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LETS CELEBRATE AND HAVE A GOOD TIME!
This has been the mantra over the last week. On Monday June 23rd, 38 Bastyr Masters of Nutrition students, including myself, walked at commencement at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Who knew that a total of four years of schooling could go so fast! I vividly remember four years ago when I took my first postbac class, biology 101, to start towards my goal of becoming a Bastyr student. I considered myself knowledgeable in nutrition, and those that knew me called me a “health nut”. Then 2 years ago, I took my first steps on the Bastyr campus as a MSN DPD graduate student, nervous and excited to be apart of the new experience. Amongst my peers from all over the United States, the East Cost to the Mid West, to those that grew up here in the Pacific Northwest, we were nervous, big-eyed, different, yet also very much the same. Now, we get to put MS after our name. How time flies! I learned a lot, made wonderful friends, and most of all, I got even more passionate and excited about the impact I can make in my community and my surroundings. Every tear, every sleepless night, and every minute I was unable to spend with family and friends, was worth it. We, together as a cohort, sacrificed a lot, ironically even at times our health. However, throughout these past years we have grown from nutrition nerds to educated professionals with a huge responsibility to the citizens of this world. With that being said, I have a little something for you my Bastyr peers, friends, and future colleagues.
We are the dandelion. We have struggled together, making our way through long winter nights studying micronutrients. We have grown together, as we take our education and implement it as student clinicians. And we have culminated together, as bright new energy bursting into the nutrition field. Now, with each new gust of wind, we fly into different directions, as the seeds of a dandelion. Some of us will soon begin internships, while others find immediate work within the community. Wherever the wind takes us we will bring the Bastyrian spirit, keeping us forever bonded, as we continue to grow with the untied goal of “being the change we wish to see in the world.” I wish you the best, and can’t wait to hear about the seeds of change you plant within your community.
Therefore, in celebration of our huge success, I was inspired to create a delicious summer inspired pavlova, topped with fresh local berries and mint. Its gluten-free, dairy free, and surprisingly easy to make….and it looks impressive! It is even red, white, and blue! So, dig in, celebrate, and share with your favorite family and friends.
Minted Berry Pavlova with Lemon Coconut Whipped Cream
Makes 12-14 servings
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cider or white wine vinegar
5 large egg whites
Pinch of sea salt
½ vanilla bean, scraped
1 cup caster sugar (regular cane sugar is fine too)
¼ cup finely chopped unsalted pistachios (can substitute with almonds as well)
1 pint strawberries, washed, dried, and quartered
1 pint blueberries, washed and dried
Fresh mint, finely chopped
For the coconut whipped cream:
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the can of coconut milk into the refrigerator. If you have not shelled and chopped the pistachios, do this now. Then whisk together the vinegar, cornstarch, and vanilla until smooth and set aside.
In a large stainless bowl, beat together the egg whites and the pinch of sea salt until very soft peaks form. Then gradually add the sugar while continuously beating on high. Beat until smooth, glossy, and stiff peaks form. One spoonful at a time, add the cornstarch/vinegar mixture. Beat on medium to incorporate. Fold in 3 T of the chopped pistachios.
Using a spoon, drop 6 generous spoonfuls of the meringue onto one of the parchment covered baking pans. Mold them into a circle, giving more height to the edges. This way you are making a meringue bowl. Swirl with the spatula or your finger to create fun swirls. On the second baking pan, use the remaining meringue to make one large pavlova, forming the wall and then filling in the center. Sprinkle all the bowls with the remaining tablespoon of pistachios. I made 6 small servings on one baking pan, and then one large one on the second. This way you can have individual servings and bring one to share with friends.
Turn down the oven to 200 degrees and place both the baking sheets into the oven. Bake the meringue for 2-3 hours, checking at one and a half hours to make sure it isn’t browning too much. If it is, reduce the oven temperature. When it is done the outside should be crispy and firm. The small ones will be done sooner than the larger one. Allow the meringue to cool in the oven with the door ajar.
Remove the coconut milk from the refrigerator, and spoon out the hard cream, leaving behind the watery liquid. Using a mixer beat together the coconut cream and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in the lemon zest.
Spoon the cream on top of the cooled meringue, top with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and mint. Serve immediately.