Sunday, February 28, 2010

pink meringue cupcakes with raspberry curd

for valentine's day we had the speiers over for dinner.  the menfolk grilled steak (which allie made a delicious italian peppercorn sauce for... perhaps she will share) and i made cauliflower soup and spinach salad.  it was all delicious.  and for dessert i made these tasty (and pretty... although not quite as pretty as martha's, i still thought they looked lovely) little cupcakes.  thank you again, martha stewart.


Makes 1 dozen
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray, for baking cups
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Gel-paste food coloring in Tulip Red (
  • 2 cups creme fraiche
  • 1 container (6 ounces) raspberries, halved if large
  • Raspberry Curd

  • Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line every other cup of 2 nonstick 12-cup muffin tins with baking cups; coat with cooking spray. Whisk egg whites, vinegar, vanilla, and salt with a mixer on medium-high speed until frothy. Add 1 3/4 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, making sure the sugar dissolves. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Mix in 6 drops food coloring.

  • Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a plain coupler (no tip), and pipe into prepared baking cups, about 2 inches above rims, finishing with a peak in the centers. Bake, rotating halfway through, 3 to 3 hours and 20 minutes. (Cupcakes should be completely dry on the outside but still soft in the middle. A toothpick inserted horizontally at base of top should have moist but cooked crumbs attached.) Transfer cupcakes in baking cups to wire racks; let cool completely.

  • Beat creme fraiche and remaining cup sugar in a clean mixer bowl on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Carefully slice off tops of cupcakes using a serrated knife. (Run the knife just above the liner and slowly work your way to the center.) Top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons raspberry curd, a few raspberries, and 2 tablespoons creme fraiche mixture. Replace tops, and serve immediately.

  • raspberry curd:

    Makes about 1 1/2 cups
    • 1 container (6 ounces) raspberries
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    • Pinch of salt
    Whisk all ingredients in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until slightly thick, 8 to 10 minutes. Strain; refrigerate until cold and thick.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Chicken stew and Focaccia.

    I have been a total Pots and Peter Pans slacker lately, so I'm answering Emily's query. Here's what I made for dinner last night.
    Crock Pot chicken Stew:
    3-4 large yukon gold potatoes chopped
    2 cups of chopped carrots
    1 medium yellow onion, diced
    2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
    3 chicken breasts
    1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
    1 cup chicken broth
    salt and pepper (or Tony's) to taste
    4 cups fresh baby spinach
    1/2 cup torn basil
    1/2 cup shredded asiago
    Throw everything but the last three ingredients in the crock pot and let it do its magic all day. A few minutes before you are ready to eat, add the spinach. When it is nicely wilted, garnish with basil and asiago.
    I tried out the Pioneer Woman's pizza dough recipe for the focaccia (or pizza bianca: whatever you call it.) the recipe's lack of kneading struck me as odd, and I thought the flavor was great and the texture was fine for focaccia, but not chewy enough for pizza...maybe the dough would benefit from some kneading. If anyone has a good tried-and-true pizza dough recipe PLEASE post it...I have never found one I really love. Anyway, I just spread the dough out on a greased sheet pan, brushed it with olive oil and sprinkled it with chopped fresh rosemary from my backyard and sea salt. I'm passing it on...what's on your menu this week?

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010

    cauliflower soup

    so, this post is kind of a cheat, as i am stealing the pictures and recipe from another site (one of the prettiest recipe sites i have found), sunday suppers.  i could honestly stare at the pictures on this blog all day, they are so beautiful.  they also do reviews of little markets, delis and restaurants in NY, which is always fun to see as well.  i made this soup on valentine's day and it is delicious.  i am already dreaming of making it again.

    Cauliflower Soup
    Serves 4

    1 head cauliflower, separated in to medium size pieces
    1 onion, diced
    3 c chicken stock
    ¼ c heavy cream (allie speier told me she made it with milk and said it is still delicious)
    3 sage leaves
    salt and pepper

    Boil cauliflower florets in chicken stock until soft. Sautee onions separately and add to cauliflower mixture. Add cream, sage salt and pepper and reduce by half.
    Remove sage leaves and add cream mixture to blender. Puree on high until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chive oil and parmesan crisp.

    Parmesan Crisps
    Cover a baking sheet with parchment. Place tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese on parchment and spread each out with a spoon into small flat circles. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes.

    Chive Oil

    Blanch 2 bunches of chives, Dry on paper towels. Blend in a blender with 1 cup of good olive oil. Strain through a fine sieve.

    so, what is on everyone's menu for the week?