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Mini Lasagna-16

Turley Zinfandel for Two

Turley Featured Image

untitled Ever experience that moment when the best wine you’ve ever tasted touches your lips, slides onto your tongue and tickles your tastebuds with delight? Read More

Kaffir Lime Simple Syrup

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In one of my recent blog posts, Simple Syrup Recipe for Cocktails, I posted a standard recipe for Simple Syrup – which is 1 part water to 1 part sugar – typically one cup of water and one cup of sugar brought to a quick boil on the stove.

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Local Organic Vegetables at Kumu Farms

Roasted Veggies and Pierogies Lo Res

Living in paradise (Maui Hawaii) has its advantages – lush palm and plumeria trees, pineapples, beautiful beaches, gourmet restaurants, elegant and fruity cocktails, hula dancing, ukuleles, and a friendly aloha spirit. We also enjoy something extra special – organic local produce, and Kumu Farms is one of the best on the island.

Roasted Veggies and Pierogies Lo Res

Located at Maui Tropical PlantationKumu Farms in Waikapu grows fresh, organic, local produce and sells their harvest on location at their Farm Fresh market and to local grocers.

I recently bought some Kumu Farms organic beets at Whole Foods and roasted them as a side dish with our dinner last night.  The beets were so fresh and flavorful, and flavorful that I had to do very little with them – just oil, salt, and pepper, and these wonderful root veggies.  Every food has it’s unique flavor, and if it is good food, a cook shouldn’t have to do much with it.  Simple seasoning is all that is needed.  The beets from Kumu Farms could stand easily stand on their own.  That is good food!

If you find yourself in Waikapu on Maui, check out their farmers market, and pick up some local produce. You won’t be disappointed. I guarantee it.

Roasted Root Veggies with Pierogies and Asparagus

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Last night, we wanted vegetables for dinner after a few days of heavier meals. Our refrigerator was full of beautiful fresh local and/or organic vegetables we’d bought at Whole Foods over the weekend. The local Kumu Farms beets were gorgeous and fresh, the asparagus was crisp, and the brussels sprouts were fresh and clean.

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Lemon Lolly Martini

Lemon Lolly Martini

I’ve been on a lemon kick the past few weeks, and the other night, I made a Lemon Lolly Martini.  Yum!

Lemon Lolly Martini

I am still working on this cocktail, so I don’t have a recipe ready to go yet, but stay tuned for updates!

 

Lemony Meringues – The Third Time Really is the Charm

Lemony Meringue Cookies

Lemony Meringues Lo Res-15At last! I am happy to write that I have finally made a successful batch of Lemony Meringue Cookies!  Sunday, after wasting over a dozen eggs on batch #2 (sorry, Chicken Little) and washing and re-washing my equipment, I finally made a great batch of Lemony Meringues on my third batch.

Batch #2: Sunday, armed with a dozen eggs, lemon curd, and all my meringue ingredients, I set out to make a beautiful and lemony batch of meringues.  I separated my egg whites carefully, and on the fourth of four eggs, a dab of yolk escaped and joined it’s egg white buddy in the bowl.  Ugh.  Four eggs down the drain.  (Egg whites containing yolk will not beat properly, so yolk is considered death to meringues.)  I grabbed four more eggs.  On the third egg, a dab of yolk slipped through again, ruining the first two whites.  I reached for four more, hoped for the best, and successfully separated four egg whites!  Huzzah!

It was too early to celebrate; however, so I pressed on.  I attached the whisk to my electric mixer and beautifully frothed my egg whites.  I added cream of tartar and salt, and after a short period of whisking, my egg whites developed a nice soft peak.  It was then safe to start slowly adding the sugar.  I added about a tablespoon at a time, and I watched as my whisking created stiff peaks.

Then, it happened.  I added lemon curd, and my happy high turned to a languishing low.  My gorgeous stiff peaks became a glossy river of goo – delicious, but goo.  My face and heart fell in unison. My entire carton of eggs was gone, and all I had to show for it was tasty goo.  I am not a gal who is quick to give in to defeat.  I’ll admit defeat, but I am not quick to give in to it. I was going to make these meringues if it took all night!

Batch #3 Meringues are a fickle friend. They’re tricky, and one mis-calculation, one mis-step can destroy a batch in an instant.  My mis-step only cost me time and a dozen eggs.  No defeat.  I knew I could do this. I knew when and how I’d made my mistake, and now my only choice was to correct it.  After a run to the store for an even larger carton and quantity of eggs this time, I started over.

Lemony Meringues Lo Res-3

I carefully cracked four eggs and separated the egg whites and used my faithful mixer to whisk the egg whites to a froth.

So far, so good.  Feeling confident, but certainly not cocky, I added 1/2 tsp of cream of tarter and 1/2 tsp of salt and whisked until soft peaks began to form and then gingerly added a cup of sugar about one tablespoon at at time. Instead of adding a tablespoon of lemon curd, I zested a lemon into the mixture.

I continued to whisk until the peaks could stand on their own. They were nicely peaked and did not drip when lifted.

To achieve that wonderfully lemony flavor I desired, I lined my pastry bag with lemon curd and added the mixture. I piped sweet droplets of my mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheets and baked at 200 for an hour and a half.  The cookies cooled in the oven for an hour.

I couldn’t wait to taste them and see if I’d succeeded.  I bit into one little cookie, and it practically melted in my mouth. The light and airy cookies were sweet with a bit of lemon to balance the sweetness, and they had a nice crunch to them.

Lemony Meringue Cookies

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

3 hours, 20 minutes

75 qty 1.5 inch cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon curd

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200
  2. Separate egg whites carefully into a bowl.
  3. I use an electric mixer to whisk until the eggs are frothy.
  4. Once the eggs are frothy, add the cream of tartar and the salt.
  5. Whisk until soft peaks form - I added lemon zest at this point
  6. When soft peaks have formed, add the sugar about a tablespoon at at time, continuing to whisk
  7. Whisk until stiff peaks form
  8. Using a pastry bag with flower attachment, add dollops of the mixture to parchment-lined baking sheets (you can also line with foil).
  9. Bake for an hour and a half at 200 degrees
  10. Turn off the oven and allow the cookies to cool in the oven for at least an hour.
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Meringues are, indeed, tricky, but the reward is an adorably sublime little cookie.  For some great tips on making meringues, visit www.whatscookingamerica.net and read their post, Meringue Recipe, How to Make Perfect Egg White Meringue.  Reading their story, I can still see that I have so much to learn about making meringues. My meringues aren’t perfect, but they sure are tasty!

Roasted Gold Baby Beats & French Baby Carrots

Roasted Baby Beats and Carrots with Porkchops over Applesauce

Vegetables Lo Res Vegetables Lo Res-8This past weekend, our local grocery store had these beautiful gold baby beets and French baby carrots in their produce section, and I snatched them up with excitement.  I couldn’t wait to cook them!

Last night, I had my chance. I roasted them in a 450 degree oven for half-hour, and they were perfectly tender and delicious. Read More

Homemade Applesauce

Applesauce Lo Res-3

Applesauce Lo Res-3Fresh, homemade applesauce – simple, sweet, slightly savory, and oh so good! Homemade applesauce is one of those recipes that you make for the first time and say, “why haven’t I been doing this my whole life?”  Growing up, I was never a fan of applesauce.  The store-bought sauce never appealed to me, and I never thought about making it myself.  Until now.

Last night, I roasted gold baby beets and french baby carrots, and I pan-seared pork-chops for dinner.  As I was prepping the ingredients for the meal, I thought about how I was going to serve the pork chops. I often come up with something fun on-the-fly because that’s how I roll – creating a recipe on-the-spot is exciting and a great challenge.  I knew I’d have about a half an hour as I roasted my yummy baby root vegetables, so what could I do that was quick and easy and that would compliment the pork chops nicely.  Apples – all spice – sugar – YES!  Applesauce. Read More

The Meringue Cookies – My Results of Trial and Error

Meringue Cookie Lo Res-2

Meringue Cookie Lo Res-2Here they are. The odd-shaped, yet tasty, results of my first attempt at making meringue cookies, and since I didn’t use a pastry bag, they are a bit disc-like.  Ok, a lot disc-like.  They certainly aren’t perfect, and I made them different sizes and tested the cooking times. The two-inch diameter cookie had the best crisp melt-in-your-mouth airy consistency.  I purchased a set of pastry bags and attachments, and can’t wait to try it again with prettier and more consistently sized 1 – 2 inch cookies.

These cookies were featured in my February 01, 2015 blog post: Meringue Cookies – Trial and Error

 

 

Meringue Cookies – Trial and Error

Meringue First Try Lo Res-9

Meringue First Try Lo Res-3A phrase I hear consistently about hobbies or a craft of some kind is, “it’s a labor of love…” and that is why we do it.  Cooking certainly is a labor of love, but it is also an often insane act of trial and error – especially in a genre (like baking) that is so dependent upon technique and precision.  With precision and technique being two of the factors that make or break a recipe, we may fail more than we succeed when learning something new.  That said, I’ve never made meringue cookies, and I love the delicate and airy touch to the cookie.  Armed with a new hand mixer, a carton of eggs, and a container of cream of tarter, I set forth on my newest baking challenge.  (A challenge it was!)  Seriously, perfect meringue cookies (while seemingly simple) should be an elimination challenge in shows like Master Chef that feature everyday home cooks like I am.  Meringue cookies can trip almost anyone up on a first attempt.   Read More