Sunday, February 26, 2012


Gorgeous spring berries are starting to appear in the markets around here.  They are so wonderful to just eat right out of hand, or to add to salads, cereal, yogurt; but if you want to be a little bit decadent and yet not work too hard, here is a family favorite dessert, Pavlova. 

I got this version of this classic dessert (named after a famous ballerina!) from an old dinner group friend, Rochelle Stenquist.  Pavlova  takes a bit of advance planning, but it's really so easy, and so very beautiful and delicious.  It's a beautiful round of meringue that is crisp on the outsides, turning to a soft and kind of pillowy center, covered with a layer of softly whipped cream, then layered with gorgeous berries.  As it sits, the meringue melts a bit into the whipped cream and softens.  The combination is light, not too sweet, and so fresh and wonderful. 

If you would like to be really decadent you could add a bit of lovely passion fruit curd, or lemon or lime curd before you layer on the whipped cream, but this is so simple and delicious as is. Later in the week I will post another "cheater" version that is fast and even easier (but this one is really the best).

what you will need:
5 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups whipping (heavy) cream (or 1 pint)
Fresh berries, washed and very well dried, cut smaller as needed (peaches or apricots are nice, too)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cheesy Blasters - Erin

Cheesy Blasters are a childhood creation of my boyfriend Erik's, so we decided to resurrect them for a delicious, if slightly unhealthy, dinner.  They're the perfect comfort food for a cold night, and we had a big salad too, for a little attempt at a balanced meal.

what you will need
hot dogs
potatoes for mashing
grated cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 400F.  Cook and mash the potatoes.  While the potatoes are cooking, cook the hot dogs.  Add milk, butter and salt and pepper to the potatoes, to your own taste.  Butterfly the cooked hot dogs and open them out onto a parchment paper or foil-lined baking tray.  Cover with a layer of mashed potatoes and top with grated cheese.  Bake until cheese is melted and starting to bubble.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Quick Spinach and Tortellini Soup - Erin

This soup is one of my winter staples because it's really easy, it's really good, and...  I'm a little bit lazy, and really like the delicious payoff for the small amount of work.  Our mom has been making it forever too, and she adapted it from Sarah Leah Chase's "Cold Weather Cooking" which is one in the long list of cookbooks she loves.

what you will need
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
9 cups chicken broth
2 tsp dried italian herb blend
9 oz tortellini
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes packed in puree
8 oz fresh spinach, washed, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Monday, February 6, 2012

Orange Creamsicle Cookies - Erin

I was wasting time bouncing around between cooking blogs when I found this recipe the other day from The Girl Who Ate Everything (here.)  Orange Creamsicle Cookies, with orange zest and white chocolate chips.  It sounded a little weird, but very delicious, so I made them instead of watching the Superbowl, and I'm pretty sure I made the right choice, haha!

what you will need
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs. orange zest (about 2 oranges)
1 cups white chocolate chips (or vanilla chips, if you can find them)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Edamame and Green Bean Stir Fry - Erin

I'm basically a sucker for anything with lemon.  Or anything citrusy, really.  This is a stir fry with green beans, edamame (soy beans) and snap peas from Bonnie Stern's "Essentials of Home Cooking."  I didn't want to buy the monster-size bag of snap peas, so I used snow peas instead, and just put them in later so they didn't overcook.  You get everything nice and crisp and green, and then with the garlic, lemon and mint it is delicious, and so fresh tasting.  I highly recommend it!