It looks and sounds fancy!

Berry Pavlova!

It looks fancy, because it is!

I finally did it. I screwed up the courage to make a pavlova! A WHAT? you say? Essentially, it’s a giant meringue topped with whipped cream and the fruit of choice. The winter issue of Cook’s Illustrated had a recipe for a cranberry/orange pavlova and it sounded delicious. I’ve had a hankering for the blueberry and strawberry, so I used that instead.

Pavlova’s taste a bit like a marshmallow only the exterior is crunchy. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, crunchy and when you add the whipped cream and fruit the sweetness is balanced by by the acid and tartness. All those textures make for and explosion of flavor and sensation. If you are ever inclined to make one, it’s really not that difficult. The trick is to read the instructions and recipe slowly, carefully and more than once before you begin. If you take your time and do EXACTLY as it instructs then you will have a masterpiece on your hands.

One of the beautiful things about a Pavlova is how it looks. It’s supposed to have cracks. There is no way to bake one without them. This makes it an ideal recipe for the Type B cook. You don’t have a to be a French Master Pastry Chef for it to be beautiful and delicious! I am notorious for skipping steps and ingredients when baking. It’s a flaw, I get that. I am not exactly great at the details. I suppose that’s one reason I love to cook. You don’t always need perfect measurements and food can be forgiving. Baking is less forgiving, granted, but if I slow down, monitor my booze consumption while doing it, I usually end up with tasty goodness. Just ask any number of my friends, they will testify to my skills.

This is what it looks like without the toppings. Honestly, I love meringue so much I could eat it just like this. Perhaps drizzle some chocolate or caramel over it and Ohhhh baby, now we are talking!

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Cookin’ with gas!

Oh yeah, baby! I am cookin’ with gas! Oh and the countertops are in … marble. Can’t post photos of the complete kitchen until we have the bar top and the backsplash done but I just couldn’t resist shouting that I am cooking again! Tonight I’m gonna make a chicken stew from Cook’s Illustrated.Image

 

Oh and a quick shout out about my most amazing hubby. We both woke up early (4a) and rather than lie in bed wishing he could sleep, which is what I wanted to do, he got up and installed the faucet to my sink and installed an outlet for the cooktop so the installation fellas wouldn’t have to. Thanks to him my kitchen in nearly unpacked and I will be cooking in style tonight. 

Woo Hoo! I am a happy, happy lady!

Kicking it old school …

. . . cooking up a Pot Roast. It’s the American go-to meal for Sunday dinner. Right? Growing up it seemed as if we had pot roast every weekend after church. I hated going to church and therefore dreaded going home to a pot roast afterwards. Association can ruin even the tastiest of treats, huh?

Well, I grew up and stopped eating so much pot roast and as I started to learn to cook for myself, became eager to learn how to cook everything. This was before the Food Network and Internet and really before food snobbery was even heard of. My best resources then were Mama and “The Joy of Cooking”.

Essential for every cooks library.

Mama got me started and showed me how to do it all. What she didn’t know “Joy” did. I suppose I would be remiss if I excluded Martha from the mix but she’s become more infamous than anything. I’m not to proud to say she taught me a few great things; Pie crust, red velvet cake and corn-shrimp chowder. She even inspired me to make my own headboard. But that’s another story, today we’re talking pot roast.

Who inspires me today? America’s Test Kitchen, Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain. Chiefly all the cooks at American’s Test Kitchen. I have subscribed to their magazine “Cook’s Illustrated” for over ten years (thanks to my Mama). I have two of their latest cookbooks and when I can find it on TV I’m glued to their show. They know how to make everything. If they don’t they keep trying until they get an end product they guarantee will be good. I just bought their latest “The Science of Good Cooking”. I’m going to work my way through all of their recipes. I love their magazine because it’s not about selling you stuff you don’t need. There are no advertisements (praise Jesus)! It’s loaded with tips from real cooks (meaning those of us at home who love to do it). They test products and tell you which of them are great, good and to be avoided.

So today I cooked a roast following their recipe for slow cooked-to-tender roast beef. It was in the oven for three plus hours at 225 degrees. It turned out rare and so very tasty. My D nearly ate the whole thing. I should have taken a picture but I forgot and honestly … roast beef is not pretty. I suppose I should have staged it to look pretty but I was so hungry and distracted I just couldn’t get it done. So . . . here is a pretty picture from my honeymoon instead . . .

Paris . . . where every meal was amazing!