Passover is coming, and you know what that means? No oats, grains, beans, rice or leavening agents -- eek! I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a bit of a struggle, but I love any opportunity to get creative in the kitchen (you know that by now, right?).
In the past, I've turned to nut flours and coconut, but was looking for something different on the dessert front this year. Since I won't be making it home for the holidays, I knew that I'd be missing my Oma's crispy meringues and strawberry ice cream, so I decided to take a stab at an alternative -- light and fluffy pavlova, doused in juicy roasted berries. YUM.
PASSOVER PAVLOVA WITH MAPLE ROASTED STRAWBERRIES // serves a crowd
I skipper the typical cream layer, trying to keep the recipe kosher (/dairy free). If you're not concerned with that kind of thing, feel free to add a substantial layout of whipped cream between the pavlova and the berries. Also, this dessert is SWEET -- consider yourself warned when the sugar rush hits ;) Adapted from Happyolks.
Preheat oven to 200. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 cup caster sugar*
2 tsp potato starch
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 batch maple roasted strawberries
* Caster sugar is a super fine white sugar. If you can't find it, simply whizz white sugar in a food processor (or bullet) until fine.
What to do:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks begin to form (2-5 minutes). When peaks are firm and ready, you should be able to tilt the bowl without any of the contents moving.
Slowly fold in the sugar, potato starch and vanilla using a rubber spatula.
Pile, and slightly flatten, the mixture onto your prepared baking sheet, and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Once cooled completely, top with the warm, juicy strawberries and serve immediately.
I'm the girl who has snacks in her bag - always. Airplanes, cars, chair lifts, running errands, you name it, I've got you covered. I take this role very seriously, and as such, am always on the lookout for new and interesting snacks. My go-to's as of late: granola bars for the ski hill; no-bake energy balls for weekend adventures; and trail mix for, well, whenever really.
With an upcoming 5 hours train ride, and a full day of skiing, I was craving something different. If I'm being totally honest, I really just wanted something that could easily be inhaled while waiting in line for the chairlift (busted). Cue the soft granola bite -- perfectly sized and textured to sneak into your bag, and packed with all the things that will more than satisfy your hunger.
Word on the street is that Spring is coming. All the signs are there -- the snow has melted, the parka has been tucked away, and the streets are drenched in some sort of muddy slushy concoction. The temperatures however, haven't quite caught up. There's still a solid nip in the air, and my eating habits are super confused -- stuck between the warmth of winter soups and stews, and springy wraps and raw salads. That's where this lunch plate comes in -- roasted, pickled, dried and baked -- it covers all the bases, leaving you with a perfectly balanced plate and an incredibly satisfying meal.
The temperatures broke zero this weekend, and though I'm venturing into the weather this week with caution, its incredible how quickly the body can shift out of hibernation mode. The sun was shining, the snow was melting, and all I wanted was a beer and some snacks on the back deck. I know, I know, I'm totally getting a head of myself considering its only March, but still.
My craving for snacks naturally led me to hummus. Naturally.
I was determined to make hummus at home, but was convinced that I needed a crazy powerful (waaaay over my budget) blender to achieve the smooth, creamy texture of the store bought brands. Wrong. Just add a solid drizzle of olive oil, and you'll end up with the ideal texture, just waiting to be dunked by some fresh pita.
When it comes to the holidays, I'm all about tradition. When I was a kid, Purim meant noise makers, costumes and prune-filled cookies. My sisters and I would gather around our kitchen table and make hamantaschen with my mother -- she would prepare the dough, and we would help out with the rest, somehow always ending up with flour up to our elbows.
Since being in Toronto, I've attempted to make hamantaschen without my mom, but could never quite get the dough right. The consistency would be off, and the triangles would explode in the oven, loosing their shape and oozing filling all over the baking sheet. Fail.
This year, I was determined to get it right -- simple, easy to handle dough, and a prune filling just like the one my dad used to buy (maybe even a bit better if you ask me). Chag Sameach!
To say that its been cold around here lately, would be an understatement. I'm more inclined to describe it as bitter temps that get deep into your core, and make your nose want to fall off. Fun times.
Yes its cold outside, but its almost equally cold inside, thanks to our not so trusty furnace. A furnace on the fritz means a rather chilly house, and a chilly house begs for warm and comforting meals. Bowls of coconut curry and bolognese, piles of baked chilaquiles, probably these tomorrow night, and this tart -- perfectly crunchy crust, topped with hearty warm roasted beets and a sprinkling of goat cheese. Whether its for weekend brunch, work day lunches, or dinner when N's at basketball, I can't get enough.
We're just back from an epic week in the Alps, and though the return home was less then ideal (-40 degrees > frozen pipes > burst pipes > mini kitchen flood), I'm still riding on the high of the past 10 days. There's just something magical about a ski vacation: long, thigh burning days on the slopes; blue bird skies leaving you with a hint of goggle tan; the relaxing vibe of an après ski beer; the beyond satisfactory feeling of removing your ski boots at the end of the day; and gathering around the table for dinner with a bottle of wine, close friends, and a home cooked meal. Seriously, it doesn't get any better.
The trip started in Zurich, and though we were complete zombies from our overnight flight, we managed to sample some local beer, indulge in a massive rosti and sausage plate, and take a mini stroll along the water. Next up was Zermatt, an adorable Swiss ski town, nestled deep in the mountains. We lucked out with a glorious blue sky ski day, giving us far too many opportunities to stop on the side of the slopes and snag a pic of the Matterhorn. We weren't blown away by the terrain, but the VIEW - whoa, oh, and the fabulous little slope side champagne bar we stumbled into on our last run. We then took the train to Geneva, and while totally mesmerized by the landscape (picture green pastures with snow capped mountainous backdrops), somehow missed the shift from Swiss-German to Swiss-French. We spent the little time we had in Geneva strolling through the old town, and dining on fresh fish (fera) from Lake Geneva.
Then it was time to head to France - no doubt the highlight of the trip. Morzine is a picturesque french mountain town tucked at the base of Avoriaz. We were lucky enough to be hosted by two of the most fabulous people I know, and we couldn't have asked for a better few days. There was a trip to the local farmer's market with maybe a few too many saucissons purchased; a well needed, good for the soul, nature walk; a day trip to Chamonix with possibly the best lunch spot ever; a typical french mountain dinner of raclette and charcuterie; a spring-like, mogul ski day at Avoriaz; après ski drinks and card games; a perfectly appropriate last breakfast before flying home; and all the laughs, fun and relaxation a girl could ask for.