Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Snow Glitz Fairies

Hello Viewers,

Having moved through the seasons with lightning speed, we now get to the Grand Fairy Extravaganza of 2013 - the Snow Glitz Fairies! Almost exactly one year ago, the Fairy Friends gathered for a revelry in Winter White:

A silver tablecloth, with a white, lace-edged underlay, was covered with white, sparkly tulle that I had scrunched up a bit between settings to create a reference to snowdrifts. 

The base for the centerpiece consisted of one large and two small octagonal mirrors, on top of which I placed mercury silver votive holders, white pillar candles with "diamond" trim, so-called "table diamonds", and a long sparkly, silvery, flower garland.

The trumpet vase is a mirror mosaic - a mixture of rectangular mirror tiles and crushed mirror slivers - and holds white branches, to which I added a little extra glitter and snow spray. Some white butterflies with silver glitter on their wings are perching among the branches; there are also some hanging crystal prisms to catch the light and create more sparkle.

On to the place settings: white disposable plastic plates were given a diamond trim as well (the same that I used for the candles). The trim is really a kind of ribbon, with plastic bits shaped to reflect light and give a sparkly effect. It comes in several different widths, and can be found in florist supplies stores. It is extremely useful for many purposes, and adheres easily with glue. I used adhesive spray, which, admittedly, gets all over you, but works wonders for this type of projects.

The napkin was rolled up with a paper doily and held together with a rather smashing diamond napkin ring. Small, square mirrors were used as coasters.

All is ready for the Faeries to arrive! The main wine glass has an etched flower shape where the cup meets the stem, if you can discern it in this picture; its icy snow flower look made it particularly suitable for this event.

The festivities progressed, with Snowball Cookies and the customary craft project: Fairy Necklaces. We use special crafting place mats - lilac, with a fairy motif - to protect the table setting and keep our stuff gathered.

The Meeting of the Wands of the Snow Fairies...

And then the food:
The (almost) all-white Snow Glitz Winter White Menu consisted of

Kani (kosher fake crab sticks) Salad on Endive Lettuce
Zingy Tilapia, Baked Cauliflower, Yellow Summer Squash, Jasmine Rice with Slivered Blanched Almonds
Pavlova w Kiwi & Pomegranate
Coffee & Snowball Cookies


The simple meringue formula is as follows - you can easily do your own math:

1/4 cup sugar per egg white
1 egg white serves two persons
(This Pavlova for seven voracious Fairies was consequently made from 4 egg whites and 1 cup of sugar.)

Also needed:
Heavy cream
Fresh berries or sliced fruit - whichever kinds you like, but for best results, use fruits or berries that are somewhat tangy

There are two schools of thought when it comes to meringue: crisp and dry throughout, or soft and chewy like a marshmallow in the center. Depending on your preference you can fiddle around with vinegar and corn starch, but since I am too lazy to bother, I worked out my own compromise meringue which is crisp almost throughout, but has a hint of chewiness if you eat enough of it to actually reach the center. 
  1. Beat egg whites with mixer on highest speed until stiff peaks form
  2. Slowly add sugar, 2-3 Tbsps at a time, while continuing to beat, until all sugar has been incorporated and meringue is very, very stiff and shiny
  3. Spread in big circle on cookie sheet covered with parchment (you can draw a circle with a pencil on the back/underside of the parchment in advance if you like, as a guide) -shape with a spatula or large spoon and create a slight bowl formation
  4. Bake at 300° for 1/2 hour or until lightly golden; turn off heat and let meringue remain in oven over night. I have an old-fashioned pilot-light gas oven, and the slight warmth in the oven is perfect for drying/crisping the meringue over night; it will be crisp, but still retain a slight chewiness in the middle. Even if you have a different kind of oven, this method still works well; there is always some residual heat, and the closed oven will keep the meringue dry. If your oven cools extremely fast, let the meringue sit at 100° for an hour before switching the heat off. If the meringue should crack a little don't worry about it; the cream will hide any imperfections
  5. Whip heavy cream lightly, until very soft peaks form (do not over-whip!); there is no need to add sugar or anything else - in fact, the delight of this dessert is the contrast of flavors: sweet meringue and tangy fruits, with the non-sweetened cream acting like a heavenly cloud, enveloping and emphasizing the flavors...
  6. Scoop cream into the meringue; sprinkle generously with fruit
PLEASE NOTE: The dessert must be assembled at the last minute - if you let it sit around, the meringue will get soggy and depressed. The fruit/berries can be readied in advance, and whipping the cream (with an electric mixer) is done in the blink of an eye; it is well worth the few minutes of waiting time.

Enjoy - it is impossible not to!

Regards from Rosebud!