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The Perfect A Pecan Pie Recipe Does Not Exist December 3, 2016

We had a Dansih family stay with us for Thanksgiving. It was nice and we shared recipes. One that I was sure to make was my pecan pie. But they were hesitent about the corn syrup.

Pecan Pie recipes used corn syrup long before corn syrup had the reputation it does today. In fact, I would wager that when corn syrup became a key part of good pecan pie recipes, cane sugar was cheaper (sweet corn wasn't even grown in abundance then, and corn syrup wasn't as commonly found).

Corn Syrup was used because it imparts the proper sweetness, thickness, and texture.

While I understand (and even agree) with the vilification of corn syrup as an ingredient, there are still old school recipes kicking around where it's the right ingredient to use.

But as others have noted, there are numerous syrup substitutes. But if it were me, I'd still use corn syrup.

The corn syrup you buy at the grocery store and high fructose corn syrup are not the same thing.

If you want to use something else I wouldn't even consider using maple or agave at a 1:1 swap with corn syrup but they'd both complement either corn or simple sugar syrup nicely at a ratio of ~1:4-1:6.

Here is a good one without corn syrup.

A pecan pie recipe I've been making for 15 years has come to include varying amounts of maple, blackstrap molasses and date honey. You can basically use any sugary syrup just make sure there's a more neutral foundation underlying it so none of the more dominant aromas become overpowering. Too much of any fragrant syrup and you'll drown out the pecan.

Easily, I might add.

I'm happily willing to buy, cheat and steal my way out of hard work when cooking but when it comes to baking I'll go the hard way every day...

Nothing you can buy gets close to the results you get from just putting the work in.

The satisfaction you get from pulling off (or even just not entirely fucking up) baked goods is worth all the effort; it validates your ability to tackle the science, rather than just the art, of the culinary craft.

Chobani Chili Lime November 24, 2016

I recently started to use this Chobani chili lime for marinading chicken breast for around 24 hours and it makes some of the most juicy chicken I have ever made!

I've cooked a lot of chicken breast.

Is there something in the yogurt that helps break down tissue, like enzymes or something? I love the way it tastes too, ill be making most marinades from here on out with some yogurt in the mix!

I used to like to cook thighs, but my husband avoids them due to the veins; I read that there is some vein along the bone that can contain blood even when the meat is done. I'm not sure if this is a health issue, or only cosmetic. I think it's possible to remove the vein, if you know how. Some people don't like to see any red or blood.

Perhaps barbecuing or basting with red sauce is a good way to cook it to hide the red.

Personally, my favorite is breasts with bone, which I get for $0.99/lb.

But we normally cook them on the outdoor grill.

There are a lot of tricks to make a breast more flavorful.

  • Poach them to keep them tender, then brown them quickly for some texture
  • Sear quickly, then bake in a pan with a bit of chicken stock, to keep it from drying out too much
  • Cut the breasts in half longwise, creating 2 cutlets. Pound flat, bread them (optional), then saute. Thin, even cutlets cook more evenly on the stove top than whole chicken breasts
  • Brine or yogurt-marinade the breasts before sauteeing or roasting if you want something even more tender
  • Eat chicken thighs instead

Thighs are cheaper. Breasts routinely get down to 1.99/lb. in some places, but I've seen thighs for half that if not cheaper. What's the ratio like elsewhere? My brother told me that he generally speaking, buys chicken breast for ~3.99 /lb. Delicious leg quarters are $0.98 at their local market.

Stove Top Cooking November 13, 2016

If you're only going to cook the chicken on the stove, then either pounding it thinner will make the cooking process faster and easier to not over cook. You can also butterfly the chicken breast for the same effect.

If you have a bigger chicken breast that you want to leave whole, then searing oven is one of the best methods of cooking it. The main problem most people run into is overcooking the chicken and the beast way to counter that is thermometer.

It'll lead to a more juicy and tender chicken breast. Look into brining also as that'll up the flavor and moisture.

A marinade is different form a brine in that its main ingredients are oil and vinegar (or some/several types of acid.) Marinades are great for chicken and a fine substitute (but really a different thing) for brining. Usually with marinades, you leave the marinade on the meat when you cook so it really retains a lot of the flavor. I did this by accident once with a brine and it was a bit....ridiculously salty.

Lemon Meringue Pie Low On the Carbs October 25, 2016

Lemon pie is my favorite pie and I was kind of sad when I realized the other day that we had not eaten it in a long time. Today I was willing to whip up a pie to have a slice.

Pie crust:

  1. 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 350. Press into pie pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until brown and let cool.

Filling:

  1. 6 egg yolks
  2. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  3. 1/4 cup Splenda
  4. 1 packet unsweetened gelatin
  5. 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  6. 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  7. 1 tablespoon butter
  8. 1 cup water

Meringue:

  1. 6 egg whites
  2. 1 teaspoon cream of tartar.
  3. 1/4 tsp salt
  4. 1/4 cup Splenda

Separate the egg whites from the yolks.

Let the whites get to room temp while you work on the other parts.

Mix the cream, gelatin, butter water, egg yolks, lemon, Splenda, and lemon zest into a sauce pan and heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Set aside and let cool for an hour, then pour into the pie crust.

Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the egg whites while they rest.

When it's time to continue, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the egg whites with a beater for 2 minutes on high. Add the cream of tartar and Splenda. Mix for another 5 minutes while stiff peaks form. Spoon the egg whites on to the custard in the pie pan.

Bake in the oven ~5-10 minutes or until it starts to just brown. Let cool until chilled (the gelatin needs to set more! Overnight is ideal.)

Cut and serve!

10 slices nets 4 grams of carbs (245 calories.) 8 slices nets 5 grams of carbs, 300 calories.

Chicken Salad or Roast Chicken October 10, 2016

There are many ways to cook chicken, it's like the swiss army knife of food.

Let's start with the chicken salad thing.

I assume that you already have a recipe so you know how much chicken you'll need. Grab a pan that the meat will easily fit in and has plenty of extra room (2 quart or plus with a lid), place the defrosted breasts inside and cover with liquid. Now here's where you can get inventive, you can use chicken/vegetable broth to add a bit of flavor or adding in tyme and lemon juice to water will "brighten" the taste, I've even added dried poblano peppers with oniin and garlic for a bit of a change in my salad if you're unsure stick with water because you're going to add other flavors when you finish off the salad anyway.

Bring it to a good boil (larger bubbles) then turn the heat down to a simmer (smaller but continuous bubbles) add a lid and let alone for about 10 minutes, if they have bones make it 20 to be sure of doneness.

Pull the breasts out and leave them to cool down before adding to salad it'll cook the other ingredients and maybe your fingers..lol.

I suggest getting one of those Perdue "roaster in a bag" and make that sometime. It's easy, tastes good, and you'll find out that you can do a whole lot more than you think in the kitchen.


On raost chicken, I feel that is is simpler to make than it takes to write it out even. My mother would roast chicekn all the time. It was a staple and one that she was used to making. I think that it is less common today, but we still enjoy it.

The core temperature is important though.

We'll got with a smalled bird, 5 lb is a big bird for my small family, so I look for 3-4 lb young birds. I don't make too many other distinctions when buying a chicken other than the size and the price. The local/organic ones are comparable in price to the national brands and tend to be smaller, so I lean toward them, but tyson/butterball/purdue birds are fine.

  1. Not a huge difference but I roast mine at 350. Breast side down in a roasting pan. (It's not as pretty, but I think this keeps the breast meat basted from the fattier back meat.) Using the formula of 15 minutes, plus add 20 minute for each pound.
  2. 5 lb bird is 15 (20x5) = just shy of 2 hours.
  3. 3 lb bird is 15 (20x3) = 1 hr 15 minutes.
  4. My extra test is to pierce the skin near the thigh/leg to make sure it's clear and not too red. I pop it back for a little extra if it's not clear.

Most chickens are packaged with the organs stuffed inside the chest cavity. You need to remove this before cooking. My cats love the treat & I use the neck to make stock.

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie Recipe October 2, 2016

My recipe is pretty simple. It turns out perfect and delicious every time - I try to make one every few months and I usually end up eating the entire pie as dessert.

It's the kind of dessert that's so good your muscles go limp on the first bite because your taste buds completely take over :) It's very easy: once you've got all your ingredients together you basically put 'em all into a bowl, mix 'em together, pour into crust, & bake. I start with a ginger snap crust instead of graham cracker:

  • 3/4c(6oz) ginger snaps
  • 1tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1tsp ground fresh ginger
  • 1oz(2tbsp) butter, melted

Grind ginger snaps in food processor (or crush) until fine. Combine all ingredients. Press evenly into 9inch pie dish. Bake at 350F 10-12min til firm.

For the pie:

1 1/4c canned(1 15oz can) or cooked pumpkin. Libby's canned pumpkin is my favorite. I've tried Alton Brown's with fresh pumpkin along with a few others, but I've always come back to that one. Make sure your can is simply 100% pure pumpkin, no other variant.

  • 1/2c light brown sugar
  • 1/4c granulated (white) sugar
  • 1/4tsp fresh (ground/grated) ginger
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1tsp flour
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1c undiluted evaporated milk (or light cream)
  • 2tbsp water or rum (I use water, but that's because I'm a recovered alcoholic haha)
  • 1tsp vanilla

Using mixer, combine pumpkin, sugars, spices, and flour.
Add beaten eggs; mix. Add evaporated milk (or cream), water (or rum), and vanilla; mix.

Pour into crust-lined 9-inch pie dish. Bake in pre-heated 425F oven for 15min, then reduce heat to 350F and bake for 35min longer or until set.

Let cool completely.

I have a Danish family coming over (to the U.S.) in November who's nuts for pumpkin pie, I can't wait to make them this one!