Categories
Pavlova Recipes

Light and Airy Mini Pavlova Recipe

The Pavlova is a wonderful, meringue confection named for its light and airy texture. Its namesake is once-famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, once known for her incredible skills. She toured all over Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand. Legend has it that a chef in New Zealand named this delightful dessert after her light-footed performances.

The desert is a bit more complex than a traditional meringue. Rather than a light, hard, bite that resembles a sort of egg cookie, the Pavlova is more like a meringue on the outside, and a marshmallow on the inside. It is marked by its chewy interior and crunchy exterior. It’s a worthy dessert, much like the ballerina herself. It is, perhaps, our favorite way to use excess egg whites. It’s tasty, airy, and one of the easiest desserts we can think of to make.

That said, it takes care, as do any meringues. Don’t get any of the yoke fat in your mix, or you’ll never get the whites to whip. And be precise with your measurements. After all, this is baking. Once the oven gets involved, sometimes the task of cooking can feel a bit more like a chemistry activity than a sustenance-preparation activity. But lucky for us, the Pavlova is forgiving.

Separate the egg whites from the yoke by cracking the egg and moving the yoke from one egg shell to the other. Keep the egg white and yoke separated. Put the whites in one bowl and the yoke in another.

While some will make entire cake-sized Pavlova’s we’re more partial to the personal pan pizza version. Everyone gets their own. The smaller version of this desert has less middle and more crunch. But it’s just as delightful, albeit a quicker eat. And, while we’ll admit, the cake version looks a bit more impressive, most recipes with leftover egg yokes simply don’t leave you with enough material to make a massive mountain of egg white delight.

Needless to say, these mini-Pavlovas are the perfect sweet course to any savory main course. The will save you the trouble of having to dump a bunch of usable food down the kitchen sink or into a trash can. 3 eggs will make you about a cookie’s sheet worth of these fancy Mallomars. Though to get there you’ll have to deftly cut our recipe in half.

Your guests will be sufficiently impressed if you just serve them a naked Pavlova, trust us. But if you want to take your confection to the next level, there are a few simple things you can throw on top. With an extra 15 or so minutes of preparation, you can take an 8.5 dessert to that perfect 10. That said, let us warn you, you’d better have a sweet tooth. The Pavlova isn’t for the sweet-hater.

If you take our recommendation to top the Pavlova with some homemade berry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream, be prepare an early onset of the sugars. This little confection will raise your blood sugar so high, you’ll probably need to charter a jet to come pick you up from the cloud your floating on. But, as you will find out, it’s worth it. A lot a bit of sugar never hurt no one. And momentary pleasures, a little bit of sugary hedonism, is why the good Lord gave us taste buds in the first place.

Mini Pavlova Recipe

Mini Pavlova Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1.5 Teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1.5 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1.5 Cups granulated sugar
  • 6 Large eggs worth of room temperature egg whites
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Put egg whites into a large mixing bowl. Add cream of tarter and salt. Whip egg white, cream of tarter, and salt using a whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft, white peaks that fall over form. If using a stand mixer, start the mixer at low speeds, progressively increasing it to medium or medium-high speeds during this process.
  4. While continuing to whisk the soft peaks, gradually add sugar, cornstarch. Whip until the peaks stiffen and stand on their own. Add vanilla. Continue whipping until the whole mixture are both stiff and glossy.
  5. use a spoon, a pipe, or a ziploc bag with a 1/4 inch corner cut to add 3 inch round mounds to the parchment paper sitting on top of the cooking sheet. Indent each Pavolva right in the middle to form a bowl.
  6. Place the parchment-covered baking sheet into the oven's middle rack. Lower the oven temperature as soon as you've put the Pavlovas in to 250°F. Let them bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Watch them in the oven so they do not overcook. Check on the desserts as needed. They are ready when the outside is crispy and dry, but still white.
Categories
Pasta Recipes

Easy Pasta Carbonara Recipe

What we love about the carbonara is how simple it is. Just a few ingredients, it’s a fast dish to put together and a hard dish to screw up. Have a few people coming over? It’s a crowd-pleaser that will delight everyone who enjoys pasta. What’s more? It feels very fancy. For guests, their mouths will drop when you pull out a spaghetti carbonara. For many of them, it’s likely going to be their first time. For others, they will be surprised by the quality of the dish that they have ordered so many times at restaurants. Yes, this recipe will be as good as anything you’ve had in a fancy restaurant. It’s a 5-star dish, even if the ingredients you use aren’t top-shelf.

The way it works is pretty simple. The pasta carbonara is a rich, cheesy, and eggy dish. Yes, eggy. Surprised? Wait until you hear how you cook the eggs. That will blow your mind.

Pretty simply, you cook pasta. In a skillet, you fry bacon and garlic. Meanwhile, you prepare a bowl of beaten egg yokes and Parmesan cheese. Once the pasta is cooked, you transfer the steaming hot noodles to the bowl. Mix it all up. The eggs cook to the noodles. The cheese melts into the dish. Then you pour on top of all that the hot bacon and grease. Sprinkle a little fresh Parmesan on top.

When we first made this dish, we added whole eggs. That was a mistake. It’s less creamy, more watery, and not as satisfying. 2 whole eggs will make the dish less delicious than 2 egg yokes, trust us.

In all, the whole process takes about 20 minutes. And the prep time is almost non-existent. And even if you mess up (which you won’t) cooking it again is trivial (and pretty cheap). The most delicate bit of this process is in the roasting and adding of the garlic. Don’t burn it. It will leave the dish tasting bitter. Still edible, but not great.

The best part of this dish is how it scales. The recipe we are sharing is for 2 people. As is the case with most recipes, just double it if you have 4. The difference here, however, is that the dish really doesn’t take any longer to make. In the same amount of time, you could feed 2 people or 100 people. As long as you scale the dish properly, it will all work out. And 15 minutes is 15 minutes. Ok, maybe 100 people would take a bit more prep. But, honestly, not much more.

For the unorthodox, those who could give two wits about tradition, adding 4 oz’s of fresh cherry tomatoes to the recipe below brings a sugary pop of cool delight to this rich, savory dish. But don’t tell your Italian grandfather or that guy who taught you how to make this at Johnson Wales. They’ll tell you it’s not a carbonara if you mess with it. But we’re Americans here at gris.tl. So, we do what tastes better – tradition be damned.

At the end, you have left over egg whites. We recommend following this dish with a delicious Pavlova. Merging this heavy Italian cuisine with the light, airy, fruit-topped Pavlova will delight anyone who partakes in your little foodie experiment. And before you say, “I’ve never made a Pavlova, how will I ever pull it off,” let us promise you, it’s not that hard. And the beaut of the Pavlova is that if you do it right, it will come out of the oven hot, just as you and your guests finish the eating of the carbonara.

Good luck to you, and let us know how it turns out.

Yield: 2 servings

Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara

An amazingly simple dish filled with flavor. Great for small groups or large groups. If you want to make a pasta dish that impresses, this is a unique, delicious option that will leave your guests stunned. Filled with spaghetti, bacon, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and some wonderful spices, the carbonara is a dish that will leave your guests wanting more.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 oz spaghetti noodles
  • 3 egg yokes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1.5 cup of freshly grated Parmesan
  • Fresh basil or parsley to taste
  • 4 oz of bacon or pancetta (traditional is pancetta) 
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Begin by preparing the sauce. Separate 3 egg whites from the yokes. Put the yokes into 4 or 5 quart bowl. Add 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the mix. Use a whisk or fork to beat the eggs and grated Parmesan together.
  2. Add enough water to cover spaghetti lengthwise in a pot. Add some salt to the water. Heat lightly salted water to a boil. Add in 4 oz's of spaghetti, and cook until al dente (about 8 minutes).
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat up a skillet. Our preference is cast iron, but any skillet will do. Add the olive oil, and begin heating it at a medium heat. Once the olive oil has heated up, add 4 oz's of bacon or pancetta. Cook it until it is crispy. Lower the heat and add the garlic. Saute the garlic until it begins to darken.
  4. In the meantime, strain the pasta and add it to the 4 quart bowl. Use a pair of tongs to toss the pasta about. Turn the pasta until the egg yoke and Parmesan sauce is completely covering the noodles.
  5. Pour the bacon, grease, olive oil, and garlic saute evenly all over the top of the mixed pasta.
  6. Add the fresh basil or parsley, and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  7. Use the tongs to mix in the bacon, fresh basel or parsley, and freshly ground peppers so it is evenly distributed throughout the dish.
Categories
Victorinox Fibrox Pro Knife Reviews 8-inch Chef's Knife Reviews

Victorinox Fibrox Pro 5.2063.20 – 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

We’ve spent a lot of time cooking in kitchens. We’ve cooked in home kitchens, and we’ve cooked in restaurants. We are users of cheap, replaceable knives. Those white-handled Dexter Russels are our familiar friends. So we started there when we began searching for the perfect chef’s knife.

Knife blocks don’t appeal to us. They are so expensive. And the knives inside are of incredibly varied quality. Some brands will include an excellent Chef’s knife, but their paring knife isn’t so hot. Or some will give you an excellent bread knife, but their chef’s knife is no fun to cook with. The biggest problem with blocks, they give you knives that you don’t know you don’t want. For example, while you can buy a long Wusthoff bread knife that is adequate to cut through most loafs, the knife block’s included bread knife is about 2 inches too short. It’s not for any other reason than to save the 2 inches of stainless steel, either, so far as we can tell. Getting a bread block means that you’re locking yourself into a set of knives that you may or may not want. And you have no choice but to take what they give you.

In all, the blocks seem to appeal to the collectors. Most of the knives you get, you never or very rarely use. Yet, the fear of missing out on some kind of needed specialty cutter will compel buyers toward purchasing the block with the most knives. You wouldn’t want to miss out on something you need in the future, right?

In our discussions with home cooks, we asked about why they buy knives. Most cooks buy knives that others have recommended. And a large portion of them get knives that are “good enough.” The other important feature for them is that the knives look good on their counter. In this case, we understand the impetus to buy a block of knives. They are uniformed, and handsome. A good, expensive set, will impress any home kit who wishes they could afford something so luxurious. But we have taken a different approach to knife buying. We are looking for utility rather than social signaling. We want knives that are a delight to cut with. In the case of the Chef’s knife, we not only found one that meets our criteria, but we found one that has a price so insanely good, your mouth will drop.

The Victorinox Fibrox Pro series 8-inch Chef’s Knife is our knife of choice in this category. It is, perhaps, the sharpest knife we’ve ever used in this price range. It isn’t the prettiest knife. It’s handle isn’t made of some expensive, exotic hardwood. Rather, it’s a rubber called fibrox. And it’s an ergonomic pleasure to cut with. It’s as sharp, if not sharper than any of the other knives we tested. And I’ve almost never had to sharpen it. What’s more, it’s only around $30. It’s a unbelievable knife for the price.

While we weren’t sure that we would love the fibrox grip, we have to say that we have fallen in love with it. It’s a knife that is a pleasure to grip. It holds fast in our palm, and it doesn’t slip. It feels full and good, and it doesn’t wont for anything.

Honestly, we can’t speak too highly about this knife. It’s affordable price tag belies its quality. This knife is a sleeper. No one will be impressed by it when they look at it. But you will never want another knife once you’ve cut with it. Tomatoes? No problem. It slices so smoothly through the squishy fruit under its own weight. You barely have to apply any pressure. It’s a professional-grade knife that will go well in any kitchen. It cuts as well as our $1000 knives. What’s more, it’s been sharp for a very very long time. We haven’t had to touch it.

There are a lot of great knives out there, but the Victorinox 5.2063.20 is our knife of choice. We love it. We really, really love it.

Categories
Jam Recipes

Easy Mango Jam Recipe Using Ball Powdered Pectin

Mangoes are one of nature’s most delicious fruits. Most of us get our mangoes from the store. But some, like those who live in FL, get fresh mangoes from trees right in their yard. Lucky!

We’ve found making jam to be an effective way to use up a lot of mangoes. As native Floridians, we are given mangoes during the season by numerous friends. And while we wish we could eat them all, we simply can’t. I’m not kidding when I say we are given boxes and boxes of the delectable fruits throughout the season. Jealous?

Four little mangoes, sitting on a board. If they fall they’re bruise their gourd. You can eat them if you please. But we’re going to turn them into jellies.

Needless to say, we’ve done a lot of experimenting. Mango is a low-pectin fruit. Some recipes we found early on, don’t use Pectin. The result is a sort of mushy spread. It’s the consistency of apple butter. This recipe, however, gives you a jam that stands up. It is spreadable, and doesn’t suffer from the wetness of what you might call a mango butter. We’ve also seen some that use only a half cup of sugar. While mango has a lot of sugar in it, we’ve found that mango jams require a bit more sugar. Otherwise, the taste will lean toward starchy, like a slightly over-ripened fruit.

In any case, this works great. The recipe calls for a lot of pectin of a specific brand. We’ve been using ball pectin, and we love it. 3 tbsps is too few. We’ve tested it. 4 tbsps is just right. And the lemon is a necessary component for two reasons. 1) Lemon is like a natural salt. It helps bring out flavors in the fruit. But 2) lemon has a lot of pectin. So squeezing the lemon works in two ways, making the jam set better as well as enhancing the taste.

First thing you need to do is prepare the mango. Cut the mango in two halves. Use a paring knife to cut small 1/2 inch squares into the half. Then, turn the skin out. The mango will pop up like the back of a porcupine.

Close-up of mango cut into small segments with the skin turned out.

Add the mango to a big pan, sprinkle sugar all over it, add the lemon. Begin heating it up on low heat. The mango will soon disintegrate into a mushy mess. Meanwhile, add water to a separate saucepan. Throw the Ball Pectin into the water. Heat it to a roiling boil. Mix it all together, crank up the heat, and voilla after a little bit of patience, you will end up with about 32 ounces of absolutely delicious jam. Stick it in a jar, close it up, and put it in your fridge until it cools.

Then pray. Pray that the gods of setting will jellify your spread. Hope and hope and hope that you didn’t just waste a bunch of the most divine tasting fruit in the world. But here’s the thing, even if it doesn’t set (and it will), the honest to God’s truth is that the sort of mushy, semi-jelled concoction that will otherwise ensue, is still pretty darned good on your toast. Just eat it before it goes bad.

Yield: 32 ounces

Mango Jam Recipe

Mango Jam Recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place 2 pounds of ripe mango meat, into a large pan over low heat. Spread 1.5 cups of sugar evenly over the top of the mangoes. Cut a fresh lemon in half and squeeze the juice evenly over the pan.
  2. Place 1.5 Cups of water into a small saucepan, add 4 tablespoons of Ball Pectin, and stir the mixture over medium-high heat. Stir continually until the mixture begins a rolling boil. Let the mixture boil for about 1 minute.
  3. Pour the water and pectin mixture over the mangoes. Turn up heat in large pan to medium. Stir continuously until the mango breaks apart and begins to liquefy.
  4. Turn to medium-high heat until mixture begins to boil. Let the mixture thicken. Use an immersion blender to break up any mango chunks still in the mixture, if desired.
  5. Pour the mixture into sterilized Jars. Seal according to canning directions.
  6. Put hot jars into fridge and let set for 24 hours.

Nutrition Information

Yield

70

Serving Size

1 tbls

Amount Per Serving Calories 24Total Fat .1gSaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 6.3gFiber .2gSugar 6.1g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Categories
Victorinox Fibrox Pro Knife Reviews 10-Inch Chef’s Knife Reviews

Victorinox Fibrox Pro 40521 – 10-Inch Chef’s Knife Review

We’ve spent a lot of time cooking in kitchens. We’ve cooked in home kitchens, and we’ve cooked in restaurants. We are users of cheap, replaceable knives. Those white-handled Dexter Russels are our familiar friends. So we started there when we began searching for the perfect chef’s knife.

Knife blocks don’t appeal to us. They are so expensive. And the knives inside are of incredibly varied quality. Some brands will include an excellent Chef’s knife, but their paring knife isn’t so hot. Or some will give you an excellent bread knife, but their chef’s knife is no fun to cook with. The biggest problem with blocks, they give you knives that you don’t know you don’t want. For example, while you can buy a long Wusthoff bread knife that is adequate to cut through most loafs, the knife block’s included bread knife is about 2 inches too short. It’s not for any other reason than to save the 2 inches of stainless steel, either, so far as we can tell. Getting a bread block means that you’re locking yourself into a set of knives that you may or may not want. And you have no choice but to take what they give you.

In all, the blocks seem to appeal to the collectors. Most of the knives you get, you never or very rarely use. Yet, the fear of missing out on some kind of needed specialty cutter will compel buyers toward purchasing the block with the most knives. You wouldn’t want to miss out on something you need in the future, right?

In our discussions with home cooks, we asked about why they buy knives. Most cooks buy knives that others have recommended. And a large portion of them get knives that are “good enough.” The other important feature for them is that the knives look good on their counter. In this case, we understand the impetus to buy a block of knives. They are uniformed, and handsome. A good, expensive set, will impress any home kit who wishes they could afford something so luxurious. But we have taken a different approach to knife buying. We are looking for utility rather than social signaling. We want knives that are a delight to cut with. In the case of the Chef’s knife, we not only found one that meets our criteria, but we found one that has a price so insanely good, your mouth will drop.

The Victorinox Fibrox Pro series 10-inch Chef’s Knife is our knife of choice in this category. It is, perhaps, the sharpest knife we’ve ever used in this price range. It isn’t the prettiest knife. It’s handle isn’t made of some expensive, exotic hardwood. Rather, it’s a rubber called fibrox. And it’s an ergonomic pleasure to cut with. It’s as sharp, if not sharper than any of the other knives we tested. And I’ve almost never had to sharpen it. What’s more, it’s only around $30. It’s a unbelievable knife for the price.

While we weren’t sure that we would love the fibrox grip, we have to say that we have fallen in love with it. It’s a knife that is a pleasure to grip. It holds fast in our palm, and it doesn’t slip. It feels full and good, and it doesn’t wont for anything.

Honestly, we can’t speak too highly about this knife. It’s affordable price tag belies its quality. This knife is a sleeper. No one will be impressed by it when they look at it. But you will never want another knife once you’ve cut with it. Tomatoes? No problem. It slices so smoothly through the squishy fruit under its own weight. You barely have to apply any pressure. It’s a professional-grade knife that will go well in any kitchen. It cuts as well as our $1000 knives. What’s more, it’s been sharp for a very very long time. We haven’t had to touch it.

There are a lot of great knives out there, but the Victorinox 40521 is our knife of choice. We love it. We really, really love it.

Categories
Victorinox Fibrox Knife Reviews Paring Knife Reviews

Victorinox 47600 – 3.25-Inch Paring Knife w/ Nylon Handle Review

It’s not much to look at. In fact, it looks downright disposable. But the knife is sharp, and the blade is sturdy, but flexible. The handle is a nylon handle, and the knife’s size is feels great in the hand. At Gris.tl, we’ve worked with a lot of paring knives. This is our favorite.

The Victorinox 47600 is an amazing little tool that we think every single kitchen should have. All those full-tanged knives with solid handles are far more heavy than we liked. The blades were thick and completely inflexible. Honestly, we didn’t know how much we liked the flexibility until we’d used a knife with more give than we expected. Most of us are familiar with those fancy knife-block paring knives. But this knife out-performs any of the little knives we tried in this category.

Much like our favorite 10-Inch Chef’s Knife by the same company, this knife feels great in the hand. It is close to the palm. And it’s sharp. Like, really sharp. It’s unbelievably sharp, durable, and effective for the price.

Most of the knives in this category are frustratingly expensive. After all, let’s agree, these little knives are like a toothpick’s worth of steel. They are already small. One would expect them to be cheap. Yet, the big brands sell these knives for $30 to $100. In our opinion, this knife outperforms all of the knives in those other categories. And at a price tag of between $3 and $6, this knife is a real winner. While the knife will last a long time, if you do end up sharpening it to a toothpick, its price makes it an easy knife to dispose of and replace. We never thought we’d recommend a knife because you can throw it away. But, let’s be honest, the paring knife is the workhorse of the kitchen. It gets used a lot. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have one that’s as great as any paring knife you could buy while also being such a value that you have no issue replacing it?

While sometimes paying more gets you more, in the case of your paring knife, that simply isn’t the case. If you are willing to go the a la carte route in knife block building, this is the knife for you.