In A White Kitchen

Believe it or not, we had snow here in Athens over the holiday season – very different weather from last year. White covered our bitter oranges. The snow only lasted for a short time before the rain washed it away. A good thing, too, as it is almost marmalade season. However, snow is not the white I am referring to in my title.

snow_on_bitter_oranges

Nor am I referring to the ubiquitous white powdered sugar coated almond biscuits – kourabiedes – of the Greek holiday season. I am not sure you can eat one of these treats without a subsequent white dusting on your clothing. It is rather surreal, when out and about this time of year, seeing people decorated with white powdered sugar.

kourabiedes2016

The white I am referring to in my title is egg whites. My kitchen was awash in leftover egg whites stashed in the freezer from curd, custard, and ice cream making.

egg_whites

I have always known that holiday feasts and creative leftover recipes go hand in hand, a kind of a ying and yang relationship. One encourages abundance, the other frugality. It is also helpful to think of leftovers as les delicieux petites restes (‘delicious small remains’) as mentioned by Diane Henry in her fabulous book on leftovers, Food from Plenty.

However, this year, even before our holiday feasts, I had to deal with a substantial supply of leftover egg whites. In fact, some even went into treats that featured in those holiday feasts.

The ‘cheat’ florentines I blogged about last year used up a few egg whites, but not hardly enough.

walnut_meringues

Quite a few of those egg white frozen packets were used to whip up numerous batches of walnut meringes, a modification of my chocolate chip macaroons (replacing the chocolate chips with more walnuts and adjusting the sugar to half white and half brown). I made so many and although giving many away, it seemed the pile of these sweets would never diminish. Finally, just before the new year, the last of these were used in a winter version of Eton mess. The crumbled walnut meringues and baked cinnamon flavoured apple slices were folded into a hefty dollop or two of whipped cream.

Last, but not least…

spiced_pecans

Sweet & Spicy Roast Pecans
Great nibbles for cocktail hour or for a party.

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 400g pecan halves
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 90 degrees C (about 200 degrees F). Lightly whisk the egg white and water together in a large bowl. Add the walnuts, sugar, spices and salt. Mix until the nuts are covered. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until the nuts are slightly sticky, but dry. Remove the tray from the oven and let them cool on the tray. Pick them off the paper and separate any clumps.

* * *

After those sweet (and, in one instance, sweet and spicy) indulgences, it was time for a little healthy moderation. Just recently my sister reminded me that egg whites are high in protein, very low in calories and, of course, cholesterol free. Subsequently, they are said to be excellent for making nutritious savoury dishes that might also incorporate other leftovers.

Egg white soufflé was the first to be tried. I had some leftover smoked trout spread from our New Year feast – a good choice for a flavour addition.  However, the texture of the soufflé was a bit chewy. I should have remembered that egg whites are ‘tougheners’ and ‘driers’ and need to be offset with tenderising and moisturising ingredients such as fats and emulsifiers.

egg_white_souffle

Other egg white savoury choices include omelettes, crepes and quiches. I’ll have to try for a texture balance next time I experiment. The quiche sounds like a good choice.  

Meanwhile, let me wish everyone a Happy New Year. We have adopted a few Greek New Year practices and, as we did last year, we cut the Vasilopita then smashed a pomegranate on the doorstep and put up a new γούρι-γούρι charm for 2017 in the kitchen. Ten little matia (evil eyes) on the tree of life should keep us protected throughout the year!

gouri-gouri_2017

A monthly IMK (In My Kitchen) post. Check out other IMK bloggers, each of us writing about what’s been happening in our kitchens each month, now hosted by Liz @ Bizzy Lizzys Good Things who has graciously taken up the challenge (and before her by Maureen @ The Orgasmic Chef) to list all of us IMK bloggers. For earlier IMK posts, see the fabulous Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who, began the IMK phenomenon and until 2016 listed all of us IMK bloggers. A chronological listing of my In My Kitchen blog posts can be found on a separate page, just click the link or look under the heading of Diaries in the Menu bar above.
Advertisements

17 comments

  1. Happy New Year, Debi.
    How fun to get a bit of snow in Athens around the holidays. I’m drooling over your tasty treats, especially the florentines. Our favorite bakery in Athens went out of business a year or so ago and one of their specialties was florentines. We always brought several boxes home with us every trip to Athens. All the best in the new year!
    Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy New Year to you, too – or Χρόνια Πολλά as they say here. I love pecans, but they cost a fortune here as they are an imported treat. So, only for special occasions! I’m sure these candied treats would be fantastic in an ice cream (a butterscotch one?). Will wait for another special occasion to try. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Like

    • Happy New Year, Sandra! Well, will just need to make more spiced and candied nuts (cheaper walnuts this time, but I sure do love pecans). We made a dent in the egg white stash, but more to go plus we have ice cream making planned for a big event in another month, so more egg whites on the way. Really need to improve my sorbet making since no eggs involved. Your strawberry sorbet recipe is waiting in my inbox!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s