Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

So I love lemon desserts, I must get it from my dad.

TNPLH: Lemon Merigue Pies 1

So for my 30th birthday I decided – what could be cuter than mini lemon meringue pies. After a bit of googling I found this Epicurous Recipe (here).

TNPLH: Lemon Merigue Pies 2

I pulled it apart a little and ended up LOVING the result. First I used my Grandmothers Pie Crust Recipe.

2 sticks butter, 2 cups flower, 4 tbls ice cold water – don’t you just love the recipes you memorize off the top of your head?

TNPLH: Lemon Merigue Pies 3

I used the filling from the original recipe but then instead of using their traditional meringue I used and Italian Meringue recipe. For those of you that have never made and Italian meringue your life is going to change. A traditional meringue you have to make on a perfect day, with the perfect humidity, and hope all the moons align in order for your meringue to get nice and tall and fluffy (it often falls down or never gets fluffy at all). However tada! If you use an Italian Method it creates the same tall fluffy consistency by using sugar and water and getting it to a soft candy stage on your candy thermometer. I first used this method while trying to figure out how the heck you make french macaroons. Try this recipe here.

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Works perfect! Look at that height – and it never fell either it stayed that way.

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If you are making these for a party there are a couple things you can do ahead. First you can roll out your crust and bake them in your tins a day in advance. You can also make your lemon curd and hold in the fridge a day in advance. Then all you have to do is make your meringue and assemble the day of your party. They are the best when you make them a couple hours ahead so they have time to chill back down.

Also you will notice here that we used a larger tart tin vs the recipe calling for a mini muffin tray. Both work wonderfully. I have done them both ways. The mini muffin tray is nice for a standing cocktail appetizer house because they are more bit size.

TNPLH: Lemon Merigue Pies 6

They were a delight – and a huge hit! You should try them sometime.

Cauliflower Soup Goodness

In attempt to eat healthier at work I have been making a lot of healthy vegetable soups lately. And one of my new favorites is this cauliflower soup. I love creamy soups but we all know that our waist lines don’t – but this soup gives you that creamy comfort food quality without the calories.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Now this weekend was the second time I made it and I made a few tweaks. The first time I thought it was a little runnier than I would like. So this time I doubled all the veggies (cauliflower, onion, garlic) and held the amount of chicken broth which was perfect. It made the soup just that tad bit more creamy instead of runny. At first when I chopped all the cauliflower and put in the pot with the broth the broth didn’t cover all the cauliflower (I thought maybe I was over-zealous in my veggie quantity), but after everything started simmering and cooking down it ended up being perfect.

Give it a whirl! Here are a couple of the other soups that have been in my kitchen lately (they all freeze super well! So I make big batches and freeze them in individual containers and just pop one out the night before for lunches the next day!)

Celery Root and Green Apple Soup

Carrot Soup

Gimme some Oven – Chicken Enchilada Soup

Dinner Party Menu

For my dinner party a couple weeks ago I tried a couple new recipes and they were all a huge hit.

First course we started with a Celery Root and Green Apple soup. Now I have made this recipe a couple of times. For starters it is 1. super easy 2. super good and 3. super healthy. I have been making it for lunches (also freezes super well which I like in a good soup). As usual I was all busy in dinner party preparation that I forgot to take food pics 🙂 Anyway check out the recipe here.

Epicurous Celery Root and Apple Soup

Next for the main course I found this recipe on the The EveryGirl. My number one demand for a dinner party entree is that the bulk of the cooking can be done ahead. So for this recipe I cooked the pears/shallots and such ahead, stuffed the pork and rolled it up ahead. Then at that point I put in the refrigerator until the time we were planning on throwing on the stove/oven. It worked really well. I probably did the prep 5ish hours before and it worked perfect. Find the recipe here. I think this recipe would also be amazing with apple instead of pear.

The Every Girl Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

pic from the EveryGirl

I served the pork with and easy side of rosemary red potatoes (also made ahead and kept in the refrigerator – I don’t have a recipe I just wing that one) and some roasted broccoli (I think asparagus would go better however my husband loves his broccoli – lord knows why).

For dessert I love taking advantage of dinner parties as a time to practice ice cream making. yum! This time I made this Salted Carmel Ice Cream from Epicurous – heaven!

epicurous salted carmel ice creamAnyway – I thought the whole mean worked really well together – it was certainly a hit!

Fall Recipes

I have been loving cooking up fall since the weather changed. Over the last couple weekends I have made 2 new fall soups and a chicken pot pie. All delicious! I highly recommend!

Ina Garten Chicken Pot Pie

First is the chicken pot pie. It was amazing. I made it for a fall dinner party and it was a huge hit. It also made a lot so I was able to freeze some for later. Since I made it for a dinner party I rolled out the pastry ahead of time and placed in between sheets of plastic wrap. Then when we were ready to throw them in the oven it was easy to assemble!

bon appetit carrot coconut soup

Next this bon appetite carrot coconut soup. My friend made a carrot soup for our fall dinner party and I had never had one before. It was delish and it inspired me to make one myself (it also helped that my husband actually ate it). So I found this bon appetite recipe. The soup  has a little bit of kick from the thai chili sauce included – very good I would make it again!

The last one is a celery root and apple soup from epicurious! Sorry for no picture on this one. This was an amazing soup. I love creamy soups in the winter but we all know how the calories can add up. This one was a great way to have a creamy soup with non of the gilt. Celery root is one of my favorite fall vegetables so it is always fun when I can find a recipe I can use it with. This recipe also made a lot so I froze half for later!

Dinner Party Entre Recipes

Today I want to share two recipes from my dinner party Saturday night. For our entree I made a beef tenderloin, Parmesan risotto, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts.

I made this Beef Tenderloin Recipe from Epicurous. It made the most perfect roast. I didn’t make the sauce because sauces are a bit hard during dinner parties, but I think I would try it if I made it again.

TNPLH: Beef Tenderloin Recipe

Next I made this Parmesan risotto recipe. I have made it many times before but I just can’t get enough of it!

TNPLH: Parmesan Rissoto

For the vegetables I just sprinkled with olive oil and some garlic salt and they were perfect!

TNPLH: Floral Dinner Party Entree

Everything was delish!

Dinner Party: Bar Station Ready and The Bella Rosa Cocktail

Today I will continue sharing my dinner party this past weekend. I think it will always a good idea to have a bar station when you have parties. I always try to anticipate all the different cocktails all our guest would like.

TNPLH: Dinner Party Bar Station

I also made a signature Cocktail for the evening as well. I found The Bella Rosa on Coco + Kelley and it was a perfect summer cocktail! I forgot to take pics but here is a pic from her blog. It is a tad tart but sweet enough to be perfect (and not too sweet!). I was sure to have all the main ingredients of this drink preped in a pitcher than all I added was the Prosecco when I served and it worked out perfect!

THNPLH: Coco + Kelley Bella Rosa Cocktail