There are times when I think my life is completely in place, and that I am where I am supposed to be. Some days, however, I begin to question my decisions and think about where I want to be and how long it is taking me to get there, and this thinking usually leads me down a never-ending rabbit hole of unnecessary self-pity and what-ifs.
I left my last job for another one in the culinary world, and when my visa didn’t work out, I was at a loss for what to do. Deep in my heart, I knew that I wanted to work with food—mostly cooking, but also possibly creating food policy, being a part of food education, or even writing and styling. Somewhere along the way, I ended up taking a job that had nothing to do with food. The offer was there and it was the easy way out. I was offered a flexible schedule, and I knew that I would enjoy what I was doing. Plus, this job came with many opportunities for learning and growth.
I consoled myself with one too many cinnamon buns and told myself that I could continue cooking in my own kitchen, which is what I do everyday. But I can’t help but wonder if I am ever going to make it to culinary school or graduate school, and to work, once again, in a real restaurant. I also took a step back to look at the blog, and went on a mega-deleting spree. Looking back on my first posts, I think about how far I have come in terms of writing and photographing recipes, but I also cringe at just how bad they were. So, I deleted all the posts I weren’t happy with. Was it the wisest move? Probably not. Well, maybe. I’m not sure yet.
Anyway, vegan meringue! These darlings are made with aquafaba, an ingredient I’ve expressed love for in the past. They take a while to make (around two hours in the oven) but it’s worth it just to see the reaction of people when they find out that they are completely egg free and vegan! I really struggled to plate these gracefully, and my lovely Airbnb guest Vanesa helped to style these <3
VEGAN MERINGUE NESTS WITH OLIVE OIL AND ROSEMARY SOAKED PLUMS
- 1 1/2 cups aquafaba
- 1 1/4 cup raw sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- juice of 1/4 lemon
- 3 plums
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary + 1 more to garnish with
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- coconut milk fat from two cans of coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
- Preheat the oven to 105ºC/220ºF.
- In a large, clean bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the aquafaba on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar in one tablespoon at a time, and then add 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract, cream of tartar, and lemon juice. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place dollops of the vegan meringue on the tray at least an inch apart. Bake the meringues for until they harden, around 1.5 to 2 hours.
- While the meringues are baking, prepare the plums. Slice and pit the plums, and toss them in a bowl with the rosemary, olive oil, a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup and salt. Set aside and make the coconut whipped cream.
- Scoop the coconut milk fat from the cans of the refrigerated coconut milk whip together with a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of your liquid sweetener of choice.
- When the meringues are finished, allow them to cool before assembling the dessert. Take the meringues and assemble the dessert by spreading the whipped coconut cream on one layer and topping it with another meringue and the soaked plums. Drizzle some of the soaking liquid around the meringue and garnish with rosemary.
- Store the remaining meringues in an air tight container.