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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Berry Pavlova

Summer Berry PavlovasSummer Berry Pavlovas


This summer berry recipe is an essential to have up your sleeve for a summer barbecue or brunch. When I picture a long and luxurious summer brunch, I imagine pavlovas being served with a pile of fresh berries on top.
Summer Berry PavlovasPavlovas are a meringue shell that's topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. You can make one large pavlova, but I particularly like miniature individual pavlovas. They're elegant and showcase berries perfectly!
Summer Berry PavlovasMeringues can be intimidating, but I promise that with these steps you'll be able to make it happen. I recommend baking the shells the night before, and then putting the whipped cream and berries together at the last moment. 
Summer Berry PavlovasSummer Berry Pavlovas

Berry Pavlovas

From Patricia Wells

1 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
5 large, ultra-fresh egg whites, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups superfine sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound of fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries

Chill the mixer bowl and whisk in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. 

Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine vanilla, cornstarch, and vinegar in a bowl until smooth. 

In the chilled mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites on low speed until frothy, gradually increasing the speed, until still peaks form. Be careful not to overheat or the whites may begin to liquefy. 

Add half the sugar to the stiffened whites, a tablespoon at a time, whisking until the mixture seems thick and satiny. 

Add the vanilla mixture to the whites, and with a large spoon gently fold it into the whites, taking care not to knock the air out of the whites. Add the remaining sugar and fold it back into the whites. 

Spoon large dollops of meringue, about the size of a small fist, onto a lined baking sheet. Reduce oven temp to 285 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven, and leave the meringues in the oven to cool completely, preferably overnight. 
Summer Berry PavlovasSummer Berry Pavlovas
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the cream into soft peaks. 

When you are ready to serve, pile the cream on top of the meringues, and top with fresh berries. 

Summer Berry PavlovasSummer Berry Pavlovas

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Summer Produce Guide: Berries

Summer Berries Berry season, and all of its glory (like chocolate covered strawberries), is finally here! Get ready for a full week of berry delicious things from Hilary Stone Soup, including a dessert recipe on Wednesday with strawberries and blackberries.

Summer doesn't just mean sunshine, beach, and warm weather. It also means beautiful and delicious produce at the farmer's market and grocery store. So, in honor of all the fabulous produce, I'm sharing some produce guides and produce-focused recipes.

Summer Berries This week produce guide is for everyone's favorite, berries! Don't forget to check back on Wednesday for a great recipe.

Buying:

Strawberries: First and foremost, buy organic strawberries. Strawberries have some of the highest pesticide levels, even after washing. The next two things to look for are color and smell. Most grocery store varieties of strawberries are bright red at the height of ripeness, and pale color typically indicates the farmer was a little too eager to pick the berry. The strawberries should smell extremely fragrant and delicious. Shape and size shouldn't be priorities--often the smaller berries are the most flavorful!
Summer BerriesBlackberries/Raspberries: Smell is equally important with blackberries and raspberries. If you can't smell the berries, don't buy it. If you see the hull on these berries, it means the berry isn't ripe enough. If you see staining or mold inside, then the berry is too ripe. Consumer in 2 days--blackberries and raspberries do not last long.

Blueberries: Look for a frosty-blue berry that is plump and firm. Shriveled berries and any mold on the bottom of the package is a bad sign. 

Storing:

Overall, moisture is the enemy here. There's nothing worse than paying for berries, only to find that they are moldy after a few days. To get rid of pesky mold spores, you're going to give your berries a vinegar bath. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups water with 1 cup of vinegar, and then give you berries a nice dunk. 

Afterwards, rinse the berries in a colander under cold water. This will get rid of any lingering vinegar taste. Then, to get rid of the moisture, you'll want to dry the berries very thoroughly. To help with drying, you can actually line your salad spinner with 3 layers of paper towels, and then spin your berries for 15 seconds to dry them. 

Store the berries in a paper-towel lined plastic container, with the lid partially off to allow moisture to escape. 
Summer BerriesTheses tips will help your berries stay fresh for all of your recipes! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

image via prettystuff.tumblr.com
Happy long weekend everyone! Z is gone again for the next week or so (you catch him making appearances on the CodeHS snapchat), so I'm spending some quality time with girlfriends. Tennis with one of my best friends on Saturday, followed by rosé on my rooftop on Sunday. I'm also going to be doing a lot of recipe testing, so get excited!


Why it's hard to lose weight.

Sweetgreen opens in LA! 

Tips on ordering the perfect glass of wine. 

Iran nuclear deal. It's important. Read this.

Looking for a job? Move to these cities!

The must-have coffee tools, according to America's Test Kitchen.  


What a great way to peel garlic! 



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Memorial Day Recipe Guide

The kick-off to summer is almost here! Celebrate Memorial Day with a round-up of some of the best recipes from Hilary Stone Soup. I'm really inspired by Mediterranean flavors recently, so I pulled together a great day's worth of food with flavors inspired by the Mediterranean region. These are perfect for your BBQ or cookout this weekend--everyone will think you are a master chef! Your guests don't have to know how easy these recipes are..

All-American Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes

Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce

Roasted eggplant

Hibiscus Mint Tea & Hibiscus Cocktails

Tabbouleh

Greek Turkey Burgers

Brown Butter Raspberries

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Farmer's Market Guide

Farmer's Market GuideFarmer's Market Guide
When Z was in India, I wandered over to the Farmer's Market in Noe Valley on a Saturday morning. I used to go to the Farmer's Market every Sunday in DC, but since I've moved to SF, I haven't had the work schedule to accommodate our neighborhood's Thursday evening Farmer's Market. The 20 minute walk to Noe with plenty of cute shops like Mill, and the abundance of produce I came home with was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Farmer's Market Guide
Farmer's Market GuideThere's a successful way to do the Farmer's Market, that won't leave you hangry and struggling with random produce bags on your way home. These are my top 5 tips for doing the farmer's market right!


1. Wear comfortable shoes

This is not the time for your new platform heels. Who knows what type of seating you will find at the market and how long you are going to walk for. This is the time for Birkenstocks and your Nike kicks!

Farmer's Market Guide

2. Grab coffee ahead of time

Avoid being hangry at the market by grabbing your cappuccino before you head to the market. There's nothing worse than being hungry and grocery shopping. Plus, you'll be more awake and friendly in the case you run into anyone you know!

3. Bring small bills

First and foremost, bring cash. I often fail at this, and I have to rely on Z always having cash on hand. Don't follow my example! Most farmer's markets don't accept cards, and since so many items are under five dollars, bring a lot of one dollar bills. 

Farmer's Market Guide

4. Taste!

This one should go without saying. The best part of a farmer's market is getting to taste the produce before buying. In particular, I like to walk around the entire market before buying...the best stand might be at the very end (gosh, I really am a true maximizer)! 

Farmer's Market Guide 5. Bring your own bags

Individual stands will give you produce bags, but eventually you want to put these all into one or two larger bags to carry home. Place the sturdier produce (some lettuces, apples, root vegetables, asparagus) on the bottom, and then place more delicate items on top (herbs, berries). 

Farmer's Market Guide

Monday, May 18, 2015

Fruit & Herb Infused Water

Fruit Infused Water Okay, okay, I now have promised myself every week for the past three weeks that I would start eating healthier. Each week brings a new excuse--most of them having to do with travel and family celebrations. How am I going to skip out on dessert at a family wedding, especially when it's Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding.

This week brings no excuses. Z is gone on work travel for the next two weeks, so he can't convince me that ice cream is acceptable for dessert. I am finally feeling 100% health-wise, which means the gym workouts on my calendar might actually happen!

I realize that I am not necessarily going to turn my whole lifestyle around just with the snap of my fingers (clearly, that hasn't worked for the past three weeks). I'm starting with small steps.

The first step is trying to drink 64+ ounces of water everyday. I'm admittedly a coffee/tea fanatic, and by the time the afternoon comes around, I rarely have even had 20 ounces of water. It's a small piece of "health", but I'm excited to see how my skin and body feels when I'm hydrated.

When I was in Mexico with Z's family a few months back, the hotel served some great agua frescas, chock full of fruit juice and herbs. Since fruit juices are high in sugar, I decided that infused water would be a great way to bring these flavors back home.

These flavored waters are helping get through my daily water goal. Plain water can be boring, but how could you pass up pineapple-mint infused water?

Fruit & Herb Infused Water


Not a recipe per say, more of just a guide and a few suggestions.

Makes 2 glasses

2-inch squares of pineapple
2 mint leaves
2 basil leaves
2 strawberries, chopped
16 ounces of water

Muddle the pineapple and mint in one glass, and the strawberries and basil in another glass. Add 8 ounces of water to each glass. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. Strain, then drink!

Fruit Infused WaterFruit Infused Water


Friday, May 15, 2015

Le Weekend

Post-6:15am spin class breakfast
Phew! This week really flew by. With back-to-back weekends away, life hasn't really seemed "normal", just very busy (and fun). Last weekend was Chicago, and this weekend is LA. I'll be visiting for a family graduation. There are lots of LA restaurants I've been wanting to try out (Eggslut, Sqirl), but I don't think I'll have time to visit them this weekend. It just means another trip down to LA is in order soon! 


Warning: NSFW, but a funny piece and provides perspective. {link}

The ins and outs of the Royal Family's diet.{link}

Yes way, rosé. Recommendations for this summer! {link}

Another Goop-approved workout for you. {link}

Next time you are in Chicago, go to this awesome diner. {link}

How many of the best bars in America have you been to? {link}

Up your hard-boiled eggs game. {link}

Obsessed with The Atlantic's photo coverage. Check out these National Geographic Traveler Photo nominated photos are insane! {link}

I just bought this dress. It's fabulous. You should buy it too! {link}


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lemon and Chive Compound Butter

Compound Butter Leave work at approximately 6:26pm. Walk to the metro. Wait 7 minutes for the next train (while listening to the latest episode of This American Life). Take the train for four stops. Walk three blocks to my apartment. Check the mail (nothing but catalogues). Make awkward small talk with neighbor in the elevator. Unlock the front door. Fling off uncomfortable work shoes. Plop down on the couch. Turn on How I Met Your Mother (don't judge--I'm late to the game on this one!). Eventually, muster the energy to make dinner...

Today, I am bringing you a recipe for compound, or flavored, butter. Please, don't feel cheated! Because this recipe is incredibly fabulous. When you have nights like I typically do (see above), you want an easy and delicious dinner. Just add a pat of this butter on to any meat/veggie you have on hand, and you've got a great meal

There is an endless number of things you can put this butter on. Grilled chicken, broiled salmon, a simple steak, microwave-able steamed veggies, roasted asparagus--basically, any protein and any vegetable.

It's easy to make--all it takes is a couple of ingredients, and no fancy techniques here! Plus, it's pretty customizable. Have oranges on hand instead of lemons? Have leftover thyme and no chives? Feel free to sub the citrus and herb based off of what you have on hand. 

It's one of the best and easiest ways to add flavor to any meal. Enjoy!

Lemon and Chive Compound Butter

8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter, softened
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chive
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine the ingredients together. Mash with a fork to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated.

Compound ButterCompound Butter

Place a 12-inch square of plastic wrap on the counter, and place the butter on top of the plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch border. Shape the butter into a horizontal cylinder, about 8 inches long and 2 inches wide. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap in opposite directions to seal the butter, and then place in the fridge. Let the butter firm up, about 2 hours. Butter should keep for 3-5 days.

Compound Butter

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mother's Day Brunch Ideas

Poached Eggs with Ramps
With Mother's Day just a few days away, here are all the recipes you need to make a wonderful brunch for mum. I've rounded up the best of Hilary Stone Soup for your mama!

1. Poached Eggs with Ramps

Ramps are in season right now, and they totally elevate this humble dish into something elegant and delicious. 

2. Classic Cinnamon Rolls

The warm smell of cinnamon in the morning will surely surprise her!

3. Little Gem Salad with Feta, Grapefruit, and Toasted Pecans

A simple and delicious salad with the cutest hint of color thanks to the grapefruit.

4. Chai Banana Smoothie

Because she's gone dairy- and gluten-free!


5. Shirred Eggs

The easiest way to make your mom brunch and use up any extra herbs or cheese in the fridge.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Basil Green Goddess Salad with Avocado and Egg

Green Goddess Salad The thoughts that go through my head each weekend: Fresh vegetables! Flowers! Farmer's markets! Herbs! Spring! 

Z was in India recently, so I spent the weekend on my own. I spent one Saturday morning at the Noe Valley Farmers' Market, and I walked home with a boatload of fresh product, even though it was just me at home. I picked up a huge bunch of fresh basil and mint, in addition to butter lettuce, kale, and strawberries. 

As soon as I saw the basil butter lettuce, I knew I needed to make green goddess dressing. Green goddess dressing is a creamy dressing filled with basil, and it's wonderful during the spring and summer. 

This salad was the perfect thing to make when Z was gone. Z has a weird dislike of salad dressing. He never wants salad dressing, even on kale salad! When he's gone, it's time to experiment.

Green Goddess SaladThis salad dressing is wonderful during the spring. It is chock full of basil, so it's a great way to use up those herbs from the farmers' market. It does have anchovies in it, but don't leave them out! The anchovies lend an amazing flavor to this dish.

Don't be surprised if this becomes your new go-to salad dressing. It also works great as a dip for bread and crudites.
Green Goddess Salad

Basil Green Goddess Dressing

From Ina Garten

3 heads lettuce (Bibb or Butter lettuce)
Vegetable of choice (tomatoes or radishes work well, I used purple asparagus)
3 avocadoes
1 cup good mayonnaise
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
Hard-boiled eggs

Clean and dry the lettuce thoroughly, and then arrange the lettuce on a plate. Add your other vegetables and avocadoes. 

Green Goddess Salad
Combine the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, kosher salt, and black pepper in a food processor until smooth. Add the Greek yogurt, and process just until blended. If not using immediately, then put the dressing in the refrigerator. Otherwise, drizzle the dressing onto your salad, and add the hard boiled eggs!
Green Goddess Salad


Monday, May 4, 2015

Favorite Finds: McClure's Potato Chips

I found them. The best potato chips in the entire world. Well, to be completely honest, my manager found them. And he know I would love them, so he brought them back from NYC for me.


The potato chips are perfectly crispy and thin, like every good potato chip should be. What really stands them apart from other chips though, is their flavor. You see, these chips are McClure's Garlic Dill Pickle potato chips!

 The garlic and dill flavor is subtle, and the pickle element adds a slight sour flavor. If you love sea salt and vinegar chips, you'll love the more subdued taste of this chip! And if you don't like sea salt and vinegar chips, you'll appreciate that this chip is less abrasive than traditional vinegar chips. 

McClure's potato chips are the definition of mouth-watering. They started out as a pickle company, and I love that they've expanded into potato chips. I can't get enough of them! You can either find them at these retail locations or buy them online here.

Photos from McClure's

Friday, May 1, 2015

GOTTA GET DOWN ON FRIDAY

I'm really looking forward to the weekend--I'm spending Saturday at the symphony and then spending the night out on the town with some girlfriends. 

Life during the week has felt rather boring. I work, eat dinner, then maybe watch TV, and then go to bed. Really exciting, right? 

After being in a funk for a while, I've decided it's time for a change. I'm making a concerted effort to plan fun events. I'm starting this weekend with a night out with great friends--the friends that make me feel at home, the friends that make my soul feel good! 

Here are a few things to get you to 5pm cocktails...


Chipotle is getting rid of genetically modified foods. {link}

Classic take-out recipes you can make at home. {link}

The best pizzas in San Francisco...let the taste testing begin! {link}

How do you feel about Business Insider's Best Restaurants in America list? {link}

I really enjoyed this video from The New Potato. {link}

I've been on the hunt for coasters, and these caught my eyes! {link}

It's ramp season! This recipe looks delicious. {link}

Five new teas to try. {link}

10 items that make a house a home {link}



 

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