Whew! The past 2 weeks (and even this one) have been utterly crazy. A little more than 2 weeks ago, my husband took an intense training course that had him at work for 10-12 hours each day. He would come home, eat dinner, and just crash. At the same time, I was trying to get my house in order for our vacation. (Surprise! I was on vacation in FL last week, hence the abbreviated post.) Last week, we went to go visit my parents in FL. It was a very relaxing week with lots of good food and plenty of down time catching up with my family. I talk to my mom every week, but there’s just nothing like being in the same kitchen cooking together or sitting around the table for a family dinner. We got home last Saturday, and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since. I’m still not completely caught up, but I’m getting there. I’ll share some of the recipes we tried soon. For today, I’m just going to share two super easy recipes (great for a lazy labor day) and some pictures of the wildlife in my parents’ yard.
This first recipe is another version of meringues. I fell in love with them from this picture, but mine didn’t turn out nearly as pretty. The original recipe calls for raspberry jelly, and that might be a better route to go. I used strawberry, but the flavor didn’t really come through. I wasn’t worried about looks (though I apparently should have been), so I omitted the food coloring step. My biggest problem with this recipe was actually the cooking method. They want you to preheat the oven to 300 degrees, put in the meringues, turn the oven off, then let them sit for an hour or so. I did this, but my meringues were FAR from dry and crisp when I checked on them. I ended up turning the oven on low (200) and cooking them for another 2-2 1/2 hours. They got cooked through, but they also turned a light golden color (the picture shows them a lovely white with red swirls). I’m not sure if I’ll use this recipe again, but I love the idea of it. If you do plan to use a lighter flavored jam, you could amp up the flavor by folding in crushed, freeze-dried fruit. I think I’ll try that next time, and maybe let them sit in the oven for 2 hours before I check on them. I’ll let you know how it turns out when I do.
Raspberry Meringues (from Better Homes & Gardens)
2 egg whites
1 tbsp. room temperature seedless raspberry jam
6 drops red food coloring
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/3 c. superfine sugar
1/3 c. confectioner’s sugar
1. Let the egg whites stand for 30 minutes at room temperature in a large bowl. Cover 2 large baking sheets with parchment.
2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the jam and food coloring; set aside.
3. In another small bowl, combine the sugars and set aside. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat on medium til soft peaks form. At medium speed, add the sugar mix 1 tbsp. at a time. Beat 5-7 minutes or til stiff glossy peaks form and the sugar is dissolved.
4. Use a spatula to gently fold 1/2 c. of the meringue mix into the jam, then gently fold the jam mix into the remaining egg whites.
5. Pipe or spoon the meringues onto the baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in the oven and turn it off. Let them sit in the closed oven for 1 hour or til dry and crisp but still light in color. Let cool.
The other recipe I wanted to share is another quick, flavorful, and easy shrimp dish. I served my shrimp on top of a simply cooked pasta (topped with just a little butter and Parm. The recipe calls for these to be sauteed, but you could easily (and quickly!) grill them.
Four Minute Spicy Garlic Shrimp (from Food Network)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 1/2 lb. peeled, deveined, tail on jumbo shrimp (I just used a medium-sized shrimp without the tail since that’s what I had on hand.)
2 tsp. grill/steak seasoning
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, garlic, pepper, and shrimp.
2. Season the shrimp with the grill seasoning and cook 3 minutes or til just pink. Top with the lemon zest and juice and the parsley.
And lastly, here are the pictures I promised of my parent’s wildlife.
I hope that you’ve had a less hectic couple of weeks and that you’ve got some great, relaxing plans for labor day. Talk to you again soon.