Yum Peaceful Cooking: 2017

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Lemon Ice Box Pie with Blueberries

It may not feel like it to some of you, and especially not to me (as I sit in a massive heatwave for the past week and a half, sweltering in triple digit, record breaking temps) but summer is almost over (thank God). School is in full swing and its Labor Day weekend! The unofficial final summer bash. Barbecues, picnics, pool parties and dashes to the beaches are all in order. None of which are without food. And none of which should be without dessert.

Lemon Ice Box pie is the perfect summer dessert. My grandmother in Alabama used to make it, I have always loved it, and therefore it's very southern my mind. If you haven't tried, give yourself a treat. It's quick, easy and so refreshing. 

And....there's no baking required. As in....no turning on the oven!! Not even for a minute.

Oh...but I added a little twist to the original recipe. You see, I happen to have a thing for lemons and blueberries. It's like a match made in heaven. Tart, tangy, sweet, zingy, bright and refreshing all at the same time. 

Besides.....how many of you have that extra can of sweetened condensed milk sitting in your cupboard? You know the one I'm talking about.....it's left over from the holidays, and every time you search your cupboard for a can of something....it gets shuffled around from one spot to the next.

Guess what.....that can has a destiny....and your need of a last minute dessert for that fabulous pool party you've been invited to tomorrow, requires that can. 

Let me take a wild guess....that can is probably Eagle Brand. Am I right? I know there are other brands out there...but when I'm looking for sweetened condensed milk during the holidays, its that label that my eyes are searching for. It's iconic. Almost legendary in its own right. 

Sooo....grab that can and let's get this party started!

This will make two pies if using the store bought graham cracker crust pie shells, or you can make one big huge mega deep dish pie like I did. Or, you can get out a 13x9 casserole dish and make it that way. Here's the recipe for the graham cracker crust if needed:

3 cups finely ground graham crackers
2/3 cup sugar
12 tablespoons melted butter

Mix the graham cracker crumbs and the sugar, then stir in the melted butter. Press into 2 - 8 or 9" pie pans. Chill it in the fridge for about an hour or so. 
Now for the main attraction!

Lemon Ice Box Pie with Blueberries

1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
12 oz Frozen Cool Whip, slightly thawed
6 oz  frozen lemonade concentrate
8 oz Blueberry jam or preserves (or more if desired)
Fresh blueberries to garnish
Fresh lemon zest to garnish
2 graham cracker crust pie shells

Combine the sweetened condensed milk, cool whip and lemonade concentrate until smooth. Set aside.

Spread the jam evenly along the bottom of the graham cracker crust pie shells. Divide the lemonade mixture and pour into each pie. Refrigerate until set. Garnish with fresh blueberries and lemon zest and enjoy!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Celery Soup with Potatoes, Leeks and Dill


When it's cold and rainy (a rare occasion here in Los Angeles) you have to take advantage of it and make yourself a good pot of soup!

Some of my most favorite soups can be found in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Cookbooks, both volumes one and two. I haven't made one I didn't love.  True to Julia's style, there are a few steps. They are not hard steps but are worth it. 

Very much so. 

I did one thing differently. I added dill. I didn't have fresh dill on hand so I used a pretty amazing spice blend by WildTree called Dill Dip Blend. It does make a fantastically addicting dip but is equally delicious as a seasoning. 

Celery Soup with Potatoes, Leeks and Dill

Inspired by Julia Child

Celery and Leeks
3 cups sliced celery
2 Leeks, white parts only, sliced or 1 1/4 cups sliced onion
1/4 tsp salt
3 TB butter
4 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
1/3 cup uncooked white rice

3 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups water (important to measure this as it will be added to the soup)
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk, heated
1/8 tsp sugar (pinch)
Salt and Pepper to taste (white pepper is recommended)

In a heavy bottomed 3 quart pot, melt the butter and slowly cook the celery and leeks with a 1/4 tsp of salt, covered, until tender but not brown. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and Dill Dip Blend, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking, uncovered for 25 minutes.

While that's going on, boil the potatoes with 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of salt. When tender, drain the cooking water into the celery and leeks. Puree the potatoes. I used a ricer and placed them back in the pan and whisked in the heated milk. If you're using a blender, beat along with 1 cup of the heated milk, place into the pan and add the remaining cup of milk.

Once the celery and leeks have cooked a bit, puree the mixture with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender. Add the potatoes and whisk everything together really well.  Bring to a simmer and then beat in the pinch of sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

When serving, add a dab of butter to each bowl. Blend the hot soup into the butter and top with croutons. Something about that dab of butter that adds a bit of richness. You can skip it if you choose, but treat yourself and give it a try it.