March 2, 2009

Refrigerator Lemon Pie

Robin, 10 Feb 09, ‘Dei/Dea Ex Machina’

15-oz can or 1 1/3 c sweetened condensed milk

½ c lemon juice

1 tsp grated lemon rind

¼ tsp lemon essence or ½ tsp lemon extract

2 eggs, separated

4 T sugar

9″ graham cracker crust‡ which you have made long enough ago for it to have solidified in the refrigerator

Put milk, lemon juice, rind, essence, and yolks into bowl;  stir briskly till it’s a thick homogenous gloop.  Pour whites into separate bowl;  beat till half stiff, then add sugar gradually, beating till fully stiff, and then stop before what the books call ‘dry’ and I would call ‘friable’ but I’m an English major.  Fold whites gently into the lemon mixture.  Pour into chilled crust.  Chill pie at least six hours and overnight is better.

Hot Peach Cobbler

Robin, 18 Jan 09, ‘Fruit trees, Cold, and Inaugural Lunch’

1 ¼ c flour

¼ c fine oatmeal (which should look like flour) or smallest porridge oats

1 tsp baking powder

¼ c sugar

¼ c lightly salted butter

1 egg, beaten

¼ c milk, water or apple juice (if apple juice, lower sugar to 2 T)

1 tsp vanilla

4-5 c sliced peaches

Possibly a handful of raisins

¾ c dark brown sugar (a little less if you’re using raisins)

1 tsp cinnamon

2 T butter

2T to ¼ c peach brandy, peach liqueur, or hard apple cider:  if the last you don’t want the super dry kind.  Perry–which is cider using pears instead of apples–is even better, but harder to find

If your flour is fresh, you don’t have to bother sifting it.  Mix with oatmeal, baking powder and sugar.  Cut in butter, then stir in the egg mixed with the water and vanilla.  Knead a few times and roll or pat out about ¼ inch thick on a floured surface.  Place peaches in buttered baking dish (probably 9 inch:  I have a pottery dish of a slightly nonstandard size that I like because it looks pretty) and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, and dot with butter.  Then, quantity depending on how juicy and/or flavourful your peaches§§§ are, sprinkle the brandy over them.  Cover with the dough;  slash briskly.  400°F 15 minutes, 350° about another 15 minutes, but check on it:  the crust should be nicely brown and the peaches should be tender.  This is good–and probably more manageable because less runny–cold, but I recommend it warm.  And it’s good with cream or ice cream, but I recommend it with hard sauce.  You all know hard sauce, don’t you?  It’s more or less equal parts sugar and butter with flavouring, in this case preferably a fruit liqueur.

§§§ You can make an excellent peach cobbler out of dry tasteless shop peaches with this recipe:  just be sure to use the full ¼ c of your chosen booze.  I imagine sweet sherry would work too.  Remember the alcohol will cook off:  this is still a teetotal recipe.  And you really won’t get enough flavour out of apple juice.

Restorative Apple Butter Cookies

Robin, 27 Feb 09, ‘Restorative’

½ c slightly salted butter.  This will be easier if it’s soft.

½ c dark brown sugar***

¾ c apple butter

1 ½ c all-purpose white flour†

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

Cream butter and sugar together thoroughly, then add the apple butter. Mix thoroughly.  Mix dry ingredients and work in.  You’ll probably want to use your hands.

At this point the lazy sluts take a sharp turn to the left and the honest, meritorious men and women take a handsome, gentle bend to the right.  The lazy sluts will scoop small spoonfuls of this stuff up and drop-cookie them on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets.  The honest meritorious brigade will pat the thing into a bolster, roll it in waxed or parchment paper, stow it in the refrigerator for two hours or so†† and then slice it sharply (you’ll probably need to flour the knife pretty often) into perfect little thin rounds and put them on parchment paper and a baking sheet.  Either way you’ll want to bake them 7-10 minutes at 350°F.  Let cool somewhat, but keep them on the parchment paper.  You’re about to make a mess.


2T butter, melted

Stir in 2T apple butter

Then start stirring in 1 c icing sugar, adding a few drops of not-just-out-of-the-refrigerator apple juice as necessary to keep it thinnish.

Twirl, pour or brush over your almost-cool cookies.

Now sit down and let the restoration begin.

*** You may want more or less sugar depending on how sweet your apple butter is and whether or not you are going to glaze them.  I tend to like unsweet apple butter but very sweet cookies.

† Or a little more if your apple butter is very runny.  You know what a cookie dough, as opposed to batter, should look like, right?  Make it look like that.  Or, if you’re a lazy slut and are going to take the drop cookie option, a slightly more battery look is fine.

†† The one convincing argument, to a lazy slut, that favours the chilled bolster is that it means you can have hot fresh neat cookies really fast when you take the bolster out of the refrigerator.  If you’re having someone over for tea both the fast and the neat are nice.  Drop cookies are never neat.

Danish Lemon Pudding

Anett the Great Dane, 22 Feb 09

6 gelatine leaves*,
6 tablesp lemon juice plus some grated peel,
6 egg yolks,
4 tablesp. sugar,
6 egg whites,
sweet whipped cream.

Soak the leaves for 5 min in cold water, squeeze them dry and melt them in the lemon juice.
Beat the egg yolks thick and pale with the sugar while the gelatine cools.
Add the lemon peel to the egg and sugar, and pour in the tepid lemon gelatine slowly while whipping carefully.
Beat the egg whites untill stiff, and when the yolk mix start to stiffen (lines from a beater don’t close, fold the whites into the yolks.
Scrape into serving dishes, and let it set in the refridgerator for at least 30 min.
Serve with whipped cream.

This pudding method is very popular in Denmark, and used for all kinds of chocolate, fruit and cordial puddings.

* According to my information a sachet of gelatine contains 11 gram or a bit less than half an oz, and a sachet equals 3 leaves. I always use leaves myself, so I cannot verify this.

American Lemon Cream

Anette the Great Dane, 22 Feb 09

1.5 cup water,
0.75 cup sugar,
1 teasp. butter,
2 tablesp. maizena/corn starch,
50 ml (3.5 tablesp) lemon juice plus some grated peel,
1 egg yolk (optional),
sweet whipped cream (optional).

Bring water, sugar and butter to the boil. Dissolve the maizena in the lemon juice, add this to the pot while stirring, and boil for two minutes. Let it cool a little before adding the egg. Laddle into portion bowls, and serve very cold with whipped cream and/or grated lemon peel.

A family favorite is replacing the water, sugar and lemon with homemade Elderflower Cordial.

Garlic in Olive Oil

Anette the Great Dane, 22 Feb 09, Recipe Thread

Peel a lot of fresh garlic cloves, cover with water in a pot and bring to the boil, drain off the water, and do it twice more with fresh water. Let the cloves dry a bit before putting them into jars, and cover with olive oil. The result is a mild garlic flavour with no stinking breath.

Lemons in Olive Oil

Anett the Great Dane, 22 Feb 09, Recipe Thread

Wash and slice lemons, place them in a clear, clean jar, cover with extra virgin olive oil, and close the jar. That’s it.
You can add salt, paprika, cloves, all spice berries, or scalded garlic cloves if you want to, but the plain stuff is fine.
The reason I suggest the clear jar, is that half the pleasure is watching the beautiful colours on my window sill. I wouldn’t keep them there during the summer, but the last jar of the batch I made in october is still doing fine.
I use the slices with fish, poultry, lamb and pork, either gently fried on my pan before adding the other ingredients, or place on top of something for roasting in the oven. The last oil in the jar is excellent for salad dressing.


Susan from Athens, 18 Feb 09, Recipe Thread

Yiouvarlakia (Minced meat and rice balls with an egg and lemon sauce)

My English mother cooks from recipes, while I am inspired by recipes and instructions and cook from inspiration, like my Greek fore-mothers. So this recipe has a little of both: its roots lie in one of the collection of Greek cook books my mother acquired before and after she relocated here in the late sixties, in an attempt to understand her new environment and family, with additions taking into consideration the way my grandmother and aunt cook and what I would now add and change. The original recipe – now very much altered – was in Joyce M. Stubbs’: The Home Book of Greek Cookery – A Selection of Traditional Greek Recipes (Faber and Faber, 1963). [In an aside books are rarely now cookery books, they might be books on cooking or eating, but the homely cookery has faded away, I wonder why?] The quantities are sufficient for four people.

400g finely minced meat (beef)
2 medium onions, grated, with juices collected and used
2 spring (green) onions, finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, mashed
half a cup chopped parsley – flat leafed please: curly leaf doesn’t exist in Greece
3 teaspoons chopped mint (Greeks would use diosmos – the closest equivalent is spearmint)
60 g butter
85 g long grain raw rice
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon oregano

For the sauce
2 eggs, separated
juice of one and a half lemons

Place the minced meat, onion, spring onion, garlic, parsley, mint and half the butter into a mixing bowl and knead until well blended. Scald the rice (place a separate bowl and cover with boiling water for five minutes), drain and knead into the mixture. Moisten with vinegar, add the seasoning and oregano and leave in a cool place for thirty minutes or more. Shape into round balls the size of a small egg and arrange in concentric circles in a wide-bottomed saucepan (I use a deep sauté pan). Barely cover with boiling water, pouring it in carefully from the side, so as not to break the meat balls. Add salt and the rest of the butter and press down with a plate, before putting on the pan lid. Simmer for three-quarters of an hour. Whatever happens, don’t stir (you will get a mush) or allow to boil dry. You want enough liquid to make an egg and lemon sauce at the end, i.e. at least half a cup, preferably one cup.

Carefully pressing down on the plate that covers the youvarlakia, so that they can’t move around, and taking care not to burn yourself, drain the juices and keep them simmering in a pan (you can add half a stock cube to this if you want more zing – by all means use an healthy organic one).

Make an avgolemono sauce:
Beat the egg whites to a soft meringue and add the yolks. Add the lemon juice drop by drop (yes, that slowly, otherwise it can curdle and you have to start over). Then slowly add two tablespoons of the broth from the yiouvarlakia. Pour all this into the pan with the remaining juices, stirring slowly. Do this either over a very low heat, or else having the juices very hot. Serve immediately, pouring the sauce over the meat balls, without further cooking. You can sprinkle with additional chopped parsley.

If you have leftovers, store the sauce separately from the yiouvarlakia and reheat gently together.

The recipe is very flexible: you can use olive oil instead of butter, you can increase the lemon juice, or the quantity of herbs used, so long as you can make balls that cohere and a sauce that doesn’t coagulate. I can easily imagine a Thai version of these, with some chile peppers sliced in the meatballs, using coriander instead of parsley and adding coconut milk instead of the avgolemono sauce. In fact, in some ways these are naked dolmades, without any vine leaves. Mum’s book starts with a lovely quote from the Deipnosophists or The Banquet of the Learned, by Athenaeus (ancient forerunner of Julia Child and Delia Smith et al) that is entirely apropos: “For when you write a book on Cookery, it will not do to say: ‘As I was just now saying’; for this Art has no fix’d guide but opportunity, and must itself its only mistress be.”

R and B’s Lemon Curd

R and B, 17 Feb 09, Recipe Thread

Here is the promised recipe for Lemon Curd
At the risk of offending purists it does involve the use of a microwave oven –
1 cup granulated sugar
3 whole eggs
mix eggs and sugar in one bowl
one cup lemon juice-about 3-4 fresh lemons depending on the size and juicyness
the zest of three lemons ( zest them first then squeeze for the juice)
1/2 c unsalted buttter, melted
mix together, then
cook for one minute intervals in microwave, stir after each minute in microwave, then cook for another minute etc
cook until lemon curd coats the back of a spoon
It took about 6 minutes-
if the egg curdles a bit you can strain it – the first time I made it, it did have little cooked egg bits but the second time I must have done something right ’cause no eggy bits.

the first time I made it i thought it was too soupy and I had not cooked it long enough – but I was wrong, it jelled up beautifully. This makes several jelly jars worth.

Stuffed Peppers of Triumph

SusieBirds, 14 Feb 09, Recipe Thread

4 medium sized red bell peppers (get squat ones, not tall ones)
1/2 dry couscous (cooked in 1c water, no idea final volume, 1C, maybe?)
Some olive oil for sauteeing stuff (2-3T?)
1 large onion, finely diced (use a walla wall sweet or a red)
1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1 large rib of celery, finely diced
1/4 cup finely chopped purple cabbage
2-3 large kale leaves, ripped to little shreds, no stems (you could use spinach or chard for this as well)
1/4 raisins
4 big cloves garlic
1/2 package of cream cheese (or goat cheese if you like)
dried savory
smoked paprika
red pepper flakes
uh, some other herbs I don’t remember

Wash the peppers and neatly cut the tops off, empty and de-seed and de-rib them. Rub *very* lightly with olive oil (a fingerip in some oil will go a long way) and, if possible, fire-roast lightly. If you have a gas stovetop, this is easy – just set the burner on high, and set the pepper down on top of the grate-thingy that holds up the pots (can you tell my voacabulary is gone today?). Rotate every minute or so until the outer skin get blackened in spots and it smells like roasted peppers.

For the stuffing:
Cook the couscous, set aside. You could also use rice, barley, whatever. It was probably 1C cooked total volume.

Sautee onions in olive oil until clear, then add and sautee mushrooms until soft, then add/sautee celery, then cabbage. When it’s all cooked down, add a dash of cumin, some dried savory (1tsp maybe?), salt, whatever other herbs you like (I cook by taste with herbs and spices).

When herbed to your satisfaction, mix together with couscous in a big bowl, then press two large cloves of garlic into it. Mix in the raisins and kale while it’s still hot, so they get moist/melty/wilty. Set aside.

For cheese mix:
Blend cream cheese with a bit of salt, press two cloves of garlic into it, add dash of red pepper flakes, and I put in a tiny tiny pinch of smoked paprika (that stuff is *very* strong), and add another dash of savory on top. Mix until everything is well blended. You can season this with whatever strikes your fancy – if you were in a hurry, you could even just use a pre-prepped boursin or herbed goat cheese.

To stuff:
Fill each pepper halfway with the stuffing mixture, put in a generous dollop of the cheese mix, then fill the rest of the way with stuffing. Put top back on the pepper.

Put in oven-proof baking dish with a bit of water (1T) in the bottom and bake at 350 for around 20 minutes.

Makes 4. Serve warm, chop open, mix melty cheese into stuffing, consume. Paired with a good salad, it makes an excellent light dinner. Paired with wine and chocolate cake afterwards, even better.

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