Pecan Pie

By: Deb Perelman

I realize this is an unpopular opinion and that you might even revoke my internet food ranting license for saying this, but I’m not particularly bothered by corn syrup in recipes. For me, it’s more of a math thing. It mostly shows up in things nobody is eating for underlying health benefits and we all understand we’re only supposed to enjoy in moderation (candies, caramels, etc.) so it’s hard to get up in arms over a glug of it in a recipe that yields a few dozen tiny items one might eat one or two a day of a few times a year. [I will now duck until you’re all done yelling.]

What does bother me about it however is that it’s just plain bland — it tastes like sweet nothingness, and while I can shrug this off in small quantities, in larger amounts, it’s particularly a bummer. I mean, if we are going to eat something that’s largely comprised of sugar, wouldn’t we rather that sugar taste like something? And this is why when it comes to pecan pie, there’s a whole extra dynamic of deeply toasted, luxurious flavor that can be instantly tasted by using golden syrup instead of corn.

Thus, here is the pecan pie recipe I’ve been promising you for most of the decade this site has been around. There’s no excuse for taking so long, I just figured most people were happy with the way they already made it and didn’t need my help, especially when help came in the form of an ingredient that must be tracked down. But then I made pecan pie both ways and the one with golden syrup, dark brown sugar and deeply toasted nuts was not even on the same level, it doesn’t even feel fair to compare them. These three things will send your pecan pie game into the stratosphere, into the other wordly realm. If I’m going to make pecan pie just on

Pecan Pie

Here are my rules for a really excellent pecan pie:
1. Toast your nuts! You must, you must. Do you want it to taste intensely like pecans, or just a caramel crunch? Toast your nuts.
2. Dark brown sugar trumps light brown because more molasses, more flavor.
3. Golden syrup tastes amazing here, and is worth the trouble of tracking it down. (See more, below.)
4. If you use golden syrup, do not add more than a pinch of salt. It contains a bit of sodium, more than corn syrup, and I’ve learned the hard way.
5. A tiny bit of cider vinegar (trust me) really helps balance out the aching sweetness of a gooey caramel pie.
6. Finally, if you gild the lily (of course you do), add some chocolate: After rolling out and par-baking your crust (if desired), place it in the freezer until solid, about 15 minutes. Melt 4 ounces of semi- or bittersweet chocolate chunks with 1/4 cup heavy or whipping cream until smooth. Spread over bottom of cooled crust. Freeze the crust again until the chocolate is solid, about another 20 minutes, before pouring in pecan mixture.

More about golden syrup: Golden syrup a light treacle or cane sugar syrup and if that didn’t sound delicious enough, it’s lightly toasted with a pinch of salt, giving it a caramel-ish vibe that’s so incredible, it’s no wonder it’s not just used as a sweetener in candies but straight out of the bottle over pancakes and hot cereal. (Something that would be flat-out gross with corn syrup.) In a classic pecan pie? Incomparable. A UK product, it’s becoming more and more available in the U.S. as people look for corn syrup alternatives. It’s easy to buy online, and if you have a local store that reliably sells it, give it a shout in the comments and I’ll try to make a list.

Crust:
1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea or table salt
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup (60 ml) very cold water, plus an additional tablespoon if needed

Filling
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup golden syrup (see Note up top)
A pinch or two of sea salt
2 cups (225 grams) pecan halves
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Make the pie dough:

  • By hand, with my one-bowl method: In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. (Some people like to do this by freezing the stick of butter and coarsely grating it into the flour, but I haven’t found the results as flaky.) Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
  • With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
  • Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 minutes. Longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.

Form the crust: On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle-ish shape. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. If not par-baking, place in fridge until ready to fill. If par-baking, place in freezer for 20 minutes, until solid.

Par-bake the crust: [Optional, but will lead to a crispier base.] Heat oven 400°F (205°C). Line frozen crust with lightly buttered or oiled foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or pennies. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet for 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and let cool a little before filling.

Heat oven: (Or reduce oven heat, if you just par-baked your crust) to 350°F (175°C).

Prepare filling: Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice so that they toast evenly. Set aside until needed. If you like smaller bits, you can chop them, or as shown here, chop half of them (although I usually leave them whole).

In medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in pecans, cider vinegar, vanilla and bourbon (if using). Pour into a bowl (so that it cools faster) and set the mixture aside to cool a little, about 5 to 10 minutes. Then, whisk in one egg at a time until combined. Pour mixture into prepared pie shell.

Bake: For 40 to 45 minutes. The pie is done with the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is slightly firm to the touch but still has some jiggle to it. Cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2015/11/pecan-pie/#more-16906

 

 

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Cranberry Sauce

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2006

cranberries: candied, fruity and drunk

cranberry sauce with port and dried figs

Don’t laugh, but I think this post might be the closest I have come to service journalism on this site. I say this because, honestly, I have no idea what I am going to do with three batches of cranberry sauce I’ve cooked over the last week, but if at least one them makes it home with you, I suppose this effort won’t be a waste after all. Is this as noble and un-self-serving of me as it sounds? Of course not — I love cranberry sauce — I just have a little bit more than a two-person household should ever need.

classic cranberry sauce with orange peel

I’m not sure if it was because I was a vegetarian and without the turkey, the cranberry sauce made no sense, because I thought it always came from a can in a fun-to-play-with but terrifying-to-eat cylinder, or because I just didn’t like it, but I never ate cranberry sauce growing up. It wasn’t until my first year in New York when I lived in a worn and infested fourth-floor walkup on Avenue B with my friend Dan that I had the real deal, and completely fell in love. Dan’s from Massachusetts and from what I understand, they take cranberry sauce pretty seriously up there, or at least he did, simmering, zesting oranges and carefully sifting through the rinsed bag for deflated or still stem-attached berries. This classic cranberry sauce recipe (which I am sure he’ll tell me I’m getting wrong) will always be my favorite, stirred into plain or vanilla yogurt or simply taken spoon-to-mouth. I hedge on the sugar a little, preferring it on the tart side, but I never skimp on the orange peel, as there’s a reason it is so often paired with cranberries: they bring out the best in each other. A few julienned or thick-zested strips in the sauce is one of my favorite parts; simmered in the stunning rouge syrup, they candy like an orangette, and are a fantastic surprise when you run across them in your hungry tasting. Lest you need any more evidence of its greatness, look how little we have left from a week ago.

mixed-berry quick cranberry sauce

The second cranberry sauce is Alex’s mother’s recipe and his family’s absolute favorite, despite my efforts to convert them to the back-of-the-bag classic. It’s terrifyingly simple (I’ll let you find out for yourself at the end, but promise that you’ll laugh), but I’m warning you, addictive. With mixed berries and walnuts, it seems more dessert than dinner, in my opinion, and the spoonful we had over vanilla gelato two nights ago was almost unbearably delicious. Alex’s mother told him she had a new recipe to try this year – something with jalapenos and ingredients that scare me – and he said, “sure, sounds good, but only if you make the other one, too.”

well ain't you the prettiest thing

The final recipe is a new one and for the record, my husband was absolutely horrified at the thought of it, but I persevered. I mean, port? Love it. Balsamic? Ditto. Dried figs? Yum. Black pepper? Intriguing. Rosemary? Could be. Brown sugar? Hells yeah. All together with cranberries? Er, ah, …it took me an hour to even try it and even now, I’m just not sure I fell in love. (Right now, Alex is biting his tongue, but I’m sure it won’t be long until he says “told you so!”). It’s … (hang on, let me try it again) … wine-y. I think it would go well with turkey, or even some roasted potatoes. I’m just not sure it’s good for spooning, and if there’s anything the above two recipes should hint to you, it’s that I like the stand-alone cranberry sauce. At your Thanksgiving table, however, I’m sure it will get no complaints, a sauce for the sauced grownups, if you will.

roses, even prettier on their way out

Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce
Adapted from the back of the Ocean Spray cranberry bag, and my friend Dan

Makes 2 1/4 cups

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 (12-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed, drained and sorted through, removing any stems or deflated ones
Several julienned strips of orange peel, or thick pieces of zest
A few squeezes of orange juice

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries and zest, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10-14 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a few squeezes of fresh orange juice. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.

Alex’s Mother’s Cranberry Sauce

1 15-ounce can jellied cranberry sauce
1 15-ounce can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 bag frozen mixed berries, not defrosted
1 handful chopped walnuts

Break up the jellied cranberry sauce into chunks in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Stir. Frozen berries will melt as it sits.

Cranberry Sauce with Port and Dried Figs
Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2001

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

1 2/3 cups ruby Port
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
8 dried black Mission figs, stemmed, chopped
1 6-inch-long sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar

Combine first 6 ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Discard rosemary. Mix in cranberries and 3/4 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until liquid is slightly reduced and berries burst, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Cool. Transfer sauce to bowl; chill until cold.

Do ahead: Cranberry sauce can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/11/cranberries-candied-fruity-and-drunk/

Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer

Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer, by Annette Ramke & Kendall Scott, is the ultimate resource for the woman who has been handed the cancer card–and for the one who never wants to get it.

Annette Ramke and Kendall Scott are two young cancer survivors who not only survived but learned to thrive throughout their cancer journey: from diagnosis through intense treatment and beyond. They know what it is like to be stopped in your tracks by what seems to be a death sentence. But they didn’t want to just slog their way through cancer; they also wanted to look and feel as good as possible while
doing it. And they did! They know exactly what it’s like to deal with “the Big C.” And in Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen they share girlfriend-style, real-life knowledge and experience about the healing power of food, along with their stories of cancer ups and
downs.
With more than 100 recipes for fighting cancer and soothing symptoms of treatment, whether someone is in the thick of “Cancer World” and wants to know what to expect, or for anyone who wants to do all they can to boost their health, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen offers guidance on not only surviving, but thriving –before, during, and after cancer.

“…a beautiful, delicious, and effective way to improve your health at any time—whether or not you have cancer or any disease. In fact, I recommend that all follow this sort of diet for optimal health!”— Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of the New York Times bestsellers: Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause

“An essential guide to using food as medicine and creating an inhospitable environment for cancer, while delighting your palette and invigorating your senses. Getting well has never been more fun or tasty!” — Mark Hyman, MD, #1 NYT Bestseller, The Blood Sugar Solution

Learn more at thekickingkitchen.com.

 

 

 

Red Rice Risotto

Redrice

If you are trying to incorporate more whole grains into your diet this red rice dish is a delicious and hearty meal. Red rice is also known as “weedy rice”, as it sometimes grows as a weed in commercial rice fields. Its fiber and protein content make it a great addition to any meal.

 

Ingredients
Makes 4

  • 1 cup red rice
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup porcini (or any variety you like) mushroom, sliced
  • 2 cups mushroom broth (veggie is fine also)
  • a couple hearty handfuls of spinach
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Preparation

  1. Soak rice in cold water for a few hours before cooking. (If you don’t have time, give it a good rinse and proceed).
  2. Coat a large pot with olive oil and place over medium high heat. Add onion, season with salt & pepper and cook until translucent, about one minute. Add garlic and cook for another minute, until soft.
  3. Add mushrooms, season and cook for about three minutes until soft and slightly browned.
  4. Add rice and let cook for about a minute, stirring throughout to mix.
  5. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the water is absorbed (you don’t want the risotto totally dry at this point). Add spinach, mix to combine and remove from heat. Cover for about three minutes.
  6. Uncover, fluff with fork, season with salt, pepper and cheese to your liking. Serve immediately.

 

Recipe courtesy of GOOP.com

Friday Treat: Pistachio Stuffed Dates

Have you been searching for a simple, elegant, and healthy snack? This recipe is ideal as an appetizer for entertaining or an end of meal treat. This high in fiber snack will also help to keep you full longer. Best of all it takes no time to prepare!

Ingredients

  •  1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  •  Pinch of coarse salt
  •  16 dates, pitted
  •  1 tablespoon toasted unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions

1. In a food processor, puree pistachios until a thick paste forms, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Spoon mixture into dates. Top with coconut.

Whole Living

When Friday rolls around there is no better time for a special treat to end the week with…

Enjoy!

~Professional Medical Corp.

Nuts for Almonds

Mornings seem to be the quickest time of the day, with a lot to remember before we walk out the door, breakfast often is the last thing on our minds.

Smoothies are a great way to deliver a nutritional punch on a tight schedule. Often smoothies are known to have a dairy base but for those who can’t have dairy there are many alternative “milks” and almond milk is one of those. Almond milk (sweeten, unsweetened, or flavored) is gluten-free, promotes good cholesterol balance in the body, and is low in carbs. Read more about the medicinal benefits of almonds HERE.

A delicious addition to any smoothie is seasonal fruit. This time of year is known for fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Try something new and enjoy!

Almond and Berry Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium banana, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mango
  • 2 cups chilled unsweetened vanilla-flavored almond milk

Directions

In a blender, add the banana chunks, blueberries, strawberries, and mango. Blend until combined, about 30 seconds. Serve in chilled glasses with straws.

Recipe can also be found at Food Network .

~Professional Medical Corp.

Healthy Asian Salad

Warm Snow Pea & Chicken Salad RecipeWarm up to the new spring weather was this healthy and tasty salad recipe from eatingwell.com. This salad is unique due to the snow peas as the base vegetable and the nutty taste of the cashews which combines into a fresh and flavorful dish for the whole family. Reviews say you can substitute snow peas for green beans.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons tahini, or cashew butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound snow peas, trimmed and thinly slivered lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cashews

Directions

  1. Place chicken in a medium skillet or saucepan and add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer gently until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool. Shred into bite-size pieces. (Cool and refrigerate the broth, reserving it for another use.)
  2. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil and tahini (or cashew butter) in a large bowl until smooth.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in slivered peas and cook, stirring, until bright green, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the dressing.
  4. Add the chicken to the bowl with the peas; toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with cashews.

What do you think of this recipe?

Click here for the original recipe & nutrition information—courtesy of eatingwell.com

Professional Medical