“It’s funny how things shoulder their way into your larder. First they make a small, quiet space for themselves, then they take up semi-permanent residence, and finally they claim indispensable status so that if you look for them and they’re not there, you start to panic a bit.”
Last week we bought a whole bunch of pecans, so on the weekend I decided to make some pie (we had people coming over). I’d made pecan pie once before, but I don’t know if it was the recipe or me but it tasted too eggy. This one just tastes like amazing.
- An uncooked pie shell (make your own or ready made doesn’t matter)
- 1 cup corn syrup (make sure it isn’t the white corn syrup)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 90 ml butter
- 3 large eggs
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons bourbon (didn’t have this so I used 2/3 a teaspoon of artificial rum extract)
- 2 cups pecans
- Put the sugar and corn syrup in a pot and mix well
- Boil this mixture at low to medium-low heat. Do not stir! After some time it will start bubbling a fair bit and the bubbles will be big, that is when you know it is done
- While waiting for the sugar mixture to boil measure out your butter (or margerine/crisco)
- Also while waiting for it to boil, in a large-ish bowl whisk the three eggs together and add the salt and bourbon. Don’t whisk too much, the goal is for everything to be evenly mixed NOT for the eggs to be fluffy.
- Once the sugar mixture has boiled take it off the heat and put the butter on top. Wait for the butter to melt.
- Put your oven rack to the lowest level and preheat your oven to 350
- Slowly whisk the sugar and butter mixture into the eggs. Don’t go too fast or you might end up cooking the eggs which would probably suck. Once it is all in the same bowl mix it until everything is mixed together (but no more) and then leave it alone for the 10-15 minutes it will take you to make the pie crust. If you are using a frozen pie-crust then just wait for 10-15 minutes.
- Put the pecans into your pie crust
- If there are bubbles on the top of your sugar/butter/egg mixture you may want to skim them off. Doing so will make the pie look nicer. It will taste great either way.
- Pour the sugar/butter/egg mixture into the pie crust. Use a fork to push any pecans that haven’t been coated by the mixture into the mixture. You want them to get coated because when they cook they will get a really nice crunchy coating on top.
- Pop it in the oven for 45 minutes or so. You’re done! It’s probably best to let it cool down a bit so that you don’t scald yourself on hot pie filling.
Whenever Pakistani people go to a Chinese restaurant they order chicken corn soup, and for good reason – the stuff is good. But sometimes you want to try something different, and in 1988 in Agra (city of the Taj Mahal) I decided to give Hot and Sour soup a try (seeing how I would add lemon juice and hot sauce to chicken corn soup anyway, something called “hot and sour” would have tempted me sooner or later). It was alright, but nothing special. I go back to the chicken corn.
Fast forward almost a decade. It’s my first year at university and my parents have helped me move my stuff into residence. As a treat they decide to take me out to dinner and we end up at a Chinese restaurant in town. Perhaps in anticipation of a new phase of my life I decide to try something besides the chicken corn, and the only soup not screaming pork was the hot and sour so I ordered it. This time it was so very, very good. Whenever the opportunity presented itself I would order hot and sour. However, with no Chinese restaurant near campus opportunities were few and far between.
Fast forward a few years. I’m off rez now and have to cook my own food. At some point an idea comes to me: I can make the soup myself. The internet is searched for recipes, many are tried. None are good enough. But combining the knowledge from the various recipes the best one is modified until I’m happy with it (not unlike the various smaller robots combining to make Voltron). But this recipe comes with a price – no longer am I satisfied with the hot and sour at restaurants, only mine will do.
When I went to Japan I had the recipe burned onto a CD along with other important files (resumes, computer account information, and so on) so that it wouldn’t be lost. It’s pretty much memorized, but something could happen causing me to forget (think blunt head trauma) and having it in front of me makes it less likely I’ll forget a key ingredient when grocery shopping.
I figure I’ll share it with the rest of the world.
Continue reading Hot & Sour Soup
Last Tuesday I was hungry between classes and I ended up buying a muffin. The muffin was good and I was no longer hungry. Then it happened again later in the week. Again, the muffin was good but I felt bad about paying $1.25 for something I could easily make at home. So, Friday I bought a muffin pan, and on Sunday I made them. Here’s the recipe:
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 12)
1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
- Combine oats and milk and leave them alone for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F (205C).
- Add egg, oil, brown sugar, chocolate chips and walnuts into the oats and milk.
- In a seperate bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add oat mixture to the flour mixture and mix.
- Put the mixture into a greased mufifn tin (you don’t have to grease the tin if you are using baking cups), it won’t rise too much so you can fill it up.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until it looks good.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp corn syrup
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
- In a bowl put the vanilla, butter and baking soda (you don’t need to mix them though).
- In a saucepan heat the sugar, water and corn syrup.
- Wait a while and stir the sugar, eventually it will bubble and change colour.
- When it becomes golden, turn off the heat and quickly stir in the butter stuff.
- Once all is mixed together add the nuts.
- Spread onto a cooking sheet (make sure to spread it as thin as possible).
- Wait until it is rock hard. Then eat.