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Archive for July 10, 2013

TIP OF THE DAY: Pavlova, An Easy Dessert Recipe

An easy Pavlova. Photo by Irina Kupenska |


A quick-assembly dessert that’s impressive and low-calorie? Count us in!

The Pavlova consists of a meringue base topped with fresh fruits. Most people buy the meringue shells at bakeries, but ambitious bakers can make their own.

In addition to individual meringue shells, the meringue can be shaped into cake layers that are alternated with fruit, for a spectacular effect (just check out “Pavlova meringue” in Google Images).

  • Then, all you have to do is cut up your favorite fruits and add them to the shell.
  • If you want to exert more effort, you can marinate the fruits in wine or liqueur.
  • Add an optional topping: crème fraîche, mascarpone, raspberry purée, whipped cream.
  • Garnish with chocolate curls or candied orange peel, or something as simple as a mint leaf.
    The Pavlova is one of the most popular desserts in Australia, where it’s commonly known as a Pav. The dessert is named after the legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926 and 1929. Both countries claim to have invented this dessert, and have made it their national dessert. New Zealand may have the edge: Published recipes of fruit-filled meringue shells existed there without the name Pavlova.

    According to chef Herbert Sachse of the Hotel Esplanade in Perth, Australia, the “Pavlova” was born at the Hotel 1935. According to Hotel legend, it was named at a meeting at which Sachse presented the cake: either the licensee, the manager, or Sachse remarked, “It is as light as Pavlova,” who had been a guest of the hotel during her 1929 tour. Years later, Sachse stated in an interview that he sought to improve the Meringue Cake recipe that he found in the Women’s Mirror Magazine, which was contributed by a New Zealand resident. (Source: Linda Stradley, What’s Cooking America.)

    While the desert is light and airy for summer, it can be tailored to every season:

  • Fall: Assorted nuts (raw or candied), dried fruits garnish on the plate
  • Christmas: Brandied fruits, candied fruits, crushed peppermint plate garnish
  • Valentine’s Day: Strawberries and cream, candied rose petals plate garnish
  • Spring: Apricots, nectarines, figs; edible flowers to garnish
  • Summer: Seasonal fruits garnished with shaved coconut, lemon mint, lemon verbena or spearmint


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    RECIPE: Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad with Crisp Prosciutto & Mustard Dressing

    Looking for something crisp and cruciferous?

    The cruciferous vegetables family—arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard greens, radish, rapini (broccoli rabe), rutabaga, tatsoi, turnip and wasabi—contains powerful anti-carcinogen antioxidants, and powerfully good flavor.

    This recipe, from Pom Wonderful, combines two of the group, broccoli and cauliflower, into a crisp summer salad—the veggies are not cooked. TIP: Cut large florets into small, bite-size pieces.



  • Juice from 2-3 pomegranates or 1 cup 100% pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup arils from 1-2 large pomegranates

    Broccoli and cauliflower salad. Photo
    courtesy Pom Wonderful.

  • 1/2 pound broccoli (2 cups cut into florets)
  • 1/2 pound cauliflower (2 cups cut into florets)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup seedless grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional; or you can substitute a noncaloric sweetener)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 oz. prosciutto, cut into 1/2-inch strips

    Arils are the seeds surrounded by juice sacs. Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.



    1. SCORE 1-2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate underwater to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.

    2. COOK prosciutto strips in a nonstick skillet over moderate heat and stir until crisp.

    3. TOSS together in a bowl: broccoli, cauliflower, red onion, grapes, raisins and fresh basil.

    4. MAKE dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar and pomegranate juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    5. TOSS dressing with salad; add pomegranate arils and prosciutto.


    How To Juice A Pomegranate

    Instead of buying pomegranate juice, you can juice the fruit itself. For 1 cup of juice, cut 2-3 large pomegranates in half and juice them with a citrus reamer or juicer. Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Set the juice aside.

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Piña Colada Day

    July 10th is National Piña Colada Day.


    There would be no Piña Colada without Coco Lopez, the coconut cream used to make it.

    Coco López is a brand of cream of coconut, invented in 1954 by Ramón López Irizarry, a professor of agriculture at the University of Puerto Rico. The ingredients on the can include coconut milk, sugar, water, emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickeners (guar gum, locust bean gum, mono- and diglycerides, polysorb 60, sorbitan monostearate, Propylene glycol alginate) and preservative (citric acid).

    The creamy heart of the coconut fruit had long been used in Caribbean desserts. But separating it from from the coconut pulp was an arduous process.

    With funds from the government, Irizarry worked on a solution. He ultimately left teaching to produce and sell his product, which was adopted not just by cooks but by bartenders.


    Pina Colada, the national drink of Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy Caribe Hilton.


    According to the book “La Gran Cocina Del Caribe” by José L. Díaz de Villega, the Piña Colada made its debut on August 16, 1954 at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a watering hole for a star-studded clientele. The hotel management had requested that bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero create a new signature cocktail. Marrero worked for three months on the recipe.

    Piña is Spanish for pineapple, and colada means strained; the drink is usually served blended with ice. The Piña Colada has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico since 1978.


    Ramon “Monchito” Marrero, inventor of the
    Ramon-Monchito-Marreroa Piña Colada.
    Photo courtesy Caribe Hilton.




  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 1 ounce coconut cream (e.g., Coco Lopez)
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • 6 ounces fresh pineapple juice*
  • ½ cup crushed ice
  • Garnishes: pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry

    1. COMBINE the rum, coconut cream, heavy cream and pineapple juice in a blender. Add the ice and blend for about 15 seconds or until smooth.

    2. POUR into a 12-ounce glass. Garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry.

    *The difference between a good and great Pina Colada is the difference between canned and fresh pineapple juice.



  • Low Calorie Piña Colada (recipe)
  • Piña Colada Mousse (recipe)
  • Piña Colada Pizza (recipe)

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