Fennel and Leeks

Fennel and Leeks

Monday, December 15, 2014

Classic Pecan Pie

Two years ago, I made an amazing Chocolate Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving Day dessert. The pie was gooey, crunchy, not too sweet, and just plain delicious. For comparison, I decided that this year, I would prepare a traditional pecan pie for Thanksgiving. Although this pie was quite good, I kept finding myself daydreaming about the Chocolate Pecan Pie and wishing I had stuck with it for this year. 

Adding chocolate to pecan pie somehow cuts down the sweetness and creates a more rich, savory quality. This Classic Pecan Pie was as good as any traditional pecan pie I have eaten in the past but there is something special about the chocolate version. I guess there's no question which one I will make next year! If you don't happen to be a chocolate person, however, this pie recipe is a good choice. It is a bit on the sweet side so I recommend cutting the sugar from 1 cup to 3/4 cup.

1 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans
1 9-inch unbaked deep dish pie crust

Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans.

Pour pie into crust. Bake at 350 degrees on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool before serving.

The author of this recipe offers the following tips. The pie is done when center reaches 200 degrees. Tap center surface of pie lightly; it should spring back when done. For easy clean-up, spray pie pan  with cooking spray. If pie crust is browning, cover edges with foil. 

I used the same pie crust that I used a few posts ago for my Blueberry Pie. The crust is made by Silly Zak's and it is all-natural, gluten free, wheat free, non-GMO, and preservative free. I am open to making my own pie crust but this one is so good that I can't find a reason to go to that much trouble! 

Recipe Source: 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Perfect "Sunday Dinner" Pork Roast

The weather in Seattle has cooled down quickly! We went from enjoying the most beautiful five months of summer weather, which is unheard of in these parts, to waking up and being greeted by 27 degree weather. I finally came to grips with the fact that it is time to move dinner preparation from the barbecue to the oven. This is the first recipe I have prepared this fall that feels warm and homey. Bring on the cold winds and rain! We are ready.......
(As a side note, this entry was originally written in mid October but not posted until now).

2-3 pound boneless pork loin roast
2-3 large carrots, chopped in 2-inch chunks
8 small red and white potatoes, cut into halves or fourths, depending on size
1 large onion cut in eighths
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
kosher salt
sweet paprika
fresh ground pepper
olive oil
chicken stock for deglazing

Sprinkle the roast with salt, pepper, and paprika. Brown the roast in olive oil on all sides in oven proof skillet over medium-high heat. This locks in the juices and keeps the pork flavorful.

Add chopped carrots, potatoes, and onions and a few sprigs of thyme under the roast and around the pan. Place in 350 degree oven or 325 degree convection oven.

Cook roast 20 minutes per pound. Remove and check temperature with the goal of reaching 160 degrees. The roast usually requires an additional 10 to 20 minutes at this stage. Continue to cook until roast reaches desired temperature. Remove roast and cover with foil to rest. Remove vegetables and set aside.

Place pan back on stove over medium-low heat. Remember that the pan handle will be hot so be careful. Deglaze pan with chicken broth and scrape up little brown bits. Let it reduce a bit to create a delicious sauce.

The final result was simple but absolutely delicious. Because the list of ingredients is minimal, the flavors are distinct and pure. We particularly enjoyed the way the flavors of thyme and sweet paprika shined through. On a completely unrelated side note, have you ever tried sweet paprika or smoked paprika on popcorn? If not, give it a whirl. It is delicious!

I chose to use a pork roast from Metropolitan Market that was butchered to my specifications. Met Market always does a beautiful job providing the perfect cut of meat so it is a no-brainer to go directly to them. Finally, the original recipe did not call for potatoes as part of the preparation. It instead recommended that the pork roast, carrots, and onions be served with mashed potatoes. While my family does appreciate a good mashed potato, we also like roasted potatoes. I decided to make a one-pan meal and modified the recipe in order to do so. As always, enjoy!

Recipe Source: