Food & Drink

Triple Mango Macarons

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I’ve been waiting all week for these!  Ian is going out of town for work and this weekend, my best friends are coming down from New York to have a girls’ weekend in Philly.  We’ve been saying that we want to have a fancy tea party, so tomorrow, we’ll be serving so many tea party worthy foods – cranberry walnut scones, crackers with goat cheese and dill, cucumber sandwiches, and so much more.  But the crowning glory to the spread we’ll be having are these triple mango macarons.

I had this idea of making a mango macaron with a mango buttercream AND a mango jam center.  Since summer is here and mangos prices are dropping, I thought there is no better time than now to tackle these macarons.

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Triple Mango Macarons

  • Servings: 30 macarons
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Ingredients

Mango Macarons

  • 100g egg whites
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 100g almond flour
  • 100g powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp mango extract (optional)
  • Yellow and red food coloring (optional)

Mango Jam

  • 3 cups chopped mango (I used 3 champagne mangos)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Mango Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup mango jam
  • Yellow and red food coloring (optional)

Method

Macarons

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Over a double boiler, whisk together egg whites and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is frothy, about 2 minutes.  Transfer this to a stand mixer or a handheld mixer with a whisk attachment and beat on medium-high.  Put in a pinch of salt, cream of tartar, and mango extract.  Beat until stiff peaks, about 3-5 minutes.  If you want to color your macarons, add a little bit of gel food coloring at this point and beat for 5 seconds only.
  3. In a food processor, combine the almond flour and powdered sugar.  Pulse 5x.  Sift the mixture into a bowl,  Discard any remaining chunks that cannot be sifted.
  4. Carefully put the almond flour & powdered sugar mixture into the egg white mixture bowl.  Beat on medium-low for 10 seconds.  Use a rubber spatula to fully incorporate the mixture.  Do the figure 8 test by scooping some batter up with your spatula and draw the number 8.  If the batter does not break, it’s done!  Make sure you do not overmix.
  5. Pour macaron mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip.  Pipe out 1-inch circles on a baking sheet.  Bang the pan on the countertop a couple times to release any air bubbles.  Let it sit out to dry until the top forms a skin, about 20 minutes.  You should be able to touch the top without anything sticking to your finger.  When it’s dry, it’s ready to bake.
  6. Bake for 13-14 minutes on the middle rack, rotating the pan halfway.
  7. Find matching pair of macaron shells.  Place them side-by-side and belly up.  Pipe the mango buttercream around the outer edge of the macaron to create a barrier.  Spoon about 1/2 tsp of mango jam in the center.  Gently place another macaron on top and press gently to adhere.

Mango jam

  1. In a pot, bring sugar and water to a boil.  Add mango and lemon juice and bring this mixture to a gentle boil and stir.  Use a potato masher and mash the mango until it breaks apart.  Cook until the jam is thickened.  Set aside to cool.

Mango Buttercream

  1. In a large bowl, beat together butter, powdered sugar, and mango jam until light and fluffy, about 7-10 minutes.  Add food coloring, if desired.

Recipe notes:

  1. The mango jam will yield about 1 pint of jam.  The rest of it … do with it what you will!

Food & Drink

Lemon Meringue Pie

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Lemon Meringue Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients

Pie crust

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 Tb unsalted butter
  • 2 large lemons, zested and juiced

Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Method

  1. Make the pie dough:  In a food processor (or use 2 forks or pastry cutter), pulse together flour, salt, and butter until crumbly.  Slowly add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together when pinched.  Transfer to a floured work surface and knead until dough comes together.  Roll dough out to a 13-inch circle.  Place in 9-inch pie pan, cut off excess and crim the edges.  Freeze pie crust for about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Use pie weights or dried beans and blind bake the pie crust for about 20 minutes.   Remove from oven and turn the temperature down to 350°F.
  3. Make the filling:  In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, water, and milk over medium heat until it reaches a gentle boil and is thickening.  In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks.  Pour in about 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture and whisk to temper the eggs.  Return eggs back to the sugar mixture, whisking frequently.  Add butter, lemon juice, and zest and whisk until butter is melted.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Make the meringue:  In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until it forms soft peaks.  Add sugar and continue to beat until it forms stiff peaks.
  5. Pour the filling into the baked pie pan, top with meringue.  Return to oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops of the meringue is golden brown.  Rest on a cooling rack until it reaches room temperature, cool for about 1 hour in the refrigerator before serving.

Recipe notes:

  • For dramatic effects, I chose to use 6 egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar.  The recipe will give you around 2/3 of the height of the meringues.

Food & Drink

Strawberry Galette

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For many people, Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the beginning of summer.  This means pies, pies, and pies.  I love pies, but sometimes, you just want pie in belly fast.  Or maybe you want something cute to serve but aren’t so sure about your edge crimping skills.  Or my favorite, you are in the camp of people who think the pie filling to crust ratio should be like 2:1 instead of 4:1.  This is where galette shines.

If you don’t know what a galette is, it’s essentially a free-form pie that you bake on a regular cookie sheet.  You roll out the dough, put the filling in the middle, and fold the edge of the crust in so the filling is still visible in the center.  Because we don’t bake this in a pie tin, we opt for fillings that aren’t going to release a ton of juices, since this galette will be quite short in height.

I included my favorite galette dough recipe, but feel free to use store-bought pie crust or any other pie crust recipe that you enjoy.

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Strawberry Galette

Ingredients

Galette dough

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 6 Tb cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup iced water

Strawberry filling

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and quartered
  • 3 Tb granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lemon, zested and juice reserved

Glaze

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tb water

Method

  1. Make the galette dough:  In a food processor, pulse together flour, salt, granulated sugar, and butter.  Slowly drizzle in iced water 1 Tb at a time and pulse together until dough slightly comes together.  Check frequently by pinching together the dough.  If it sticks and doesn’t crumble, it is ready.  Pour the dough mixture on a floured work surface and knead until it comes together in a ball.  Flatten into a disk, wrap it tightly and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Make the filling:  While the dough is chilling, make the filling.  In a large bowl, toss together the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon zest, and 1 Tb of the lemon juice.  Let this mixture stand for about 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Roll out the galette dough into a large circle (about 15 inches in diameter).  Transfer this dough to a lined baking sheet.  Use a slotted spoon, scoop strawberry filling onto the center of the galette dough.  Do your best to avoid transferring the strawberry juices.  Fold in the edges towards the center, leaving the middle exposed.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and water.  Brush this all over the dough. Bake in preheated oven for about 35-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Food & Drink

Slow Cooker Apple Crisp

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It seems like every few posts, I’m complaining about the weather.  Well, today we’ll hit 89°F here in Philadelphia.  My poor dog is laying on the tile kitchen floor with the fan blasting in his face.

When it gets this hot, I seldom want to bake, since heating up the house is probably the last thing I want.  But what happens when I really want dessert?  I turn to my slow cooker, of course!

I really love slow cookers as alternatives to baking because it does a wonderful job of creating a crispy texture (for certain recipes) and it does it without heating up the house!

Today, I’m sharing my apple crisp recipe for the slow cooker.  My house currently smells like cinnamon and apples, my favorite!

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Slow Cooker Apple Crisp

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients

  • 6 apples
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

Method

  1. Peel, core, and slice apples into thin slices.  Place in a slow cooker along with granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Toss gently to coat apples with spices and sugar.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and melted butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Spread evenly over sliced apples.
  3. Place lid on the slow cooker and set the cooking temperature to LOW for 3-4 hours, and then remove the lid and cook for an additional hour, or until apples are soft and crumbles are crispy.

Food & Drink

Red Wine Poached Pears

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Have you ever had friends over for a dinner party and you’re left with all this wine?  You could drink it yourself, but I personally think if it’s old wine, just cook with it!  One of my favorite ways to use up old red wine is making poached pears.  It looks so decadent and yet it’s so simple to make.

The secret to this is making sure you get really firm pears.  Even use pears that aren’t ripe yet is great.  Since they will be cooking in the wine for a long time, you don’t want to use ripe pears, as they will get really mushy fast.

You can serve this with some mascarpone cream, whipped cream, or ice cream.  Or if you’re like me, just eat it as it.  It’s seriously that good.

Red Wine Poached Pears

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large orange
  • 4 pears

Method

  1. Wash and slice the orange.  Place orange slices and peel into a medium saucepan.  Add red wine, granulated sugar, and cinnamon stick.  Cook until it reaches a low simmer.
  2. Peel the pears (stems intact) and lower slowly into the saucepan.  Cook for 25-30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes to ensure all sides of the pear is evenly coated.  Serve warm or chilled.

Food & Drink

Spinach & Mango Smoothie

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Spring is here and that means fruits and vegetables are about to get super affordable.  If you’re like me, you like to drink your vegetables.  This is horrible, but I sometimes convince myself that if I get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables out of the way in the morning, that gives me license to eat like garbage for the rest of the day.

I don’t have one of those fancy Vitamix of Blendtec blenders, which is a shame because those blenders can make anything ridiculously smooth.  The worst smoothie you can make is the one that is gritty and chunky in all the wrong places.  I just use a small personal blender and it has worked for me time after time.  The secret is a frozen banana.  The frozen banana will do 2 things – it will make your beverage colder and thus eliminating the need to add ice to your smoothie, also, it creates a velvety texture as you blend eliminates chunky smoothies.

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Spinach & Mango Smoothie

  • Servings: 1-2
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Ingredients

  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 cup packed spinach
  • 1/2 cup packed kale
  • 1 mango, peeled, seeded, and chopped (approximately 3/4 cup fruit)
  • 1 cup milk (or dairy-free alternative)

Method

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender.  Blend for 30 seconds, or until smooth and you can’t see flecks from spinach and kale.

Food & Drink

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

 

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This strawberry frozen Greek yogurt is so stupid easy to make, and it requires only 3 ingredients.  It’s the perfect summer treat that will both satisfy your sweet tooth and ice cream cravings while being a much healthier alternative!

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Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, washed and stems removed
  • 2 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup honey

Method

  1. Freeze ice cream maker bowl according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Roughly quarter strawberries (no need to do this if your blender is large enough).  Place strawberries in blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute.  Add yogurt and honey and blend until well incorporated.
  3. Optional: if you would like the seeds removed, pour mixture over a sieve into another bowl.  Discard any seeds.
  4. Place yogurt mixture in the freezer for around 30 minutes to cool.
  5. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and let it churn for about 20 minutes and has reached a soft-serve consistency (or according to manufacturer’s instructions).  Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze for 2 hours before serving.

Recipe notes:

  • The amount of honey really depends on how sweet your strawberries are.  To make sure you have the sweetness just right, start from 1/3 cup honey and blend more in as needed.