Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Get Fresh!

Woops, sorry I'm late! My internet was down yesterday, of all days! I was so frustrated! But, it's ok, because now it's back up and working again and you can see how my trials went.

I was actually quite excited when I found out that we'd be making a Lemon Meringue Pie this month. I'm not a huge fan of pie, I think it's more hassle than it's worth, but I was also ready to be proven wrong. And I was!

I've been just dying to use Meyer Lemons, but can't seem to find them anywhere around here. I found some at Top Foods for an amount I won't disclose right now (outrageous is a fitting word), but picked some up anyway, knowing just the thing to use them for. That was justification enough for me.

For the recipe, visit Jen at the Canadian Baker here (http://canadianbaker.blogspot.com/2005/10/lemon-meringue-pie.html).

I was really worried about the lemon curd not setting up, because I'd read horror stories about it, but mine set up just fine. I accidentally left my trusty camera at our friend's house so I wasn't able to take photos until the day after I made it (d'oh!), so the meringue sort of separated and the curd got a little liquidy around the edges of the pie. Other than that, it was perfect. Nice and light and not too sweet. Even the crust stayed crispy, believe it or not. My friend Terry wolfed down a nice slice of it in about .45 seconds flat. I really had to improvise this time around, since I didn't have a lemon juicer, so I just pressed the lemon halves through a strainer, so I guess it's a good thing I chose Meyer Lemons, since they're a bit more tender and forgiving. I also didn't have pie weights or dried beans, so my crust shrank a bit (still tasty though) and I don't have a food processor, so I just used my fingers, which was... odd...

And thank goodness the sun came out to play the weekend I made this, so I could take halfway decent photos this time around. See, folks, there's light at the end of the tunnel! Head over to the Daring Bakers Blogroll to check out the (MANY) other Daring Bakers' LMPs. You won't be disappointed!

Welcome new DBers, and see you at next month's challenge!


Monday, January 21, 2008

Cooking For Friends

One of the biggest compliments about being an avid cook/baker is when a friend of yours comes to you asking you to make dessert for 10+ people. This happened to me last weekend, in fact. My friend Diana called me to let me know that we were invited to a potluck at her house on Friday night, and specifically asked that I make dessert. I was at work until 3pm and the party was at 6pm, so I had no idea what to make. I headed to the grocery store on the way home having nothing in particular in mind. All I knew was that these hungry people would need dessert (Yep, I'm in there, too):

As soon as I saw these perfectly ripe mangoes, I knew exactly what to make. Since most of the attendees are Italian, I wanted to incorporate wine into the dessert. So, here's my recipe for Grown-Up Mango Parfait:


-2 ripe mangoes

-1/4 cup white wine (I actually used Riesling, since it's a dessert wine)

-1 tsp vanilla

-1 pint heavy whipping cream

-1/8 cup finely ground sugar

-10 small decorative cookies

Instructions: Peel and slice mangoes (carefully, they'll be really slippery) into bite-sized pieces. Place in saucepan with wine, cook over low-medium heat for about 45 minutes to an hour. Let cool. Whip the heavy cream with the sugar until it thickens. In a glass (I used martini and margarita glasses) place about two large spoonfuls of the mango mixture, then add a large dollup of the whipped cream. Top it with the decorative cookie (I used heart-shaped butter cookies with milk chocolate on one side and white chocolate drizzled on the other).

These parfaits were so lovely, and a nice accompaniment to the dinner. I didn't want to make something heavy that would take a lot of babysitting, since I knew I would be consuming adult beverages and didn't want to worry about burning it. They went over well, I even caught a few people licking the inside of their glasses.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sincerest Apologies!

Wow, it's been FOREVER since I posted here! So sorry, guys, I've just been so busy lately. Mostly doing this:

Yep, that's yours truly, snowboarding up at 49 Degrees North (near Spokane, WA). It was definitely a good day. We've gone to quite a few different places lately (Mt. Hood, Snoqualmie, Mt. Rainier, etc) and progress have definitely been made. I know this is only my second season, but it's fun to look back at how frustrating my first season was and to see how far I've come.

I figured I'd pop by and say hello and reassure that no, I have not fallen off the planet... yet. We're starting to get into our busy season at work, but I'll do my best to keep on postin'. Oh, and before I forget, we got orders to get reassigned to Kodiak, AK this summer, which is really exciting. I'm not looking forward to paying out the ass for stuff for my baking/cooking, but it'll be alright. Since the hubby talked me into staying in the Coast Guard, I went and traded in my car (2000 Honda Civic LX) for a 2004 Audi A4.

Isn't she a beauty?! We've dubbed her "Innie the Audi", lol. Gotta love it. So, that's pretty much all the news for now, folks. And, like I said, I'll be back in no time with more food fun!