meringue roulade with shaved chocolate and salty-sweet peanuts

Meringue Roulade + Chocolate Shavings + Salty Sweet Peanuts

dear sweet dw:
today we celebrate 1,095 days of married life.
we don’t count days to boast,
but to be held accountable for
the Love Story we are writing together.
you know i was a shitty student
unless something was captivating to me,
and you, kind sir, are a being
i am most interested in.
i want to learn everything about you,
as you grow and evolve.
i remain ever curious about you,
and in our life together.
i commit to being your bestest student.
you are the gift that i never expected,
and i accept you with all my heart.

happy anniversary, sweet love,
let’s always have cake.

photo courtesy of luke eshleman & used with permission
photo courtesy of luke eshleman & used with permission

meringue roulade with shaved chocolate and salty-sweet peanuts
inspired and loosely adapted from yotam ottolenghi, also found in plenty more
serves 8, or in our case, just the two of us

*note: it was a dreary/wet day when this dessert was made, which made the meringue sticky. still very delicious.
humidity  cannot be fought.

Meringue:
4 large egg whites, at room temp
1 coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled vinegar
1 tsp cornstarch

Toppings/Filling:
1 cup chocolate bar, whatever your preference, shaved
1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 TBL coconut sugar
So Delicious’ Coco Whip (alternative if you can’t get this product, skim the fat off of 3 cans of FULL FAT coconut milk and whip with 2 TBL powdered sugar until fluffy)

preheat oven to 325F. prepare a 13X9 rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.

in a stand mixer & whisk attachment, add your egg whites and whisk until frothy. add the sugar by the tablespoon-ful. you’re aiming for stiff, glossy peaks. add in the vanilla extract, vinegar and cornstarch and whisk until blended.

spread mixture on the parchment paper and with an off-set spatula spread it out until level.

bake for 30 minutes, a crust will form, but the meringue will be cooked. remove from oven and let cool in pan.

flip the meringue onto a fresh piece of parchment paper, and gently peel the lining paper.

spread however much of the coco whip you want on the meringue, it’s your party, you do what you want. i would say i used about a cup, and leave a small border around the edge. sprinkle with the shaved chocolate and salty-sweet peanuts.

from the long edge, and using the parchment paper to help, roll the meringue into a log. transfer to serving plate. chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

top the meringue roulade with even more coco whip and sprinkle with yes, even MORE chocolate shavings and salty-sweet peanuts. slice and serve.

BAM!

Meringue Roulade + Chocolate Shavings + Salty Sweet Peanuts

3 years ago: diy wedding envelopes
2 years ago: chocolate tahini cake + rosemary infused buttercream
1 year ago: 6″ chocolate cake

salt & pepper shrimp – tôm rang muối

Tôm Rang Muối - Salt & Pepper Shrimp
Tôm Rang Muối - Salt & Pepper Shrimp

my grandfather appreciated food.
likely, too much.
upon further reflection
i cannot decide what he loved more:
the sweet or the savory.
let’s say he liked both,
and the everything in between.
he enjoyed all the bad things that caused
his cholesterol to spike:
sunny side up eggs
liver, specifically my grandmother’s homemade pâté
seafood, in particular fried and heavily salted

this week marks a year since his passing.
in the last 12 months,
at the most random moments,
i will turn to dw and say:
oh gpa would love this dish!
or
gpa loved him some spice and salt.
more often than not
my memories of him are about food.
in memory of him,
i made one of his favorite dishes,
a dish we grandchildren would sneak to him
as it was something gma would expressly forbid him from having.

Tôm Rang Muối - Salt & Pepper Shrimp

tôm rang muối – vietnamese salt & pepper shrimp
adapted from Luke Nguyen

*note: this is inauthentic, in that i did not deep-fry the shrimp. click on the link if you want to make it the “correct” way. i broiled them super quick in the oven. to keep the shrimp on the side of under-done, i worked quickly, make sure your mise-en-place is done accordingly.
**note: also, this dish is best with head on but the local Whole Foods doesn’t carry it. asian markets will carry head on prawns, but it’s not guaranteed organic and/or sustainably caught.
***note: this is a finger food, meant to be consumed in a group, with ice-cold beers and plenty of napkins. which is why, dw and i ate with a side of carrot+celery salad and brown rice, with chopsticks.

1/2 lb prawns, with head on, or in our case, large shrimp, cleaned/deveined, careful to keep shell on
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup give or take corn starch or potato starch
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, sliced
1/4 red onion, diced
2 green scallions, sliced on the diagonal
drizzle of oil
lemon or lime wedges, optional

first, preheat oven to highest it’ll go, broil or in my case, 550F.

next, prep everything and have all the ingredients ready to go. clean/devein the shrimp. there were some shrimps that lost their shell because i was a little indelicate but it was a price i was willing to pay to not eat poop. wandering chopsticks has a pic tutorial you can refer to. pat dry the shrimp.

dry roast the salt, ground pepper and 5 spice powder. (NOTE: you will not be using ALL of the blend in this recipe). set aside to cool. when cool, mix in the sugar.

line a shallow cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper. if using foil, oil it. dust the shrimp with potato or corn starch. or you can do it my lazy way, holding by the tail, dip the shrimp into the starch and shake semi-vigorously to let loose excess powder. lay on the prepared sheet. broil in oven for TWO MINUTES.

meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat up a drizzle of oil on medium high. saute the garlic, onion, green scallions and jalapeno. you’re aiming for fragrance, not so much burning or caramelization. this can be anywhere from 3-5 minutes. which means, in the middle of this sauteing you’re doing, you need to take the shrimp out of the oven. make haste. set aside the shrimp. when the onions and garlic have softened, add in the shrimp. WORK QUICKLY. sprinkle the shrimp with a few teaspoons of the salt/sugar/pepper/five spice mixture. (i ended up using 3 teaspoons, season to your taste). gently mix everything, heating the shrimp through. REMOVE from heat. this step should take 2 minutes, 3 minutes TOPS.

the end result should be on the dry side, unless you’re like me and gpa and got a little generous with the drizzle of oil.

serve with lemon or lime wedges.

BAM!

Tôm Rang Muối - Salt & Pepper Shrimp

last year’s gpa post: citrus curd mille-feuille
1 year ago: spiced coconut pecan ice cream
2 years ago: portuguese chicken curry with chorizo + olives

twenty fifteen

me + ele

over the holidays iworked. not very glamorous, i know.

my favorite moment of 2014 wasthailand. walking with the elephants. 

my new year’s resolutions arekiss my husband more. poor guy, his face will be even more lips-mottled. perfect the cinnamon raisin challah. train for 3 half-marathons (!!).

please, let there be peace this coming 2015.
besos.

holidays & birthday | gift guide 2014

Gift Guide 2014

friends:
if you partake,
it’s that time of year
where your wallet takes a big hit.
in case you’re looking for something
for someone:
friend
family
yourself
here’s a list of things
we purchased this year
that i recommend,
or things i really want.
they range from the
super frugal
to the super absurdly expensive.

happy shopping!

reasonable:
|| pocket notebook, $5: i keep this in my purse & i jot down to-do’s. mainly i like to doodle.
||The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition, by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, Translated and edited by Jack Zipes, $35: apparently, it’s the true scary stuff, none of the fluff we grew up with.
||jack white’s album “Lazaretto”, $9.99: as the bff says “I’m really enjoying it. It has a good mix of rock, funk and slow jams for baby making.”
||jar funnel, $15: i scoffed when dw got this. now i use it very often.
||kate spade stud earrings, $35: how blingy are these? i don’t even wear earrings much but these are so adorable.
||WOMEN’S MIGHTY LITE™ HOODED JACKET, $140: this is keeping me warm all winter long.
||WOMEN’S MIGHTY LITE™ III VEST, $90: for those in between days, perfect for layering too.

fancy:
||cage ring, $125: again with the accessories!
||Oral-B Precision Black 7000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, $169.99: purchased on sale, and dw says “It buzzes me so clean”.
||vitamix 7500, $529: we have an older version that is getting old, and there was a scare this year…

ridiculous:
||wall table, $1348.86: if we ever lived in one of those tiny houses, i’d want this. how genius.
||birdsnest, $3K – $10K: i don’t even know where i would put this, and the getting in/out process is giving me a headache just thinking about it. but it doesn’t lessen my desire for it.

ultimate wishlist:
nikon d610, $1600
Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens: $196.95: i’d settle for this, if i can’t get the d610.

and of course, other gift lists. as the season progresses, more will be coming up. i just wanted to get this out there during black friday week, in case you partake in such activities:

goop
tasting table
cup of joe

last year’s gift guide

february | remember

february

today being the Last Day of Feb
meaning
we’re right on the cusp
of Spring
or
something nothing like it
it being much more bearable one day,
the next being pretty effing awful

i find myself deadline crocheting,
again
i also doodle in my notebook
listing things to pack for
our upcoming trip
things to buy for/during
our upcoming trip
one of which is potentially
a NEW LENS
which could be death
of me and my nikon friends
who i keep pestering for their opinions
but they’re all the same
and i haven’t won the lottery yet
so i can’t buy all of them
only one
gawd, the decisions!

flowers

felt … omg, the excitement as we countdown till we leave
watcheda movie, with friends, that made me simultaneously laugh & cry inside. i also spent a good portion of the drive home ranting about parents and family and divorce and how fucked up people in general are
drove … for miles. to southern va and i am reminded again of how beautiful the blue ride mountains are
commenced … a juice/smoothy type thing. let’s just say that i adore chewing & leave it at that
swooned … over this book, that is making me love pride&prejudice all over again, despite what twain says about austen

cauliflower rice with roasted tofu & pomegranate relish

a few pinterest and internet discoveries:
||i’d wear this dress everyday
||thinking about this pretty cake for a dear friend’s baby shower this summer
||blueberry season cannot get here fast enough
||i need to make this, and i will, once i get over my crush for her dandan noodles
||i may have gotten teary-eyed over this
||just this
||seriously considering going even shorter!

gifts

photo captions:
||the view of muddy gut creek. don’t let the name fool you
||dried flowers, early morn. dear spring: just get here already
||an adaption of this recipe. we’ve made this thrice, once with cilantro instead of mint, another time with paprika instead of chili, yet another time with millet, all times were fabulous. now that pomegranate season is over, i’m wracking my brain for what other relish i can make…
||pickled mango: what am i supposed to do with it? i received it from my foodie penpal this month. he actually sent me a box of random condiments and spices and goodness and that jar of pickled mango has my utmost interest right now, though i don’t rightly know what to do with it. thoughts?