Chocolate Pavlova with Strawberries

Chocolate Pavlova with Strawberries at www.culinarycousins.com
Chocoholism runs in my family. My grandmother always had something chocolate in the house — usually a pie, but often cake, ice cream, candy. It’s kind of shocking that no one was obese. And I still crave chocolate above all things — it soothes my soul.

After making custard for the rhubarb crumble, I had so, so many egg whites left over. I’m not a big egg fan in general, so an egg white omelet doesn’t appeal to me. Let’s be real — the yolks are the main reason I can even eat that. So, since I can’t bear to throw food away, it was time to be creative. What to do, what to do? Continue reading

Lemon Cheesecake – Part II

Here it is. The long-awaited reveal!

We’ve made lemon curd. We’ve made candied lemons. Now, let’s make some cheesecake. And put it all together.

We do have a birthday to celebrate, remember?

Lemon cheesecake at www.culinarycousins.com

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Candied Lemons

Candied Lemons at www.culinarycousins.com

My lemon cheesecake adventure continues. What’s a dessert without decoration?

To finish, the lemon cheesecake is topped with candied lemons. Once lemons are cooked — especially when doused in syrup — they are completely edible, rind and all. You just slice lemons thinly, cook them in a sugar syrup mixture and leave them to cool. The work is not hard but the results are pretty impressive. You can mound the lemons artfully in the center of the cheesecake, or you could lay them flat in a pattern on top, like a pretty food doily. Continue reading

Homemade Lemon Curd

I teased you yesterday talking about lemon cheesecake. But, in all fairness, I said I had to do a few things before I could really give you a recipe. And, here we go.

Lemon curd.

Homemade Lemon Curd | Culinary Cousins

It pools on top of the creamy cheesecake and drips down the sides when you cut into it. It’s swirled into the cheesecake batter for a tart and tangy flavor burst. In essence, it makes this cake. Well, really it does, since it wouldn’t be lemon cheesecake without it. Continue reading

Lemon Cheesecake – Part I

Lemon cheesecake at www.culinarycousins.com

I have a bit of a reputation in my family.

Jessica is the caterer for our events, and the one who keeps us on track with healthy eating. But I’m the baker, the dessert maker. Whenever a holiday or occasion comes around, sweets are my go-to contribution. And I tend to get a bit wild when I have the opportunity to bake for a crowd, when I can try my hand at all the fancy, complicated things that I would never make for myself. Like red velvet cheesecake and from-scratch cinnamon rolls at Christmas, or southern caramel cake at Easter.

I’m even starting to get special requests. Continue reading

Southern Chicken and Dumplings

Here it is. Some real, traditional, down-home southern food. From scratch, yet so easy that you can do it.

Chicken and Dumplings at www.culinarycousins.com

I wish I could claim that this is my great-grandmother’s legacy recipe for chicken and dumplings, but it’s not. I think I found it in some cookbook claiming it’s a copycat of the Cracker Barrel dish. But I’ll take it.

The stock part of this recipe has become my go-to for basic chicken stock, which I make as often as I can. The stuff in the box is great and easy, but there’s nothing like the taste of homemade stock. Continue reading

Strawberry-Rhubarb Custard Crumble

One of the best things about spring is seeing new fruits and vegetables appear in the grocery store. In April, strawberries go on sale, and a unique vegetable appears among the greens: rhubarb.

I’ve always been intrigued by rhubarb, but I’ve never cooked with it — and I never actually ate it until last year in London. On the run, I grabbed a cute little dessert at a convenience store: a rhubarb-apple custard crumble. Rhubarb/apple compote was covered with rich vanilla custard and a crunchy topping, and it was a total revelation. I think I ate one every day.

rhubarb crumble

As soon as I saw rhubarb in the grocery store this week, I wanted to see if I could recreate that traditional English dessert. Continue reading

Tuesday Refreshment…

Sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.

A couple of weeks ago, I kept seeing posts and pictures on Pinterest with instructions for growing romaine lettuce from the stump. Yes, the end piece you’d just throw in the trash.

That sounded weird and intriguing, so I tried it.

And look what happened!

Day 1

To begin, I simply placed the stump end of a heart of romaine in a short glass with about an inch of water.

Day 3

After a few days, the sprouts began. Every so often, I changed the water in the glass.

Growing Romaine, Day 3 at www.culinarycousins.com Continue reading

Food Find: Pistachio Nutella

Yep, you read that correctly. I said, Pistachio. Nutella.

Or, actually, “Crema Pistacci.”

Isn’t that fun to say? Especially in an exaggerated Italian accent, over and over, to myself … I digress.

When I went to NYC in March, I stopped by Eataly, the Italian fine foods mega-market across from Madison Square Park. If you haven’t been, it’s a must.

I first visited last fall, and was captivated by — among other things — rows and rows of exotic kinds of Nutella, in every shape, size and flavor imaginable. But back then I was too overwhelmed to purchase anything. This time I just had to.

Food Finds: Pistachio Nutella at www.culinarycousins.com

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Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti at www.culinarycousins.com

The morning after I brought Oliver home, he and I went to play in a meadow near my house at about 6:00 am. Neither of us had slept much, and we were both fairly shell-shocked by this new life we’d found ourselves in. Up trotted a neighbor, Fran, with her Schnauzer, Shocky. Shocky was Oliver’s first friend.

I should also explain that I had lived in my neighborhood for two years already and had never met a neighbor. If you don’t garden or cut your lawn, or you don’t walk a dog, you really don’t see other people. Not enough to form relationships, at least. Once Oliver entered my life, we made friends far and wide, of both the human and canine variety. He makes my home feel so much more like home.

We frequently ran into Fran and Shocky on our walks. Even though Shocky was 10 and Oliver just a wee babe, they would run and frolick together as much as their flexi-leashes would allow. It seemed like they knew they were cousins. Continue reading