June 25, 2011

Summery, Minted Fruit Salad

There are a lot of things that I love about summer. For example: watermelon stomachaches, of which I have had a least half a dozen since I've been back in Cincinnati. Any day that I have the opportunity to eat enough watermelon to cause me physical pain is a good day.

Also: not wearing pants. I don't have anything against pants, specifically (except when I have watermelon gut and they don't fit). But it's pretty fantastic to go from running shorts to skirts and back again, over and over again. From June through August, the only purpose my jeans serve is to be tried on occasionally so I can make sure that they'll still fit come cooler weather.

But summer has an ugly side, too. Namely: bug bites. After a day of adventuring in the woods, the boy and I stopped to compare the damage. I had at least 17 bug bites. His final count? Zero. Not fair.

Luckily, I have a loving mother who consulted the Interwebs for the latest and greatest bug bite home remedies. They included (and I'm not embarrassed to admit that I tried most of them, desperate times and all): a dab of toothpaste, rubbing alcohol, egg membrane, the inside of a banana peel, and (I'm not joking) circling the bites with a ballpoint pen. Shockingly, even the ballpoint pen failed to work (to be fair, that was listed as a mosquito bite remedy, and mine are almost certainly chigger bites. That was probably the problem.).

Fortunately, I have wonderfully colorful and delicious summer produce to console me in the rough times. I am 100% supportive of just chopping up whatever looks good and serving it plain for fruit salad, but this guy is for when you have just a few extra minutes (or need something just a tad more fancy). It's the absolute best of summer flavors: whatever fruit strikes your fancy, fresh mint, crisp white wine, and a touch of sweet agave. Light and bursting with the bright flavors of the season, it's perfect for any summer occasion, or for no occasion at all.

June 13, 2011

Chocolate Meringues

There have been an unsettling number of dessert recipes coming out of my kitchen these past couple months, I know. But sometimes the sweeter things in life are unavoidable, and these latest little guys are the least likely to send you out shopping for bigger pants. With only six ingredients, they're also unlikely to send you to the grocery.

I've done meringues twice in the past week; they're that dead simple and delicious. Light and airy in a way that crunches and then immediately melts in your mouth, I'm convinced they're the perfect summer dessert. The first meringue adventure came in the form of a cupcake topping. Moist vanilla cupcakes topped with a light lemony fluff, it was delightful. But the second time around I did chocolate. I love fruity, summery desserts as much as the next guy, but chocolate will always have a special place in my heart, so that's the recipe you're getting today.

My new most favorite thing about being an adult?
No one can make you scrape the beater before you lick it.

Just a couple things to know about meringues:
1. They're super simple. As in, about ten minutes of prep followed by a couple completely unsupervised hours in the oven.
2. I've heard that they'll keep for a few days under the right circumstances, but I have yet to experience it myself. It probably has to do with the Cincinnati humidity, but mine were totally soft and sad the second day. Still delicious, though.
3. You'll be separating egg whites for these guys. You may want to involve multiple bowls in the process, because if you get just the teeniest bit of yolk mixed in, you're going to be starting over.