Friday, June 24, 2011

Grandma Gibson's Lemon Meringue Pie

There isn't a memory of Grandma's house that doesn't include Lemon Pie.  We have the recipe but have yet to have it match hers.  I recently found the recipe in her hand writing on a piece of scrap paper, she must have written it from memory while visiting me.  I wish I had gotten a photo of her with one of her famous pies.  She baked pies for her church, the fire company picnics, friends celebrating or mourning, for all of us every time we asked.  She lived to be 95 and was still baking pies.  My grandfather passed away when she was only 49, she went to work and  put in enough years to retire from the Post Office.  She quilted almost everyday until both wrists required surgery at 89, she always had an amazing flower garden, she painted, mowed her 7 acres on her John Deere, truly an example for all of us.  The pie didn't come out as good as hers, but I also think some of the memory lies in having it with her at the lake.

Lemon Meringue Pie

1 baked pie shell
2 lemons (zest of one and juice of both)
1 1/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
2 C cold water
1 T butter
mix in top of double boiler
2 Large Tablespoons Flour
2 Large Tablespoons cornstarch (dissolved in cold water)
cook until thick, pour into pie shell.

3 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of cream of tarter
5 T sugar
with mixer beat adding one Tablespoon of sugar at a time till stiff peaks form.

That is all that is written on the slip of paper she wrote while visiting me, so I have googled different recipes to compare directions.  I used her measurements with the following instructions:

In top of double boiler bring to boil the lemon juice, zest, sugar, salt, water, & butter stirring with a whisk.  When it appears well blended dip about 1/2 cup out to mix with the blended egg yolks to temper them,  adding it gradually then mixing it all back into pot.  Stirring constantly until mixture thickens.  Then pour into hot pie crust.

Beat all meringue ingredients until stiff peaks form, then spoon onto warm lemon mixture.  Bake at 350° for 10-12 min till meringue is golden.  Let cool completely so lemon sets or it will run.

Not bad for my first attempt!
With an ice tea today--that was lunch. 

Lewis Lake, Union Dale, PA 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Nana's Stuffed Bell Peppers

Jim and Dorothy (Taylor) Langon
1953 (baby Jim in carriage)
Jim and Dorothy Langon 2009

Bill (Sylvanus) Taylor / Dorothy Augustine Taylor
I married into an Irish/Italian family, there are a few other nationalities in there but these are the dominate ones.   James Patrick Langon 100% Irish, Dorothy Marie Langon 50%Italian and 50% blend of English, German, Lenape Indian, Dutch...   If you are into heritage or culture you will find the Irish/Italian combination is quite common.  It is from my mother in laws Italian side we get a lot of traditional recipes adapted over the years to the changing markets, preferences or lifestyles.  We raised our kids with lots of stories of family, heritage, traditions, all cultures, and a whole lot of history.  Family connections are so important we both enjoy this and feel it makes our lives richer.  Over the years there have been many school projects that involve digging into family history and interviewing relatives although we still find new stories we hadn't heard before.

Wow, I am married over 30 years and this recipe has been a favorite whenever my Mother in Law makes it.  Why haven't I made them before?  Looking at the big display of peppers at the store it was like a light went off.  I called her from the store picked, up what I needed and tried it out.  Now they weren't hers, no matter what it is there is always something different about a recipe someone made for years.  I am convinced that the kitchen, equipment, where you shop, everything affects the outcome.  Knowing I can't fully recreate them I made a few twists as I usually do.  They were enjoyed thoroughly and will be made again.  I like the idea of anything you make ahead, this is a good meal for that also.  It can be its own meal as is or add a salad & crusty bread.

Nana's Stuffed Peppers

1 1/2 lbs Ground beef/chuck/ sirloin
4 large green bell peppers
2 stalks celery (chopped finely_
1/4 c grated Parmesan
1 egg
1/2 c bread crumbs
pepper                   >to taste
Italian seasoning
raisins  (optional)
favorite red sauce (homemade if you have time, my favorite jarred is Prego traditional)

Slice off the top of the green peppers, chop up the edges and saute the chopped pepper with the ground beef and celery.   Blend in Parmesan, egg, bread crumbs mix until bread stuffing type consistency.  Scoop into peppers, place peppers into baking dish that allows them to stand up, you can place ramekins in dish to help hold them up.  Pour a small amount of water into the bottom of the baking dish, top each pepper with sauce and add grated cheese to top if desired.  Bake about 30 min at 350ยบ.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Salad Spinner--another favorite gadget

Salad Spinner

If you make a lot of salads this is such a help.  I wash the lettuce in the clear part, then place it in the colander part, put it together and spin.  Lettuce is dry almost instantly.  I have had this one for at least 20 years and it has held up great.  Also works well with leeks or any of the leafy vegetables you want to dry well.  Lettuce could also be stored in it but it would take up a lot of room the refrigerator, I prefer a ziploc.

Ratatouille Pasta

Ratatouille Pasta

Ratatouille is a traditional French dish from the Provence area, there are many variations on it.  This is about as easy as it gets, yet healthy, delicious, & filling.  Make a salad and you have your whole meal.  The most time consuming thing is chopping all the vegetables, no need to measure anything, add or subtract whatever your gang won't eat.  I'll bet if it is chopped up enough they won't even know it's in there.  What a great way to get your family to eat more vegetables!
green pepper
bay leaf
salt & pepper
garlic chopped
favorite red sauce
Parmesan fresh grated
Chop vegetables small and saute the first 7 ingredients till just softened, add everything down to the pasta and let simmer.  The longer it simmers the richer the sauce, the capers add a nice flavor to the sauce.  The carrots I usually chop small but the sweetness in them really helps with the acidic sauce, for years I used a little brown sugar for that but the carrots seem to do the trick and so much healthier.  When ready to serve just boil up your pasta, mix, sprinkle with Parmesan--enjoy.  
saute in a little olive oil the vegetables

sprinkle with Parmesan

Thursday, June 2, 2011


After searching for recipes without eggs for Tiramisu I found one, tweaked it a bit and will definitely make it again. By tweaking it I actually took things I liked from different recipes the key ingredient to me is the Marscapone Cheese it makes the dessert. The only coffee I used was in soaking the lady fingers, and I used regular Hershey Cocoa for dusting the top.  I am sure I have had Tiramisu in restaurants  made with eggs but I just can't get past serving raw eggs.  Chocolate Volcano Cake and Caesar Salad dressing are other recipes I question the eggs not being cooked.  It is probably fine and obviously has been done for years but for now I'm still avoiding uncooked eggs.  However this recipe was delicious!  Should have had a picture of the final product but missed that somehow, so will add it another time.


2 pkgs of lady fingers
8 oz Mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 Cups 1/2 & 1/2
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c Kahlua
1 1/2 c strong coffee
cocoa powder

Mix at med speed mascarpone, 1/2 & 1/2, vanilla and sugar till stiff peaks form.

In a dish big enough for dipping lady fingers mix coffee & Kahlua.

Spread layer of cheese in bottom of dish and layer the dipped lady fingers, repeat layers till dish is full.

Wrap tightly and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Remove wrapping and sprinkle layer of cocoa over the top just before serving.