm, don’t you think?

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Have you read Kasha’s great recap of our Field to Feast posts yet? No? Well, grab another slice of zucchini bread and hop on over

August 25, 2013|Almond, Baking, Field to Feast, Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegetarian|6 Comments

Field to Feast: Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes | Minimally Invasive

Tomatoes are here! I went a little overboard at the market as I tend to do with all produce that has such a short, shining season, but every tomato went to good use. So welcome to tomato week! I hope you enjoy.

Gluten-Free, Paleo Tomato Tart | Minimally Invasive

Starting things off, I have a hearty gluten-free/Paleo tomato conserva tart that’s bursting with fresh flavor. Because tomatoes release a lot of water as they’re cooking, I made each element of the tart separately, then assembled them at the end to avoid a big, soupy mess in the oven. The gluten-free tart shell was based on the Paleo Pie Crust at Elana’s Pantry with some Parmesan cheese and a handful of fresh herbs — basil, of course, plus rosemary, sage, thyme and chives — thrown into the food processor. The herbs turned the dough a beautiful shade of green, but if you’d rather a dough studded with herbs, just mince and stir them in by hand when you’ve finished mixing. I pressed the dough into a nine-inch tart pan, then covered the bottom with foil, weighed it down with dried beans, and blind baked it for 20 minutes at 350° F. At that point, I removed the foil (and beans) and baked it for 10 minutes longer to dry the bottom of the shell.

The middle layer, which isn’t visible here, was a blend of chèvre from Edgwick Farm, about two tablespoons of cream cheese, a […]