Lemon Pavlovas with Blackberry Sauce

I have a number of weirdo food quirks:

1. I eat all the crust off a slice of bread first, in a circle, until all that’s left is the center

2. I suck on Cheetos until they’re soggy, then chew and swallow

3. I eat french fries two at a time, and they have to be identical in length. I’ll sort them first, to match each fry with a similar-sized french fry companion, then eat them together

4. I don’t like cold foods touching hot foods

And relatedly:

5. I like to eat desserts one layer at a time

Cake, then frosting. Crust, then pie filling. Whipped cream, then Jell-O. Bars present their own issues, but that’s another story for another, messier day.

Lemon Pavlova with Blackberry Sauce

On the evening I served these ethereal splendors to Mom and Handsome Greg, I took care in sequestering the creamy filling from the cloud of meringue. Yet somehow, a crispy shard of meringue found its way onto my forkful of sweetened mascarpone, stained with blackberry juice.

Clean Plate

How could this have happened? I mean, it’s not like I’d had three glasses of wine, or anything.

Meringue with Lemon Zest

And then a light bulb turned on in my mouth, or maybe in my head. In that one, incredible you-got-your-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter-no-you-got-your-peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate moment, I finally understood the desire to construct “the perfect bite” of food.

Blackberry

While each element of the recipe – the light, crunchy meringue, the duvet of butter-sweet cheese, and the fresh, tart blackberry sauce – is tasty in its own right, together they are magical.

So what are your food hang-ups?

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Prosciutto, Leek, and Swiss Chard Quiche

I think it’s time I came to terms with a disappointing truth: I am not a homemade pie crust person. Wait! Let me finish! As much as I admire those patient bakers who make pie crust by hand, for me, it’s just not worth it.

Other than the cheddar crust for Tenessa’s apple bacon birthday pie, I’ve yet to make a pie crust that rivals the texture or flavor of the ready-made, roll-out crusts you buy in the dairy department. And it’s cheap – refrigerated pie crust bought on sale (on double coupon day) is next to free, and can be stashed in the freezer until a proper pie-portunity presents itself.

I’m glad I tried making pie crust from scratch, and I can file it away with other things I’ve done once, and don’t really feel compelled to do again like camping, or folding the laundry.

If you want to make a pie crust with your own two hands, there are thousands of recipes just a Google away. But this savory, rich, and fluffy quiche will do just fine in a store-bought crust.

I first made it for Mom and Handsome Greg last April, back when I had a job, as part of a luxurious farewell-to-winter brunch. I’ve since adapted it as a recessipe fit for an unemployed lady’s budget that’s exactly the same, but with onions for the leeks. And frozen spinach for the chard. And nothing for the prosciutto. So, yeah. It’s nearly identical.

Continue reading for the Prosciutto, Leek, and Swiss Chard Quiche recipe

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