Food For Thought And Belly

gmomgwtfPecanPie
Monsanto wins again.

I don’t know of any company that better illustrates the ablity of Big Money to twist justice to their own ends. The legal points of this particular case seem very narrow and hopefully an appeal will stop this bullying.

Meanwhile, all we can do is protest and demand our food at least be labelled.

And fix the recipe(s) of the day 🙂

Chess Pies are based on sugar, syrup, butter and eggs and there are many variations, such as Pecan Pie.
(Hard to find a good one North of the Mason-Dixon Line). 🙂
The type and ratio of sugar and syrup determine how rich/hearty it turns out.
If you like extra rich, use molasses and dark brown sugar.
If you like it lighter use white Karo corn syrup and a lighter sugar.
You can experiment using honey, maple syrup, white sugar.
Traditionally pecan halves are intact but some folks like to chop and mix in, ‘decorating’ with halves around the edges.
I cover the bottom of the pie crust with pecan halves. They rise to the top during baking.

I prefer a fairly light pie, so my pecan pie recipe is:

1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup light Karo
1/4 cup butter
3 large eggs
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecans
1 pie crust for 9″ pie pan.
Put pie crust in pan
My wife & son make crust from scratch but I don’t unless I’m making several pies.
I use pre-made crust but move it from freezer to fridge a day in advance.
(Doesn’t keep longer than about a week in the fridge).

Preheat oven to 375°
Beat eggs in large bowl & set aside.
Combine sugar, syrup, butter & salt in saucepan.
Heat until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly – won’t take long.
Add small amount to beaten eggs and mix well.
Add the rest of the hot mixture and mix well.
(If you dumped all the hot mix into the beaten eggs at once, you’d end up with sweet scrambled eggs).
Pour into pie crust.
Bake 40-50 minutes until center is just a bit jiggly when shaken.

Variations:
Haven’t tried using honey but I’ve made a Maple Walnut Pie with maple syrup, light brown sugar and walnuts.

I’m lucky to have family living in the middle of a pecan orchard, so I get pounds for free every year.
If you are fresh out of pecans, you could substitute other nuts or try the following:

Poor Man’s Pecan Pie

1/2 cup grape-nuts
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 cup brown sugar (I use light brown)
1 cup corn syrup (I use white Karo)
1/4 cup butter
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 unbaked pie crust for 9″ pie pan

Preheat oven to 375°
Lay pie crust in pie pan.
Soak grape-nuts in the 1/2 cup warm water.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter & salt in saucepan.
Bring to quick boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved & remove from heat.
Beat eggs until foamy, Add small amount of hot syrup to eggs, beating well.
Ad remaining hot mixture, mixing well.
(If you dumped all the hot mix into the beaten eggs at once, you’d end up with sweet scrambled eggs).
Stir in the softened grape-nuts.
Pour into pie crust.
Bake 45-50 minutes until center is just a bit jiggly when shaken.

Variations:
Couldn’t find Grape-Nuts last time so made it with AllBran. Worked fine.
Some recipes call for rolled oats, oatmeal raw or instant, whatever.
Suspect you could use most anything bland and able to soak up moisture – diced bread, etc.

20 Replies to “Food For Thought And Belly”

  1. Hot Fudge Peanut Butter Pie

    1 chocolate graham cracker crust
    1 cup peanut butter
    1- 8 ounce package cream cheese; Room temperature
    1- 12ounce cool whip; Divided
    1- 11.75 ounce jar hot fudge topping; Divided
    1/2 cup powdered sugar

    For the topping:

    2 tablespoons hot fudge
    2 tablespoons peanut butter

    • In large bowl, beat peanut butter, cream cheese, and sugar until creamy. Fold in 3 cups Cool Whip. Spoon mixture into crust and smooth to edges.

    • Remove 2 tablespoons hot fudge from jar and reserve in ziploc plastic baggie for later. Heat remaining hot fudge according to package directions. Spread on top of peanut butter layer. Refrigerate pie until serving time.

    • At serving time, carefully spread remaining Cool Whip on top of pie.

    • Knead hot fudge in baggie with hands; cut tiny hole in corner of baggie and pipe over pie. Repeat with 2 tablespoons peanut butter and pipe on pie in opposite direction.

    • Serve.

  2. Just a tip I read somewhere: for the smoothest hummus, remove the skins from the chickpeas.

    Soaking and cooking canned chickpeas is a new one on me, but I can see how it might remove the canned taste and really break down any remaining texture. I’ve made hummus from dried beans, but the lack of immediate gratification puts it further down my list of wants. And despite 30 some years of making it, I’ve never been able to replicate the best Middle Eastern restaurants. Guess I’ll try cooking those canned beans!

    1. This isn’t “my” recipe, but I assure you, I’ve used it over the years and I’ve not had better in an authentic ME restaurant; Portland, San Francisco or Bangkok.
      As to skinning the beans? Sorry, it made me laugh; you are joking, yes?

  3. As always it’s all interconnected. Sick of the faux leadership politics so flicked car radio over to the lowest common denominator broadcaster and listened to an interesting discussion on cracked wheat and what type is best for hommus. Get home and find this, love it!

  4. Well, if you’re going to do Hummus, you should also do Baba Ghanoush AND Tabbouleh Salad;
    Baba Ghanoush and Tabbouleh Salad;

    Baba Ghanoush
    Ingredients:
    Original recipe makes 1 1/2 cups

    1 eggplant
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4 cup tahini
    2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I’ve don with/without, seems redundant with Tahini)
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    – salt and pepper to taste
    1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (I use more)

    Directions;
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
    2. Place eggplant on baking sheet, and make holes in the skin with a fork. Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally, or until soft. Remove from oven, and place into a large bowl of cold water. Remove from water, and peel skin off.
    3. Place eggplant, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, and garlic in an electric blender, and puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer eggplant mixture to a medium size mixing bowl, and slowly mix in olive oil. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

    Tabbouleh Salad
    Ingredients:
    2 cups water
    1 cup Bulgar wheat-washed
     1/4 cup chopped mint
    6+ sm. tomatoes, seeded and cut in small pieces (I use 8-10)
    2 green onions, sliced into thin slivers or 2 slices of yellow onion finely chopped
    *4-1/2 tbsp. dried parsley flakes (preferred) or ¾ + cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
    4+ cloves garlic, minced, or to taste
    4 tbsp. Lemon or lime juice
    ¼ cup olive oil
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper-optional
    salt to taste

    Directions:
    1. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan, turn off the heat, and stir in the Bulgar wheat. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes to absorb water. Strain off any liquid left unabsorbed, if necessary.
    2. Place the Bulgar wheat in a large salad bowl, and lightly toss with the tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, garlic, mint, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper, and salt until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate the salad for at least 3 hours to blend the flavors; serve cold.

    Cheers, some of my favorite foods; now if only I could find pita bread here, sigh…

    1. Here’s my hummus recipe; it’s pretty authentic;

      Traditional Hummus
      *My Recipe Amounts in RED (parentheses [red doesn’t show here])

      Ingredients:
      1 (12) clove garlic
      1 (19 ounce) can (250g dried) garbanzo beans, half the liquid reserved
      4 (15) tablespoons lemon juice
      2 (4) tablespoons tahini
      1 (1 tbsp) teaspoon salt
      black pepper to taste
      2 (4) tablespoons olive oil
      Directions (mine in red):
      Soak beans completely covered with water for 8± hours in a bowl of water. Cook for 40 – 60 minutes (until done). Remember to save the cooking liquid.
      1. In a blender, chop the garlic. *Pour garbanzo beans into blender (food processor), reserving about a tablespoon for garnish. Place lemon juice, tahini, chopped garlic and salt in blender. Blend until creamy and well mixed. Be careful with bean liquid; too much will make the mixture too “soupy”; I like a thick viscous hummus. This is why I like the food processor over a blender; you have more control and the option for the consistency you like.
      2. Transfer the mixture to a medium serving bowl and chill for at least 2 hours. Sprinkle with pepper and pour olive oil over the top. Garnish with reserved garbanzo beans. Pointless, IMO.
      *If you can’t do the whole job in your food processor in one shot (I can’t), then divide it up into halves or thirds. Once finished mix together in a large bowl and then refrigerate.

      1. Sorry, I tried to get this deleted; it’s not wrong, but the parentheses are my amounts as contrasted with the original recipe; so I thought it would be confusing. I put mine in red text, but the red doesn’t come through the translation.
        I used dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) because I don’t like anything canned when dried or fresh are/is available. Using a food processor is the way to go; one can make this as smooth or as course as one prefers. A food processor gives ultimate control. 😉

  5. Gonna copy your recipe – I don’t fancy it but my wife loves it.

    Understand that ‘plenty of product but no ingredients’ thing all too well.
    Best gazpacho soup I ever had was at a Spanish restaurant in Brooklyn, La Mancha on Atlantic Avenue (now closed, unfortunately). They offered to make as many gallons as I wanted for a party but refused to give the recipe even when I offered to pay.
    I like gazpacho so much I contemplated applying for a job washing dishes just so I could hang around long enough to learn how they made it. 😀

  6. Want to feel like a really competent cook? Well, this is a feel good recipe.

    HOMUS

    Step 1
    1/4 cup (59 ml) fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
    1/4 cup (59 ml) tahini (we used Krinos – make sure it is tahini not tahini dip)
    Mix in food processor 1 minute. Scrape sides down and process 30 seconds more.

    Step 2
    Half of a large garlic clove, minced
    2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
    1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on taste
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    Mix in food processor 30 seconds. Scrape sides down and process 30 seconds more.

    Step 3
    Add 1/2 of a 15 oz can of chick peas. Process for 1 minute
    Add remainder of 15 oz can of chickpeas. Process for 1 minute
    Add 2 to 3 tablespoons water. Process 1 minute or until smooth

    It’s done! Serve with ingredients below if you want.

    Dash of ground paprika for serving

    Note: You can double this recipe, even triple it if the food processor is big enough. Iti costs about $1.00 for the above and it’s healther and tastes better than store bought homus. Of course, if you have friends from the Middle East, they may have a better recipe. My friends from the ME won’t give me their recipe, well their mothers won’t. Glad to give me plenty of product but no ingredients. Whatever the outcome, it’s easy to make, quick too!

  7. Steeleweed, nice job on the recipe. Do you happen to harvest your own pecans? Or have you in the past? Got any tips for the single tree owner?

    1. The nice thing about the Chess Pie Family is that you can tweak the recipes by which type of syrup & sugar you use as well as by adding other ingredients.

      My brother in Las Cruces lives in what used to be a commercial pecan orchard. He and a couple other homeowners hire someone to harvest & shell for a 50/50 split. All he has to do is flood the orchard 2 or 3 times a season.

      From what I understand, the harvesting is by a machine which grabs the tree and shakes hell out of it, causing the pecans to fall off. Don’t know if they are then raked up or if a cloth or tarp had been spread on the ground first. Olives are harvested similarly – cloth on the ground and shaking or beating the branches. For a single tree, I’d probably spread some cloth and grab/shake/beat the branches.

      Is your tree bearing? From what I read, a tree won’t self-pollinate and you need two or more cultivars, but I may be wrong about that.

      Believe Don Ford grows some pecans, so he might know more.

    2. Not only will Pecan trees not self pollinate, but there are female trees and male trees and you must have both. If you have all male trees or all female the trees will not bear. You cannot tell them apart either. They look identical, both flower and both produce nuts. Wierd trees.

      My grandmother had six trees which produced tons of pecans until lightening killed one tree. The remaining trees bloomed after that but produced nothing. We never found out if the one tree killed was male or female, but clearly she originally ha five of one gender and only one of the other.

      As for harvesting, some people use ground cloths, but most just rake them up.

      1. Thanks guys. I just moved in a couple months ago, and the ground was littered w/ pecans (and @ 6 in of leaves). Under a single tree. Maybe a neighbor has the male? They were/are good eating, but boy was my back killing me from bending over and over and over. I’m going to have to hunt for a local sheller, because by the time I shell enough for a pie, I’ve eaten 2/3rds.

        1. Or yours is male and a neighbor has the female, yes. The difference between pecans that you get off the tree (or ground under the tree) and what you buy in the grocery store is pretty mind boggling, isn’t it?

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