Desserts – Mixed Greens Blog Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest Thu, 14 Sep 2017 22:20:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ginger Stout Cake for Long Winter Nights (& mornings) Thu, 17 Nov 2016 02:01:14 +0000 This cake is robust, like a bear hug. We actually need it to get through the next eight weeks. It’s baking as I write and the house smells like a holiday, like a gingerbread house. I found this recipe in the New York Times last week and decided that it would be this year’s ginger-something recipe, following past years’ Gingersnap cookies and Etta’s Pear Ginger Upside Down cake.

Ginger cake

With cups of stout and molasses, fresh ginger, powdered ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and pepper I could tell when I read the recipe that this cake isn’t messing around. It’s a cake with character and the essence of deep dark spice, and with the stout, almost smoky. Its sparkly sugar crust glitters in the candlelight and is a crunchy counterpoint to a rich moist crumb. Gild the lily (or, hey, guilt the lily) with a little whipped cream or lemon sauce on top.

Ginger stout cake

Marrow’s is a restaurant in NYC and this, apparently, is a winter specialty.

The Marrow’s Ginger Stout Cake Recipe

Ginger cake

Ingredients: 2 T unsalted butter, room temperature/ ½ C raw sugar (Demerara)/ 1 C stout/ 1 C molasses/ ½ t baking soda/ 2 C all-purpose flour/ 1 T ground ginger, 1 t cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, allspice, and salt/ 3 T  grated fresh ginger/ 3 large eggs at room temperature/ 1 t vanilla extract/ 1 C dark brown sugar, lightly packed/ 1 C granulated sugar/ ¾ C safflower oil.

Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees/ Grease a Bundt pan thoroughly with the softened butter/ Coat the entire pan with raw sugar so that it sticks to the butter/ Turn the pan over to dump out any excess sugar.

Add the stout and molasses to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer/ Remove from the heat, carefully whisk in the baking soda and let cool to room temperature/ The stout mixture will bubble up.

Sift together the flour, ground spices, pepper and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the fresh ginger, eggs, vanilla extract, dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed for five minutes.

Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the oil/ Mix for another 5 minutes/ Then slowly add the stout mixture and mix for another 5 minutes.

Carefully add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing well in between each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan/ Bake for 55 to 65 minutes ( less in a convection oven), or until a cake tester comes out clean/ Let the cake cool for 15 minutes and then flip upside down to release while still warm/ Let cool completely before serving.

Ginger cake

Notes: When I removed the cake from the pan a lot of the sugar coating disappeared. While it was still very warm I sprinkled more of the raw sugar on top and it held. In my convection oven this cake was done in 45  minutes. Stays moist and delish for at least a couple of days, serves 12, make it ahead of time for a party.

The cake cooled off enough to sample just now, and I have to say that it’s pretty fabulous, dark, spicy and moist, gingerbread taken up a couple of notches. And yes, we do need this cake. We do.

Ginger stout cake




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Cookie Kisses Wed, 04 Feb 2015 16:22:55 +0000 Orange-Cornmeal Sandies. My friend Linda gave me these cookies for Christmas, a tin full of delicate, crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth morsels. That these cookies came to me in the form of pigs should have been a hint. But no.

To say that I liked them is an understatement. My husband now swears he never had a single one, he implies that I might have kept them secret, which I would probably never do. I say I tried my best to share them and that they sat on the kitchen table for a week, or maybe it wasn’t quite a week. Anyway, I’m pretty sure he had a shot.

Valentines Day is around the corner and I plan to redeem myself. Different celebration, a different cookie cutter, same recipe and with a touch of chocolate if you like. A mouthful of buttery, orangey, crunchy, delicious love, cookie kisses, a fine indulgence for my Valentine. He’ll have his own private stash this time.

Mexican Orange-Cornmeal Sandies (Cookies) Recipe

I cook dinner almost every night. I’m efficient, but not a finicky cook, weeknights especially. I almost never follow recipes exactly, but for these cookies I toe the line, an act of love, or redemption. So worth the effort. Thank you to my friend Linda who introduced me to these. She found the recipe in The Oregonian in December of 2006.

Ingredients: Stir dry ingredients together in a separate bowl: 2 C flour, 1/4 C cornmeal, 1 t salt, 1/4 t baking powder/ Put 1 C sugar and 1 C unsalted butter in the mixer/ Set aside 2 egg yolks, 1 T orange zest, 1 t orange extract (or 1 t vanilla), 1/4 C finely ground walnuts (optional).

Directions: In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light in color and thoroughly mixed/ Add egg yolks and mix until creamy/ Add dry ingredients, mix/ Add zest, extract and walnuts if using/ Mix just until everything is well blended/ Remove from bowl and divide in two/ Make two flattened disks, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form cookies: Remove one disk from the refrigerator/ Prepare an area for rolling the dough sprinkled with a little flour and a little extra/ Place disk on floured surface, turn over so that there is flour on both sides/ Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out, turning frequently and adding more flour as needed, until dough is 1/4″ thick.

With a cookie cutter cut out shapes and place them on a cookie sheet/Use all the leftover pieces, form smaller disks, refrigerate again if needed, and use every last bit of dough!/ Cutout cookies can be placed closely together for baking, but not touching as cookies will expand a little/ Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until edges begin to brown/ Mine took 8 minutes.

Remove from the oven and after a couple of minutes transfer baked cookies onto wire racks for cooling/ After they have cooled dip a corner of some of the cookies in melted chocolate if you like, though my friend Linda warned, rightly so I think, that chocolate can overwhelm the delicate flavor of the cookie. So, take it easy. Or not./ Chocolate dipped cookies can be placed back on the wire rack until chocolate hardens.

Pack a beautiful box or a cookie tin with these babies and valentine somebody. Some of us need redemption and this could be the answer, or we just want to say I love you with a delicate cookie, like a kiss. I send one to you dear Reader.

This stone was found on the beach by my grandfather and given to my grandmother when they were newlyweds. In her nineties my grandmother gave it to me.

Valentine repost from February, 2012.


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Raw Apple Cake for Breakfast or Birthdays Sun, 28 Sep 2014 12:05:42 +0000  

Remnants of a gnarly, nearly century-old orchard on our property produces apples from August through mid-October. Three trees in the backyard, each a different variety, we have apples galore and we have our favorite recipes. Caramelized with brown sugar and cinnamon – great with ice cream, roasted applesauce, and this cake.

Raw Apple Cake has been a family birthday favorite for years now. On one of our first dates I asked my husband if he’d like a cake for his birthday, just a few days away. It was New Year’s day, the temperature hovered around 10 degrees and we were skiing at Stephens Pass. I guess I thought that talk of birthdays and baking would take my mind off the fact that my toes were FROZEN. Definitely, he said, raw apple cake. The cake has lasted and so have we – we more worn around the edges than the cake, but it’s all delicious.

raw apple cake 8

Raw Apple cake featuring lots of raw apples is one way to go. Even if you don’t have apples in the backyard, they’re in season right now and you can make this with any tart apple. A large, moist and fruity cake, it lasts for days, it gets better with age which is perfect for birthdays, and, it will serve a dozen people, maybe fifteen. It’s a delicious wake-up call in the morning with coffee, or it goes fancy with cream cheese frosting and birthday candles. Today the candles are for Roz. Happy Birthday sweetie – we’re glad you were born.

Raw Apple Cake Recipe

 Easy to make. Ingredients: 4 cups coarsely grated apples/ 2 eggs/ 2 cups sugar/ 1 cup oil/ 3 cups flour/ 2 tsp. soda/ 2 tsp. cinnamon/ 1 tsp. salt.

Directions: Beat eggs/ Add sugar & oil and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes/ Mix in dry ingredients & blend well, but briefly/ Finally, add apples and mix thoroughly, but, briefly/ Bake at 325º for about an hour in a greased & floured Bundt pan/ Let it cool for fifteen minutes/ Carefully remove from the pan, loosening it all around with a flexible knife or spatula if needed. After it’s cooled frost it with a cream cheese frosting if you like or leave it plain. Either way, delish.

I make cream cheese frosting by the seat of my pants: 2 cups of of cream cheese, give or take, a few tablespoons of cream or whole milk, powdered sugar, start with 1/2 cup, a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice, a teaspoon of its zest, and a teaspoon of vanilla – mix until smooth, taste and adjust ingredients as needed.

I had this hair-brained idea about the cream cheese frosting. I’d just made a batch of applesauce and thought I’d experiment with a combination of cream cheese, a little cream, powdered sugar, and APPLESAUCE. It worked out , we loved it and I used more of our growing collection of apple product.

slice of cake

It’s autumn. Enjoy the benefits of a new season, apples among the best. Other apple postings: Roasted Applesauce, Applesauce, Apple Butter & Caramelized Apples, Apple Crisp.

Raw Apple Cake for Breakfast or Birthdays was originally posted in September, 2008.

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The Best of Spring: Just Asparagus & Rhubarb for Supper Mon, 12 May 2014 02:00:23 +0000 I’m introducing a novel idea that makes so much sense and it comes from, of course, my Mom. She loved to describe her favorite childhood meal: a platter of freshly harvested corn on the cob with butter and salt, strawberries for dessert. Just that. She and her eleven siblings ate well and savored that meal, two quintessential summer ingredients together in a simple and memorable feast.

roasted asparagus
I wondered what would be a spring time equivalent and came to asparagus and rhubarb. Asparagus with lemon-mustard vinaigrette and an egg, followed by some kind of rhubarb for dessert, maybe a piece of Rhubarb Upside-Down cake. (Sure, you could have some quinoa or farro with the asparagus.). Spend very little time on the main dish, a little more on dessert and you have both a simple and a lush spring supper. Looking forward to more seasonal pairings where dinner is just tomatoes and peaches, corn on the cob and strawberries, artichokes and raspberries . . . the seasons and their easy feasts.

Roasted Asparagus Recipe

roasted asparagus

Ingredients & Directions: Set oven to 400 degrees/ Rinse and trim asparagus, lots of it!/ Place on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper/When oven is ready, roast for 8 – 12 minutes, until asparagus are browning a bit and are slightly tender/ Place on individual plates or a platter, dress with vinaigrette/ Optional: add an egg, farro or brown rice on the side for a protein boost.

Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette Recipe

asparagus & rhubarb 1

Ingredients & Directions: Combine 2 T finely minced shallot, 1 – 2 t mustard, 4 – 5 T lemon juice, 1/4 – 1/3 C olive oil – personal taste determines how much or little of lemon and mustard are added/ Whisk or shake until emulsified/ Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Set aside.

A Recipe for Eggs Perfectly Hard Boiled

The vinaigrette is perfect with eggs.

roasted asparagus

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake Recipe

New York Times, Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

asparagus & rhubarb 2

rhubarb 1 Rhubarb Upsidedown Cake

Make a crisp, or the simplest rhubarb dessert of all, rhubarb sauce. Delicious on its own, with ice cream or yogurt.

rhubarb  sauce

Holiday Desserts for Everyone Mon, 11 Nov 2013 01:00:11 +0000 Beet Brownie and Almond Milk Ice Cream

Gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, vegan. Chances are there will be someone at your holiday table with a dietary restriction. I know there will be at mine. Rather than feeling bothered about changing the menu to suit these folks, why not embrace the opportunity to try something new? I promise you and your guests won’t feel the least bit slighted with these gluten-free beet brownies and almond milk ice cream. I know what your thinking — beet brownies instead of pumpkin pie??? I know it’s a bit of a stretch but hear me out.

Gluten-free Brownies

I first tried this recipe during the summer so they started out as zucchini brownies but since summer squash is no longer in season, I thought I’d substitute grated beets and carrots. The result was just as delicious, if not more. The recipe is a little mind-boggling because it doesn’t contain any flour but still has this wonderful dense cake-like texture, just like the real thing — just no gluten, no dairy, sweetened with honey instead of sugar and has one egg (sorry, vegans).

Gluten-free Brownies

Gluten-Free Brownie Recipe

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cup shredded raw zucchini, beets (peeled) or carrots – I used a combo of beets and carrots/ 1 cup almond butter/ 1/3 cup raw honey/ 1 cup chopped dark chocolate, about 6 oz. – I’ve tried dark chocolate chips but didn’t like them nearly as much as bar chocolate/1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)/ 1 egg, beaten/ 1 t vanilla extract/ 1/4 t cinnamon/ 1 t baking soda.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees/ Mix all ingredients and pour into a 9×9 pan – I didn’t butter or oil the pan/ Bake for 35 minutes.

They’re most delicious warm, right out of the oven. Thanks to my hair stylist, Amber for this recipe.

Gluten-free Brownies

I made brownie cupcakes using this recipe for Charlie’s birthday last month and wished I had known about almond milk ice cream then. It makes the perfect dairy-free accompaniment for a party.

Almond Milk Ice Cream

Almond Milk Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients: 2 cups unsweetened almond milk/ 1/2 cup superfine sugar/ 1 T honey/ 1/8 t almond extract/ 1/2 cup shredded coconut (not in the original recipe but a delicious addition).

Directions: Combine all ingredients except coconut in a large mixing bowl, stirring until the sugar dissolves/ Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well-chilled, 4 hours or overnight/ Churn mixture in an ice-cream maker following the manufacturer’s directions/ I added the coconut toward the end of the churning process, not because that’s what you’re supposed to do, but because it was an afterthought/ Scoop ice cream into a quart container with a lid and store in the freezer.

This recipe comes from the latest cookbook from the fabulous Canal House. If you haven’t seen their series of cookbooks, you’re missing out. This is from Volume 8: Pronto. It’s  filled with easy weeknight meals with an Italian flair, stunning photographs and entertaining writing. Many of the recipes use fresh seasonal, summer ingredients but it’ll be a great guide to cooking from the pantry later in the winter and that’s my plan. Until then, I’ll definitely enlist Charlie to try some of their cocktails made with Italian bitters. I think the Dark & Stormy season has already begun here in the Northwest.

Gluten-free Brownie

Here’s a dessert almost everyone can eat. It’s so darn good for you, it’s hard to stop.



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Pumpkin Pie from Scratch Thu, 07 Nov 2013 14:20:02 +0000 Every fall my husband, who’s a decent cook and an excellent bread baker, launches into his one dessert specialty, pumpkin pie from scratch. a mix - - - Oct- 08 10 Pies made from a can of Libby’s are so good it’s hard to imagine the effort being worth it. ... For years he made the pies using the recipe on the back of the Libby’s can, but with his own freshly roasted pumpkin; he tried Macrina Bakery’s recipe for Maple Pecan Pumpkin Pie which is a winner.

Halloween pumpkins look like the king of the mountain next to diminutive pie pumpkins, which are the ones needed to make a pumpkin pie.

a mix - - - Oct- 08 10

Every fall my husband, who’s an accomplished bread maker, launches into his one dessert specialty, pumpkin pie from scratch. (Well, he did once make a cake for his own wedding party, but that’s another story.)

Pies made from a can of Libby’s are so good it’s hard to imagine that the effort of baking and pureeing the pumpkin will be worth it. But it is, if only for the experience of finding out what goes into that can. Using the whole food, the pumpkin itself, is a great cooking adventure with kids who might be enlightened to know that pumpkin pie begins with an actual pumpkin and the can comes later. Plus, it’s made by hand in your own kitchen, baking the pumpkin is easy, and the end result is delicious.

Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Many pumpkins are great jack-o-lanterns, but not suitable for pies. They’re too watery and bland in flavor. A pie pumpkin or any sweet squash will do, a butternut for example.

Cut in half and remove the seeds from one medium pie pumpkin or sweet squash (two pumpkins if you want two pies). I’m told these seeds are not so good for toasting. I’m experimenting anyway. Place cut side down in a shallow casserole with a little water and bake at 350º until tender, 35-45 minutes.

pumpkin pie 15

When done, allow to cool, remove seeds and strings (or remove before roasting), and scoop out the pumpkin. You’ll need 1 1/2 cups per pie. Puree the pumpkin in a blender or by hand with a potato masher.

Last year it was Macrina Bakery’s recipe, this year Bob tried Alice Waters’ version from the Art of Simple Food. Both have been excellent.

Make your favorite pie dough. *Alice Water’s version is below.

Ingredients & Directions: Whisk together 1/4 cup cream and 2 teaspoons flour/ Heat this mixture over low heat until it thickens/ Then slowly whisk in 3/4 cup more cream/ Continue to whisk until it reaches a boil and remove from the heat – it will be fairly thick. Set aside/In a medium bowl whisk together 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree and 3 eggs.

In another small bowl mix 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, or 2-3 T if you like things on the sweeter side, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon each cloves & ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper.

Stir the sugar and spices into the pumpkin mixture along with the thickened cream/ Whisk together vigorously/ Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of brandy if you like.

Pour pumpkin mixture into pie pans, right to the top. Bake at 375º for 45 – 50 minutes. Test with a sharp knife or toothpick to determine if it’s done – knife should be clean when removed from center of pie.

Allow to cool. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

 pumpkin pie from scratch

*Alice Waters’ pie dough Recipe

From the Art of Simple Food. This is enough for one double-crust or two single-crust pies. It really is simple – you’ll need butter, flour and ice water.

Ingredients & Directions: Prepare 1/2 cup ice-cold water/ Mix together 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt if you’re using unsalted butter/ Add 1 1/2 sticks of cold butter cut into small cubes/ Work this mixture of butter and flour by hand with a pastry cutter, pulse it a few times in a food processor, or use a mixer with its paddle attachment/ Pour in most of the 1/2 cup ice water while still working the dough/ Add the rest of the water only if needed – dough should stick together when lightly pinched/ Pour into a bowl and gently form into one large piece, then divide that in two/ Gently form each piece into a ball and wrap in plastic/ Using the palm of your hand, flatten each wrapped piece into a disk shape and refrigerate for at least one hour. Roll it out and fill with something delicious when you’re ready.

It can be deceiving when using a food processor, which I’m hooked on now for crust. The mixture appears to be fine and crumbly and not yet the right consistency. Check it before processing further. Gather just a bit between fingers to see if it will easily form a small cohesive piece. If it does, it’s ready. If not, add a little more water and process only briefly. Pie dough should be handled as little as possible – it’s OK if there are small bits of butter visible, in fact that’s desirable. As previously stated, form into two disks, cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to roll out. If dough has been refrigerated for several hours and is very chilled it helps to let it sit at room temp. for 5 minutes before rolling out.

Roll out a thin circle of pie dough large enough to fill the pie pan and the sides with a little extra hanging over. Pinch the edge all around and trim away any extra. With the tines of a fork, poke the bottom of uncooked crust in 5 or 6 places. Cover with plastic and refrigerate again until filling is ready.


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Eat Out Mon, 01 Jul 2013 01:56:25 +0000 Being outdoors, even just barely out the door, changes the experience of the meal. Spirits are lifted, birdsong and lawnmowers are part of the vibe, conversation shifts.

backyard picnic

The front steps beckon, the balcony, backyard, a nearby park or beach. It’s summertime. Whatever you’re eating, pack it up and go. Last minute, I’ve been known to scoop three or four helpings of whatever’s for supper into containers, head for the beach with a beverage, a few napkins and forks. Unplanned means that sometimes food is eaten lukewarm or in a slightly different state than intended, but being outdoors makes up for it.

A few ideas, and a couple of recipes.

Smoked salmon, crackers and fresh fruit. Honestly. This picnic happened in about two minutes, out the door to sunshine and beach. Happy. The point is to get out the door. If you’re still hungry graze a little more when you get home.

Take the camp cook stove along. When camping, or picnicking, you want simple, but appealing meals. Camp meals were featured on a post a couple of years ago. With A Cooler & A Colman Stove.

Recently we took our camp stove to a beach, spread a tablecloth on a big piece of driftwood, set up camp chairs, cooked Bratwurst, warmed sauerkraut in the same pan and then the buns. Mustard, fresh veggies and fruit, skipping rocks, sunset. Happy campers.

Order pizza, pick it up and head for the beach. Take along salad and beverages, a beach blanket . . .

If you want fancy schmancy seasonal, make the components for Julia Child’s Salad Niçois, assemble on a large platter once you arrive, drizzle with dressing and have yourself an oh-so-French evening. Pinky finger’s happy.

Take alongs: beverages, plates, napkins, knives/forks, bottle opener, cups, a few paper towels, plastic bag for garbage, tablecloth, beach towels or blankets, folding chairs optional, small ice chest for cold drinks and whipped cream. Oh yes, the whipped cream. Read on.

 Fresh Corn Salsa Recipe

corn salsa 1

Put fresh corn salsa on a picnic table and it’ll find its way into or on to something.

Ingredients: 3 ears of corn, kernels removed/ 1/4 C finely diced red onion/ 1/2 C parsley or cilantro or both/ 1 t finely chopped jalapeno/ 1/4 t chipotle chili powder/ juice of 1 lime, or 2 – 3 T/ 1 T olive oil/ 1/2 t salt/ Pepper. 1/2 C drained black beans, optional.

Directions: Place all ingredients in an ample bowl. Stir to mix thoroughly. Taste, adjust as needed. Dust with a little more chipotle powder.

Variations: It was a different version last summer and different the summer before that – change it up as you like. Add one or two sliced avocados and have a corn/avocado salad; add tomatoes and fresh dill, diced red pepper, cucumber and it’s a corn salad – as our friend Lynn did the other night. Spread all of that over greens and it’s something else again. Dot with bites of fresh mozarella and again it’s transformed.

corn salsa and avocado

Corn salsa with lime sour cream along side bits of chicken or fish in a tortilla; with a bowl full of just avocados and very thinly sliced Walla Walla sweet onions dressed with lime juice. That and some hummus, feta or goat cheese with pita bread – it’s a picnic.

Crostata with Pluots

pluot crostata

Pluot Crostata

So. It’s possible that a fabulous dessert might carry the meal. Keep the meal simple and finish with a flourish. That’s what I was thinking when I spotted this in Sunset magazine the other day. Made it, ate it outdoors, delish.

Make it ahead of time, it needs plenty of time to cool.

Recipe from Sunset magazine, June 2013. I followed this recipe, reduced the sugar, otherwise exactly the same. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Mine stuck to the pan and was a hassle to serve. Next time, butter the pan or use a non-stick.

backyard picnic

Eating outside the box. Picnic on.


Rhubarb & Sour Cherry Pavlova Mon, 03 Jun 2013 03:58:28 +0000 I wrote about Pavlova a few years ago, Pav as it’s affectionately known to Australians. It’s a gang buster of a dessert, a showstopper just like the ballerina it was named after, Anna Pavlova.

rhubarb Pavlova

When you deconstruct a Pavlova you make a few discoveries: that it’s composed of meringue, which is just sweetened egg whites baked long and slow, seasonal fresh fruit, and that it’s not as decadent as it looks. Well. Except for the whipped cream part. You could leave it out, but then you’d have to call it something else. Pavlova is characterized by its meringue, fresh fruit and whipped cream. Right now it’s rhubarb, which must be sweetened and cooked, but it’s worth it. If you’re not a rhubarb fan, wait just a few weeks and we’ll have strawberries, raspberries, cherries, figs, peaches . . . perfect Pavlova complements.

The other day I had lunch with friends at a Seattle restaurant called Whale Wins. Such good food, and for dessert we had something like a Pavlova, cooked rhubarb, crunchy bits of meringue, and sour cherry infused whipped cream. They call it Spring Rhubarb Eton Mess. Since I have rhubarb in the garden and last June’s Montmorency cherries in the freezer, I had to try to make something like it at home. Seemed like a deconstructed Pavlova to me.

Deconstructed Pavlova Recipe

Rhubarb sauce

Modified from the Jerry Traunfeld recipe I wrote about a few years ago, Gotta Lova Pavlova.

Enough for four. You can freeze leftover meringue and then crumble it up as needed, whip some cream, slice some fresh fruit, assemble and you’re there.

About the pistachios. This is another Jerry Traunfeld culinary-genius concept, adding pistachios to the meringue, but they can be omitted.

Ingredients for the Meringue: 2 t unsalted butter for the parchment paper/ 1 C unsalted shelled whole pistachios (skip the nuts if you prefer)/ 1 T cornstarch/ 1 1/2 c superfine sugar/ 6 large egg whites (3/4 C) at room temperature/1/4 t cream of tartar.

Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly butter parchment to cover a 15″ x 12″ rectangle .

Meringue Sour cherries, cooked Sour cherries Whipped cream

Directions for Meringue: Preheat oven to 350 degrees/ Chop 3/4 C of pistachios and stir together with cornstarch and 1/4 C of the superfine sugar – or skip this step/ Using an electric mixer beat egg whites and cream of tartar until they form soft peaks/ Gradually beat in the remaining 1 1/4 C sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, taking about 5 minutes to add it all/ Continue beating for 2 more minutes/ Mixture should be extremely stiff/ Carefully fold in the pistachio cornstarch mixture.

Spread out on the buttered parchment to create a rectangle of about 12 x 15 inches/ Place whole pistachios here and there around the meringue/ Put in the oven, immediately reduce heat to 250 degrees and bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes/ Perhaps less – check periodically. Meringue should be lightly browned and crunchy on the outside/ Remove from oven, let cool, crumble meringue that will be used immediately. Freeze the rest in chunks in zip lock bags. Use as needed/ Plan on about 1 C crumbled meringue per serving.

Ingredients & directions for the sour cherries: Skip the sour cherries if you wish and move on to the rhubarb recipe. Use plain whipped cream or add a little rhubarb sauce to whipped cream instead of cherries/ But, if you want to go there, 2 C sour cherries, 1/3 – 1/2 C sugar, 1/4 C water/ For varying amounts of cherries, plan on 3- 4 T sugar per cup/ Adjust sugar to personal taste, a little more or less/ 2 t orange or lemon zest optional – place 1 t in cooking mixture, reserve the rest for later/ Place ingredients in a small pot, bring to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes, until cherries are slightly softened/ Remove from heat. Juice will thicken as it cools.

When cool, use a slotted spoon to remove 2 C whole cherries from their syrup/Chop finely and set aside/ Reserve syrup and remaining cherries.

Ingredients & directions for the rhubarb sauce: In a separate pan, place 4 C of 1 or 2-inch pieces of rhubarb, 1 C sugar, 1/4 C water/ 2 t orange or lemon zest optional – place 1 t in cooking mixture, reserve the rest for later/ Bring to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes, turn heat off, cover with a lid and let sit for another 5 minutes/ Taste, add more sugar, cook a little longer if needed/Let cool/ Sauce thickens as it cools.

Rhubarb  Rhubarb sauce Rhubarb sauce  Rhubarb sauce

When cool, use a slotted spoon to remove whole pieces of rhubarb from their syrup/ Slice them thinly lengthwise if you choose, or use as is/ Place in a bowl and chill until ready to serve/ Reserve syrup.

Optional: Add 1/2 t cinnamon to rhubarb; add 2 or 3 T Cointreau to rhubarb and/or cherries after cooking is completed.

Ingredients & directions for the whipped cream: Whip 4 C cream until very stiff/ Gently stir in 1 C finely chopped cooked cherries, or add some of the rhubarb sauce as sweetener, or simply stir in 2 T superfine sugar/ Refrigerate at least an hour or up to 5 hours before serving.

So. The meringue is baked and crumbled, fruit is prepared, juices reserved, whipped cream is chilled. Most of this can be done well ahead of time.

To assemble: Crumble part of the baked and cooled meringue to make about 4 cups/ Place a generous spoonful of whipped cream on each serving plate, 1/2 C of the crumbled meringue, rhubarb and sauce, a little more whipped cream, another 1/2 C meringue pieces, and more rhubarb. Drizzle with a spoonful of rhubarb or cherry syrup, a few more crumbs of meringue . . . and so on.

Do a pirouette à la Anna Pavlova, and leap in. Heavenly. Nine of us momentarily suspended conversation tonight while we each quietly savored our rhubarb Pavlovas. Pretty sure they do that in Australia too. Out of respect.

Rhubarb Pavlova Rhubarb Pavlova 2

The even better news. In just a few weeks this deconstructed Pavlova can be made with seasonal berries, starting with strawberry and raspberries, and without sugar or cooking. Rhubarb and sour cherries make for an excellent spring or early summer, sour fruit based Pav, but use whatever fruit is in season. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, figs . . . no need to cook and sweeten any of these. Slice the fruit, or not, add a smidge of sugar if you like, fill a plate or bowl with a mix of fruit – as is traditional with Pavlova – sprinkle with meringue and place a dollop of whipped cream on top, then a little more meringue. Or, arrange according to your own whim and make an original culinary homage to summer.

Leftover sauce? No problem.     sour cherries & ice cream


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All-in-One Dessert & Cocktail: Granita Mon, 27 May 2013 00:00:56 +0000 Rhubarb Granita

Desserts are clearly not my specialty since I have one cookie recipe and one cake recipe that I make over and over again. Usually if someone else offers to make dessert, I don’t hesitate to agree. Last week while making a birthday dinner for a friend that shares my love of light, fresh, seasonal desserts, I branched out and tried a rhubarb granita. It was a big enough hit that it’ll easily make my dessert list. And the summer cocktails you can make — don’t worry, I’ll get to that.

 Rhubarb & Strawberries

My only regret is that I let myself get suckered into buying some organic strawberries from California, out-of-season for us here in the Northwest. There seems to be a myth about rhubarb — some say without strawberries, it’s just not sweet enough. I know better but you know how it is when you trust a recipe more than your instincts. Strawberries will be in season here very soon so if you choose to use them, please wait (local strawberry update — first of the season available at University District Farmers Market on Saturday). If you’re like me and love rhubarb for what it is (and have an over-abundance in the garden), just use that.

Rhubarb Granita Recipe

Ingredients: 1/2 cup sugar/ 6 – 8 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1″ pieces (use 10-12 if you omit the strawberries)/ 1 cup sliced strawberries/ Juice of one lemon/ Several sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

Directions: Bring sugar and 1 cup water over high heat to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar/ Reduce heat to medium-high and add rhubarb/ Cook until tender, about 5 minutes/ Add strawberries, lemon juice and thyme and cook 2-3 minutes longer.

Rhubarb & Strawberries

Remove from the heat and let it sit undisturbed for about 15 minutes/ Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a 9 x 13 baking dish, lightly pressing the solids with the back of a wooden spoon to release all the liquid/ Discard the solids, let the liquids cool down then cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.

Rhubarb Granita

Using a fork, stir the mixture every 30 minutes, scraping the edges and breaking up any ice that forms as the mixture freezes/ When the mixture is slushy and frozen, about 2-3 hours later, it’s ready to serve/ To serve later, scoop into a container with a lid and place back in the freezer.

Rhubarb Granita

I love whipped cream so this is how I served it, along with a couple of strawberries on top. Thanks to Saveur for the inspiration for this recipe.

Now, about those cocktails. The following evening my master mixologist husband was shaking up a couple of quick G & T’s and decided to add some granita to the mix. Great move, Charlie. For those of you who’ve never tasted a Charlie Cocktail, they’re always delicious but this opens a whole new world of summer cocktails. As we sipped, we couldn’t help but think up all sorts of seasonal combinations for our next batch of granita.

Rhubarb Granita Gin & Tonic

Rhubarb Granita Gin & Tonics (for 2)

Ingredients: 2 T rhubarb granita (and 2 more for garnish)/ 4 oz gin/ Juice of one lime (or lemon or a mixture of both)/ Tonic.

Directions: Place gin, lime juice and granita in a shaker filled with ice/ Shake and strain into 2 ice-filled glasses/ Top off with tonic/ Add another spoonful of granita as a garnish (we didn’t think of it but a sprig of fresh thyme would be lovely too).

Rhubarb Granita Gin & Tonic

For the true all-in-one experience, you can just put the granita in a glass, pour some booze over the top and call it good. Let the summer cocktail season begin!







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10 More Favorite Recipes from Mixed Greens Blog Mon, 18 Feb 2013 01:00:24 +0000 Mixed Greens

It’s my turn give you ten of my favorite posts. While Sally chose hers mainly for sentimental reasons, I decided to go for more practical reasons. This is a list of recipes that bring me back to the blog over and over to remind myself how I made something. Don’t ask me why I can remember these recipes especially considering I make them often. Just knowing they’re on the blog whenever I might need them, I no longer add them to my written recipe file and apparently, I don’t need to remember them either.

Homemade Turkey Soup    Homemade Turkey Soup

Okay, I lied. I make this so often that I no longer refer to the recipe, but plenty of other folks do.

Multi-Cultural Tofu Marinade    Marinated Tofu

I use this marinade at least once a week. It takes tofu to a whole new level and is great for fish too.

Winter Squash Gratin   Winter Squash Gratin

My absolute favorite way to eat winter squash. Perfect for a family dinner side-dish.

Duck Confit    Duck Confit

Best dish for a dinner party.

DIY Ricotta Cheese  Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta, creme fraiche, goat cheese — all easy and fun to make in your own kitchen.

Chicken Liver Pate      Pate on Crackers

The most impressive appetizer I make, an essential ingredient in your homemade banh mi too.

Homemade Sriracha Hot Sauce  Sriracha Sauce

If only peppers were in season year-round, I’d make this much more often.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon  Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

My granddaughter Lily loves these — that says it all.

Caesar Salad Dressing Caesar Salad

I think I make the best caesar salad, even if I do say so myself.

Flourless Chocolate Cake  Flourless Chocolate Cake

Practically the only dessert I make and definitely the only cake.

I’ve gotten a little feedback from some of our readers that they come to Mixed Greens mainly to look at the photos — and that’s truly okay with me, I’m honored in fact. But if you do decide to try some of our recipes, Sally’s top ten from last week and mine above would be a good place to begin.

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