11 June, 2011

What to do with egg whites.....instead of putting them in the fridge only to be thrown out a few days later!

Well, it's been almost a year since I actually blogged! Naughty, naughty me! But today was a really busy day in my kitchen so I had the urge to record it.

It all started with looking at the menu and realising we were having chicken thighs for dinner. Thai green curry seemed like a good idea so the thighs were gotten out of the freezer to thaw. Then it was morning coffee time.....in to the fridge for the coffee.....OH NO the boys needed some yoghurt. Guess I'd better make some more.

Coffee brewing, I figured I'd better get down to some serious yoghurt making. I make yoghurt always once, but sometimes twice a week, plus yoghurt for no 1 daughter, so it's not a real biggie. Milk to 85 degrees Celsius, off the stove, cool to 44 degrees, then add a tablespoon of plain yoghurt starter, put in 1 litre glass jar and place that in it's thermos type insulator thing. I wish decor still made them because I know at least one of my daughters who would buy one! But that would then mean I didn't get to make her yoghurt and enjoy her company at the same time. Anyway, after the yoghurt is in it's little thermal pot it takes four hours to set...............BUT while I was doing the yoghurt I realised we had a fair bit of milk and cream and there was icecream and mayonnaise on the shopping list for this week.................."ah I know let's MAKE them instead of buying them"................famous last words!

I've been buying fresh milk and cream from a local dairy and eggs from a guy out in the valley.....I love the "localness" of it all and figured that you really can't beat (no pun intended) homemade vanilla bean icecream and homemade mayonnaise.

Now for the "what do I do with the egg whites" dilemma................4 yolks were used in the icecream and after a total mayonnaise disaster, because I actually decided to read a recipe (silly me) that said to put the flavourings in with the yolk before you added the oil drop by drop and use electric beaters then trying to rescue it after it separated with first a tablespoon of boiling water and then another beaten egg yolk added drop by drop, I went back to what I know best, threw it out, started again and used a whisk, beat the egg yolk, added the oil drop by drop (ably assisted by Ryan the 12yo, who now will value his mayonnaise a lot more than he ever has before in his life). Voila! Homemade mayonnaise with the addition of a few flavourings.

My Mayonnaise Recipe
1 egg yolk
half to one cup of oil (canola is good, nothing too flavoured like olive oil)
beat the egg yolk with a whisk then add the oil drop by drop, though once it gets a bit thick you can add it a bit faster and stop with the oil when you have the consistency you want
1 tablespoon either lemon juice, verjuice or a decent white wine vinegar (today I used half lemon, half white wine vinegar)
salt, sugar and dijon mustard to taste
couple of shakes of cayenne pepper if you feel like a small kick
Will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Anyway, after all that palaver (icecream and mayo) I ended up with 8 spare egg whites!

Now in the past I have very diligently put them in an airtight container in the fridge like the "waste not want not" type of person I would really like to be only to discover them a few weeks later and throw them in the bin!

Today was going to be different but I really didn't want to age them for French Macarons (as delicious as they are) so I decided that the old American version of Coconut Macaroons and a pavlova would be just right for the number of egg whites I had. Besides, what else goes so well as dessert after a Thai green curry than a true Aussie pav??? ROFL

So here are my recipes for "What do I do with leftover egg whites?"

Coconut Macaroons
4 egg whites
1.5 cups icing sugar
3 cups dessicated coconut
12 drops vanilla essence
(and I added some pandan colouring to make it a pretty green, just because I could!)

Heat oven to 160 Celsius
Beat egg whites till stiff, add sugar gradually and continue beating till thick
Stir in coconut and vanilla (and pandan colouring!)
Pile in heaped teaspoons on a baking tray and cook for about 10 minutes till just slightly coloured
Cool on a rack
makes about 48

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons white vinegar

Heat oven to 110 Celsius
Beat the egg whites till stiff
Add the sugar gradually and continue beating till mixture is stiff and glossy (and the sugar is no longer grainy, though don't go too nuts, it is still OK with a bit of graininess)
Fold in cornflour, vanilla and vinegar
Put on an oven tray that has baking paper lightly sprayed with oil and then dusted with cornflour.........whatever shape you want! Round is normal but hey freeform it however you like! Just try and keep some sides so that the topping doesn't fall off
Bake for about an hour to an hour and a half, trying not to let it go dark (well mine usually end up a pale brown but in theory it should be still white)
Cool on tray
Top with whipped cream and whatever fruit you have handy. Berries are good but so is banana, passionfruit, mango, kiwi fruit and at a pinch I've used canned sliced peaches! Use your imagination anyway.

So after ALL that kitchen time I seriously didn't want to be standing any more.........but hungry kids don't let you get away with not making dinner so I still had to do the green curry......oh and by the way, for green curry I reckon the absolute BEST chicken to use is thigh as breast tends to dry out whereas thigh stays beautifully tender!

Now to go back and get myself a small piece of leftover pav..............