Peppermint Meringues

Here’s a recipe to make, while taking to down the Christmas tree: Peppermint Meringue Cookies. Not sure that cookie is a true description,  because these are flourless. Maybe they are more like a candy. Make the peppermint meringues  and you decide what to call them.

Here’s what to do:

Preheat oven to 225°.

In a stainless steel mixing bowl begin beating 4 egg whites. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of cream of tartar. Keep beating. Crush up 3 candy canes, set aside. When the egg whites start to form high peaks, slowly add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. With the sugar incorporated, add a few sprinklings of the crushed candy canes. Okay, now the meringue is ready to drop onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Using a teaspoon, drop heaping dollops 2 inches apart. Place in oven and bake for 90 minutes. Turn oven off, when they are finished baking and let the meringues stay in the oven to cool and dry out.

Blessings for a great 2020 from the Exile’s Kitchen.

The Old General

Christmas parties a plenty.  One down; three more to go. This week. Today is the “office party”. I offered pralines and a lemon meringue pie. If you want, you can find those recipes here at theexileskitchen.com. Just let your fingers do the scrolling.

I’m in town this morning. My stand mixer is at Flowers Proper and so is the newer hand held. Deep in one of Mama’s kitchen cabinets, under stored paper plates and plastic cutlery, was her old General Electric hand mixer.  She still works. She’s 60 years old, if she’s a day.

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Eight egg whites in a bowl,  pinch of salt, dash of cream of tartar, a splash of pure vanilla,sugar. Started the Old General up. The beaters were a little loose, but patience persevered and the meringue was glossy and beautiful.

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Lovely, sticky whiteness was spread over the homemade lemon curd, fluffed, patted and run under a low broiler to toast it up. Just a bit.

It’s raining. Storming is a more appropriate description. I hope I get this pretty pie to work in one piece. The old General Electric mixer has been put away, but this time within easy reach. Her cord wrapped around her handle, just as my mother has done countless times.

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Today is my mother’s birthday. There’s a 2-layer, white cake with lemon curd filling in the ice box (that’s  Southern for refrigerator). Happy Birthday, Mama.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

 

Linens and Things

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

You Can Make A Better Choice

Bags of fresh cranberries are plentiful in the produce section of the grocery stores this time of year. It’s one of those food traditions that we never question and expect it to be on the holiday menu. Cranberries also seem to be one of those foods that folks either love or hate. Personally, I love cranberries. It’s really tasty on a sandwich made with left over turkey the day after Thanksgiving. They are good for you, too. Look it up.

Now, you can reach for a can of that congealed cranberry juice stuff concocted way back when your great-grandmother was a young woman. Time saver and convenient, if cranberries are just a garnish for your Thanksgiving plate, not really to be eaten with your turkey, then have at it.

You can make a better choice: fresh cranberry sauce. Below is what I do every year.

Here’s my recipe:

1 bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed in cold water

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

1/4 cup orange juice

pinch salt

pat of butter, optional

What to do:

Place rinsed berries in a two quart pot and turn burner to medium heat. Add sugar, water, orange juice and pinch of salt. I think the tiny bit of salt helps cut the bitter taste that cranberries sometime have and makes the taste brighter. Bring berries to a gentle boil, stirring to disolve the sugar.

The berries will begin to pop, as their skins split. You’re almost through with the cooking part, at this stage. When the berries foam up, turn the fire off. With a metal spoon, skim the pink bubbly foam from the top of the pot. If you want to, add the pat of butter. This helps reduce any foam that may remain- it’s kind of hard to get all of the foam out of the cranberry sauce.

Cool the sauce before placing it in the frig. It can be made a day or two ahead of turkey day. Serve in your great-grandmother’s pretty cutglass bowl. She’d think you are the cat’s pajamas.

Thanksgiving Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

I Know It’s Not Even Thanksgiving Yet….

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I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. And I know I’ve been preaching against rushing the seasons, but I guess I’m going to blame the frigid cold spurt we’ve had this week, for my Christmas ornaments project.

The tinsel tree never made it to the attic last year. It was boxed up, but not squirreled away with the other decorations. I’ll admit I have recently been tempted to set it up, not festoon it with baubles, just put it quietly in the sitting room corner.

Instead of pulling out the tree, I pulled out unused canning lids, pretty Christmas tape, seasonal paper, pompoms, miniatures and old buttons to make vintage looking, dioramic ornaments.

 

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Here’s what to do: First trace around a canning ring (like Ball or Kerr) onto a piece of Christmas paper and cut it out with scissors. Using craft glue, pipe a bead along the inside edge of the lid. Place another ring, bottom to bottom, on top. Put these together with pretty Christmas tape. (Hobby Lobby has many options.) With two canning lids secured like this it makes a wide enough inside surface to place the miniatures. I chose tiny Christmas trees and deer and shiny little Merry Christmas signs. Cut up white pompoms look like snow glued at the base. Material scraps and small old buttons came together for a hanger on top.

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Crafty Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen at Flowers Proper.

(And as always, if you enjoy the pictures, glean from the information or become inspired from my ideas, please click on the tiny star and give the post a ‘like’.)

Yes, I Did

I added pumpkin spice, plus a splash of vanilla, to twist up a simple recipe of marshmallow treats. Pressed into a pie plate and covered in seasonal fall sprinkles. Cut into a wedge, it rested on an ivory Fire King plate. Three marshmallows were saved for my Pecan Praline cup of Community Coffee. Yes, I did. And so should you.

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Pumpkin Spice Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Psalm 16:5-6

“Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

The Pumpkin Patch at Flowers Proper

 

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Fall Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen at Flowers Proper.

Counting Cookies

I found myself counting, when making cookies this afternoon. Counting when I rolled the shortbread, after dusting them with powdered sugar, and again when room had to be made on the wire rack to cool. Twenty-four all three times. There was some dough saved and rolled into a log, then wrapped in parchment. It went into the freezer for easy cookie baking later in the holiday season.

Fall Shortbread today; modified a recipe I shared last year: August Cookie of the Month: Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Instead of chopped pecans and dried cranberries, I added some sprinkles shaped and colored like Fall Leaves.

I counted twenty-three cookies, when arranged in the vintage Louisa glass serving piece. How’d that happen? Had to taste test, don’tcha know? Powered sugar coated thumbs up! Perfect, if I do say so myself.

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The idea from Pinterest seemed promising, but I’m calling this a fail. Our little pumpkin patch fun takes place tomorrow afternoon. Hoping the activities that are planned will go off better.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

The Dawgs Suck

It’s pumpkin season, as I’m sure you know.  We have a little pumpkin patch of our own this Fall. My grandsons have been keeping a check on them and next weekend we will have a family cookout and raid on the pumpkin patch to carve jackolanterns.

I’ve never made pumpkin soup, heretofore, but as I have these little pumpkins, I thought I’d try it. I washed, seeded, chunked,  and coated 2 pumpkins with olive oil, before roasting in the oven. When tender and cooled, I took a spoon and scraped out the cooked pulp. I had about 3 1/2 cups, which I smoothed out with an immersion blender. In a big pot, with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, I sauteed 1 chopped yellow onion and 4 chopped cloves of garlic. I added the pumpkin pulp into the pot, added spices of salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutneg and pepper to taste. To this , I stirred in 4 cups of chicken stock and let it simmer for around 15 minutes. After it was through cooking, I stirred in a 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Another spin with the immersion blender to ensure it’s creaminess and the soup was ready for my bowl.

Along side my bowl of pumpkin soup, was a plate of mustard decorated corndogs. Why not? I’m a  Louisiana State University fan. Can’t grow up in Baton Rouge and not be. Today we play the Mississippi State University Bulldogs. The Bulldogs call us Tigers corndogs. Yeah, really, why?  Both are agricultural schools. And the trek to MSU is way more rural than it is to LSU. Are the Tigers and their fans uncouth, is that what the Dawgs are trying to say? Oh, well.

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Even the wildflowers gathered on my morning walk are rooting for the Tigers. Purple and gold, baby.

Tiger Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.