Monday, May 18, 2009

Lemon Curd Pavlova

Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Berries
(Gourmet Magazine, Spring 2009)

(Picture shows a double batch)

For meringue:
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 large egg whites at room temp.
3 Tbsp cold water
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 300F with rack in middle. Trace a 7-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper and put on a baking sheet.

Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.

Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until whites hold soft peaks. Add water (whites will loosen) and beat until whites again hold soft peaks.

Increase speed to medium-high and beat in sugar mixture 1 Tbsp. at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute more.

Add vinegar and beat at high speed until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes (longer if using hand-held mixer).

Gently spread meringue inside circle of parchment, making edge of meringue slightly higher than center. Bake until meringue is pale golden and has a crust, about 45 minutes (the inside will be like marshmallow).

Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool meringue in oven 1 hour.

2/3 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups mixed berries

Stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2-qt heavy saucepan, then add lemon juice and butter. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking, then continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 1 minute.

Lightly beat yolds in a small bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup lemon mixture, then whisk into remaining lemon mixture in saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until curd is thickened, about 2 minutes (do not let boil).

Transfer to a bowl and stir in zest. Chill, surface covered with parchment, until cool, about 1 1/2 hours.

Beat heavy cream until it just holds stiff peaks, then fold 1/4 cup beaten cream into curd to lighten. Spoon lemon curd into meringue and mound berries on top. Serve remaining whipped cream on the side.

Meringue can be made 2 days ahead and frozen, wrapped well in plastic. Thaw before serving.

Curd can be made 2 days ahead and chilled.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Daffodil Cake

Daffodil Cake

(published in March 2009 Everyday with Rachael Ray under the title "Raspberry-Lemon Meringue Cake")

3 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup milk

zest of 2 lemons plus 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice

1 cup butter, softened

2 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar

4 large eggs plus 3 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 11-ounce jar lemon curd

1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the milk, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Using a mixer, beat the butter with 2 c. confectioners' sugar on medium speed until fluffy, 2 minutes. Add the whole eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture.

Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake until springy to the touch, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and let cool completely.

Clean the mixer. Beat the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and the egg whites. Place over a saucepan of barely simmering water and cook, whisking, until the confectioners' sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and the mixture is cool, 7 -1 0 minutes.

Peel the paper off 1 cake layer and place bottom side down on a cake plate. Spread one-third of the lemon curd on the cake and arrange the berries on top. Drizzle the remaining curd evenly over the berries. Peel the paper off the remaining cake layer and place upside down on the filling. Top the cake with the meringue.

Preheat the broiler to high. Broil the cake just utnil the meringue peaks are golden, about 2 minutes. (Or use a hand-held blow torch).

Option: Skip the meringue and top with whipped cream.

Hershey's Chocolate Cake

Hershey's Chocolate Cake

2 c. sugar (I use 1 1/2 cups)
1 ¾ c. flour
¾ c. cocoa
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
½ c. oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. boiling water

Grease and flour 2 round cake pans (9-inch) or 9x13 pan. Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix to combine. Add boiling water and mix until incorporated. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Cool several minutes, remove from pans, finish cooling.

To make the cake picture above:

I baked the chocolate cake in 6-inch (or were they 7-inch) layer pans -- I used three layers and put the leftover batter in a separate pan.


2 cups whipping cream
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pink coloring

Beat whipping cream until almost stiff. Add sour cream, vanilla, coloring and sugar. Beat until stiff.

I dipped cherries in melted chocolate chips, cooled them on waxed paper and then used the cherries to decorate the cake.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Roasted Squash and Sausage Pasta

Roasted Squash and Sausage Pasta

1 butternut squash
1 lb. fresh sausage (sweet Italian or Polish)
1 red onion
1 box whole wheat pasta
1 tsp. thyme
salt & pepper
1 cup grated cheese
Peel and dice squash. Cut sausages into pieces (about 1.5 inches long). Chop onion. Combine onion, squash and sausage on a baking tray. Coat with oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Roast at 375F until squash is tender (about 1 hour.).
Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to box directions. Keep warm. When squash is cooked, add to pasta and throw in a few handfuls of grated cheese.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coconut and Beef Curry

Coconut and Beef Curry
(adapted from Everyday FOOD Magazine)

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. beef, cut into thin strips (could substitute chicken)
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced (or white onion)
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced (could possibly use another veg)
1 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste (I used 1/2 Tbsp. -- this curry paste is mild though)
1 14 0z. can coconut milk
1 cup basil leaves (or cilantro)
1 Tbsp. lime juice
cooked pasta

Heat 1 tbsp oil in skillet. Season beef with salt and pepper; add half of beef to skillet. Cook, without stirring, until browned on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining tbsp oil and beef. Set aside beef, reserving skillet. (Meat will cook more later)

Add onion, bell peppers, and 1/4 cup water to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occassionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender; about 3-4 minutes. Add curry paste; cook, scraping bottom of skillet, 1 minute.

Return beef to skillet, with any accumulated juices, and add coconut milk. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in fresh herbs and lime juice.

Serve over pasta.

I really enjoyed this Thai dish. I thought it could also be adapted easily to other things you may have around the house. The only ingredients not easily substituted would be the red curry paste and the coconut milk -- that gives the curry its flavor.

Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup
(adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine)

In a soup pot brown:

6-8 oz. bacon (which has been snipped or cut into small pieces)

Remove bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-covered plate for later.

To the bacon fat left in the soup pan add:

1 head of cauliflower, washed, cut into florets
4 large baking potatoes (or the equivalent) peeled and diced

Saute the vegetables for a few minutes in the bacon fat.


Enough chicken stock to almost cover the potatoes and cauliflower. I use "Better than Boullion" which is a soup base paste made without MSG

Simmer the potatoes and cauliflower until tender. Puree in blender.


2-3 cups of milk (enough to make the soup creamy without making it runny)

Heat through.

Serve soup with crumbled bacon on top plus any other favorite baked potato toppings: cheese, sour-cream, parsley, chopped green onions, etc.

Makes enough for 10+. You can easily halve the recipe.

Easy Taco Soup

Easy Taco Soup
(adapted from a freezer-cooking recipe book)

In a soup pot brown:

1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped

Drain fat and add:

1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1 15 oz. can pinto beans
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 15 oz. can corn
1 15 oz. can water
1 packet taco seasoning

Bring to a boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips, sour-cream, grated cheese, chopped green onions, or plain.
You can make this in quantities and freeze.