0 AVL^V¢ Makes 6 to 8 servings
6 egg whites 3/4 cup caster sugar 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted Crushed fruit for garnish 1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Trace an 8- or 9-inch circle on parchment paper and line a baking sheet with it; set aside.
y pantry is an ever-present character in my life. Sometimes it pulses and bulges with too many ingredients, bought with good intentions but never used. Sometimes I open it up, look at all my well-stocked shelves full of grains, fruits, nuts and preserves, and think, “I have nothing to make.” Pantries are ﬁckle—sometimes oﬀering a wealth of options and sometimes feeling completely bare, even when packed to the gills. Stocking a pantry takes organization. It’s easy to ﬁll it with ingredients that seem fun at the grocery store but sit untouched for months once you get them home. In my own pantry, I’ve been staring at the same bag of amaranth ﬂour for far too long. It drives me crazy to waste the space and have this bag of grain taunting me every time I see it. So now I have to ﬁgure out what to make with it. My forthcoming book, Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen, in bookstores in April, aims to demystify that age-old question: “What’s for dinner?” It provides a creative and wholesome foundation to start thinking about food in a fresh, diﬀerent, delicious way. Recipes maximize ingredients the average home cook tends to have around. If you make roast chicken one night for dinner, for example, plan on using the leftovers the next day in a panzanella salad. Making the most out of your time spent in the kitchen is a smart way to start thinking about food. And varying the ingredients considerably keeps food interesting. I’m not a culinary genius—I’m just organized. Living an organic, healthy, seasonal, sustainable, insert-other-eco-buzz-word-here lifestyle does not mean you have to eat boring food better served to horses. I’m a city girl through and through. I may have dirt under my ﬁngernails and a farmer’s tan, but I also like to drink fancy cocktails with basil-scented syrup and have champagne on a Tuesday night. Why not? Life is short. Too short for running out to the grocery store at 8 p.m. because you ran out of ﬂour and your friend can’t make her gravy that tastes so good over her world-famous roast chicken. Here’s a recipe that uses eggs—one of the most neglected staples in the pantry. It also calls for another, less familiar, staple in my pantry: caster sugar, a superﬁne sugar that dissolves quickly in liquids. Eggs have a long shelf life, plus they are protein-rich and inexpensive and they cook up in a ﬂash. They can be used for quick meals at home, far beyond the standard breakfast regime. Eggs can be poached, fried, baked, boiled, whipped into dressings, used as garnish—or used to create desserts such as this one. I discovered pavlova after I started making ice cream at home and had extra egg whites. Pavlova is a baked meringue dessert traditionally topped with simple fruit left unadorned. Because pavlova is so sweet, there is no need to add sugar to the fruit on top.
2. Beat the egg whites in a standing mixer until foamy and thick, usually about three to four minutes. Pour in half the caster sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining caster sugar and beat until the mixture forms ﬁrm peaks. Using a ﬁne-mesh strainer or sifter, shake the powdered sugar over the mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the powdered sugar, incorporating it well, which will take several folds. 3. Using an oﬀset spatula (or butter knife), spread the meringue into a uniform disc on the parchment. Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for another 45 minutes, until the pavlova is slightly golden, and turn oﬀ the oven, leaving the meringue to dry out overnight. Do not open the oven door! 4. Serve the next day with the crushed fruit of your liking—passion fruit, berries or stewed peaches work well. You can also serve with a generous dusting of cocoa powder for a subtle chocolate ﬂavor. *Note: Pavlova holds at room temperature, loosely covered with parchment paper, for a week. Crumble up any leftover bits and store in a glass jar in the freezer for ice cream toppings.
This article is adapted from Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen (Skipstone, $19.95) by Amy Pennington. The author is the creator of GoGo Green Garden and UrbanGardenShare.org. She has been featured on Martha Stewart Living Radio and is a regular contributing writer to Edible Seattle. Visit www.gogo greengarden.com.
SEATTLEHOMESMAG.COM MAR. & APR. 2010