Tuesday, June 29, 2010
15-ounce can of chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans (reserve 1/4 cup of chickpea water )
1 medium garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1/4 cup of tahini
1 medium lemon
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Serve with raw vegetables or pita chips.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
There are moments when this Southern girl feels a bit exhausted by living in the city--particularly in the hot summer months when I leave the metro completed drenched in sweat. But then, there are the little things that make it all worth it. Every spring, for example, the farmer's market down the street from my house reopens, and every Thursday afternoon, on my walk home from work, I have my pick of the freshest fruits and vegetables. It is a foodies paradise.
(This might be the most fragrant basil I have ever purchased)
Tonight, I decided to get a little fancy with my salad, since I was just heating up some boring chicken leftovers from the night before. This salad was inspired by an appetizer I recently ordered at an Italian restaurant and seemed pretty easy to recreate. While all of the ingredients I used were incredibly fresh, the key ingredient is the tomato, so be sure take advantage of them while they are still in season!
Here is what you will need:
Step 1: Heat the grill on medium high with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices.
Step 2: Sprinkle with kosher salt and place on hot grill.Step 3: While the eggplant begins to cook, mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
Step 5. The eggplant will begin to sizzle, so watch out! Flip the eggplant over and spoon any excess vinegar in the pan over the pieces. (I moved the eggplant all over the grill to make sure most of the vinegar was absorbed.)
Sunday, June 20, 2010
"It is like eating a piece of a cloud."--Mr. Capital Chef
I have mentioned before that my parents are originally from Spain. Growing up in Memphis, they built a tight-knit community of Spanish-speaking immigrants, and we didn't consider them "like a second family"--they were family. The family gatherings revolved mostly around food, and this dessert, Torta de Merengue, was the centerpiece (well, in my mind at least). I was thrilled when I recently learned that the local paper in Memphis did a feature on our Chilean friends, and the article included some of my favorite recipes, including the Torta de Merengue. I was surprised by how simple it sounded. As a child, this cake seemed magical. Here is the article: http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/may/06/chiles-catch/
The cake is essentially strawberries and whipped cream sandwiched between two meringue layers and then completely smothered in whipped cream to create a smooth texture. Once the cake is assembled, the meringue starts to absorb the cream and becomes light and fluffy. My husband couldn't have described it better: "it is like eating a piece of a cloud." As soon as I took one taste of this cake, it felt like going home. It is amazing how the texture and taste of food has the ability to transport you back in time. As I ate this last night, I remembered all of those family gatherings and even though I don't go back home as often as I would like, I felt so grateful that all of those people still remain in my life--thank God for facebook, right?
**Note: I'm not sure if it just me, but I found it kind of impossible to make the meringues into perfectly flat circles. I don't think it matters though because once you decorate it with the whipped cream, all of the imperfections are covered up.
Here is what you will need for the meringue:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. To make the meringues, whip the 6 egg whites. **It is really important not to get any egg yolks in the egg white mixture. I break each egg into a small bowl and then pour it into the larger bowl. That way, if you accidentally break the yolk, you will have only ruined one egg, and you don't have to start all over again.
Step 2: When they begin to foam, add a pinch of salt.
Step 3: Slowly incorporate the sugar, continuing to whip until the whites hold peaks.
Step 5: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. I traced 2 9-inch circles using a cake pan, so I had a guide for shaping the meringues.
Step 6: Spread a meringue disk the size of a standard cake on each. Bake until very dry at 200 degrees, which might take as long as 2 hours (it took me 2 hours). Cool and peel off parchment paper.
Here is what you will need for the filling:
Step 1: Whip the cream with the sugar, to taste.
Step 2: If you have a stand mixer, you can leave the cream to mix for a few minutes while you wash and slice the strawberries. Set aside 6-10 whole strawberries (depending on how many you want) to decorate the top of the cake.
The cream should get nice and thick.
Step 3: To assemble, put one meringue disk on a cake plate and spread a generous layer of whipped cream on top.
Then place a layer of strawberries....
Another layer of cream...
Then another layer of strawberries...
Put the remaining meringue on top, then frost the top and sides of the cake with remaining whipped cream. Decorate top with the reserved strawberries. **This cake must be refrigerated...it can start to melt if left out for too long.
List of Ingredients:
6 large eggs whites at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Filling and topping:
1 quart heavy cream
1/2 to 1 cup sugar, to taste
1 quart strawberries