Monday, January 28, 2008

January Daring Baker Challenge ~ Lemon Meringue Pie

The first dish that my mom let me take control of for the holidays was Lemon Meringue pie. I was about 12 maybe 13 years old and she was making her usual rolls, fruit salad, and pumpkin pie when I was hounding her about what I could do so she told me to make the Lemon Meringue pie ( she like the raves that she got from the rolls and pumpkin pie and was not about to give them up). I was excited and ran to the recipe box to dig out that little card with the butter and lemon curd stains on it.

Mom made the crust because she was making crust for the other pie so that I did not have to do, but I went to work separating the eggs, and measuring out the sugar and other ingredients (If I remember correctly we used lemon juice from a green jar.

I cooked the eggs and sugar on the stove over VERY low heat until it was thick and I did not scramble any of the egg yolk and when it was thick I poured it into the pic shell that mom had prepared for me. i whipped up the eggs beautifully and had so much fun making all the curly peaks on the pie with the meringue.

That year I got all the complements on my pie, I think Mom may have been a little jealous. Only 4 short years later my Mom was gone.
Making this pie with my children was a joy as always. I found the crust hard to manage and tough; however, the lemon filling was lovely and tart and the meringue was the best I have ever had.

I hope that I have created memories for my kids to carry with them.

You can see more Daring Baker Pies by following the links at the blogroll.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:

¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces

2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:

2 cups (475 mL) water

1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar

½ cup (120 mL) cornstarch

5 egg yolks, beaten

¼ cup (60 mL) butter

¾ cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:

5 egg whites, room temperature

½ tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

½ tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract

¾ cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

For the Crust: Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of ⅛ inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about ½ inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

For the Filling
: Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.

Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

For the Meringue: Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Menu Jan 25, 08

Eggs poached tomato sauce with hash browns and spinach - yes I watched Martha Stewart last week.

Tomato soup with avocado

Pesto Salmon with brown rice, steamed broccoli, & coleslaw

Serbian Meat pie and salad

Chicken Paprikash from kalofagas

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pasta Making

A few years ago I decided that I wanted to make pasta. I read up on it and decided that before I could make it I had to have the latest equipment, like a pasta roller. My New Husband thought that I was NUTS for purchasing a $129.00 set of pasta rollers for my kitchenaid and he insisted that I return them and after a lot of discussion he was right and reluctantly returned the rollers unused. A few week later there is a fairly heavy package in the mail. yes he had found a set of pasta rollers on ebay for a fraction of the price that I had spent. I was geeked and set off and made my first batch of pasta. Thinking now that I have the equipment I will produce raviolis like a pro.

Well raviolis like a pro was not quite what happened. I proceeded to make my pile of flour, create a nice little well in the center and dump in 3 large eggs. 3 eggs was about one and a half eggs too many to fit in that nice neat well that I made in the center of my flour. The eggs burst though and over the walls of the flour and start to run every where. In desperation I start pushing the eggs back to the four with the fork I had in my had, the directions told me to slowly incorporate the four into the eggs with a fork, this fork was really not helping me keep the egg from continuing to spread so I drop it and start pushing the egg into the flour all the while the paste like dough that was forming is crating layer after layer of goo onto my had. Once I had about an inch of goo on my hands the egg flour mass was under control and I was able to start kneading. Oh yes did I tell you that I didn't bake back then and therefore I had no clue as to what dough was supposed to feel like when kneading it and I really had no clue what pasta was supposed to feel like. Here I am trying to kneed all 3 cups of flour into these 3 little eggs, yes the eggs did not seam so large anymore. once I was done fighting to get as much of the flour into the dough as I could, there was about one and a quarter cups of flour left over, I let the dough rest while I get out the magic pasta rollers that is going to make this pasta fantastic!

I cut my mass of very stiff dough into quarters, just as the directions tell me, and set the pasta roller to 1 and the speed of the kitchen aid to 2 and start to force the pasta through the rollers. The pasta reluctantly squishes though the rollers and comes out the other side all tore to shreds. Hummmmmmm ok, I fold the pasta dough into 3rds and try again, hummmm the same thing. I proceeded to do this and after a good longs time I had a sheet of what looked like lasagna noodles.

I am so excited because all I have to do now is fill the pasta. Rrrriiighhhtt, fill the pasta. I has mushroom filling, squash filling, and ricotta cheese filling. what a mess trying to put little dollops on the long sheet of pasta, fold it over, seam it, and cut it. I manages and in the end we had very messy, very tough ravioli.

Today i can whip out a batch of pasta in no time. I know that the well must me large and that I should not use all the flour or even pile up that much flour for 3 eggs in the first place, and that the speed on my kitchenaid needs to be more like 6 not 2 and most important, ravioli is over rated, rolling up manicotti with the same fillings and baking is wonderful. from time to time I will make ravioli but not in a long fancy line like in the books but I cut individual squares of pasta and fill them that way.

First for good pasta one must have good eggs. My Husband gets eggs from a man at work that has chickens and his eggs are great. here is a photo of a free range organic egg from the store, Left, and an egg from my egg man, right.

First, place 3 cups all purpose flour on the counter and make a large well in the center with nice high walls. Then crack 4 eggs into the well and add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the eggs.

Secondly I beat the eggs with a fork and slowly incorporate the flour into the egg being careful not to break the flour wall.
Once I have incorporated as much egg as I can with the fork I start to knead the flour into the egg by hand until a nice elastic dough is formed. Note that all the flour will most likely not be used.
cut the dough into quarters and let it rest for 5 minutes. Flatten the dough slightly and dust both sides with flour, set the pasta roller to 1 and turn the speed up to 6 or 7 and start to run the pasta through being sure to but the pasta through several time with each setting.
I made 3 kinds of manicotti, one set stuffed with meat filling, one with sweet potato and one with ricotta cheese and spinach filling or you can fill how you like or cut into fettuccini.

For Meat filling:

saute on medium onion, chopped with 8 oz ground round, 4 oz sausage, a carrot, and some mushrooms that have been chopped. Season with Italian seasoning and fresh chopped parsley. Let cool and mix in 1 large egg.

For Sweet potato filling:

peel, cube and steam a large sweet potato. once the potato is tender mash it with a tablespoon of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter then add 1/4 cup chopped nuts.

For Ricotta cheese spinach filling:

mix 1 cup ricotta cheese with 1/3 cut grated mozzarella, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 cup frozen spinach that has been sauteed in olive oil and garlic and 1 large egg.

Roll the filling into the pasta place in a baking dish that has a thin layer of marinara sauce int he bottom. Fill the dish with the manicotti cover with a little bechamel, marinara, and grated mozzarella cheese and bake, covered, in a 375F oven for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes at 450F or until the cheese is lightly browned.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Menu 1/18-1/24

Gnocchi & Roasted Asparagus
manicotti & Steamed Broccoli
Chicken Marsala, Brown Rice & salad
Seared Scallops with sweet potato mash
Bean Soup & Corn Bread
Pasta with left over ratatouille

Monday, January 14, 2008

French Onion Soup

I love french onion but every time I try to make it the soup is just too sweet. That doesn't deter me I keep trying it but I always have the same issue. This one was too sweet too.

I caramelized about 4 cups of onions to a rich brown and then added garlic and cook that for a few minutes. then chicken broth and a little white wine, season with salt and pepper and let it cook for 40 minutes I then toast baguette with some Swiss or Gruyere cheese and I browned some cheese on the soup too. Finally I float the baguette on the soup and serve. Not very good, maybe I have to use beef stock.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Menu 1/11/08-1/17/08

Calzones using crust recipe from taste and tell

Lamb made in my now clay pot

Stuffed peppers

Bacon and eggs

Ratatouille with some kind of roasted meat or maybe left over lamb


Leftover creation

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sesame Seed Crusted Tuna Steak

1/4 cup olive oil
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon ginger, minced or grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemongrass

course sea salt

1/2 cup sesame seeds

Olive Oil for frying (yes, I fry with olive oil)
Tuna Steak

I cut my Tuna Steak into about 4 oz pieces so I would not have to think about at serving at the table, but you may keep your steak whole if you like.

Combine the first 5 items in a shallow bowl and let set for about 15 minutes.

pour the sesame seeds into another shallow bowl and set aside

Wash Tuna under cold water and dry with a towel and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large skillet (I use Cast Iron)

brush the Tuna with the flavored oil and sprinkle with seeds until covered on bother sides (I laid the tune in the bowl of sesame seed and I think too many seeds stuck to it and they all came off int he pan and became a burnt mess to deal with).

Pour enough oil in hot pan to over and let heat for a few seconds, if pan is hot this will be fast. Lay crusted tuna in pan to sear on both sides, cook tuna to desired doneness, I like mine medium.

I served with Brown Basmati Rice and Zucchini sauteed with onion and garlic.

And with the left overs I made Thai Fried Rice.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Orange Banana Muffin with Nuts

Every Friday the kids and I do the grocery shopping for the week; however, before we start shopping we stop at Tim Horton's for muffins, bagels and coffee. My DD orders banana nut muffin every week. Unfortunately, there are not always banana nut muffins, I try to explain to here that these things happen but to her it is the end of the world for her (after all this is the child that told herself that she was the princess of all the beautiful things, yes she said that).
This week I came up with an idea. Before we went in I told her that if they were out of banana nut muffins we will make some at home, all the while knowing that I had 2 very ripe bananas at home, she agreed and they were out of banana nut muffins.
Friday afternoon while baby brother was taking his nap DD and I made Orange Banana Muffins with nuts (and a few had Hershey's kisses). the muffins are quite nice but the kisses can go.

3/4 Cup boiling Water
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, well beaten
2 cups A/P flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 400F
Combine the first 7 ingredients and beat thoroughly. Sift the flour, measure, and resift with salt, sugar, baking powder and soda. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until it comes together. Fold in fold nuts. Turn into muffin cup paper lined muffin tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. let cool completely before pulling muffin cup papers off of muffin.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Menu 1/4/08-1/10/08

My menu is oh so uninspired, so much so that I only came up with 3 things. I wanted to make some leg of lamb with my new clay pot that I got at IKEA yesterday for $14.99 but the store was out of lamb so I guess I am left with fishing through the deep freeze for what ever meat I have and trying out my new toy.

I am also going to make Roast Chicken, Chicken soup, and spaghetti. How is that for being original.

I am including a few photos I took on New years day after a night of beautiful snow fall.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Pork and Cabbage Stir Fry

10 oz Pork loin, cut into thin postage stamp pieces
3 T. soy sauce
1 T. Brown Sugar
1 T. Rice Wine
1 T. ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic Minced
sesame oil
1 T. corn starch paste (made with a mix if Cornstarch and a little water)
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup red and orange bell peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion cut in half and sliced
1 handful peanuts

Marinate the pork in 2 T soy sauce, sugar, rice wine and cornstarch.

combine ginger and garlic in a bowl

have all ingredients with in reach of a wok that is heating. Add 1 T of sesame oil to hot wok and then half of the pork and stir fry it for 30 seconds add in 1.2 teaspoon garlic ginger (gg) mix. cook for 1 more minute, remove from wok and set aside. do the same with the other half of the meat.

Stir fry the cabbage in the hot wok for 2 minutes (Add water if needed) then set aside with pork.

Add a teaspoon of sesame oil to hot wok and then add in the bell peppers and stir fry for 1 minute then add the onion and stir fry for 30 seconds (ish).

Combine all elements of the dish in the Wok with the remaining soy sauce, peanuts, ginger and garlic and fry for 1 more minute and put in a serving platter.

Serve with brown rice.