Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie Face


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
  • 4 egg whites
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

First things first. Separate 4 eggs yolks from the whites in two separate bowls. To prevent a soggy pie, you must make the meringue before you make the filling. The meringue needs to be ready to go on the filling as soon as its done, while its still hot. This allows the bottom of the meringue to cook and you don't get a soggy mess for a pie. Also DO NOT store in the fridge. Keep in a covered dish or covered with a bowl at room temperature.

Add a teaspoon of vanilla and a 1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar to the egg whites.

Beat the whites until foamy and then add 6 tablespoons of sugar, two at a time, beating the whites a little between each addition.

Continue to beat the whites until they become stiff and shiny. They should hold a stiff peak when finished. If you think you have beaten them enough, keep beating for another few minutes. Once you have beat your eggs to the desired consistency keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the pie.

Now for the filling. I know cooking a custard on the stove top can seem intimidating but don't worry. You will live. In a medium sauce pan combine 1 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour, 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of milk and the juice and zest of two lemons.

Heat this mixture over medium high heat, whisking continuously, until it starts to boil. Be ready with a 1/2 measuring cup, things start to move fast once the mixture boils.
When you reach a low boil add 2 tablespoons of butter. Lower temperature to medium.

Pour 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks.

Whisk to combine.

Return egg mixture to the pan on the stove.

Continue to whisk over medium heat until you have a thick pudding like texture. This should not take long.

Do not let cool. Pour piping hot custard into the pie shell.

Cover hot filling with meringue immediately, making sure to seal the edges at the crust.

With a knife make small little peaks in the meringue all over the pie. These will brown up while in the oven and make the pie very pretty. Do this quickly though, and get that dang pie in the oven. Bake in 375 F oven for 25-30 minutes or until the meringue is nicely toasted and set.

Here we are. The beautiful finished product. I didn't have any but if you have an extra lemon, cut a few rounds to decorate the top of the pie with.

Alright now I know that I wrote in the directions that in order to prevent weeping meringue you have to assemble the pie when the filling is very hot. What I didnt tell you was that I learned this the hard way. I made my meringue after I made my filling and by the time the meringue was forming stiff peaks I dont think the pie filling was hot enough anymore. So...I had a pretty substantial layer of syrupy liquid between my custard and my meringue. I carefully drained it off as much as I could, and thought the pie would be ok. In truth I have to say that the custard came out great. Love the flavor, love the texture. The meringue is another story. Maybe if I would have assembled my pir the way I have told you folks to, the meringue would have been better. I also think that I could have cooked the pie for about 25 or 30 minutes. The directions I followed said it only needed 10 minutes. My meringue a day later is covered in more weeping not only from the bottom but also on the top of the pie. I am really dissapointed because the custard part of this pie turned out so well. I need to do another experiment with this pie but if I have the same problems again I would have to say that this pie is better off without the meringue. It would be great with just the filling. If anyone attempts this recipe please let me know what your results were.

A Few More of My Favorite Things... How could I forget these?

These are delicious. That's all you need to know.

The Yogi Tea company makes a tea for just about everything. Right now I am taking their Mother To Be Tea which contains raspberry and other things that are supposed to support uterine health and help with a healthy labor. When I have PMS i drink this Woman's Moon Cycle Tea. It works wonders. It calms me down, mellows me out, helps with all the aches, pains, bloating, mania, and everything else. Plus, it tastes like and oatmeal cookie kind of.
My dad just recently had some trouble with kidney stones and Yogi Tea makes a tea for that so I'm going to buy him some of that. It cant hurt right?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

A girl I used to work with was on her way to a get together with a bunch of her girlfriends one day and she said to me, in passing, that she had to stop and pick up a gift to exchange at the party. I asked her about it, wondering if it was someone’s birthday, and she said that her and a bunch of girls were getting together to have some drinks and exchange with one another a few of their favorite things. I thought “What a great idea!” I think these girls were exchanging girly things like cosmetics and what not, which would also be great, but when I heard this I thought of all my favorite delicious treats and how cool it would be to make a gift basket for my sister for her upcoming birthday filled with all of my secret, and not so secret favorites. What a great gift to receive, and I was hoping that my sister would take it as a clue and send me a basket of her favorite goodies in return. How fun to try a bunch of new stuff, and a very cute way to get to know someone better too, a way to be close when you’re so far away.

That is my little sister on the far right. She lives in Colorado. Isn’t she beautiful?


Well…I never ended up making this basket for my sister because every time I bought the stuff I ended up eating it all. Hey!!!! Can you blame me? It was MY favorite stuff after all. I still think its a great idea and I still want to do it one day, or maybe even have a party like those girls I was telling you about did, but in the meantime I’ve decided to just write about it. SSSSOoooo without further ado,



I was first introduced to these treats last Christmas by my friend Carrie. I was a bit apprehensive about trying them at first. I’m not much for dark chocolate or the combination of salty and sweet. Well, I wasn’t until I had these I should say. They changed my whole perspective. The combination of the bitter chocolate, the sweet caramel, and the crunchy salt is like nothing I have ever had. It is heavenly. What else makes these so special is that you can only get them around the holidays so you either have to stock up or wait expectantly for Christmas to roll around once again. I tried stocking up but they didn’t even last until New Years!


Izze sparkling grapefruit is a delicious little thing I found at the health food store. I think you can get it at some regular grocery stores as well. It is basically grapefruit soda but it’s made with all natural fruit juice and soda water so it’s not loaded with extra sugar and other additives. I absolutely love these. I just tried their peach flavored one the other day and it was great too. They have a huge variety so I’m looking forward to trying them all. I love the bottle design too. So simple and clean I think they would look pretty in a basket.


Nutella!!! Creamy delicious hazelnut chocolate spread. Need I say more? Well I will say more. The best way to eat this stuff is to smear it on a piece of white bread and chow down. Sounds weird I know but its really, really good. My French aunt Zabet used to give us this. I wonder if it’s just a European thing. I tried to make some sandwich cookies for Christmas last year by mixing this and chocolate chips together for the filling. The filling was good but the cookies I used weren’t, so I think I will have to do a few more experiments with that one.


Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time. This product is a delicious green tea ice cream wrapped in a sweet mochi. I don’t know about you but I think green tea flavored things are great. I’ve also developed a taste for unique flavors of ice cream. This summer I think I am going to try and make lavender-honey ice cream (stay tuned for the blog). Anyway this stuff is weird and yummy. The mochi outside is powdery, sticky, chewy, and just weird. Not for everyone for sure, but I love it, and the inside is creamy yummy green tea ice cream. A great little treat. I guess this wouldn’t do well in a gift basket though huh?


Hot Tamales oh Hot Tamales. These things are like cinnamon flavored crack. I swear this girl I used to work with knew how much I loved them so she would bring me a box from time to time. Not the small box, the big one. The thing wouldn’t even last a day. For some reason I just can’t stop eating them once I start. They must put something in them. YUM!!!


Cadbury Fruit & Nut hmmm, my mommy used to always have one of these candy bars stashed in her bedside table. Now I do too. They don’t last long though. Something about the combo of raisins and almonds with the Cadbury creamy lovely chocolate makes for the perfect bite. I love these candy bars. My husband hates raisins with an unnatural passion and cannot understand my taste for this bar. He comments every time he sees me getting one about how much he hates it.


This is another Trader Joe’s treat. What a neat store. Trader Joe’s Butter Almond Thins taste a little bit like Pepperidge Farm’s Chessmen cookies but with a much better texture and flavor. They are just paper-thin little cookies but they are great. They break easily though so every time I’ve gotten these, almost all the cookies have been in a million pieces. Still taste great but not great if you want to serve them at a party.


This is another one from my childhood. I remember my grandmother having boxes of this in her basement freezer. I don’t know if I was actually allowed to have any or not but I loved it and would snag a piece on the way out the door, headed for a day at the lake. My fondest memories were made at that lake.

Chocolate Lace is a really neat product that I have always wanted to try to make at home. Its basically just caramelized sugar drizzled on a sheet pan in a pretty swirl design and then covered with chocolate. I don’t know how easy or difficult this would be to do at home. It seems rather fragile so I may run into some trouble there. If anyone has any experience or tips about making chocolate lace I would love to hear from you.


Chantilly cookies from Pepperidge Farm were another of my mom’s favorites that I took a liking to. They have actually changed the name and stopped topping them with sugar, which I am very upset about. The sugar was the best part. These yummy things were filled with raspberry jam. Sooooooooooo good. I hate it when companies change things. It’s just like when you finally find a lipstick you like and then they discontinue it right when you run out. Jerks.

Well folks. That was a few of my favorite things. I must have sugar on the brain right now because I just noticed that there are only sweets on this list. I guess one day I will have to write another blog.

A Few of My Favorite Savory Things… A Few of My Favorite Spicy Things…
Lets just say

To be continued…

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Dad's Oatmeal Raisin Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

My dad has been making me these cookies for as long as I can remember. They are so soft and delicious. It's difficult not to devour the whole batch in one sitting. I kid you not. These cookies actually held me over on a trip to China that I just recently took. I was 4 months pregnant and not into eating anything. Especially weird Chinese things. (I'm usually not a picky eater...blame it on the baby, I will.) So anyway, dad made us a bunch of these cookies, and I ate them everyday till they ran out while we were traveling around China.

This is me at the Forbidden City

Lets start with an ingredients/tools list shall we?

What you will need:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter softened
(take out of fridge a couple of hours before baking)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups oatmeal
1.5-2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup raisins (opt)
This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies

Mixing bowl
1 cup
1/2 cup
1 teaspoon
an oven
a cookie sheet
parchment paper (optional)

Lets preheat the oven to 375 F now that we've got all our crap together.

In your mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup of white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, and two sticks of butter. (If you have not left your butter out to soften this will be next to impossible. You can try to soften the butter in the microwave, but you will usually end up with melted butter instead of softened. Bottom line? Let your butter soften ahead of time foo'!) This mixture will be a little stiff but will loosen up once you add the eggs and vanilla



Next add two eggs and 1 tsp. of vanilla and mix together. After this step the batter should be nice and smooth

Mix in 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of baking soda. The batter will start to get thicker now, and harder to mix.

Add 3 cups of oatmeal and stir until combined. The batter will begin to get very difficult to stir. This is normal.

Add 2 cups of dark chocolate chips and 1 cup of raisins.

This is what your batter should look like when complete

Spray your cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. I didn't have any today but parchment paper is a good way to save your pans. It's not good for the environment though. Neither is the spray can either I suppose. It's so hard!!!!! Maybe the best way to grease a pan would be to wipe it down with shortening. I wonder if shortening is bad for the environment somehow. I guess even with the shortening you have to use a paper towel to wipe it on with. OH! Who knows?
I used a tablespoon to make my cookies. They are just the right size that way. Keep the cookies about two inches apart. In my oven they bake up to just perfect in about 10 minutes on 375 F. The recipe I was following said 12 minutes so I would start with around 9 or 10 and keep and eye on them. They should be a little brown around the edges but still soft to the touch. They will firm up while sitting.

And here is the finished product. They aren't the prettiest cookies in the world but they are chewy and delicious.