The article I mentioned last week was published today. Here is a link and a snapshot. Thank you again Minnesota Daily for including me as one of Minneapolis' featured photographers!
That's my photo on the front page. I have always loved photographing the Guthrie and spent a lot of time there in the past.
Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, here are quick links to some of my most popular T-day related posts: Pecan Pie and Cranberry Daiquiris.
The turkey that you see in that cranberry daiquiri post might be featured in a video spoof very soon. I will be spending Thanksgiving solo this year, so maybe the turkey and I will create something entertaining. Only after we've had some cranberry daiquiris, of course!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Here is the photo of a slice of Perfect Pecan Pie, as promised.
The above photo shows it with one of the extra toasted pecans I talked about in the initial post.
This photo shows it with one of the little pie crust cookies I made, in this case, a turkey. I had no idea it was going to look like a chicken on a nest when I perched it in the cloud of whipped cream, but oh well!
For the record, this is homemade whipped cream, the only kind that will properly do this pie justice. Messing around with Cool Whip or canned whipped cream would be inappropriate with a pie of this caliber.
It is worth pointing out that the texture of this pie is a crucial element to its overall success. It is slightly soft but not runny. It is not so firm as to come across as gelatinous which is critical. The filling is opaque and not cloudy as some other pies may appear. The top is crunchy and perfectly balances/counteracts with the softer interior.
It is a real winner across all fronts: appearance, texture, and taste. I hope you will give it a try sometime.
Thank you for visiting this blog!
As promised last week, here is the best Pecan Pie recipe I've ever made.
First of all, you need to toast the pecans. I like the Kirkland (Costco) Pecan halves because a 2 lb. bag is only $12.99 and they are nice solid pieces.
Take the 2 cups of pecans needed for the recipe and spread them on a baking sheet. I added another cup because I always end up eating some and it's nice to have a few extra for decorations, so I'd say I've got 3 cups here. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake them for about 12 minutes. Avoid the temptation to leave the kitchen and do something else. I've burned my fair share of pecans because I got distracted elsewhere. Nuts burn fast and there is no bringing them back once they've gone too far. By the 10 minute mark, it's good to be paying close attention to what's going on and give them a stir. Generally speaking, once you can smell the nuts, they are done.
Here are the nuts after they are roasted.
These roasted for exactly 12 minutes and they look good. Only one or two look a bit dark.
The nut circled below is too dark. You want to throw out any that are this color.
I turn on the exhaust fan to get the smell out of the house quick because of my child with nut allergies. Some years I have put them in the patio if it's not too cold or I try to do it when he isn't in the house.
Next, you want to chop them up. I chop mine rather gingerly to avoid having nut fragments flying all over the place on account of my child with allergies. Also, I think the larger pieces are more toothsome than if they were chopped too small.
The next thing I do is prepare the pie crust. Use any recipe you like, here is the one I used today:
Flaky Pie Crust
Bon Appétit | 2000
by Elinor Klivans
Makes one 9-inch crust
A terrific all-purpose pie crust from Elinor Klivans. Use it during the holiday season and all year long.
preparationMix flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening. Using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water over mixture. Process just until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill until dough is firm enough to roll out, about 30 minutes.
Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface to 12-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold overhang under. Crimp edges decoratively. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Here is the pie crust after it is rolled out.
I also like to use festive cookie cutters to cut out little shapes for decoration later. I actually made an extra pie crust to do this. I sprinkle cinnamon sugar on them and bake them for 10 or 15 minutes on a separate cookie sheet. This comes from my Grandma, who used to do exactly that with the pie crust scraps. The kids loved them.
This pie crust needs to be blind baked, so bake it in the oven and use whatever you prefer to keep the crust flat: beans, pie weights, another pie pan, etc.
Bake it for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. I am using aluminum foil to keep it flat. I also used a fork to poke holes in through the foil to avoid air bubbles forming.
Take off the foil and brush an egg yolk wash in the crust. This should consist of one egg yolk with a tiny bit of water, about 1/8 teaspoon. Bake it for one more minute.
I am never happy with how my pie crusts look, but here it is for the record.
Now I am going to decorate the edges with some of those cookie pie crust leaves I made earlier.
Finally, it is time to make the pie filling.
Here is the recipe:
Perfect Pecan Pie
If you want warm pie, cool the pie thoroughly, then cut and warm it in a 250-degree oven for about 20 minutes.
1 9-inch baked pie shell
6 T. unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 T. vanilla extract
2 C. pecans (8 ounces), toasted and chopped into small pieces
1. Adjust oven rack to center position, and heat oven to 275 degrees. Place pie shell in oven if not already warm.
2. Melt butter in medium heatproof bowl set in skillet of water maintained at just below simmer. Remove bowl from skillet; mix in sugar and salt with wooden spoon until butter is absorbed. Beat in eggs, then corn syrup and vanilla. Return bowl to hot water; stir until mixture is shiny and warm to the touch, about 130 degrees. Remove from heat; stir in pecans.
3. Pour mixture into warm shell; bake until center feels set yet soft, like gelatin, when gently pressed, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer pie to rack; let cool completely, at least 4 hours. Serve pie at room temperature or warm, with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Cook's Illustrated, November/December 1995
Here is the recipe, step-by-step, with photos.
First of all, mise en place. Assembling the ingredients now will help with baking later.
Melt butter in medium heatproof bowl set in skillet of water maintained at just below simmer.
Remove bowl from skillet; mix in sugar and salt with wooden spoon until butter is absorbed.
Beat in eggs, then corn syrup and vanilla.
Return bowl to hot water; stir until mixture is shiny and warm to the touch, about 130 degrees.
Remove from heat; stir in pecans.
Pour mixture into warm shell; bake until center feels set yet soft, like gelatin, when gently pressed, 50 to 60 minutes.
I had to bake this pie a bit longer for some reason. I don't remember doing it in year's past, but go with the appearance and make sure the filling isn't sloshing around when the time is up. If it is, bake a little longer.
Here is the finished pie. I will take a picture of it tomorrow after I cut a piece and post it for you.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all and thank you for stopping by!
Big plans were underway for this Thanksgiving post. I was about to share a recipe and photos on how to make a very excellent pecan pie. I am not quite ready to make it though, as Thanksgiving is about a week away. I will make it next Wednesday and I'll try to post right afterward. If you want to bake this pie, get
If you are a fan of pecan pie, you won't want to miss this recipe. I've tried my fair share of pecan pies and I have to say this one is worth making and probably better than any you can buy. You will love it and so will everyone else who tries it.
In the meantime, my daughter has started playing ice hockey and about 30% of my life now revolves around hockey and hockey rinks, so I have a little less time on my hands. In fact, I am preparing to head out of town for a hockey tournament this weekend. As such, I am going to put a link to last year's Thanksgiving related post concerning Cranberry Daiquiris as it was a popular one.
I'll be back with that pecan pie recipe soon!
I was worried one day when I heard a repeated knocking noise coming from the back of the house. I thought there was a burglar! A turkey burglar is what it turned out to be. What a relief!
I'm not sure what the turkey sees or is thinking, but it has come by more than once and done the same thing.
The Rolling Stones' song "Can't you hear me knocking?" would have been my music track for this but I don't want to violate any copyright law, so if it is possible to hum that it in your head while you watch this video that would be sweet. Happy Thanksgiving!
There is something about the first few sips of a cocktail after, or maybe even before, the relatives/guests arrive that really puts the fun into the holiday and takes the edge off the pre-party stress. Now that Black Friday actually starts on Thursday night, it's even more important to have the cocktails well before the time comes to head out in the car, if you indulge at all in the post-holiday madness.
I came across this recipe a few years back and it has become part of my annual Thanksgiving menu/tradition. I've even made and delivered it to some neighbors who also love it. This recipe hails from Gramercy Tavern in New York City and was published in Bon Appetit way back in 2004.
Here is a step-by-step guide with pictures on how to make this. It can easily be prepared Tuesday or Wednesday so the only thing actually requiring time on the holiday itself is pouring it into a fancy glass.
Cranberry Daiquiri Recipe (Single Batch: 6 Drinks)
1/2 c. sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 t. grated orange peel
1/2 c. cranberries
1/2 c. + 6 T. light rum
6 T. dark rum
6 T. cranberry juice
6 T. lemon juice
I highly recommend doubling the recipe, might as well since you are going to the trouble to make it.
Cranberry Daiquiri Recipe (Double Batch: 12 Drinks)
1 c. sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 t. grated orange peel
1 c. cranberries
1 c. + 12 T. light rum*
12 T. dark rum*
12 T. cranberry juice*
12 T. lemon juice*
*I've measured this several times to find that 12 T. is about equal to 2/3 c. and is faster to pour than measuring by Tablespoons.
Here's the recipe in order without pictures in case you would like to print it, and then below will be a step-by-step with photos.
First, dissolve the sugar in an equal amount of water in a medium saucepan by cooking it over medium heat. Once dissolved, add the cinnamon stick(s) and the grated orange peel and bring it to a boil.
Now, mix in the cranberries and cook until they start to pop. Be careful looking in the pan in case one might pop you in the eye. Seriously! Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Then discard the cinnamon stick(s). Pour into a container that has room for more liquid.
Now add the first addition of light rum (the 1/2 or 1 c. amount, depending on your batch size) and chill. Once chilled, strain into a pitcher setting aside the cranberries for later use.
Add the dark rum and the second addition of light rum (the 6 or 12 T. amount, again depending on single or doubling the recipe), as well as all the cranberry and lemon juices. Chill again until it's really cold.
Serve in martini or other festive glasses over crushed ice. Add reserved cranberry garnish and enjoy. Cheers!
Here is 1 c. of water, 1 c. of sugar, and 2 cinnamon sticks (for a double batch).
First, dissolve the sugar in an equal amount of water in a medium saucepan by cooking it over medium heat.
Now the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear.
Once dissolved, add the cinnamon stick(s)
and the grated orange peel (I used a microplane for a really fine zest)
and bring it to a boil.
I scored these cranberries at the Farmer's Market in St. Paul from an exclusive cranberry grower for $5.
Now, mix in the cranberries and cook until they start to pop.
Be careful looking in the pan in case one might pop you in the eye. Seriously! Besides hearing the pop you will notice the cranberries start to crack open. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.
Then discard the cinnamon stick(s). Pour into a container that has room for more liquid. I used this very large, 4 c. measuring cup.
Now add the first addition of light rum (the 1/2 or 1 c. amount, depending on your batch size) and chill. Once chilled, strain into a pitcher (or similar large measuring cup) setting aside the cranberries for later use.
Here is the dark rum and the light rum.
Add the dark rum (I decided to use a 2 cup measuring cup for this task, since I will be assembling 3 portions of 2/3 c. liquids)
and the second addition of light rum (the 6 or 12 T. amount, again depending on single or doubling the recipe),
as well as all the cranberry and lemon juices. Oops, I forgot about the lemon juice...so I put it in a separate cup. Next year, use the 3 cup measuring cup.
Here's the lemon juice, on it's way to 2/3 of a cup.
Pour the rum and juice mixture into the reserved cranberry liquid mixture (the one that was cooked in the pan and that you previously strained out the cranberries and zest).
Chill again until it's really cold. Here's the whole concoction. So a double batch makes about 4 cups of daiquiri. A little goes a long way though. One and you are feeling good. Two might be the cut-off point, depending on the relative.
Serve in martini or other festive glasses over crushed ice. Add reserved cranberry garnish and enjoy. Cheers!
Fall Farmer's Markets offer a variety of vegetables different from any other time of the year. Two recent trips to the St. Paul's Farmer's Market provided opportunities to hunt for gourmet food items and more. It's a great way to support local farmers while also saving a few dollars compared to shopping at the grocery store.
Did you know that the St. Paul Farmer's Market was voted #5 out of 101 Best Farmer's Markets in the United States by The Daily Meal?
It is a small market, less than one city block and therefore one can get in and out in less than 30 minutes. At this time of year, it is easy to fill your arms and bags for less than $40 and come home with a lot of good, fresh food.
Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, it is possible to get down there this week or next and check off some items from your list as many root vegetables will keep in a cool location until the holiday. Another favorite is Bob Otis and his free-range, happy farm animals. They are seriously the best eggs around and it is not too late to pre-order a holiday turkey. He also has a great selection of pork, lamb, chicken and beef and the long line at check-out attests to the popularity of his products.
Here is a link for more information:
It says the market will have special hours the day before Thanksgiving to pick up turkeys and other items. Happy shopping wherever you are.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.