Monday, September 7, 2009

Summer's End

It's the end of summer. Labor day weekend is the official last hurrah. Lee's hurrah hasn't been as loud because she's been pretty ill. Three weeks ago she started complaining about her ears being stuffed up versus down (I don't get it.). After two weeks she finally went to the doctor expecting an ear cleaning. She had an external and inner ear infection in both ears! So armed with medication and steroids she hoped to feel better immediately. Well two days after she started her meds she had her infection transmogrify into the monster upper respiratory infection of all time. She's been very tired but still wanting to help with errands and do things around the house. She's not at death's door so I've been trying to make her feel better through food. Saturday I grilled blackened snapper with a lime butter sauce. We had some delicious late summer corn and a grilled zucchini. It was beautiful so we ate outside. As we were sitting at the table and I glanced left as a hawk flew by. He or she was about five feet from us on her flight path and it was amazing she swooped up to land on a limb overhead. Of course no birds to be seen anywhere. This hawk hangs around a lot because we are avid bird feeders and watchers. Another time, Lee was outside and a hawk landed not five feet away. I was in the house another time when a hawk flew to the house and struck a window. It was quite a hit. The hawk and window both survived.

Yesterday I decided to saute some squash with dill so I went to the garden to see what was there. There was some very nice squash but also some bees. I've heard that the bees are disappearing but they were in my garden. They were dining from the flowers on the basil and broccoli. I wonder what basil honey would taste like? I so love honey. I bought some honey in Glen Arbor, Michigan when we were on vacation. It was thick spun honey and we went through a huge jar with toast every morning. I also smoked pork tenderloin on my smoker. It was just delectable with the rub and smoky flavor in the meat. I added a poblano rice casserole with chihuaha cheese and sour cream. Just to tempt Miss Lee on her survival I made her favorite dark chocolate pie with mile high meringue. It was adapted from a recipe in Bob Appetit. I love it because the crust is stirred together and patted into a pie pan and baked. It is always perfection. The filling is a chocolate pudding made of cocoa and dark chocolate. It takes six egg yolks so I use the whites to make a thick tall meringue. The deep chocolate, the sweet meringue and the slight saltiness of the crust are awesome taste wise. It is Lee's very favorite dessert.

Today it's raining so if rain continues the grilling choices may be very limited. I've been baking up a storm since Friday night. I made black and bleu burgers with homemade buns. After that I made whole grain bagels with salt and a loaf of 10 grain bread. Fall is bread baking time for me. I also am making a starter for sourdough from water, flour and cumin. It is a three day process and of course I ran out of flour so I'll make an early run to pick some up. I asked Dorothy Lane if they would sell me some of their 250 year old starter and they informed me they didn't sell their starter. So I will make my own young starter. Bread is a few days away but I could make an Italian loaf today and make bread salad with some crab and fettucini for dinner. Or I could make some leftover pork tenderloin into pork barbecue to serve on some of those delicious homemade buns. I'll start with asking Lee what she has a taste for. She'll ask her choices and I'll give her some notion of what is available. She'll say I don't care make what you want and I'll be back to pondering.

Happy Labor Day to all who labor or have labored. Everything works because of what you do and the contribution you make to life. My roommate told me she would be laboring on Labor Day. Of course there are people who labor on the national holiday for workers. We count on those people. The shops will close early but some folks won't be home to gather with friends. They'll be protecting our country or keeping people safe, standing by in an emergency or making sure our need for immediate gratification can be met through retail therapy. They'll be keeping things going for the rest of us. Whatever you do if you are retired, just off for the holiday or laboring. Thank you fellow laborers.

Dark Chocolate Pie with Mile High Meringue (adapted from Bon Appetit)


Butter a 9 inch glass pie plate

In a bowl stir together 10 T. melted butter (1 1/3 stick unsalted)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 C sugar
1 1/3 cups flour

Pat the crust into the pie plate and make a decorative crust. Bake it for 18 minutes and cool completely.

Chocolate filling

In a pot bring 2 C of milk to a simmer
In a bowl blend 6 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue), 6 T of cocoa, 4 tsp. cornstarch a dash of salt, 2/3 C brown sugar and 1/4 C milk

Gently pour the milk into the cocoa mixture while stirring continuously to blend. Pour the mixture back into the pan. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it thickens stirring constantly. Add 1 T. rum, 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate and 3 T. butter. Stir until the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is glossy. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and refrigerate for 4 hours.


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Beat 6 whites until foamy. Add 1/4 tsp. cream of tarter and 1/2 C. sugar and beat to stiff peaks.

Pile the meringue on top of the pie and spread to the edges so that no filling can be seen and the meringue touches the crust. Bake the meringue for 20 minutes. The top will be a luscious brown.

Cool for several hours before serving.

1 comment:

  1. I guess that was what I was doing...."making sure our need for immediate gratification can be met through retail therapy." LOL This chocolate pie sounds d-i-v-i-n-e. I'm anxiously waiting to hear of the Texas Barbeque plans....I'm sure they are under way.