Thursday, July 23, 2009
Desserteries, Spectacular Looking Veg And . . . Water!
Lest you think I've been too busy hiking to get anything done in the kitchen lately, you should know that my motto is "One is NEVER too busy to make a fantastically complicated, several course meal". My other motto is "It is fine to serve dinner after 10pm, and if you catch your husband sulking around the kitchen looking for snacks you're perfectly within your rights to smack him away with a wooden spoon. Or, you know, give him a pretzel."
And so it is that on Sunday, after hiking in 110 degree heat all afternoon, I chose to make a dinner that required use of my stand mixer, mandoline AND oven (twice!).
I made Smitten Kitchen's Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte. My farmers' market is just teeming with gorgeous squash lately, and squash is a new found love of mine. I swear, I wanted nothing at all to do with squash last summer. This summer? I want squash in everything.
I paired it with a gorgeous salad of fresh, farmers' market veggies including hearts of romaine, fresh corn cut straight from the cob, roma tomatoes, green onions, parsley, basil, snap peas and rings of sweet orange pepper. I know, right?
And, because I was feeling especially ambitious, I finished things off with a Strawberry Pavlova, meringue recipe lifted from Smitten Kitchen .
Pavlova is one of those things I've been dying to make for ages. I had a spectacular one at a dinner across from Hampton Court Palace a few days before my wedding and I've spent much time daydreaming about it since. I never felt I could accomplish one without a stand mixer though . . remember how I got married and now I have a stand mixer? It was HIGH TIME I tried a pavlova.
Although Smitten Kitchen's raspberry sauce looks DIVINE, I opted out of it this time, in order to focus my energies on the meringue itself. I halved the recipe and made 2 mini cakes rather than one large one. I didn't have fine sugar so I used 1/2 granulated and 1/2 powdered, which seemed logical at the time and wound up working out just fine. I also swapped the vinegar for lemon juice. I topped the cakes with fresh whipped cream (powdered sugar and vanilla added) and simple sliced strawberries which I sprinkled with lemon juice and sugar and left to settle in the fridge for a few hours.
Boy was mighty impressed, is all I'm saying.
And on to water! I'm loathe to admit it but Boy and I are bottled water addicts. We buy water gallon by gallon from the grocery store. And in July in LA we tend to go through up to a gallon A DAY. To make the whole bottled water thing even more obnoxious, gallons cost TWO SIXTY NINE at Trader Joes, which is where I do all my shopping (save for farmers' market shopping obviously). So, in order to avoid breaking us on the basis of WATER I've been making separate stops at Ralphs or Vons or wherever SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF BUYING WATER. Obviously, something had to give, but tap water just tastes so RANK. Boy and I have been meaning to buy a filter but of course I was skeptical. "Pass your water through a funnel of nasty black charcoal and it will MAGICALLY taste better" isn't a really convincing ad line. We finally broke down and bought a Brita on Saturday and I swear, cross my heart, our tap water tastes fantastic after a trip through the pitcher. I take back all my skepticism. Joy!