I have a knack for passing time. For keeping myself busy in my own little corner of the house. For spending all day in the kitchen. Creating unnecessary to-do lists. And missing out on opportunities I didn’t know I had. You learn this about yourself when you move. The last 3 weeks of life in Chicago were filled to the brim. Every last meal, every last moment, spent with friends. I lived more in those 3 weeks than I did in our 4 years there. Some people say live with no regrets. I say learn from your mistakes.
So I made a promise to myself—to keep summer simple. To spend less time in the kitchen and more time outside. To explore our new town and find a sandy beach and stake our claim. To toss aside my perfectionistic ways and take joy in the scribbles. To keep lengthy recipes at bay and celebrate the short and sweet ones.
I may have to force myself out of the house on a Saturday morning, paralyzed at the thought of leaving a full day of baking behind. I may have to bookmark those long winded recipes I seem to thrive on. And save my unnecessary to-do lists for those cold winter months that will inevitably arrive too soon. But this summer, I vow to keep it simple and live with at least one less regret. Suggestions, tips, advice, recipes welcome. How do you simplify summer?
My first attempt at a simple summer—pavlovas. Light as air meringues. Make these in the morning, pick berries in the afternoon, and dessert is on the table by evening.
Preheat the oven to 200º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Set aside.
In the bowl of a double boiler, combine egg whites, sugar, and salt. Whisk well. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk continuously until sugar dissolves and mixture is warm to touch. Mixture will feel smooth and silky between the fingers when ready. Over cooking will scramble the eggs (no beuno).
Remove from heat, and pour eggs in bowl of standing mixer being sure not to drip any water into the mixture. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form. Beat in vanilla.
Using a 2-ounce trigger release ice-cream scoop, scoop meringue on the prepared being sheet, distributing evenly. Using the back of a spoon, gently carve out an indention in the middle of each meringue, being sure not to make it too thin. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar to help absorb any moisture.
Bake until just dry, about 1 hour. Meringues should still be white in color but dry to the touch. Allow to cool completely before carefully removing. Best served the same day.