Cooking Up a Storm

THE BIG EXCITEMENT AROUND HERE LATELY was the tornado that hit Dexter, MI late Thursday afternoon.  While no one was seriously hurt, thank God, a number of homes were damaged or destroyed. The storm made national news, and many of our friends called to check on us. The worst of the storm passed north of our house in Scio Township, and our power even stayed on, which is a minor miracle given the history of outages in our neighborhood. At my office in Saline, we had strong wind, rain, and hail ranging from pea-sized to a few golf balls. It stopped around 6:30, so I went to Aikido class, and was the only student to show up. So I got a private lesson. Good deal!

Among the casualties - the big tree at the Dexter Cider Mill.

Friday after work I got the Trek out and rode to my brother’s house, which had been right in the thick of the action. They’d lost power but their home was undamaged, though across the street by the Huron River most of the trees had been wiped out. He told me that he’d heard the tornado coming, and it sounded like a freight train, just like he’d heard it would. My mother, who lives in Dexter Township, also lost power but was otherwise fine. They all came to our house for dinner on Saturday, where I made the potato-leek tart and beef tips with mushroom gravy I’ve written about earlier, and the lemon meringue pie I was inspired to make based on my Shamrocks run results. I made it completely from scratch, including the dough for the crust, which has about 50 steps and three chill cycles (IMO, not worth the effort). The meringue was excellent, however, and so was the filling, earning praise even from my wife, who is not much of a lemon fan.

First time I had a no-weep meringue! Click the photo for a link to the recipe and video.

Along with the other cooking this weekend, I also snuck in a couple of batches of cookies. I found a recipe for almond tuiles (somewhat low-fat), and because we had leftover egg whites and chocolate is never far from my mind, some dark chocolate meringue drops with cocoa nibs. Both turned out well, I think, once I got the hang of properly sizing the cookies and correctly timing them so they were not overly crunchy or burnt. Here are a few photos from that effort.

What happens when you size tuiles too large.

Properly sized this time.
The meringue drops are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. Not bad!

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