Archive for January, 2008

Daring Bakers – Lemon Meringue Pie

January 28, 2008

It’s Daring Baker time again!  December was a bit of a rough month for me with way too many doctor appointments and holiday commitments, but I was determined to bake again in January!  I love the Daring Baker challenges, as well as the camraderie that goes along with this group.  Go here to visit the other Daring Bakers

This month our challenge was Lemon Meringue Pie. I’ve made some pie crusts before, but I really haven’t made many pies. My mom and my aunt are the pie makers in my family. I’m more the one that brings creme brulee to every gathering. But, I love Lemon Meringue and so was very much looking forward to this challenge.

For the full recipe, visit Jen at the Canadian Baker.

Lemon Meringue Pie

First, the crust. I’m a hand person when it comes to making crust. I know a lot of people do them in food processors, but I want to be able to look and feel the butter and how small it’s getting. I’ve done mine with my hands before, this time I used a pastry cutter.

Being winter in Minnesota, my house is very dry. The recipe called for 1/3 cup of water. I added about 1/2 cup, but I was a little nervous about adding it since I didn’t want to overmix the pastry. Even with the extra water, my dough was a little dry.

It rolled out fairly well. I could see nice chunks of butter, but parts stuck to the counter and it didn’t necessarily make it to the pie pan all in one piece. A little patchwork and we were good though.

Someday, I will invest in pie weights. Until then, it’s whatever looks old in the cupboard.

The lemon curd was super easy to make! I’m not sure why I thought that would be labor intensive. Boil water, add cornstarch and sugar, temper in eggs, add lemon juice.

The meringue whipped up perfectly. I admit, after reading others posts about weepy meringue and the meringue needing to go on top of hot filling, I smudged the directions a bit. I didn’t let the filling cool completely, just the amount of time it took me to make the meringue.

And still, it wept. I had incredibly tasty lemon meringue soup. I’m sad it looks so horrible because it tasted delicious! Possibly some of the best lemon meringue pie I’ve ever had. It even kept for four days before I threw it out! I will definitely make this again, but I’ll most likely make the meringue first and make sure it goes over a HOT filling.

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Lentil Soup

January 19, 2008

Sorry for being so terribly MIA.  Being pregnant with twins has fairly squashed any desire I’ve had to cook.  But, as the twins crowd out my stomach I’ve been trying to make each calorie count, and that means cooking more.  It feels good to get back in the kitchen!

Lentils are an ingredient I tagged a while ago as wanting to explore more.  I love meat, but it’s not always the healthiest, most cost effective ingredient.  I also dearly love the 101 Cookbooks site.  It’s so pleasing to the eye and the recipes always sound so good, it was an easy choice to get me back in the kitchen. The recipe was easy and quick to make, making it an excellent choice for a weeknight dinner.

 As Heidi talks about, this recipe is full of nutrition.  Even eating a small bowl, I felt like I was getting a nutritious, well balanced meal.  Since I didn’t have any saffron at home, I skipped the yogurt and instead topped the soup with a swirl of olive oil and chopped avocados.  The avocado added just the right touch of butteriness.  Because I knew I would be reheating the soup, I added in some chicken stock so that it wasn’t so thick. The best part? There was enough to freeze!

Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup
adapted from 101 Cookbooks

2 cups green lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 tablespoon + extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 28-ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups water
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 cups kale, rinsed well, deveined, finely chopped
1 avocado, chopped

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add the lentils and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion and salt and saute until tender. Stir in the tomatoes, lentils, water, and chicken stock and continue cooking for a few more minutes, letting the soup come back up to a simmer. Stir in the chopped greens, and wait another minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be. Ladle into bowls, and serve with a swirl of olive oil and chopped avocado.