Fluffy Frozen Lemon Squares…sort of

My mom has a really good imagination and a lot of faith in my cooking skills. So when I invite her for dinner and ask what she wants, she feels free to pull something out of her imagination and give me something like “Fluffy Frozen Lemon Squares” Upon further questioning it seems she has a vague memory of some dessert she had once in the early 80’s that included Dream Whip and a package of lemon jello. Sure enough, an extensive internet search reveals an abundance of recipes that call for some frozen whipped topping. In case you’re an anonymous stranger reading this let me tell you that when I’m reading a recipe and I see something like that in the ingredients list I move on. But mom wants what mom wants and I did ask.

Here’s what I came up with;

For the base;
half a package of vanilla cookies crushed to fine crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
zest of one lemon

Mix together and press into the bottom of a springform pan. Pop it in the freezer while you’re putting the rest together.

4 egg whites
1/2 cup of sugar
zest of half a lemon

Beat the egg whites until foamy, then slowly add the sugar and lemon zest and beat until almost stiff peaks form. Set aside while you beat the cream.

1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
zest of half a lemon
juice of 2 lemons

Whip all the ingredients together. With the lemon juice in there the cream won’t become as stiff as whipped cream but that’s ok. Beat it until it’s thick and fluffy.

Fold the cream into the egg whites and pour over the crumbs in the springform pan. Freeze until firm.

Serve with berries.

Melktert

I have a friend who lives in Africa.¬† One day when she was over for tea she was looking at an African cookbook I have and she pointed out a couple of recipes that “you have to make” Melktert¬† was one of them.

First, the recipe said that it was better and perhaps more authentic with puff pastry than with regular pie pastry, so that’s what I used. If I make it again I will use my standard pie dough recipe. This is because puff pastry is too puffy to carry a proper pie filling. I thawed the puff pastry as directed on the package, then rolled it out into my pie plates. It puffed up into a big beautiful, golden pillow so I scored it about an inch in from the edge and pushed the middle piece in a little. This left me with something reminiscent of a pie shell suitable for filling but kinda messy looking. I’d recommend using your own pie recipe, blind baked. Even if your usual pie dough is from frozen. My mom uses those all the time and they’re perfectly fine. It’s what’s inside that counts.

The filling;
4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter
2 or 3 cinnamon sticks

Bring this mixture just to a boil then remove from the heat. This is called scalding the milk. Take the cinnamon sticks out.

2 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt

Mix in a small bowl with a whisk and pour in about 1/2 a cup of the hot milk. Whisk until it’s smooth. Add 4 egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Put the milk on medium heat and pour the egg mixture into the milk slowly while whisking.

A couple of notes here;
-cooling the milk a little, then adding the eggs, then pouring the mixture back into the milk is called tempering. If you put eggs into hot milk you’d have egg lumps, which is not what you want. You want the eggs to thicken the milk along with the flour and the cornstarch
-I opened my cornstarch container to discover approximately 1 Tbsp of cornstarch. I added that and threw in about 4 extra Tbsp of flour.

Stir the milk mixture constantly over medium heat for about 5 minutes to thicken it. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract.

At this point you have pudding. Or custard.

Whip 4 egg whites with 1/3 cup sugar until stiff peaks form, but don’t overbeat them or they will become dry and brittle.

Fold in the custard mixture and pour into 2 pie shells. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350F and bake another 10-15 minutes.

Traditional garnish is a dusting of cinnamon. It was all just too white for me so I’m serving it with some fresh strawberries.

It’s still in the oven. I hope it turns out.

Clean out the fridge frittata

It’s a couple of days before pay day and some of the veggies are getting a little tired. So I decided a frittata was in order. For the most part-this is not a science. Take what’s in your fridge and make dinner. Or brunch.

about a tsp of bacon fat (you keep bacon fat in your freezer don’t you?)
1/4 red onion, grated
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 medium russet potatoes, grated

Toss this all around in an oven proof skillet until the potatoes start to soften. Sprinkle with parsley, oregano and salt.

about 1/3 of a red bell pepper, diced small
2 roma tomatoes gutted and diced

Throw these on top of the potatoes. Turn off the burner and turn the oven on to 350F.

about a handful of fresh spinach
sprinkle with nutmeg and a little more salt

half a small container of feta cheese, crumbled (this was probably about 3/4 cup)
Sprinkle that on the spinach.

Beat up;
3 eggs
1 cup milk

Pour over everything and pop it in the oven for a few minutes-until the eggs are almost set. It will finish cooking as it cools.

Enjoy!

Very Special Brownies

I know what you’re thinking. No, they’re not *that* special. Read on;

1/4 c. plain yogurt
1/2 c. melted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
Beat all these up together.

3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp b. powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine, then add to the egg mixture.

Pour into a greased 8 in square cake pan and bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes or until they’re done.

Best warm with chocolate ice cream.

Raspberry Buttermilk pancakes

The basic recipe is one I found on the internet that calls itself Ihop Buttermilk Pancakes. I’m not sure what makes it Ihop because I’ve been to ihop both in Canada and the US and their pancakes weren’t nearly as good as the ones I made today. Maybe it’s the raspberries

1 1/4 c. flour
1 egg
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. canola oil
1 pinch salt

frozen berries

Mix together in the order given. It’s ok if the batter is a little lumpy but it’s not ok to overmix it. Just stir it until it’s all together-looking. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium and drop batter onto the hot pan. Place some frozen raspberries on top of the pancakes. No need to thaw them first. When they look dry around the edges, flip them over and finish cooking.

I ran out of raspberries so my last 3 pancakes had blueberries on them. I bet chocolate chips would be really good too.

Serve with bacon and a little too much maple syrup.