Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Saturday, July 24, 2010

vanilla meringues

baked vanilla meringues have only four ingredients. cream of tartar is essential to the stability of the cookie.  the secret is in the baker's sugar.  this sugar is very fine and delicate.  it easily incorporates into the egg whites while they are beating in the mixer.
i chose to flavor these meringues with vanilla, but almond, orange, lemon, mint, maple, rum, or others could be used for different celebrations.  every one of your guests will enjoy these low fat cookies.  although sugar is one of the main cookie ingredients, there is no fat used in the cookie preparation. 
one of the most important steps in the recipe is the baking instructions.  once the cookies are mixed into a stable fluff, the meringues are piped with a large pastry tip along with a pastry bag onto silpat mats.  this recipe makes 24 cookies.  once the cookies are placed into the pre-heated oven, the oven is turned off and the cookies are allowed to bake while the oven is cooling.  i kept the cookies in the oven for eight hours before lifting them from the cookie sheets.  this recipe can be made one evening,  and then overnight, the cookies will be completed and fresh for serving the next day.
the cookies are light, flavorful, and better than any store bought meringue.

baked pita crisps

slice pita pockets into triangular wedges, add a bit of olive oil with garlic and herb seasoning, and bake these crisps in a 350 degree oven. garnish with parsley and fresh basil.  these crisps can be served with sliced cheese, chopped olives, or even salsa. 

 here, i served the warm pita crisps with a small amount of roasted tomatoes for an evening appetizer 

roasted gourmet tomatoes

as and easy side dish to accompany grilled chicken or fish, i select a variety of gourmet tomatoes.  this grouping gives a nice variety of taste and presentation.  i roasted the tomatoes with a splash of olive oil on a half sheet pan seasoned with ground black pepper and parsley. served warm, these tomatoes are both tasty and nutritious.

mint chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate peanut bark

another one of my favorite ice cream flavors is mint chocolate chip.  using my basic vanilla ice cream recipe, i omit the vanilla and substitute mint extract.  once the mixture is ready for the ice cream maker, i add a couple of drops of Wilton green food color.  in order to keep a light green color, only a very small amount is necessary.  chopped dark ghirardelli chocolate is added after the mixture has processed for 25 minutes.  the ice cream is frozen in a stainless steel container.
serve a couple of scoops with a taste of chocolate bark.  this recipe is easily made by melting chocolate in a double boiler, and then by adding a selection of dried fruit and nuts. this bark was made with diced dried apricots, dried cranberries, and peanuts.  after cooling overnight in a quarter sheet pan, it is easily removed and broken into serving size pieces.