I am very blessed to have been given not one, but two very brilliant parents.
I may have not known it (or ever said it) while growing up, but whenever I look back on those days I realize just how wise they were in all they said.
All those little wisdoms they passed along really have added up through the years. In fact, if hard-pressed, I can nary recall a single nugget that has not, at one time or another, come to serve me in my life, especially those that I learned when I was in Mom’s kitchen.
Mom had a small bakery business that my father would try to help her supply. I remember a heated discussion that they were having one day over, of all things, butter.
Dad found a great deal on a 50-pound block of cheap butter but my mother wanted no part of it.
I remember her stomping her foot hard to the floor and saying, “It’s Land O’Lakes butter or nothing, Pa! The butter is what makes my baked goods taste better than anyone else’s and if you change that you will cost us customers.”
Dad continued to press the issue so, Mom decided that the only way to end this standoff was to bake some samples using his bulk, no-name butter so that he could, indeed, see for himself.
Dad took the job quite seriously then quietly walked into the kitchen, looked at Mom dead in the eye then said, “You’re right, Flo,” then gave her an apologetic kiss. “You are right,” he said again. “It does taste different, greasy.”
After that day, Dad never again questioned Mom’s brand loyalty.
I was young and had no idea of the endless sea of subtleties that a recipe could drown in back then, but I can tell you now that whenever I need a baked recipe to be its absolute best, I never use anything but honest-to-goodness butter because it does indeed influence a recipe’s smell and taste.
I must confess that I didn’t know much about Land O’ Lakes, so I did a little web research and found that it was formed in 1921 by a small group of farmers and it is still a “member-owned” company to this day.
Land O’ Lakes corporate offices are in Minnesota, but its members/owners are scattered all over our great Midwest today, and they have been working together for 90 years to provide butter that still comes in those cute, colorful boxes.
Since Mother’s Day is coming up this week I thought it an ideal time to offer up some dazzling treats, including Mom’s favorite Lemon Meringue Pie and other recipes that are coming direct to you from Land O’ Lakes’ very own kitchens this week.
For more of their amazing recipes, including some great gluten-free selections, please visit www.landolakes.com. Happy Mother’s Day!
Laura Kurella is an award-winning recipe developer, food columnist, and author of the new book, MIDWEST MORSELS. She loves to share recipes from her northern Michigan kitchen and welcomes comments art [email protected].
CREAMY LEMON MERINGUE PIE
Fresh lemon juice and lemon peel make this traditional pie delicious!
Preparation time: 1 hour; Cooking time: 10 minutes; baking time: 33 minutes.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold LAND O LAKES® Butter, cut into chunks
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons LAND O LAKES® Butter
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
Heat oven to 475 degrees. Combine flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; cut in 6 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water with a fork just until the flour is moistened. Shape dough into a ball; flatten slightly. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Fold into quarters. Place into an ungreased 9-inch pie pan; unfold, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Trim the crust to 1/2 inch from the edge of the pan; fold under. Crimp or flute edge. Prick bottom and sides of crust with fork. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Meanwhile, combine 1 1/4 cups sugar, cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in 1 1/4 cups water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil (7 to 9 minutes). Boil for 1 minute. Gradually stir 1/2 cup hot mixture into egg yolks with wire whisk. Gradually stir egg mixture into remaining hot mixture. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 160 degrees and is thickened, (2 to 3 minutes). Whisk in lemon juice, 3 tablespoons butter and lemon zest. Remove from heat; set aside. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl at high speed until foamy. Continue beating, gradually adding 1/2 cup sugar, until stiff peaks form and mixture is glossy (3 to 4 minutes). Pour hot filling into the baked pie shell. Spread over hot filling, completely sealing to the edge of the crust, and mounding slightly in center. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until meringue reaches 160 degrees and is lightly browned. Cool at room temperature for 2 hours. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Store refrigerated.
TIP: For a Lime Meringue Pie, substitute fresh lime juice for fresh lemon juice and freshly grated lime zest for freshly grated lemon zest.
Nutrition Facts per serving: Calories 410; Fat 16g; Cholesterol 140 mg; Sodium 250mg; Carbohydrate 62g; Dietary Fiber <1g; Protein 5g. Courtesy of Land O’Lakes, Inc.
GLUTEN-FREE LEMON BUTTER BARS
Tangy lemon and creamy butter create these classic citrus bars.
30 min. prep time; 1:20 total time.
1 cup Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see below)
1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 Land O Lakes® All-Natural Eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see below)
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all crust ingredients in a small bowl. Beat at low speed, scraping the bowl often, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Meanwhile, combine all filling ingredients except powdered sugar in a small bowl. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Pour filling over hot, partially baked crust. Continue baking for 18 to 20 minutes or until filling is set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm and again when cool. Cut into bars.
GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR BLEND
To make flour blend, combine 2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum. Use the appropriate amount for the recipe; store the remainder in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Stir before using.
Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 150; Fat 6g; Cholesterol 40 mg; Sodium 65mg; Carbohydrates 22g; Dietary Fiber <1g; Protein 1g. Courtesy of Land O’Lakes, Inc.
CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE TOFFEE CHEESECAKE
Your guests will be raving about this cheesecake for days!
15 min. prep time; 5:15 total time; 16 servings.
1 1/3 cups (22 cookies) shortbread cookie crumbs
1/4 cup Land O Lakes® butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
8 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate baking bars, melted
2 Land O Lakes® All-Natural Eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk chocolate toffee bits
3/4 cup real semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup milk chocolate toffee bits
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press onto the bottom of the ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 4 minutes.
Beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Add melted chocolate, eggs and vanilla; beat until well mixed. Stir in 3/4 cup toffee bits. Spread cream cheese mixture over crust. Continue baking for 50 to 55 minutes or until the center is set. Cool in pan for 1 hour. Remove from pan; place onto serving plate. Meanwhile, place chocolate chips in a small bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat (2 to 3 minutes). Pour whipping cream over chocolate chips. Let stand for 5 minutes; stir until smooth. Cool until mixture falls in ribbons off spoon (about 1 hour). Spread over top of cheesecake; sprinkle outer rim of cheesecake with 1/4 cup toffee bits. Cover; refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. To melt chocolate, place in a 1-quart saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, over very low heat until melted. Or, place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM (50% power), stirring occasionally, until melted (1 to 2 minutes).
Nutrition per serving: Calories 450; Fat 31g; Cholesterol 85 mg; Sodium: 270mg; Carbohydrates 41g; Dietary Fiber 2g; Protein 6g. Courtesy of O’Lakes, Inc.