Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cooking by the Book for April

I wanted to follow up a little bit on Easter -- what better way to start Sunday than to see the real-life Easter bunny, my neighbor Frank, plant eggs for his grandchildren's hunt!

My "Cooking by the Books" challenge continued this month -- and what better time to try a new recipe than for Easter?! (I mean, you can only eat so much bunny chocolate!)

I did two new ones -- from Ina Garten, her frozen Key Lime pie from her cookbook "Barefoot Contessa: Family Style."

This is how it turned out! And it tasted even better!

I remember this episode on TV -- she made this pie for Jeffrey, her husband. I love watching Ina and Jeffrey. They're so wonderful together! You can find the recipe online here.

This was easy to make -- the most time consuming thing is juicing the limes. I confess, I cheated, though. My food processor is broken, so I just used a store-bought graham cracker crust. I didn't hear complaints.

This was a big hit -- if you like key lime pie, I suggest you give it a try. And perhaps the best thing about it is that you can make it a day or two in advance! Always a plus for a big cooking day.

The other was Julia Child's artichaux au naturel from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Sounds so much better than boiled artichokes, doesn't it?

Really, the only complicated thing about these complicated looking veggies is tearing off the bottom leaves and clipping the tips of the remaining leaves. Rick has made them before and not done that, and I think he though it was much ado about nothing. Truth be told, it probably doesn't affect the taste, but it does make the presentation nice!

I served it with Julia's Buerre au Citroen, or lemon butter sauce. I doubled the recipe (without a measuring cup) and may have had a tad too much lemon juice. It was pretty much a load of flavor -- maybe too much. But being a lemon lover, I adored it. (I will say the artichokes drew mixed reviews from the kids, with Kevin a tad dubious and Greg finishing Molly's!)

And it was just as good poured over steamed asparagus on Sunday! The recipe: Boil 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice down to 1 tablespoon or so. Add 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter, cut in 8 pieces and whisked in one at a time). Right before serving add up to 3T hot water or fish sauce. (I used the water from the artichokes). This would be wonderful on any number of thingss.

We had two Easter dinners and Sunday's was pretty darned turn-key. Steamed salmon with dill sauce (put the salmon in the oven at 200 for an hour with just salt and pepper. Make sure it's on a tray over a cookie sheet filled with water. I bump up the heat the last five minutes of cooking just to warm it through. Gives you a whole hour to do your stovetop stuff and get the table set.

My flowers include pansies in duck egg shells (thank you, Anne!), sitting in cute little bunny egg cups!

I loved these cute bunnies -- silver toned, rather heavy, and looking like they were made from shortbread molds.

The rest of the menu included asparagus, deviled eggs and in honor of the famed Easter Bunny carrots.

For dessert, another new one. Pavlova with Mixed Berries from the "America's Test Kitchen Baking Book." I think the meringues might have been a bit moist due to forgetting to put them in an airtight container before starting to make the cranberry glaze for the Saturday pork roast, but the still worked for me!

The only little down bit with all this challenge-meeting was that I cooked from three books I like! But they were all new recipes!

Of course, when all is said and done, there is always room for chocolate!


Jennifer Richardson said...

I cannot express
how much my mouth
is watering right now
...thankfully I've got
dinner in the oven and almost done
or I'd be heading to the
leftover Easter chocolate!
Before the end of the week,
there WILL be a key lime pie
happily made in my kitchen:)

Joanne Huffman said...

Tasty sounding recipes and delicious looking recipes!

Bree said...

Thanks for the link to the pie recipe. I've been craving a Key Lime Pie and this recipe looks too easy to pass up.

Retired English Teacher said...

Everything looks lovely. I bet the food was fantastic. I will have to try to pie. I didn't cook this year. We went to my step-daughter's house for dinner.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh My! This all sounds so very deeeelicious! You must be a GREAT Cook...or should I say "chef"...

It was lovely to read your comment over at Vagabonde's Blog....You are almost the first person I know who suffers with Bronchictusis....Nobody knows what you are talking about--And I had never heard of it, myself---so it was quite meaningful to me to read what you said.

I hope you will be able to continue to be out in the world and be with people for a l-o-n-g time....! It does make a big difference, but...for me, being out with people when I don't know what they have or don't have, germwise, is just to treachorous....So, "confinement" though difficult, is better than the possible alternative of a pneumonia or some other horrific infection....And, I DO see people but in a limited way.
No one would believe the amount of Kleenex I go through....I'm sure you

Anyway, it is very nice to meet you and it is comforting to me to know that someone else out there is coughing up a storm...! (lol)

anno said...

Wonderful juxtaposition of food and flowers -- feels like all the best of spring! And that steamed salmon sounds just amazing. If you ever feel like sharing the recipe for your dill sauce, I'd be interested in giving that a try, too. Everything looks so lovely....

anno said...

And, yes, the ducks would approve: great use for their eggshells!

Janet said...

HB absolutely loves Key Lime Pie so I will have to try that recipe. Everything you made sounded delicious and then you can top it all with just a few more bites of chocolate!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

My sister adores key lime pie. I should make that when she is home this summer.

I, too, love the relationship between Ina and Jeffrey. You just hear the love in her voice when she talks about him. It's swoon-worthy in my opinion!

Looks like you had a beautiful easter!

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