Frozen Lemon Meringue Torte

This recipe has become a summertime (yes, I realize we are coming into fall and I am tardy) favourite at my family’s island home.  It is refreshing, sweet, tart and the perfect end to a hot summer’s day.

Frozen Lemon Meringue Torte - A Pat & A Pinch

Semifreddo

1 ¼ c. granulated sugar

1/3 c. butter

1 tbsp. Grated lemon rind

1 c. lemon juice

6 eggs

1 ½ c. whipping cream

Meringues

1 ½ c. sugar

2 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tsp. grated lemon rind

6 egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla

Prepare the semifreddo first as it needs to cool entirely. In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, heat sugar, butter, lemon rind and juice, stirring until sugar is dissolved. In bowl, beat eggs; whisk hot lemon mixture into the beaten eggs (DON’T add eggs TO lemon mix). Return mixture to saucepan and cook, stirring, just until boiling; simmer for 1 minute.  Pour into clean bowl. Place saran wrap directly on surface and chill in refrigerator to room temperature. (Mixture can be refrigerated up to 1 day) When ready to assemble, whip cream just to stiff peaks and fold it into the cold lemon mixture.

Trace four 8-inch circles on parchment paper, and place pencil side down on upside down baking sheets.  Combine ¾ c. sugar with the cornstarch and the lemon rind; set aside.  Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining ¾ c. sugar until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and then fold in reserved sugar mixture.  Spoon meringue onto circles, smoothing tops.  Bake in 300 oven for 1 hour or until dry and lightly golden.  Let cool.  (Meringues can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 3 days.)

Line a 10” springform pan (bottom and sides) with plastic wrap to prevent torte from taking on a tinny taste from the metal unless the pan is non-stick.  Choose the best 3 meringues to use.  Fit one into the springform pan, carefully spread 1/3 of the lemon mixture over top.  Add 2nd meringue and spread another 1/3 of lemon mixture on top.  Do same with remaining meringue.

Freeze uncovered for at least 8 hours.  Torte can be frozen, well wrapped for up to a little over a week.  Let soften in the refrigerator for 45 minutes before removing sides and serving.

Frozen Lemon Meringue Torte - A Pat & A Pinch

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Shanks

Great news, not only is it summer, but I have finished my undergrad and have 3 months before my first year in law school commences.  I’ve got a summer job that I’m quite excited about, who would’ve thought employment would feel like such a luxury!?!  If you are thinking, “hmmm, no blog posts since November, I wonder if she still knows how to cook?” the answer is yes, I just have spent very little time cooking anything shareable.

So, although the weather is getting warmer, here in B.C., we still have the occasional wet and chilly day and this is the perfect meal for just that.  I inquired as to its origins and my mother scoured her cookbooks and the internet to no avail.  So while I am sure this faux-tagine is not a family recipe, I can only credit my mom for introducing it to me.

A Pat & A Pinch - Moroccan Spiced Lamb Shank

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Shank

3 tbsp. cumin seeds

3 tbsp. coriander seeds

4 12-14 oz. lamb shanks

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

¼ c. olive oil

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 1” piece fresh ginger, chopped

1 large yellow onion, grated

1 large pinch saffron

1 c. white wine

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 ½ tsp. ground cloves

2 whole bay leaves

1 ¼ c. dried apricots chopped

4 c. chicken stock

1 tbsp. butter

Toast the cumin seeds in a skillet for about 4 minutes, stirring a few times.  Grind the cumin seeds and coriander seeds coarsely with a mortar and pestle.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper.  Put the olive oil in a large ovenproof pan over medium-high heat.  Brown the lamb on all sides, 10-15 minutes.

Remove the lamb, pour off the fat and add the carrots and celery.  Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until just beginning to soften.  Add the fresh ginger, onion, and saffron and cook until the onion is translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine, ground cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon stick, ground ginger, ground cloves, bay leaves, and dried apricots.  Cook 5 minutes.

Place shanks back in the pan and add the stock.  Cover the pan and cook in 350F oven for about 1 ½ hours or until meat is tender and falling off the bone.  Remove the lamb shanks and cover with foil.  Set aside and keep warm.

Skim the fat off and strain liquid into a saucepan.  Discard solids.  Reduce the braising liquid to a saucy consistency by slowly simmering.  Time will vary widely, can take as long as 20 minutes.  Adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper, add butter.

Serve with couscous and a nice seasonal green vegetable.

Suzanne’s Flourless Chocolate Cake

I’ve been bad.  I know I haven’t posted in ages and I sincerely apologize.  The fact is, my life has been a whirlwind and will continue to be through early december.  So because I’ve had this post waiting since Canadian Thanksgiving for you and I will be in a conference for the majority of next weekend, I’m making time to share.

A Pat & A Pinch - Suzanne's Flourless Chocolate Cake

This cake is rich.  Chocolate lovers, pre-heat your ovens.  This recipe ended up in my family, forgotten by all (except me) until about three years ago.  I’m not sure where it came from, most likely my brilliant mother, but nevertheless, I am naming it for our chocolate-loving, beloved family friend, Suzanne, because she is always in my heart when I make it.

7 oz. bittersweet chocolate (the good kind – 90% cacao bars and NOT baker’s chocolate)

14 tbsp. unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks if you’re lucky enough to have portioned butter)

5 large eggs, separated

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

¾ c. granulated sugar

1 pinch salt

2 tbsp. unsweetened cacao powder

Optional

¼ c. chopped pecans

2 tbsp. booze (I recommend triple sec or cointreau but jack daniels worked well last time so this is flexible)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and sugar a 10 inch springform pan.

In the top of a double boiler, combine the chocolate and butter.  Heat until melted and smooth.  Transfer to a medium sized bowl and whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla.  Sift in sugar, salt and cacao while continuing to whisk. Lastly, mix in the booze and pecans.

With a mixer, whip the egg whites to soft peaks and fold one third into the chocolate batter.  Repeat with the remaining whites.  Pour this mixture into the springform and bake on for 25 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven.

Remove the cake from the oven and immediately loosen the springform collar.  Allow the cake to cool before serving.

If you’d like to festively decorate your cake as I enjoy doing, just use a sieve to sprinkle the cake with confectioner’s sugar.  By simply placing a leaf or cut out paper first, you can get nearly any desired design.

Bon appétit!

Ginger-Orange Marinated Carrots with Miso Vinaigrette

This recipe is from My New Roots and was a fun was to use our beautiful rainbow carrots that I found at the local market. Everyone enjoyed these including, and perhaps especially, the adorable 1-year old that lives just across from us.  While this made a surplus of dressing, my mother pointed out that it would be nice on a good piece of halibut as well, something to try another day perhaps.  The recipe is very easy to throw together and I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did!

Ginger Orange Marinated Carrots with Miso Vinaigrette - A Pat & A Pinch

Ginger Orange Marinade
Serves 3-4
zest of 2 oranges
juice of 1 orange
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. coconut oil melted
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
pinch sea salt
Directions:
Whisk all marinade ingredients together.

Mellow Miso Dressing
Makes ½ cup dressing
Ingredients:
¼ cup light miso
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. brown rice vinegar ( or apple cider vinegar which I used)
1 tsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. water
½ tsp. tamari (or high-quality soy sauce – I used Bragg’s as I wanted to keep this gluten free)
Directions:
1. Whisk all ingredients together. Store leftovers in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week.

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Prep carrots by removing the tops (if they have them), and giving them a good scrub to remove any dirt (don’t peel them) . Cut into quarters lengthwise if the carrots are large. Place carrots in the bowl with the marinade and toss to coat. Pour carrots and marinade out onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and place into preheated oven. Roast for 15 minutes or so, just until the raw edge is taken off. Keep a close eye on them – do not overcook.

While the carrots are roasting, make the Miso Dressing. Remove carrots from oven, plate them, drizzling with the dressing.

Ginger Orange Marinated Carrots with Miso Vinaigrette - A Pat & A Pinch

Aguadito de Pollo

This is a Peruvian chicken soup that I made for dinner tonight, adapted from A Cozy Kitchen.  I’d hoped it would be more green for the photos but no such luck tonight.  Nevertheless, it is a worthy recipe.  A little spice, the heartiness of chicken and rice, and the freshness of sweet corn make this ideal for any season.  I hope you enjoy it as well!

Image

2 c. cilantro leaves & stalks (yes the stalks have just as much flavour)

2 serrano pepper, halved and seeded

4 garlic cloves (2 whole and 2 minced)

4 1/4 c. chicken broth, divided

2 tbsp. olive oil

4 chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in (or a combination of chicken thighs and drumsticks)

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced (I had none sadly but for the colour, I wish I had)

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 c. white rice

1/2 c. green peas

1 ear of corn, cut off the cob

Salt to taste

1 lime, wedged

Add cilantro leaves, serrano peppers, 2 whole garlic cloves and 1/4 cup of chicken broth to a blender. Blend until mixture is thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, carefully add chicken thighs and drumsticks, skin-side down. Cook on first side for 4-5 minutes, and until skin is crisp and slightly browned. Flip on second side and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.

Add yellow onion to the remaining oil and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Next, add red bell pepper and ground cumin, allowing to cook for 1-2 more minutes, followed then by the minced garlic. Add the rice and cilantro liquid mixture to the pot and mix, being sure to completely coat the rice. Add the chicken back to the pot and cover with the remaining 4 cups of chicken broth. The broth should just cover the chicken. Cook for 20-30 minutes, and until rice is fully cooked.

When you’re ready to serve, add salt to taste if needed. Mix in corn and peas shortly before serving.

Add a few cilantro leaves to each bowl of soup, along with a few wedges of lime.

Beetroot Tarte Tatin with a Hazelnut Crust

This recipe is one I’ve been dying to try from Cannelle et Vanille.  I adapted it a bit: doubled the recipe to make a larger tart and used purple sweet potatoes as opposed to potatoes.  The result was a healthy, savoury tart with the perfect amount of caramelization to appeal to my sweet tooth. The process was a little time consuming but it made for a fun and tasty side to our dinner steaks.

Roasted Beet and Purple Potato Tarte Tatin with Caramelized Fennel and Gruyere Cheese

(makes a 9-inch tart)

Buckwheat and Hazelnut Tart Crust

1 c. brown rice flour
2/3 c. buckwheat flour
2/3 c. tapioca starch (the same as tapioca flour)
2/3 c. hazelnut flour (ground hazelnut)
4 tsp. ground chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 c. cold unsalted butter, diced
12 to 16 tbsp. ice water

Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the diced butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Add the water and pulse until dough comes together. It will not form a ball. Simply press it between your fingers to see if it holds.

Transfer dough to flat surface and knead a couple of times. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, flatten it with your hands, and refrigerate for one hour.

Meanwhile…prepare the filling

8 assorted colors baby beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 medium purple sweet-potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 springs thyme
pinch salt
pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 oz. grated caprano cheese (the original recipe suggests gruyere) 

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss the slices beets and purple potatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, pinch salt and black pepper. Bake the vegetables for 30 minutes until potatoes are done (they take less time than beets) and remove them. Continue to bake the beets for a few more minutes until tender, about 10 more minutes. Set aside and cool while making filling.

Reduce oven temperature to 375F.

Remove the tart crust from the refrigerator. Lightly dock it with a fork. Dust your cold surface with a bit of superfine brown rice flour. Roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut a circle that is slightly bigger than your mold. The scraps can be saved for another time.

Transfer the tart base to a sheet lined with parchment and refrigerate the tart base for 30 minutes.

Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the rest of the olive oil and cook the onions, fennel, garlic, and a pinch of salt until tender and slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, stir, and remove from heat. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Remove the tart crust from the refrigerator. Lightly dock it with a fork.

Place the roasted vegetables inside the tart mold tightly packed. Spread the caramelized onion and fennel mixture on top and sprinkle the Gruyere on top of that. Place the tart dough on top and tuck it into the edges.

Bake the tart for 30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.