We’re 20 weeks into the Coronavirus now. Professional sports shut down in mid to late March. Now baseball, soccer, and basketball are kinda, sorta doing something to resemble a season. It hasn’t been without hiccups though. More importantly for myself though is that bike racing is back! Not for me personally but the first WorldTour race since Paris-Nice happened on Saturday and it was epic. It could all come crashing down in a moment though. I’ll wager that the Tour de France doesn’t make it to Paris at the end of three weeks. I’ll bet that by the 10th stage things just fall apart with coronavirus positives or scares. I don’t think I’m being pessimistic just realistic.
In Oregon news we are still seeing new cases in the hundreds per day. People who have been waiting MONTHS for unemployment benefits are still waiting too. Mia’s coworker’s wife is one of them. Schools are not opening until November (at the earliest) (and does anyone really believe that will happen?). To top it all off it’s wildfire season too!
For Mia and I though things are staying fairly straight and narrow. I did a bike ride out to Carlton, OR yesterday but didn’t bring a face covering so didn’t feel right going into my favorite bakery in the area.
The weather was gorgeous and the traffic was relatively light during my ride too. While I couldn’t get one of their kick ass pecan sticky buns I did have a really good ride.
I was also highly motivated by an episode of Valerie’s Home Cooking on the Food Network. Mia and I usually have the TV on that station while making breakfast on Sunday mornings. Last weekend she was making her nephew some Tater Tot Nachos and that idea stuck in my head all week. There is not anything even remotely healthy going on here but who cares!
The cheese sauce is ridiculously easy. I’ve never made one before so wasn’t exactly sure what it would be like. Take a look at the recipe linked up above though and you too shall see how simple it is.
I do not recommend eating these often given the high calories and lack of nutrient density. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself sometimes though. I tweaked the recipe by adding diced pickled jalapenos before tossing it under the broiler. We also didn’t include the cilantro only because we didn’t have any fresh stuff on hand. Just a freeze dried jar we use for making guacamole. Tater tots go back to my childhood and just about everyone I know. There is a reason they call it comfort food.
In order to burn off (caloric and temperature) those tater tots Mia and I headed out for a simple 30 miler late Sunday morning. The winds were light and coming out of the southeast for once. It was oddly trafficky at times but still not too bad.
We saw a lot of other cyclists out today. The North Plains/Pumpkin Ridge area is a popular area for bike rides.
There are a lot of reruns on with this whole pandemic thing. One of the shows we have going on in the background while prepping Sunday dinners is The Great British Baking Show. OPB has been playing season 2 from way back in 2015. Last week the contestants were tasked with preparing Mary Berry’s Spanische Windtorte. Yeah I’d never heard of it either, it’s a meringue cake with summer fruit. The idea fascinated me and I’ve never made a meringue before, let alone a cake sized one.
I was impressed with how light and airy the meringue cakes came out. I used this Chocolate Hazelnut recipe that I found. I didn’t use hazelnuts because we didn’t have any. Instead I ended up toasting some pecans we’ve had in the fridge for a couple months now. They may be left over from my chocolate pecan pie.
I got the chance to learn how to thicken up a meringue too. I think I added the sugar too fast, while whipping the egg whites, so it wasn’t getting stiff peaks. The intended meringue was more of a soupy mess. A little Google-foo and I discovered the approach of adding cream of tartar a little at a time until it started to form peaks again…..day and recipe saved!
I’ll give my presentation a 6/10. I maybe should have made the whipped cream a little less stiff and the meringue layers a smidge thinner. All in all it came out pretty well though.
Mia was giving me some grief because you have to chill (or freeze) the cake overnight so we couldn’t partake in any of it on Sunday night.
It was worth waiting for. I think I nailed the meringue even though it was a little touch and go at the start. The subtle almond flavor is nice and the whip cream is not overly sweet. The cake has just enough crunch and chew. I’ll chalk that up to the recipe’s recommendation to crack the oven door and let the cakes cool completely before removing. This is definitely a plan ahead recipe with the two and half hour baking time and overnight chill required. Go ahead, give it a shot.
Thanks for reading,