We are supposed to get an icy storm tomorrow afternoon, but I refuse to allow the freezing precipitation to drown out my inner sunshine. This post's recipes are Internet winners. Dinner tonight was Bal Arneson's No-Butter Chicken, from The Cooking Channel. I love Indian cuisine, but at times it can be a little rich. It isn't only the spices that can be overwhelming at times, but the heavy creams and in the case of Butter Chicken, the butter.
I'm not on board with rich dairy foods and they've declared war on me to even things up. Paula Deen would be so disappointed in this southern girl...
I like that Bal Arneson used 0% fat plain yogurt (I use the Fage brand) instead of butter. It was a lovely combo of onion, garlic, fresh ginger, and spices. Add chicken, yogurt, and a splash of water and you get a spicy dish that won't clog your arteries. It can light up your tongue with heat if you over-do it on the red pepper flakes...
Enter the Eton Mess Parfait to the resuce.
She turns to the power of Greek yogurt. My big culinary duel is with substituting real food for "lite" or "fat-free" substances that when you read their ingredients list, there's no food to be found. So please take note that I used the same plain 0% plain Greek yogurt as in my dinner, but I added vanilla bean crush (a thick extract with vanilla seeds), a few tablespoons of powdered sugar, and crushed fresh berries. Use what you want here, whether it be whipping cream, creme fraiche, vanilla ice cream, or vanilla yogurt. Cook's choice rules!
Eton Mess Parfaits
adapted from recipe by Young Sun via The Cooking Channel
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup superfine sugar
2 pints fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
extra sugar for macerating
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup 0% fat plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean crush
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 225. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. (Um, yes. I did notice I used waxed paper instead of parchment. After I cooked them. I really need to get some sleep...)
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat egg whites on medium for about three minutes or until firm. Add the 1/3 cup of superfine sugar, little bits at a time, for five minutes until the whites are glossy and stiff peaks are present.
Place in 1/3 cupfuls onto cookie sheet, using spoon to flatten out. Please do not use you fingers, as the oil in your skin will not allow the meringues to set. Cook for 3 hours at 225, then turn oven off and leave for another 3 hours. No peeking!!!
Prepare berries, macerating each with a dusting of superfine sugar and a squeeze of a lemon wedge.
Allow to sit, then take a small portion of the berries to put in the yogurt mixture, about 1 cup, draining the juice from them. In the bowl of the standing mixer, place one cup of yogurt and vanilla. Whip at medium high speed for 2 minutes, adding sugar, one tbsp at a time, then beating for another 2 minutes. Fold in the 1 cup of macerated and drained berries. You can either leave them chunky or beat them in for 1-2 minutes.
Layer the berries, cooled meringues, toasted almonds, and berry yogurt into 14 oz. glasses.
There are far classier ways to make an Eton Mess, and I'm sure I am in some way doing the dish a disservice. However, we felt it was tasty and refreshing like true springtime. No, I'm not crazy at the amount of sugar involved in the entire affair, but that is why these are treats and not part of our daily menu.
Take a little time this winter and cook something new. Bake some bread, try a new type of cuisine, check out a cookbook from your local library. Branch out, have fun and Bon Appetit!