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The Scent of Lemon…In Memoriam with Love of Two Special People

Food is a powerful stimulus that sparks memories. For example, in the movie Michael, the scent of food has that angel we love, often remembering times gone by. The past few months have been difficult for me. Two people who I love and hold in high esteem passed during my birthday month. Many of the best moments of my life were spent breaking bread with them.

It seems odd to me, as close as we were, they both never met each other. And yet, outside of enjoying food, they both had much in common. Even though they were both very different people:

  • They both loved the taste of lemon, deep chocolate, and maple.

  • They both were high achievers in attaining personal and very public goals.

  • They both were very unassuming when it came to their pushing for their personal best and winning.

  • They both were beyond way too humble.

  • They both have 3 children who are lovely citizens and achievers in their own right.

  • They both did not boast and bask in the limelight.

  • They both were on the shy side.

  • They both reveled in stealing alone time to keep amused for hours with their hobbies and interests.

  • They both did well in life.

  • Even though they both held public acclaim, they both held their privacy in high regard.

I so enjoyed spending time with them and theirs. We were so comfortable with each other; our times together included being silly and gut laughing until tears rolled down our cheeks. How many people can you do that with? They both loved to have fun. They both helped me in my life pursuits. Whether it be lending an ear, time vetting my projects, letters, driving me here and there long distances. Running to me to help in time of need. Pretty much anything I asked of them.

Giving, philanthropic, and humanistic souls is an understatement when describing their attributes. Two stories come to mind, such as; one shared a story about pausing on a busy lunchtime run to drop off some work at a government office, and was stopped by a man in need asking for a substantial sum money. Giving a $20 bill or so was a no brainer. The other, during our power walks, and upon driving to events, stopped for every and any homeless person who put their hand out. Here’s a toonie or two. One time, I remember, they gave a homeless person a couple of toonies and the response was “Do you have any bills?” We looked at each other rendered speechless. Like, “Really?” Didn’t stop them from, rolling down the window to give to the next guy, in the middle of the road, knocking on car doors.

So here’s a shout out memoriam to these two people, so special to me, and special to everyone who knew them. They both lost their lives way too soon fighting the battle of cancer. They both lived their lives to the hilt. They both reveled in the loves of their lives, their prides, their Joys.

Weepy eyed as I write this post. In both their honours, I am sharing two of their favourite recipes. I made these countless numbers of times as a surprise or by request throughout the many years. Here is the Lemon Meringue Pie I made for you seasonally. And, the Citrus Caesar Salad I made for you because you asked. I feel your warm spirits with me daily. I miss you both so very much. Lemon will stimulate my memory and never be the same without sharing it with you.

Lemon Meringue Pie Makes one 9 to 10 inch single crust pie.

1 recipe Pastry Dough for a single crust 9- to 10-inch pie, tin foil, beans or pie weights

For Pastry:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll out dough into a 13-inch round, (about 1/8 inch thick) and fit into a 9-inch (1-quart) pie plate.

  3. Trim edge of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, and crimp edge decoratively.

  4. Prick shell in several places with a fork and chill, covered, 30 minutes.

  5. Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights or beans.

  6. Bake shell for 10 minutes.

  7. Remove tinfoil with weights and bake shell until golden, about 12 minutes more. Cool.

For Custard:

1 cup sugar 5 tablespoons cornstarch 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup water 1/2 cup milk 4 large egg yolks 1 tablespoon unsalted butter juice of one or two lemons, ½ cup 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest, microplaned

  1. In a saucepan whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually whisk in water and milk. Mix until cornstarch is dissolved.

  2. In a small bowl whisk together egg yolks.

  3. Cook milk mixture over moderate heat, whisking, until it comes to a boil.

  4. Temper yolks by slowly whisking about 1 cup hot milk mixture into yolks

  5. Whisk yolk mixture into milk mixture.

  6. Simmer until the mixture starts thickening. Test by running a line that holds on the back of spoon dipped into the mixture.

  7. Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, lemon, juice and zest until butter is melted.

  8. Cover surface of filling with plastic wrap.

For Meringue:

4 large egg whites 1/4-teaspoon cream of tartar 1/2-cup sugar

  1. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat egg whites with cream of tartar and a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks.

  2. Beat in sugar in a slow stream, beating until meringue just holds stiff peaks.

  3. Pour filling into shell and spread meringue on top, covering filling completely, sealing it to pastry.

  4. Draw meringue up into peaks and bake pie in middle of oven until meringue is golden, about 15 minutes.

Citrus Caesar Salad with Baby Spinach and Herbed Croutons 4 to 6 servings

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice 1 tsp lemon rind 1 tsp orange rind 1 large orange segments 1 large garlic clove, or to taste 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, preferably light 3 anchovy fillets 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for shaving

10 oz bag of baby spinach, washed and dried 12 herbed sesame breadsticks, cut into 2 inch pieces

  1. Place lemon juice and rind, orange juice and rind, garlic, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, anchovies, rice wine vinegar, salt, and a good amount of freshly ground black pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.

  2. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified.

  3. Add the grated cheese and blend for a few seconds to incorporate.

  4. Place spinach and orange segments in a large bowl, add dressing, and toss to coat each leaf.

  5. Top with herbed sesame breadsticks and toss again.

  6. Top with shaved Parmesan and serve immediately.

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