Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Back in the Swing

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind of working my buns off, and when not working, partying my buns off. Let’s just say, being healthy and exercising have taken a back burner. My schedule these days rarely allows for my nightly spin class/yoga, so instead I signed up for a month of basic training (bootcamp) at 7am Monday-Friday. Today began week two. Although I still haven’t completely gotten back to my lovely routine of staying in and cooking healthy dinners, I have gotten a couple in here and there. Last night I made Fattoush, a Middle Eastern salad that I am obsessed with. I have written about it here before, but I have made some changes to my Fattoush. I now add artichoke hearts, leave out the pita, keep the kalamata olives, add sumac, subtract cilantro and parsley, keep the mint and feta, substitute English cucumbers and baby heirloom tomatoes, and keep the chopped hearts of romaine, lemon vinaigrette and wild Alaskan Salmon.
I have also been baking a bit. Last night I made some pretty tasty meringues with chocolate chips and walnuts. Back in high school when I played soccer, there was this girl on our team whose mom would make the most amazing meringues. I definitely haven’t perfected the recipe, and this one only yielded 10 cookies that were quite flat rather than airy and beautiful. I think my eggs weren’t quite room temperature and I didn’t add the sugar slowly enough. I wanted cookies and I wanted them fast! Unfortunately, meringues aren’t the best cookies to make when in a hurry. And my arm hurts from whisking madly for a good 15 minutes in order to make them even a little fluffy. Those stiff peaks were impossible!
Chocolate Walnut Meringues
4oz chopped up semi-sweet chocolate
3 oz chopped up walnuts
2 egg whites room temp
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Whip the egg whites until frothy. Add the salt, cream of tartar and vanilla. Beat until mixture starts to thicken. Slowly add sugar and keep beating so stiff peaks form. Gently fold in nuts and chocolate. Spoon mixture onto cookie sheet and cook for 25 minutes.