A Little Bit of Summer Pie in Winter…

It’s February in SF and I am cold.

I know there are people out there who are living in climates that are dealing with real winters.  Real winters that involve shoveling snow.  Real winters involving snow chains and parkas and negative degrees.

It’s about 55 degrees in San Francisco and I’m cold.  I sit in my house and rock my animal knit hat.  Not ashamed, just cold.  (Thanks Jason H. for my KnitWit!)

On the other hand, the hubby LOVES this weather.  He rocks the SF uniform that involves jeans, a t-shirt, and Northface fleece.  He can still sleep in a t-shirt, while I opt to rock the Northface fleece IN BED… because I’m that cold.  Yes, I am a wuss.  A wuss in a knitted giraffe hat.  Again, not ashamed.

A Little Bit of Summer in Winter

When I think of summer, I think of lemons.  I think it’s because lemons are in a lovely, happy shade of yellow.  They’re… er, round like the sun?  No?  Sweet or tart like summer?  No?  Okay, well anyway lemons make me think of summer.

So… why not add a bit of summer in the midst of the cold?  Why not make some lemon ice box pie?  Just typing pie makes me happy and warm.  Even though I did just write “ice box” and that doesn’t really lead one to think of warmth.

There’s a bunch of recipes out there that are variations of this, but this has been my tried and true.  I credit Ms. Lynne R., a former co-worker and lovely friend, for sharing this recipe with me.

Lemon Ice Box Pie (with Vanilla Wafer Crust!)

WARNING:  You will be making crust AND meringue!  I swear, this is easy!

Make sure you have time… the crust needs to be refrigerated overnight.  Also, after the pie is baked (15 min.), it’s another 5 hours to chill.  It’s easy, but will definitely take some time!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup real lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
  • 1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 eggs, separated (toss out 1 yolk)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbl of white sugar
  • 3/4 box of Nabisco Vanilla Wafers (*if you don’t have time to make the crust, feel free to use a pre-made graham cracker crust)

Instructions

1.  THE CRUST:  Put the wafers in a zip-lock bag and start crushing them with a rolling pin.  We usually do a few wafers at a time.  Roll them out or use the back of the roller.  Crush them well!

2.  Once crushed, poor the contents into a bowl.  Keep crushing until they’re fine, but not turned to dust!

3.  Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat.  Once melted, add the butter to the wafers.  Stir until the wafers are well coated.  Pour into a pie pan.  Shape it into a crust and then refrigerate overnight.  Bye-bye pie, see you tomorrow!

The next day… Start by setting your oven to 325 degrees.

4.  THE FILLING:  Separate your eggs.  Keep the egg whites in a bowl.  Beat the egg yolks in another bowl and set aside.

5.  Pour the condensed milk into a bowl.  Stir in the lemon juice gradually.  Add beaten egg yolks and stir well until blended.

6.  Take the crust out of the fridge and add the filling.  Set aside.

7.  THE MERINGUE:  A Kitchen Aid mixer is not required, but will be EXTREMELY helpful.  You can also whisk like a mad person by hand.  For the meringue, pour the egg whites into the mixer.

8.  Add the sugar.

9.  Start the mixer on the lowest setting and work your way to the highest.  Continue to mix until you see firm peaks.

10.  Once the meringue is “peaky”, carefully place the meringue on top of the filling with large spoonfuls or use a cake knife to shape peaks.  Meringue is a finicky friend.  Some days you’ll have great peaks… today was not a peaky day…

11.  Bake the pie for approximately 15 minutes (or until the meringue has browned). Cool the pie before refridgerating.  Chill for 5 hours before serving.

Get ready to gobble this baby up!  I don’t think I’ve ever had a chance to have a second helping on this pie, because it disappears so fast.

It’s easy.  It’s lemony.  It’s a little bit of summer during your winter.

Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t forget Pi(e) Approximation Day (March 17th) is coming… Great time to try a new pie recipe!  😀

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An Ode to Pinterest (and Green Onions)…

HI FOLKS!!!

Sorry, we’ve been missing in action.  You can tell even Mochi, our beloved cat, has missed our documentation in the deliciousness of life.  Doesn’t she look sad?

Sorry, we’ve disappeared.  We blame Pinterest.  Scratch that.  We blame Pinterest.  I blame Pinterest.  While Kelson has been busy cleaning our backyard, I started falling in love with… Pinterest.

For all of you who don’t know what Pinterest is or why people like me are glued to it, it’s an online pinboard that let’s you get a visual of all that you love online.  You can create “boards” for your recipes you want to try, for ideas you have for your home, for places you want to travel, etc.

I. LOVE. PINTEREST.

I swear this is the last thing I’m going to say about it.

….

Did I mention I love Pinterest?  Do you need an invite?  🙂

One of the things I love about it is that it has gotten us to cook more and work on neat little projects.  One of the simple things we learned and loved was how to grow green onions in a cup.  A cup!  No dirt needed.  No backyard.  All you need is sunlight, a cup, some water, some green onion leavings, and a little bit of love.

Trust me.  The little bit of love goes a long way.

An Ode to Green Onions

Green onions are wonderful!  They are cheap.  They go into everything I love to eat… green onion pancakes, dumplings, chap chae, salads, etc.  Green onions are great!  Recently, I noticed that my parents had green onions growing in their kitchen.  They have a windowsill full of beautiful plants and flourishing flowers, so I sort of figured my sad little bay window could just do some orchids and call it a day.

Then I came across a pin on Pinterest that changed everything.

How to grow green onions… Re-growth (courtesy of Homemade Serenity)

As I mentioned before, green onions have been grown indoors by folks like my family and others for awhile.  It is time the word is spread!  How many times have you just needed a few green onions to add some freshness to your food?  How many times have you had to toss out the green onions that were going bad or wondered what you could do with the ends?

Well, now you don’t have to chunk them into the compost or buy a huge bunch just for the few you need.

Instructions

1.  Take the ends of the green onions and put them in a cup of water.  A clear glass will give you the most sun exposure, but a mug will do with direct sunlight. Since we had so few roots to work with, I opted to use my favorite little mug.

2.  Fill the cup or mug with water (enough to cover the roots).

3.  Set the cup near a window that gets lots of sun exposure and wait a few days.  I kid you not that you will start seeing it sprout in a few days.  Again, that little bit of love goes a long way…

Ta-dah!  Check out the green onions you grew!  I’m sure all those that are not a fan of bugs and dirt are sitting pretty right now.

My parents eventually planted their green onions in a clay pot with dirt.  We’ve had friends who have done the same due to complaints of a smell from the water.  The smell is usually a sign that there’s too much water that may have caused some root rot.  Clear it out and change the water once a week.

Enjoy!