Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie

We celebrated Isabelle's birthday last Wednesday, as well as her twin brother's, Marc. We were all there, except for a few hard workers that could not make it!!!
In place of a birthday cake, I made a birthday Lemon Meringue Pie!!! Nicole's favorite, and it had been a really long time since I had made one!
One advantage, since it was a week night, and I had just started my new job and knew I would have had no time Wednesday to bake, I started making the different elements on Sunday! The crust was made Sunday and baked Tuesday night. The lemon curd was prepared on Monday night and the pie assembled on Wednesday when I got back from work. I just had to make the meringue, pipe it on the lemon curd and bring the torch with me for last minute browning!!! Et voila!!!



Lemon Meringue Pie



serves 8


One Sugar Crust (recipe makes 2 crusts; freeze other half for another use)
One recipe Lemon Curd

5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar


Preheat the oven to 350F.
Butter and flour a pie pan with a removable bottom.

Roll the sugar crust and line the prepared pan. With a fork, poke holes on the bottom of the pan to prevent bubbling during baking. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Bake until golden brown, checking for air bubbles - poke with the fork if they form - about 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Meanwhile prepare the lemon curd according to recipe.

Prepare the meringue:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until foamy. Slowly add the sugar and keep beating until stiff peaks form.

Assemble the pie:
Pour the lemon curd in the prepared crust.
Top with the meringue: You may either pipe it on top of the curd in a decorative fashion, or simply spoon it over delicately with a rubber spatula.

To brow the meringue, just before serving, I choose the sale torch I use for the Creme Brulee. If you do not have a torch, you can brow it under the broiler, for just a few minutes.

Bon appetit!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Orange marinade

This marinade is quick to make and perfect for chicken or pork on the grill!

2 cups orange juice
2 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and grated with a microplane
5 cloves garlic, grated (again I used a microplane)
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp hot sauce, here Cholula chipotle
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the meat, or fish. Let marinate for at least two hours and grill, pouring the marinade on the pieces of chicken, or pork...  during cooking.

Enjoy!

Lamb Stew

I love stews, whether beef, veal, lamb or fish. Last night we had a Provencal Lamb Stew, with hints of orange. It was really tasty and the whole family enjoyed it!
I served it with small tomato bow-tie pasta. and beware... you have to marinate the lamb overnight and, for the meat to be tender and melt in your mouth,  it cooks a really long time!!!




Lamb Stew


Serves 6


4 Lbs lamb shoulder cut into 2 inch cubes

Marinade:
2 small onions, diced
3 sticks celery, diced
4 carrots, diced
1/2 cup parsley
5 garlic cloves, minced
5 twigs of fresh thyme
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups red wine

1/2 lb pancetta, diced
1 onion, diced
1 orange, zest (stripes really) and juice
3 garlic cloves, whole with skin on
1 cube chicken bouillon
water

2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup water



Prepare the marinade THE DAY BEFORE!
Mix all the ingredients from the marinade in a large bowl.
Divide the meat in two parts and transfer to two zip-loc bags. Pour half the marinade in each and toss, making sure all the pieces of meat are covered.
Refrigerate over night.

The next morning:
Drain the meat and set the marinade aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large saute pan, or dutch oven. Add the onion and saute until lightly brown and translucent. Add the pancetta and cook until becoming crisp. Do not burn!! Remove from the pan and set aside. De-glaze the pan with 1/4 cup red wine if necessary.

Heat 2 more Tbsp olive oil in the same dutch oven and add half the lamb. Cook quickly until brown on all sides. Set aside and repeat with the remaining meat.

When the second half of the meat is nicely browned, add the first batch, the pancetta and onions. Sprinkle the chicken bouillon cube on top. Add the stripes of orange zest, the garlic and the marinade. Add the juice of the orange.
Mix well. At this point you may decide to add about another cup of wine. Add water to almost cover the meat. Stir again to mix the flavors.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to really low and cover. Cook for about 6 to 7 hours to get the meat nice and tender, stirring occasionally.

About an hour before the end of cooking time, you can add a mixture of flour and water to thicken the sauce a bit.


Serve with boiled potatoes or pasta! And a nice glass of red wine!



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Raclette



With Spring fast approaching, now is the time to have a Raclette...This dish originated in the Alps, where winters are cold and long. The original Raclette is actually a half wheel of Raclette cheese, a smelly but mild cow milk cheese,  that is melted in front of the fire, then "raclĂ©" (scraped) on a plate filled with potatoes and cured meats.
Nowadays, you can make a Raclette with a lot less fuss, but you will need an electrical Raclette grill. They come in all different prices, but you do not have to spend a fortune. I found mine at Homegoods for less than $50.
The cheese is harder to find. As usual, Trader Joe's is the place to go!! If you really cannot find the Raclette cheese, you can substitute with Gruyere, Comte or even Swiss cheese.


Raclette



serves 8



8oz Raclette cheese per person, cut into 1/8-in slices, rind on
3 lb potatoes
Assorted cured meats: Salami. Prosciutto, Parma
Some regular ham...
Mushrooms
Cornichons (or Gherkins) and pickled onions


Boil the potatoes, skin on.

Set the table with the grill, the meats, mushrooms, cheese, cornichons...and the potatoes once they are cooked.

Each guest should take a little of everything on their plate. They must then place a slice of cheese in the small pan and place it under the grill (according to machine instructions) and wait until it has melted. Meanwhile you can place some mushrooms on top of the grill to cook.

Once the cheese is melted, pour over the potatoes and mushroom and enjoy!!!



Monday, March 5, 2012

Lobster

I can hardly believe that we have been living in New England for almost 12 years and I have never posted our lobster dinners!!!
Here on the Cape, as in all coastal New England States, lobster is a big deal. You can have it any way you want. Every restaurant, big or small, claims to have the best Lobsta Roll!
We buy our lobsters in Sandwich, at Joe's Lobster Mart, where Cape Cod Canal meets the bay. Seafood there is the absolute freshest and you can see the boats unloading at the back of the store. A bit out of the way for us but really worth it!
At our house, however, "lobsta" is steamed and served with melted butter and a wedge of lemon, for some! Wicked delicious!!!!





Steamed Lobster


Serves 4


4 lobsters (we usually get the 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 lb beasts!)
3 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
6 Tbsp butter
One lemon (optional)

Tools needed:
* Large claw crackers, or nut crackers
* Skinny picks to get the meat out of the legs
* Patience!!!



In a very large pot (we have a 18-qt "lobster pot"), boil about 3 quarts of water. Add the Old bay seasoning.

Add the live lobsters, head down and cover. Still on high heat, cook the lobsters for about 10 to 15 minutes. The shell should turn a bright red/orange. When done, transfer to a serving platter, or serving bowl. This dish will be used for discarded shells.

While the lobsters are cooking, melt the butter and divide in four small bowls, for dipping.





You are now ready to dig in!!! Bon Appetit!