Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shaker Lemon Pie

It's citrus season in California and I've hit that time of year where I'm trying to use up my lemons. I found this recipe in the Sacramento Bee last week and was excited to find a new lemon dessert, particularly one that's a little different, but comes from a reliable source. The Shaker society of Ohio is the source of some really good home-style recipes. This one is described as a mix between lemon marmalade and lemon curd. It's a double crust pie: use your favorite recipe or one from the store (I like the Pillsbury roll-out one). I'd give you mine, but it's a work in progress. This recipe would also be really good with Meyer lemons, if you have access to any. This recipe does have an overnight component.

Shaker Lemon Pie
3 medium or 2 large organic lemons, thoroughly washed and stems trimmed off
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sugar (additional!)
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
4 eggs
2 uncooked pie crusts
sugar for garnish

Slice the lemons, rind and all, paper thin. If possible, use a mandolin on it's smallest setting. I used a 1/32" myself. After slicing the lemons, place in the bowl, pick out the seeds and add the 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Mix, cover and refrigerate at least overnight. (Mine stayed there for a few days.)

8+ hours later, layer lemons on top of uncooked crust, sprinkle layers with the 1/2 cup sugar and the flour. Melt butter in a bowl, add the eggs, mix thoroughly, then pour over lemons. Top with second crust, seal edges well, cut slits and sprinkle with sugar if desired.

Bake at 450 F for 15 minutes on a cookie sheet, then reduce heat to 400 and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Pie is done when golden brown on top and an inserted knife comes out cleanly.

Cool to room temperature before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Red Beans!

I know to many people beans and rice are kind of boring. But so many cultures have their own variety, and I love that I can make a different variety almost every week (and I do!) I really like Cajun-influenced food, but traditional red beans have an odd texture and feature andouille. I've worked hard to make a version with a great texture and a lot of flavor, without the fat and cholesterol. And who doesn't want cheap and healthy? I use dried beans since they're lower in sodium and I think they taste better. Feel free to substitute 2 cans of beans, and simmer 30 minutes before adding the rice and peppers.

Red Beans & Rice
4 oz dried red beans
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 1/2 tbsp Cajun seasoning (I like Tony Chachere's, but Zatarain's is also good)
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 cups uncooked rice (I use brown)

Rinse and pick through beans. Put in a pot, cover with 1 inch water and bring to a simmer. Add onion, garlic & celery and simmer covered until the beans are tender and edible. Add seasoning, and add more if necessary until the liquid is slightly salty. Add bell pepper and rice. Cover and cook until the rice is done.

Serves 4 big portions or 6 lunch sized portions. Top with hot sauce if desired.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Carrot & Fennel Soup

I'm starting back to this blogging thing slowly. It seemed like everybody included fancy photos, and I'm not a photographer, but I do know food, so that's what I'm sticking with. Before I've always cooked fennel the same way: roasted with garlic & topped with parmesan. But I'm on this soup kick lately, so fennel soup it is. I wanted to balance the licorice-ishness with some sweet and savory.

Carrot and Fennel Soup

2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 potato, diced
1 fennel bulb, with greens, diced
6 cups vegetable broth

Over medium low heat, melt butter, then add onions. Cook until very tender. Turn the heat to medium, add garlic and rest of the veggies. Sautee, stirring occasionally, until the veggies begin to brown. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until vegetables are cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.