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Getting through the week at work is really helped by 2 excellent weekend days full of sunshine, blue skies, sleeping in, a fun AWC event with good food and lots of laughter, and the new iPad I bought with some of my bonus money definitely helped, too! Not something I needed, but nice to have a fun toy to play with, and I'm looking forward to being able to read magazines on it, especially. The issue of Martha Stewart Living that was specially designed for the iPad was amazing.

I wasn't out as much in the sun as I would have liked to be, actually, mostly because of having to get the house cleaned up for Cooking Club, which I hosted here today. We had 11 people, which stretched my kitchen to its limits but somehow we made it work. One woman, after I pointed her at the "Tupperware cabinet" turned to me in awe and asked, "Is that ALL Tupperware?" (it's a double-sided 4-shelf cabinet, full of plastic containers. "Yes," I said, "or at least most of it. It's a sickness." Haa. Can you have too much Tupperware?

Someone else was impressed with our knife sharpener, and yet another impressed with the fact that every single thing she asked for, we had not one but two of (rolling pins, mixers, cup measures, pie pans, cooling racks, cheese slicers, vegetable peelers, graters). That's what comes of meeting and marrying someone later in life, and also never getting rid of things. When Anders and I met, we both had full kitchen's worth of stuff/equipment and we've kept most of it. It comes in handy. When one is dirty and in the dishwasher, the other is always there for use!

When I offered to host the Cooking Club activity, I wanted it to be structured like the activity used to be, in the past: choosing a menu that all the participants helped to make, and then all sat down together to eat. The last Cooking Club, back in November, which was the first one in YEARS, was more of a cooking CLASS: we learned how to make sushi. It was fun, and we all enjoyed it, but I don't have any particular culinary skill to pass on or teach, unless you count the killer tuna casserole that I snared my husband with :D

I had a dessert recipe for a layered meringue & parfait confection that I've had forever, but always been too scared of to actually make, and that's what I had in mind, but when I pulled the recipe out to look it over, I discovered that the prep time wasn't suitable: over 2 hours. Hmmm...what to do? Then a light bulb went on over my head: the PIE! It had meringue, too, so I'd have a chance to make it!

I have lots of recipes that I've clipped out of magazines, copied from websites, received from friends, that have been sitting in my recipe clip book, sometimes for YEARS, so I started looking through them and slowly put together a menu that I thought would work for the evening and for the amount of people signed up:

Appetizer: Mini Smörgåstårtas
Main Dish: Chicken & Potato Tarragon Stew with Dijon Creme
Side Dish: Asparagus & Feta Salad (found in Donna Hay magazine)
Dessert: Caramel Pie (Kolapaj) ...Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm PIE

The mini smörgåstårtas were a hit: fun to prepare and fun to assemble with lots of helping hands. The dinner was decent, though I don't think the stew was anything special, actually. The salad was excellent, especially the dressing, and the PIE. Mmmmm the pie: It was perfect.

Caramel Pie (Kolapaj)
Preparation: 30 minutes + chilling time (1 hour total)

5 dl (250 g) flour
125 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
2 Tb sugar
1 egg yolk
1 Tb cold water

Caramel Filling
2.5 dl (185 g) brown sugar (farinsocker)
¾ dl (40 g) flour
2.5 dl milk
45 g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 egg yolk

2 egg whites
2 Tb sugar

Pre-heat oven to 175C. Butter a deep pie-dish, 22 cm diameter. Put flour into a large bowl and knead in the butter in pieces until it becomes a crumbly mass. Stir in sugar, egg yolk and water. Knead into a soft dough and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic-wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

Roll out the dough between 2 pieces of baking paper so that it covers the pie-dish. Even out the edges and decorate them with a fork if desired. Chill for 20 minutes. Cover the dough with baking paper and pour a layer of dried rice or dried beans on top. Bake for 35 minutes; then remove the rice/beans and paper.

Make the filling: Mix the sugar and flour into a small pot. Stir in the milk in small amounts until the batter is smooth. Add the butter and stir on low heat for 8 minutes or until the batter begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla sugar and egg yolk and stir until the batter is creamy. Pour into the pie-dish and smooth out the surface.

Whip egg whites into a hard foam. Add sugar in portions and whip until the meringue is thick and shiny and the sugar has dissolved. Spoon the meringue over the pie filling and swirl with a fork or knife to decorate the surface. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the meringue has a nice golden color. Serve the pie warm or cold.

*Title from a quote by Barack Obama
mood: full
music: The Who—You Better You Bet


Yippee for cooking Club - hope you have it again while I'm visiting! Glad you loved the pie- although think my recipe for it is much easier- since the filling work amounts to boiling a can in water for a couple hours and occasionally rolling it over! I tried meringue for the first time last year when I made Vernor's pie- and was surprised how very easy it is!
Glad you got an Ipad -enjoy! Love, Lizardmom

boiling a can in water? A can of what?

Usually a can of sweetened condensed milk. Submerge it in a pan of boiling water for a few hours and you get caramel!

HUH! Good to know. I think I have a can actually...though maybe it's evaporated, not condensed. Guessing that one wouldn't work the same way? :)

I'm going to try the can method today. Tonight is Song Circle, and I usually avoid doing desserts because some of our members are such STARS at desserts. But this sounds just amazing. I fear I will also use a ready-made pie crust. Just lazy.

mmm..smörgåstårta, I've had the worst craving for it for some time, but as far as I know it is hopeless to get in anywhere in the States, unless I make it myslef. Which I could, except I live with a &%$#@ vegetarian, and having vegetarian smörgåstårta is like having chai latte without milk.

haha! They aren't that hard to make, actually, just fiddly. We made individual ones with salmon spread and smoked salmon/cucumber/lemon garnish.

I know what you mean about craving them though. They are not at all common in the States! I think I had something similar ONCE in all my years there.

have you read American Pie? i read it when it was first out and oddly enough, just pulled it out a couple of days ago. it combines 2 of my all-time fave things: pie + road trips through rural America. ;)

Had never heard of it, will check it out, thanks!! :)

Hurrah, a recipe that calls for equal amounts of yolk and whites! I bake so infrequently that it's always a challenge to use up odd leftovers.

(The fact that it sounds heavenly and delicious has, of course, absolutely nothing at all to do with my sudden desire to make the recipe. Nope, nothing at all. Not a thing. ;-))

I noticed that too, about the evened out use of yolks and whites for the same recipe. Brilliant!

Of Course I Like Pie! Mmm, a caramel pie. Now you've given me a vegan challenge Liz.

I'm sure you can come up with something! Is it only the egg that is the problem?

too weird--

I almost wrote all about how I really don't like pie today at mv as some kind of explanation of how I don't like SF but then didn't cause I was yakking too long anyway-- but isn't that NUTS? I mean I really really do not like pie--- how is that possible? xoxo E

Re: too weird--

You don't like PIE? ANY pie? Not any kind of pie? I have to admit that for a very long time I didn't like fruit pies; I was a pumpkin-pie-devotee. But now? MmmmmmmmmmPIE.

Re: too weird--

My husband doesn't like ice cream. There is weirder than pie dislike.

Re: too weird--

Ha! I can beat that. My daughter doesn't like chocolate or BREAD.

Re: too weird--

Yep. Got me beat. Bread? A gluten allergy in the making? Chocolate? No, no, can't be! I had this great thing that worked with my kids and their food stuff. I'd cheerfully say, "You don't like this? Good, hand it over. I'll eat it. It's a grown-up food anyway, I just wanted to see if you'd grown up enough to like it yet. No problem. You'll get there." And that was that. Often, when it's a food I really like and I suspect they might not, I would declare: Oh, don't give any to the kids. They probably won't like it yet. That would be a waste!

Worked like a charm on N. Raf has texture issues like many Asperger's guys.

Re: too weird--

She doesn't like cake or pie dough either, but even though she doesn't like anything bready, she can and does it on occasion. She's not gluten-allergic. She'd just rather have an apple :)

Re: too weird--

That's one of the great things about raising one's kids in Europe. People honestly feel that kids can and do prefer apples to sweets. We believe that every child is sugar addicted, practically from birth, would always choose candy/cake/pie. Consequently, we have sugar-addicted kids. When we were in France, people started saying right away that Natasha didn't seem to care about sugary things. If we hadn't brought them to the States at 2 and 3, I think they'd both be more balanced eaters.


Okay...I need NEED to know what you do with this thing. Mine just sits there. I watch Netflix on it, but since I'm not watching Netflix for lent, it is like a book-sized dust catcher. Help! You alone can open the window in my brain that is going to go CLICK with this thing. We got one FREE and JF passed it on to me since he figured it was just an iPod Touch writ large. I can't even get it to do iPod Touch writ large stuff.

Re: iPad

What thing, the iPad? I wish we had Netflix. I answer emails, surf the web, check out Flipboard (free app), but am mostly planning to use it for magazine subscriptions (more are coming all the time) and as an e-reader (though I'm still struggling to make that mental leap). I play stupid games on it as well, though not that much, because I have to wrest it away from the kids.

Re: iPad

Also, you can write LJ posts with the free LJ app! :)

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