Pavlova Wreath with Berries

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.

Pavlova Wreath with Berries

Allergy Egg, Milk
Meal type Dessert
This Pavlova Wreath with Berries is gorgeous and wintery with fresh flavors you can't get enough of.

Ingredients

  • 1 pint whipping cream (chilled)
  • powdered sugar (for dusting)

Pavlova

  • 4 extra-large egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (white wine or distilled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Berries

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup Bonne Maman Four Fruits Preserves

Note

Pavlova base adapted from Ina Garten's recipe.

Directions

Pavlova
Preheat oven to 180°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, gradually add the sugar and beat until shiny, stiff peaks form. Sift the cornstarch over the egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla and gently fold together with a spatula.
Spoon large dollops of the meringue in a circle on the parchment paper. Using a spoon, spread slightly, forming a wreath shape with a shallow trough. Bake for approximately 1 hour. The merengue should remain very light in color. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven. The end result should be crisp and dry on the outside.
Berries
In a microwave safe bowl, heat the fruit preserves for about 30 seconds, until slightly thinned. Add half of the blackberries, crush with a fork and stir until combined.
When the base has cooled and you are ready to serve the dessert, whip the chilled cream.
To assemble the pavlova, place the base on a serving platter. Spread the whipped cream over the base. Top with the remaining berries, then drizzle with the fruit preserve sauce. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

It’s So Easy Eating Greens

All of my bitching and moaning about the long winter and lack of stellar produce at the grocery store during said winter has given way to glittery unicorns and happy dances as the Ringwood Farmers’ Market opened for its eighth season a couple of weekends ago. It’s still early in the year, so the full force of its awesomeness has yet to be released, but I have more than enough to keep me busy until that time. I loaded up on more greens than I probably can eat in a week, but I’ll be giving it my best shot, and started with this morning’s breakfast.

Green Garlic | Minimally Invasive

Last year around this time, I discovered the mind-blowing power of green garlic confit, then promptly forgot about it when the season moved on. But I can’t pass up fresh garlic in the market and it’s a big waste to throw away 90% of a usable plant, so I made another batch this weekend. The leaves from only one bulb yielded enough to fill two one-cup ramekins, which should keep me busy for a while. I still have several bulbs to go, so if you’re in the area and want to share my bounty, let me know!

Garlic Confit | Amy Roth Photo

 

I’ve been nibbling at the drained confit here and there, enjoying it with just a sprinkling of salt — don’t judge — but used it in a frittata this morning with great results. I added a little of the flavored oil to a pan along with a few chopped asparagus spears and ribbons of tender turnip greens and spinach and a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes, then sauteéd everything over medium heat until the greens had collapsed on themselves. Once they were at that manageable volume, I transferred them to a much smaller non-stick pan and added a couple of beaten eggs and some fresh goat’s milk ricotta, covered the pan, and let it cook until the eggs were set. Before digging in, I dressed the frittata with more of the drained garlic confit, cracked black pepper and a touch of Maldon sea salt for crunch and had a blissful morning.

Green never tasted so good.


I’ll be sending out my June newsletter later today, complete with another Spring-perfect recipe: Gluten-Free Strawberry Biscuits with Roasted Rhubarb and Strawberry Butter. You don’t want to miss out on that, do you? If you’d like to get on the list, just sign up at the end of this post!

Strawberry Biscuits | Minimally Invasive

 

Green Garlic Confit

Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 1 hours, 30 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 45 minutes
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable
Fresh Spring garlic is usable from the tiny bulb all the way to the tips of the leaves, about two feet up — green garlic confit cannot be missed!

Ingredients

  • 1 stalk Fresh Spring garlic, including leaves (thoroughly washed and thinly sliced)
  • Olive Oil

Note

I'm not sure about how long this will last, so I try to use it up within a week. It usually isn't a problem to do so BECAUSE IT'S THAT GOOD, but you can always freeze the confit in its oil in ice cube trays if you want it to last longer.

Directions

Heat oven to 300°F.
Place sliced garlic stem and leaves in ramekin(s) to fit. You can pile it all the way to the top, as they'll reduce a bit in the oven.
Add olive oil to cover the sliced garlic and place ramekins in a cake pan to catch any spillover.
Bake at 300°F for 90 minutes, or until greens are tender. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate in a covered container for future use.

Asparagus and Fresh Garlic — It MUST be Spring

Gluten-Free Spring Dining

UPDATE: Congratulations to Sarah Cordes, winner of the cookbook Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan! 

It feels like an eternity since I’ve had fresh, local asparagus, so I didn’t waste much time this morning getting it from the refrigerator to my belly. Heaven to me is asparagus with a sunny-side up egg, so I riffed on that to come up with a breakfast I’ll enjoy until the season marches on.

Duck Egg Yolk with Buttered Miso Asparagus | Amy Roth Photo

This took me about 10 minutes to get on the table, including prep time, so you might want to give it a try on a busy weeknight when you’re tired but just can’t face ordering in again. The asparagus would make a nice side dish on its own, but as we all know, nearly everything tastes better with an egg on top. And if you have access to duck eggs (like I do, from Edgwick Farm), DEFINITELY sub that for the standard chicken egg. The rich, sunny yolk does beautiful things to the garlicky miso coating the asparagus. I’m so sad I didn’t pick up two bunches of asparagus last Saturday; now I’ll have to wait another week before making this again.

If you’ve been here before, you may notice that I’m trying a new recipe feature from GetMeCooking. Starting with this post, recipes will be printable and uniformly formatted with information about ingredients that may trigger common food-related allergies. Someday, I’ll have the entire site updated and indexed all the way back to 2006, but I think this is a good start. Any thoughts or suggestions for making it even more user-friendly?

Also, just a reminder that I’m giving away a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, an essential cookbook filled with stellar recipes written in her easygoing, encouraging voice. You have until this Friday at 11:59pm ET to register using the entry form at the end of this post. Good luck to you!

And happy asparagus season, if it’s springtime in your neck of the woods!

Buttered Asparagus with Miso and Fried Egg

Serves 1
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 10 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Enjoy Spring's first and finest (IMO) dish — buttered miso asparagus with a fried duck egg.

Ingredients

Asparagus

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2-3 teaspoons yellow miso
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (chopped)
  • 1 bunch asparagus (woody ends snapped off)

Sunny-Side Up Egg

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg (duck, if you have it)

Note

This recipe works with fat, woody asparagus. I haven't tried it yet with delicate, slim stalks, but when I do, I probably won't cover the pan because they won't have to cook for quite as long. 

Directions

FOR THE ASPARAGUS
In a pan large enough to hold the asparagus in one layer, combine water, butter, miso and garlic. Stir over high heat until miso and butter have melted into the water.
Add asparagus, bring to a boil, and cover. Lower heat to medium and steam for two minutes, then remove lid and cook until liquid has evaporated. Keep an eye on the asparagus at this point, because miso will burn if you're not careful. Asparagus is ready when it's crisp-tender; test it by inserting the tip of a knife into the fattest part of the stalk. It should slide in easily, but the asparagus should still be firm. Serve immediately with fried egg.
FOR THE SUNNY-SIDE UP EGG
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a small nonstick pan over medium heat. When butter stops bubbling, crack the egg into the pan. Add 1 tablespoon water and cover. Cook until whites are set, but yolk is still runny. Serve over buttered miso asparagus.

A New Look + The Winter Market

It’s done! Nearly eight years after starting this blog, I gave it a major design overhaul last week! And thank goodness; I just couldn’t look at that raggedy old thing any longer. My lack of anything resembling technical knowledge kept me from tackling it for all those years, but I figured I’d give it a stab, because how hard could it be with one of WordPress‘s highly-praised themes? But still, I couldn’t do it alone, so here’s a big thank you to Gil for setting up a test site and to our friend Jason, who helped me get this behemoth up and running yesterday.

There are a few new features here that I’d like to tell you about. First of all, there’s a top nav to help you get around and a proper home page with some fun features! I’ll likely add some functionality to it in the future, but for now, you can find recent blog posts as well as projects there. Think of the Projects page as a portfolio-lite; it has a few selected images from projects I’ve worked on (mostly cookbooks) along with descriptions and external links to each. To see more of my photography, just click on the Portfolio link in the top nav.

You can sign up to receive an email when new posts are published by using the subscribe box in the blog side navigation or in the footer. Connect with me on social media via the links above the main logo or write to me (I’d love to hear from you!) from the Contact page. There’s also an honest-to-goodness About page now; I figure it’s about time you know a little more about me, and maybe see a picture, even.

Anyway, take a look around — I hope you like what you see! (And if something isn’t working, please let me know.)

Now for some food!

I’m not sure why I gave up the Farmers’ Market Feast series when our weekly market moved to a monthly one over the winter because I never miss one, even though I don’t get to load up on local vegetables at it. So this is my inaugural Winter Market post, and also the last until November because I’ll be back to a weekly schedule in May! Hooray!

Aged Goat's Milk Cheese @ Minimally Invasive

This lovely specimen of aged goat cheese comes from our friends at Edgwick Farm. There was a bit of give around the edges which promised a creamy interior; it was all I could do to hold off from cutting into it before taking this shot.

Aged Goat Cheese @ Minimally Invasive

Just look at that gooey loveliness! The slight goatiness was offset by a drizzle of local honey from Nina’s Red Barn Farm. I’ve consumed a little over half of the cheese in the past two days, which is why I don’t buy it too often; I simply can’t resist the temptation it throws my way.

Roasted Mushrooms & Egg @ Minimally Invasive

Now this little slice of heaven was my Sunday morning breakfast. In my 20s I really loved brunch or brunching; it seemed like such a civilized way to start the day and served as a good excuse to have a bloody mary at an outrageously early hour. (So naughty!) But after years of consuming lord knows how many mediocre egg dishes and entire fields of lukewarm fried potato chunks, I realized I really was in love with the idea of brunch. Now that I’m older, I find I can make a better meal than most brunchy restaurants offer, so it’s a good excuse to indulge.

Roasted Mushrooms & Egg @ Minimally Invasive

Wiltbank Farm is new to our market, selling flavorful oyster and shiitake mushrooms. I wanted to feature the oysters without much interference, so I tossed the mushrooms with some olive oil, a hefty amount of thyme and red pepper flakes, salt & pepper and threw in a few whole garlic cloves for good measure. After 15 minutes on a roasting pan in a 425 degree oven, they were deliciously schlumped and caramelized, so I smashed the garlic cloves into a paste, tossed the paste with the mushrooms and the angels sang.

This was an ideal nest for a perfectly fried duck egg from Edgwick Farm. After trying them for the first time this weekend, I feel sure they’ll be on the menu for as long as I can find them. The flavor isn’t so different from a chicken egg, but they’re much more substantial, and if you’re a yolk lover like I am, you’ll love the ridiculous size of these. I felt I ate like a queen.

And here’s a little yolk porn, just cuz. Have a great week!

Yolk Porn @ Minimally Invasive

Day 9, Scrambled Eggs

“Do you like eggs?”
She laughed. She looked at me, so I laughed too.
Wolfe scowled. “Confound it, are eggs comical? Do you know how to scramble eggs, Mrs. Valdon?”
“Yes, of course.”
“To use Mr. Goodwin’s favorite locution, one will get you ten that you don’t. I’ll scramble eggs for your breakfast and we’ll see. Tell me forty minutes before you’re ready.”
Her eyes widened. “Forty minutes?”
“Yes. I knew you didn’t know.”

—Nero Wolfe in The Mother Hunt

Forty minutes seems like a long time for eggs, doesn’t it? All my life, I’d heat butter or olive oil in a skillet and whip up a couple of eggs in a minute flat —two, if I was dawdling. Boom! Breakfast is served! And I’d consume them just as quickly as they’d cooked. But somewhere along the way I stumbled upon Julia Child’s recipe for scrambled eggs (or ouefs brouillés) in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 and my life has never been the same. These are eggs to savor with a great cup of coffee.

Custardy, rich and impossibly, well, eggy, this is the recipe to show you just how multidimensional the egg can be. I usually pare down the recipe even further, skipping the enrichment butter or cream at the end because it would almost be gilding the lily to add anything to such perfection.

Now I know you’re skeptical. I know you’re wondering just how any scrambled egg could be worth more than five minutes of your time, but you’ll have to trust me. (This is assuming a custard-like texture is what you’re looking for, of course. Gil prefers eggs fluffy enough to float off his fork, which is 180 degrees from these. But try it out —at the very least, it’ll be like nothing you’ve had before.)

And once you’ve mastered this recipe, let me know; maybe we can tackle Nero Wolfe’s 40-minute double boiler scrambled eggs together.

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “Day 9, Scrambled Eggs”

Steak & vegetables. And more vegetables.

all good things

Grass-fed & -finished beef with red chimichurri over a raw kale salad. My Paleo lunch did not suck in any way. At all. Big thanks to the folks at Walnut Grove Farm who made this gorgeous bit of sirloin possible. (They’re only at the market once a month, so I’ll be stocking up next time I see them. They’re a good source for leaf lard, too, once I get through the three cups of rendered lard still sitting in my fridge. It’ll be a while.)

The steak was so juicy and beefy, it didn’t really need the chimichurri, but I’d already made it a couple of hours before, just in case. You never know. It’s really my favorite sauce for steak, with bold flavors that somehow don’t overpower (or get overpowered by) beef, but it’s great on potatoes, eggs and probably a lot of other dishes I haven’t yet thought of, too.

vegetables

Like many chimichurris, this one uses lots of parsley. I stopped my preparations to take a picture because, really, doesn’t this look like a bouquet? You could wrap the base in florist’s tape and ribbon and sell this to a bride for an outrageous price.

vegetarian breakfast/brunch

I was beginning to feel a little left out of the annual “What am I going to DO with all of this zucchini/squash?” discussion, so I picked up a metric shit-ton at the market. I already had plans for most of it, though — Summer Squash with Baked Eggs from The Kitchn. This is one of those recipes, like that amazing ratatouille from a few years ago, that becomes so much more than the sum of its parts, helped in no small measure by a liberal dose of smoked paprika. I plan to make this a regular feature for the next few weeks, while summer produce is still around.

Continue reading “Steak & vegetables. And more vegetables.”

Pucker Up

I’ve been behind the curve on many things in my life: growing hips, getting married, watching The Wire…just to name a few. Knowing this, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise (at least to me) that I’m only now discovering Meyer lemons, but it sort of is. Oh, it’s not that I haven’t tried to use them for the past couple of years; it’s that they were awfully elusive/sold out whenever I thought to look. But our local Whole Foods has had a good supply these past few weeks, so I’ve more than made up for lost time.

(For anyone else who suffers from the same predicament as me, you can find a good Meyer lemon disquisition here.)

It’s pretty easy to plan an entire meal around the Meyer lemon if you try just a little, so I dug around and found a simple, elegant pasta recipe at The Amateur Gourmet and put my own spin on it with smoked fish straight from my brand new Camerons Stovetop Smoker. (Thanks again for the birthday present, Naomi!) In that heady state of new toy-infatuation, I did two versions of the pasta — one with smoked salmon and one with smoked trout. I thought the salmon was delicious on its own, but too assertive for the rest of the flavors in the pasta. The trout, though, was perfection. It mingled nicely with the zest, crème fraîche and greens without overshadowing any of them.

Hard as it was to do, I saved a little room for dessert. Earlier in the day I found a recipe at Thursday Night Smackdown for a Meyer lemon curd so delicious it almost didn’t make it to the refrigerator. I put the leftover egg whites to good use and made pavlovas from Simply Recipes. So we ate, essentially, an upside-down lemon meringue pie, only I didn’t have to deal with the annoying crust.

Sweet lemon clouds. Heavenly.

Sinful. Just… full of sin

I just looked over my last few posts and realized they’re all about capital-C Comfort foods. Thick, rich chocolate pudding, mascarpone cream, spicy soup… while I’m on a roll, let’s add one more to the list, shall we?

Bacon Jam — a wonderful motivator, I’ve found.

As a reason for getting out of bed: Spread it on toast, top it with a perfectly (or not) poached egg for a sunny, sweet and savory start to the day.

with bacon jam and avocado

It’ll get you into the kitchen instead of grabbing a quick bite. Fast food pales in comparison to this grilled cheese sandwich: Bacon jam blanketed in cheddar cheese and studded with avocado between two slices of buttered (and I mean buttered) bread, then grilled till the bread crunches at the first bite while the filling simply yields itself.

bacon jam

It’s also a reason to, I dunno, clean the fridge maybe? If you already happened to be in there, and the jar was staring you in the face and no one’s watching you could take a spoonful straight from the jar. (Not that I’d ever dream of doing such a thing.)

I’m certain there are other, more diabolical motivational uses for this, but I’ll have to work on them. As it is, I’m mostly motivated to make another batch since I gave away over half. But four out of four carnivores agree; this stuff is perfection.

Thanks to Stephanie, for posting about this at Fresh Tart.

grilled cheese with bacon jam & avocado

grilled cheese with bacon jam & avocado

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “Sinful. Just… full of sin”

From the Market: Week 5

gluten-free

Right off the bat, I’ll admit that yes, I cheated a little here. Asparagus hasn’t been seen at the Ringwood Farmers’ Market for the past two weeks, but 1) I had a craving and 2) didn’t it make for a pretty — if slightly pornographic — shot?

Because I operate under the assumption that pretty much everything is better when topped with a fried or poached egg (especially the super-fresh ones we get from Nina), I went with a variation on a shaved asparagus salad from the pages of Food & Wine for Sunday’s lunch:

The ricotta salata I substituted for the Parmesan was creamy and subtle, but I think I’ll try the recipe as written next time for even more of a punch.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Because I eat yogurt with fruit every weekday for breakfast, I like to change things up a little on weekends, so we had gluten-free pancakes before hitting the market Saturday morning. I’m still playing around with flour combinations for breads and pie crust, but this pancake recipe was perfect as written. (By the way, I have no plans to turn this into a blog about dietary restrictions, but if you’re looking into a gluten-free diet, I highly recommend the Gluten-Free Girl blog. It’s an amazing resource.)

But back to the pancakes. I cooked them in only about 1/2 teaspoon of butter each, but they were so rich-tasting and slightly sweet on their own that they only needed a dollop of the raspberry jam I picked up recently from B&B Jams to put them over the top.

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I didn’t really load up on fresh vegetables this weekend because I went overboard last week and still had quite a bit hanging around in my vegetable drawers. I’ve been on a leftover kick all week long, but only yesterday did I finally get around to using up the last bit of the smoked beef tongue (courtesy of Snoep Winkel Farm) I made last weekend. Of course, on that first day, we had it in tacos as we always do, but during the week it made appearances sliced on crackers with Dijon mustard or just nibbled out of hand straight from the cutting board.

But my plan for Saturday’s lunch included my latest favorite way to use leftover bits of meat and vegetables: Vietnamese bun, a refreshing salad served with cold rice noodles, and the perfect thing on a hot summer day.

This was made entirely with odds and ends from the refrigerator: Tatsoi, cabbage, carrots, red bell peppers, radishes, green onions, basil and cilantro, all tossed with a sweet-sour-salty-spicy dressing, funky with fish sauce and garlic. And hit with a lot of Sriracha, naturally. I’ve found that if you get the sauce right (I used the one from this Vietnamese Chicken Salad), the rest of the salad just falls into place.

It’s been a migraine-y day for me, so I have nothing more to offer at the moment, but I’m hoping to get around to an apricot & goat’s milk frozen yogurt sometime this week. Hope you have a great one!

recipes after the jump

Continue reading “From the Market: Week 5”

This & that, on my first snow day

The day started with this:

Which was followed by this:


Mushroom ragu with no-stir polenta.

While all around, this was happening:

All of that, combined with Monday’s personal day makes this the best work week ever.