Stair Sandwich and Roasted Pear Coconut Meringue Tarts
Thanks for all your encouraging comments on the Vanilla Date Pear Muffins! Blogging has been such a joy so far.
As someone who hopes to go into medicine, I find Dr. Gawande’s insights to be so fascinating and eye-opening. He’s also an engaging and provocative writer, and if you’ve never read his work, I highly recommend his shorter pieces in The New Yorker. I’ll post my thoughts about Better when I finish!
Then, since I used up much of my creative mojo baking up a storm, I kept lunch simple: cast-iron tofu (an homage to Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point; the Chinese girl in me couldn’t help adding a bit of tamari!), sauteed broccoli with Garlic Gold, and taro pieces.
All served with a side of Castle:
Ah, Castle, I’ve waited so long for you to come back on TV!! (And there’s my reflection in the computer screen!)
Yesterday evening, I got in a great at-home workout. I mentioned that I sprained my ankle about a month ago, and so I’ve been keeping my workouts low impact to speed up recovery (and obviously avoid pain). Here’s an easy-on-the-ankles total body workout that only requires dumbbells (I used 5-pounders), a mat (yoga or other kind), and the stairs in your house (if you don’t have stairs, you can substitute 5 minutes of cardio for the stair segments):
[Disclaimer: I'm not a certified trainer, and this workout was just something I did on my own, so please be kind to yourself and exercise caution (pun intended - couldn't help it!).]
In case some of the terms are ones I inadvertently made up (does anyone else do this for workout moves? I start calling them certain names in my head, then I realize the rest of the world has no idea what I’m talking about!) and are not apparent:
Standing crunches (#2)
Bella also thought it was a great workout:
“I worked really hard to lift those 5-pounders! They each weigh a third of my body weight!”
In fact, she was so tired afterward that she climbed into bed early…
“Yup, I sleep in a basket on a pillow that has my name on it…”
Okay, done with Bella pictures for now! I couldn’t help it.
After my workout, I showered and did a little spa treatment for my face!
Scary mask face!
I used my Proactiv Refining Mask, which I find so effective at cleaning out pores and preventing acne. The only downside is that it smells kind of funky – I think it’s because there’s some sort of sulfur in it? Oh well! The smell goes away after I wash my face, so I think it’s worth it.
Fresh (and no longer smelly) face afterward – not sure what that bright white stripe is on my right side…
And now, like I promised yesterday, here’s the recipe for my Roasted Pear Coconut Meringue Tarts (inspired by Healthful Pursuit’s Grain-free Chocolate Cheesecake Tarts)!
I only made 3 tarts, but the recipe is for 6!
Roasted Pear Coconut Meringue Tarts (Gluten Free)
Makes 6 tarts
2 egg whites
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp coconut oil, liquid (i.e. room temperature)
2 bosc pears, chopped into cubes
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Meringue (recipe from Cooking Light)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Sprinkle of cinnamon for garnish (optional)
For the tart shells
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add egg whites and coconut oil to coconut and stir until fully coated.
- Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray (or dab of coconut oil) and press a large spoonful of coconut mixture into each cup, pushing it evenly into the bottom and up the sides.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Let cool in muffin pan.
For the roasted pears
- Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add sugar, oil, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Once completely mixed, add pears and coat.
- Place pears on prepared pan and roast for 20-25 minutes, until juices thicken and skin is golden brown.
For the meringue
- Combine sugar, vanilla extract, and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until candy thermometer registers 240 degrees F.
- Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed (in a mixer) until foamy. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg white mixture, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form.
Remove cooled coconut tart shells from pan. Fill about 80% with meringue, then add a layer of roasted pears. Top with another dollop of meringue and sprinkle to cinnamon to garnish.
Some photos from the process…
Cooking the syrup
Roasting the pears
Beating the egg whites – so fluffy!
Tarts shells pre-baking
Tart shells post-baking
[Note: You'll notice that in the pictures, I used glass ramekins instead of a muffin pan. I do not recommend doing this. I only did this because my muffin pan was occupied by my Vanilla Date Pear Muffins, and my tarts ended up sticking to the glass a lot. I ended up just leaving the tarts in and eating them out of the ramekin. Don't worry - they still tasted good! But using the greased muffin pan as Leanne suggests is definitely the way to go.]
Also, a funny story from this baking experience: I put an egg on the counter and turned away to check the syrup on the stove. When I came back, the (raw) egg had rolled off the counter and cracked on the floor, and Bella was eating it! I was so panicked and probably scared her because I screamed so loudly. I watched her really carefully all day, but she seems just fine.
“I’m fine! See, I can even beg for food and look really innocent – no problem.”
I guess a little raw egg is fine – after all, I’ve eaten my fair share of raw cookie dough and brownie batter!
That’s it for now! I’m off to brush up for my upcoming medical school interviews, plan my lesson for SAT tutoring, and maybe watch New Girl.
What are your favorite ankle-friendly exercises? How do you take care of yourself after an injury?
Have your pets ever eaten anything they weren’t supposed to?