meringue cups + mango curd

Mango Curd + Meringue Cups

growing up i never had dessert after dinner,
maybe an apple or orange slices.
sugar and sweets were for
Special Occasions,
they were not on the forefront of
gma’s menu planning for the week.
now that i’m a grown up in charge of my diet
dessert is a must.
on the evenings we don’t have
anything sweet to nibble on
i feel a loss,
my waistline has suffered
my sweet tooth is more ferocious
i don’t know which was worse –
with or without!
just kidding,
that’s a no brainer.

mango curdmango curd

meringue cups + mango curd
gluten free, lactose free

*note: it was super hot and muggy the days i made these. if i were to serve this at a party, i’d make the morning of and pipe just before serving. you want the meringues to be light and crispy with just a touch of chew. doing it the way i did it allowed the meringues to be a little on the chewy side and not enough of the crisp. the winter, when the air is chill and dry, would be best for the over night method i used this time.

5 egg whites, at room temp
1/4 -1/2 cup sugar, sweetness level entirely up to you, depending on how sweet the curd is
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

preheat oven to 300F. prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.

in a clean mixing bowl using a the whisk attachment, mix the egg whites for about a minute. add the cream of tartar and then incrementally add the sugar. you’re going for stiff peaks, this could take up to 15 minutes. take your time, scrape the bowl to ensure you get all the sugar. you’re done when you’re able to turn the bowl over and nothing falls on your face.

fill piping bag, if you’re feeling fancy add a tip, though i don’t think it’s necessary. on the prepared baking sheet, pipe a base and then stick to the edge of the base and work your way up to make a cup/nest. keep going until done, i think i ended up with about 40.

bake for 20 minutes, lower heat to 250F and bake further 15 minutes. turn off off, ignore overnight.

mango curd
lactose free

1-2 mangos, depending on size, ending up with about 1 cup mango puree
1/8 – 1/4 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you want it to be
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lime
4 TBL ghee
juice of half lemon

in a sauce pan, mix the mango puree with the egg yolk on low heat. whisk steadily until warmed through, you don’t want to scramble the yolk. add in the flavors: sugar, salt, zests and lemon juice. raise heat to medium and keep whisking until further thickened. turn off the heat and add in the ghee, mixing thoroughly.

set aside to cool, if needed, strain through a fine mesh sieve.

allow to cool and then fridge. will keep for about a week.

to assemble:
you can be fancy and pipe the curd into the meringue cups, or you can be lazy like me and use a small spoon to fill the curd in.


mango curd + meringue cupsmango curd + meringue cups

1 year ago: 3 veggies dumplings in spicy sauce
2 years: baked yeast s’mores donuts

other curd and/or meringue desserts:
citrus curd mille feuilles – dairy free
meyer lemon bars – lactose free
chocolate meringue kisses – gluten free, dairy free
strawberries + cream pavlovas – gluten free

homemade ricotta cheese – lactose free

homemade parsley ricotta

prior to the age of
the Internet
and Email
and Blogging
i was a handwriting
Letter Writer,
and i kept a daily journal.
i haven’t written
in a diary in over
five years.
on a bookshelf,
dw keeps a stack of my
young adult
for a long time
i believed i’d always write
in bound books,
on ruled paper,
words written without margins,
as though they’d fall off the page
without the adhesive
rules of a sentence.
rabid with my memory collecting
that it never occurred to me
that one day
i wouldn’t need it.
i’m too busy, now,
making the memories.
and eating.
i do mourn the slow death
of cursive though.

homemade parsley ricotta

homemade lactose free parsley ricotta
adapted from the Splendid Table

note: back when i figured out that i was lactose intolerant i fully believed that i would never eat cheese again, it was like a slow death i was really sad. then i learned that the harder the cheese, the least amount of lactose in it. then i decided to try my hand at making cheese, vegan and lactose free. i’ve made ricotta before, i just had to look for lactose free stuff. and now, ricotta’s back in my life. happiness again.

1 cup 2% fat lactose free milk, i use organic valley
3 cups lactose free half/half, i use organic valley
juice of one lemon, about 1/4 cup
healthy pinch of salt
chopped parsley, amount to your heart’s content

heat up milk and half/half in pot, on medium heat, to a gentle simmer. remove from heat. add in salt and stir with lemon juice. curds will rise to the top, add the chopped parsley, stir and then give it a few minutes.

you can separate the curds from the whey (the separated liquid) with a cheese cloth and colander. (the leftover whey can be used to make soup, though i’ve never done that before). i use a big spice bag to drain the cheese, hang it over the sink.

drain for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. just keep in mind that the longer you drain it, the dryer the ricotta will be.

i drain it for about an hour, carefully dump it out of the spice bag, shape into a ball.

a good tip: coat hands with olive oil to shape.

drizzle with olive oil to keep from drying.

slather on toasted bread.


fancy crostini

bonus topping ideas:
i roasted up some delicata squash, along with the seeds.
simmered down honey + miso (1:1 ratio) + a splash of water til it reached jam consistency.
sliced figs, cukes, tomato, whatever you have in your pantry.
the combination is only limited to your imagination.

another BAM!

fancy crostini

pickled beets + urban picnic

Pickled Beets

i’ve been into quick pickling
this summer,
mainly because we have a glut
of vegs,
also because
it’s good for digestion,
and because
we have a lot of jars,
either i chuck ’em or use ’em.

when i’m in a mood
and food is the last thing
i want to play with,
we have picnics,
stuffed heaped on bread,
though not as fancy as this,
still very satisfying.

what’s your fave pickled veg?
(and, can you send me some?)

pickled beets + urban picnic

pickled beets

*note: this is the kind of recipe that is going to require you to use some common sense. beets vary in size, you might like your beets more tender, or more al dente. this is just a guideline.

12 small – medium beets, scrubbed and peeled
drizzle of oil (olive oil, i used organic canola oil)
dry italian seasoning (though fresh rosemary or thyme would be nice)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vinegar
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
2 -3 wide strips lemon zest
3 – 5 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks

heat oven to 400F.

meanwhile, with netflix going (i was watching Arrow, i think i’m gonna hit up The Returned next), scrub beets and peel. (i have a love hate relationship with this step. you can roast them first and then it’s easier to peel the skin away while warm, but i find that messy, with oil and random bits of herbs sticking to your hands. it’s up to you.) cut up any large beets so they’re all approximately the same size. place beets on baking dish lined with large piece of foil. drizzle with oil, top with italian seasoning, salt/pepper. cover with another sheet of foil and roast for 45min – 1 hour, until beets have reached desired doneness. this time around i made them tender, but the batch before that were toothier. do what you like.

when beets are warm to the touch, slice them up in either 3/8″ rounds or wedges. (i’ve done it where i sliced the beets before roasting, which made for much quicker roasting time, again, up to you.)

meanwhile, stir sugar, salt + 2 cups in sauce pan. bring to a gentle boil and stir until sugar dissolves. take off heat, stir in the vinegar and remaining seasonings. allow to cool.

in clean mason jars (or in our case, our huge 1/2 gallon mason jar) put the beets in a layer formation. (note: you can also add in sliced onions or cucumbers). half way up, pour a bit of the brine in, along with the various seasonings. continue to layer up with remaining beets and pour the rest of the brine into jar. if there is any leftover space in the jar, add a bit more water & vinegar (1:1 ratio) to top.

refrigerate for a day or so and consume. they do last awhile, just remember to use clean utensils when extracting the beets from the jar to keep from contamination etc.


also pictured:
dutch oven bread
bruised cucumber salad

Pumpkin Challah Chips

Pumpkin Challah Chips + Hummus

here’s the truth about disappointments:
they’re bullshit
and like most things in life,
they’re prevalent
i won’t tell you
how often i’ve been disappointed
by things, by people
like i said,
it’s all bullshit
i will tell you that it all factors
down to perspective
and the adequate handling of it
some would call it avoidance
others would call it compartmentalization
i call it getting on with it

the fact is,
not everything i make in the kitchen
comes out golden
i make plenty of garbage
sometimes inedible
if i’m lucky i can revamp the dish
and salvage it somehow

over thanksgiving i baked a pumpkin challah
it came out tough,
a bit too dense for my liking
the french toast we ended making with it
came out just ok
we had more than half leftover
there had to be something
that could be done to
adequately handle it
and so,
i got on with it
sliced it up real thin
threw it in the oven
and challah chips were born
i included hummus in the pictures
trust me,
just a smattering of
bread crumbs do not make
pretty pictures

Pumpkin Challah Chips + Hummus

i used this pumpkin challah recipe
for hummus, it’s your very typical concoction of chickpeans/garbonzo beans + tahini + lemon juice + salt & pepper + olive oil in the food processor

Pumpkin Challah Chips + Hummus

vietnamese pickled carrots + daikon

vietnamese pickled carrots + daikon

if you know me at all
you know that i can’t make coffee
to save my life
or dw’s
i laugh when i think i
used to argue,
with nuria about my coffee making skills
to be fair, she’s a coffee
i think she’s been drinking the
stuff since being weened
off the boob

i’m not a fussy person
i don’t require a fancy contraption
to brew my cup
nor do i need the best
i’ve tried measuring the
amount of grounds to water,
it’s usually too strong,
and um. honestly
i’ve been going with the
is the coffee looking super
dark & sludgy?

all this to tell you:
i’m capable of putting
crap in my body,
that i can consume
sub-par tasting stuff
like a champ
and that not everything i make
comes out golden
or perfect

when i started this space i
promised myself that i would show
the good stuff
the bad stuff
and the ok stuff
today it’s the ok stuff
pickled carrots & daikon
is yet another condiment
that’s added to banh mi
to vermicelli noodle bowls
to summer rolls
i made this for a catering
thing i did last month,
my first!,
i used it to accent
banh mi bruschetta

it came out ok
not the best
certainly, not the worst
just not right
which is ok
thank goodness i only
have 3 more jars of the stuff left

again, i adapted this recipe.

yields: 8 8oz jars, serving is about 1/4 of a jar – calories: 53 | total fat: 0.2g | sodium: 484.7mg | total carbs: 12.5g | dietary fiber: 3.3g | sugars: 6.7 | protein: 1.1g

vietnamese pickled carrots + daikon