Ahhh. Now that’s a day we all need. Especially following a day like yesterday. Yes, as all our players can attest to, you can be sore after a day of Wiffleball (and sunburn too). I did my best today to give this Relaxation Day the treatment it deserved. I slept in late, waking up a little before 8 am which isn’t too early but compared to my usual Monday where the alarm would go off at 4:30, it was almost a hibernation. I had a nice leisurely coffee while updating the blog (which is oddly relaxing in its own way). I cleaned up the yard from yesterday at a nice easy pace, no urgency or stress, but getting the job done. Lola and I went for a swim in the river, taking our inflatable float out so we could rest aboard as the gentle waves rolled beneath us. We had lunch on our deck. We leaned back and closed our eyes for a few moments. We played hockey on our XBOX. We just relaxed. That’s what today was for.
All in all it was a pretty relaxing day. Lola had suggested that I get a pedicure or a massage as part of the day’s celebration, but neither of those things are particularly relaxing to me. Not that I have a ton of experience with it, but the few times I have gone, it seemed to bring more anxiety than calmness to my life. I just stuck with having a relaxing day. That’s more my speed. It’s hard to say if I really celebrated the day because I didn’t really do anything out of the norm. Lola and I are pretty good at chilling out. In general however, I am not really sure how relaxed I can be these days. Being unemployed certainly brings its share of tension to any day. So today, I tried to celebrate, I really did, but there was an undercurrent of the unknown just below the surface which may have hindered my unfettered celebration.
To stay true to my quest, I still had to make sure I celebrated today, and because it was also National Lemon Meringue Pie Day, I made a pie. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Lemon Meringue Pie and I have definitely never made one. When I see them, spinning around in diner pie cases, they always remind me of the perfect pie to toss in someone’s face and believe me, I was wondering if I should surprise Lola. However, I came to my senses and realized that no pies would be tossed today. I found a recipe online from a Food Network hero of mine, Alton Brown, which looked good and seemed easy to make. I pretty much had all the ingredients on hand, but I did have to run to Clements pick up a pie shell and some fresh lemons.
It was fairly easy to make. You bake the crust first and baking in this weather is never a picnic, but I endured. When the crust cools, you make the rest of the pie in two parts: the lemon and then the meringue. The meringue was easy: four eggs whites, a pinch of Cream of Tartar and some sugar beaten until stiff peaks are formed. The lemon part wasn’t hard, just a bit more involved. There is one point, the crux of the recipe, where you have to temper some egg yolks with the heated mixture right before you bring the lemons to the party and finish it off, stirring all the way. It’s the only difficult part of the recipe and to complicate matters, just as I was hitting this part, Lola came running in because she had been stung by something in our yard. I was torn: do I go help my wife who was struck down by some strange malicious insect or do I finish the recipe?
I finished the recipe.
We still don’t know what kind of insect bit Lola, but it definitely made her toe swell. After icing it for a while, the swelling went down, but it was still sore as I wrote this. The pie, on the other hand, came out great! Once you top the lemon filled pie with meringue, you bake it for 10 minutes and it browns on top. Alton’s recipe said that he didn’t like the giant mound of meringue on top of the pie opting for the flatter layer, so that’s what I made and I had to agree. I think any more meringue would have just been too much. We had Cherie come over to try some with us (she’s becoming the official taste tester of this blog), and we all liked it. It’s a good balance of tastes and flavors, with the tartness of the lemon, the sweetness of the meringue and the crunch of the crust. A fine pie indeed.
There’s nothing more relaxing than pie with friends, so consider this day celebrated. I’m glad to have had a chance to relax today. Of all the silly holidays out there,one that makes us take some time to relax and take a deep breath certainly has the most merit. There should be whole months devoted to relaxing.
The holiday celebration keep spreading too as Cherie, Becky, Molly and Katie took some time today to relax with a pedicure. Nothing better to know that folks are inspired to join along in my celebration. There’s much more to celebrate out there – Let’s keep this going!
Tomorrow: National Tell a Joke Day. Anyone know where I can find a priest, a rabbi and a monk?