So, part 4 or our Foodie Training…I think I might have been in a bit of a slump this week. There was a lot going on and I’ll admit, I didn’t put a ton of effort into this Foodie night and it’s menu planning. Don’t get me wrong, the food was good…I just filled in a lot with store bought where I could have actually made things myself. To be honest though, I just didn’t have the energy. Maybe next time.
I decided to try Pulled Pork Sandwiches this week. I’d never cooked a pork shoulder before and wanted to find out if it was something we could throw into the regular rotation (plus it was on sale at the grocery store). Two things I loved about this recipe:
- it was done in a crock pot, so I put it in at 9:30 that morning and delicious, flavorful, fall of the bone, melt in your mouth pork came out at 7:30 that night and
- when I ate it I had an overwhelming desire to listen to Tim McGraw, wear cut off shorts and a straw cowboy hat. It totally made me homesick for the ranch and Colorado.
Make this recipe tonight and have a hoedown – you will not regret it!
The dessert was not quite as “country” but still just as fun. A great summer-y dessert, perfect for February…at least February in California. I made Pavlova, a meringue based dessert and topped it with a mixed berry sauce. It was apparently created and named for the Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova. Very light and airy, with a crispy outer shell and a marshmallow-like inside. The recipe is below, if you’d like to try it yourself.
Both the pulled pork and the Pavlova got 9 out of 10′s from Kyle and I, but I had to deduct points for the lack of effort put into the meal. I couldn’t help thinking what “might have been”, so overall the night gets an 8 out of 10.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar OR 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar OR distilled white vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces, about 6) large egg whites, preferably room temperature
- pinch salt
- 2 pints fresh or frozen berries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Whipped Cream for Topping
- Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the vanilla and vinegar (if using) into a small cup. Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites, cream of tartar (if using) and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
- Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar (if you didn’t use cream of tartar.) Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Pipe or spoon the meringue into 8 to 10 large round mounds that are 3 inches wide on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once meringue is baked.
- Place baking sheet in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside and white – not tan-colored or cracked. The interiors should have a marshmallow-like consistency. Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around.
- Gently lift from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, or individually wrapped, for up to a week if your house is not humid.
- Serve topped with your favorite filling – lemon curd, raspberry or blueberry sauce, and freshly whipped cream.
- If you want to make a berry sauce, heat a couple pints of fresh or frozen berries in a medium saucepan with about a quarter cup of sugar. Heat on medium heat, stirring once or twice, for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how much the berries are falling apart. Remove from heat and let cool.