Sunday, July 15, 2012

On The Soundtrack To My Life

If you can guess by my recent, yet sparse posts, I have been cooking non stop this summer.
That may sound weird to some, but the selection of fruits, veggies and fresh seafood have me over the moon with inspiration and delight.
When I plan on spending any amount of extended time in the kitchen I need some great tunes to cook to.
The only thing that works for me at this time of year is some great French music.

Here are my suggestions for two great albums to download on iTunes that will have you strapping on your apron and wishing you were at your beach house in the Hamptons in no time flat.

If your not interested in splurging on two new downloads?
Then download the free Pandora app on your phone.
Have it?
Now type in Paris Combo.
A fab band and the Pandora station will play anything and everything that sounds like them.

What next????

Bon Appetit!!!!!

*warning: your husband may ask why it sounds like the movie Ratatouille is being re~enacted in his house. just tell him it's your favorite!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Sunday At The Shore

It has been a long standing tradition in this family to go crabbing in the summers.
We go to a small waterfront park not even a 5 minutes drive from the house that sits on our town's namesake river.
This river feeds out into the Barnegat Bay and is full of fish and crab ~ a perfect place for us to set our rudimentary lines of chopped up fish on twine.

Once you can feel the crabs nibbling on the line, you pull the line up ever so gently.....

then gingerly lean over and scoop them up quickly into a net.
Once in the net, we check them for size and gender. Females and smaller crabs get thrown back in while big, fiesty males are definitely keepers.

It's a tradition my children love as much as we do.
Once the lines are all set, Charlie usually does a little fishing as well.

This past Sunday, we could barely get the lines set up, the crabs were biting like crazy!
Every time we checked a line, it had something on it ~ it was incredible!
Lots of little guys and a ton of females left us with only 6 keepers.

Since 6 crabs don't provide much meat (we use a dozen rule) we threw them back in and drove over to our local fish market where we picked up a pound of crabmeat and then came home and made these crabcakes.
Try won't be disappointed!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Elusive Lemon Meringue

My grandfather was amazing in so many different ways. 
One of his talents was pie making.
Pop was more than well known for his Apple Pie, and his Lemon Meringue happened to be my all time favorite.
Unfortunately, none of us ensured he wrote his recipes down and his pie making and recipe remembering days had been gone for at least the last decade he was with us.

I posted the pictures of that Blueberry Crumb Pie on my Facebook page and a distant cousin wrote asking me if I had inherited "Uncle Erle's talent for pie making?"
I was flattered at the sheer thought that anyone would compare my pies to Pop's!

Our family has happily learned that that cousins brother (that's a mouthful!) has the recipe for the Apple Pie!
The Lemon Meringue still remains a mystery.
Knowing that the one recipe lives on set my wheels turning on how to figure out the secret to the Lemon Meringue.
I remembered a cookbook I found while cleaning out Pop's home in NJ back in 2006 after he had moved to North Carolina with my mom.
It was a Williams Sonoma Pie & Tart book....surely that must be where he got it from! 

I pulled it down lovingly from it's perch in my cookbook collection and started thumbing through.

The pages were worn and splattered. 
I took this as a sign that it had been well used and my heart thumped with excitement.
I found a recipe for meringue topping, but unfortunately, no recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie.
I was devastated but undeterred.
I decided to use the Meringue recipe for another Williams Sonoma recipe for Lemon meringue.

I assembled my ingredients.

I cooked the filling.

I prepared the meringue ~ a glorious, silky meringue.

I sealed the filling with meringue piled nearly sky high and baked it to absolute perfection.

After dinner was long finished, I cut a generous slice for husband and one for me.

The meringue was amazing ~ the filling was not.
The whole pie went into the garbage that same night.

The search continues....but here is the recipe for that fabulous meringue:
(taken from Williams Sonoma Pie and Tart book)
2/3 cup of egg whites (about 5)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp of cream of tartar
1/4 tsp of salt

Combine egg whites and sugar in a large mixing bowl and set the bowl in a pan of simmering water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm.
Remove and add cream of tartar and salt.
Beat egg whites at high speed until they stand in peaks. Gently spread egg whites over the pie filling completely covering the filling to the edges of the crust.
Broil for 1~2 minutes until peaks are brown.

Pop would have been 91 on the 4th of July.
As I stood with the kids watching the fireworks that night, I think he sent a few brilliant bursts down himself so we would know that he was watching too.