Yes, you read that correctly, pie with bacon. You thought you'd seen it all with the bacon thing but no! I was going over the shopping list for all of the Thanksgiving food on the phone with my daughter, Lily, last week and found what I thought were pecans in my freezer. She started making the pies and I pulled out the 'pecans' and put them in front of her. MOM, this is BACON! Oops. ( I always keep leftovers from my catering jobs to use in other things...cooked bacon bits included). I went to the store and bought pecans but when I got home I thought, 'what's wrong with adding bacon to the pie?' So we did. I can't tell you how good it was. Even my naysayer friend Kris loved it!
Dixie Pecan Pie with Smoky Bacon
2 T sugar
2 T flour
2 c dark Karo
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
1 c pecan meats
1/3 c cooked, smoked bacon cut in bits
one pre made pie crust, unbaked (see recipe below or store bought works too)
Beat eggs until light. Mix the sugar and the flour and add to the eggs. Beat well. Add Karo, vanilla, salt, pecans and bacon bits. Pour into an uncooked pie shell. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes or until set.
My Plain Pastry
2 cups flour, sifted
1 t salt
2/3 c unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" chunks
6-8 T cold water
Place the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter chunks and pulse until the mixture is grainy. Add the cold water and pulse until it comes together in a ball. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Rol out on a lightly floured board to as thin as you like. Remeber to handle as little as possible so your crust will be light and flaky.
Makes one 2 crust pie or 12 tart shells.
I am back from my time in Mexico but I have one last post from my travels to share with you. This is by far the best 'macaroni and cheese style' bake I have ever eaten. Who knew that if you add a serrano pepper and spinach to the mix that it would elevate it beyond the average attempt? Well, I guess Frida Kahlo did!
Spicy Penne Pasta Bake
1 lb fresh baby spinach leaves
1 serrano chile, chopped coarsely
salt + pepper, to taste
2 T unsalted butter
2 T flour
1 c hot milk
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 lb macaroni (I used penne)
3/4 - 1 c grated parmesan
Cook the macaroni in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain throughly. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook washed spinach (with the water that clings to the leaves) and the chile with a pinch of salt until limp. Cool for a minute and then pureé in a food processor. Melt the butter, stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes without browning. Add the milk and cream, a bit of salt and pepper, stirring with a whisk to keep it smooth. Cook until thickened and then add the spinach pureé. Pour some of the sauce on the bottom of a buttered casserole dish. Add the macaroni and the remaining sauce. Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until the top is brown and the casserole bubbly. Serves 6-8.
Ready or not, Thanksgiving is next week! I love my pumpkin pie as much as my son Alex but isn't it time to add a bit of whimsy and excitement to the dessert selection this year? . My bread pudding is quite famous around these parts and has even crossed the Atlantic to London ( I kid you not!) Presented in a pumpkin, it is the perfect surprise to end your perfect holiday meal.
Bread Pudding baked in a Pumpkin
1 3-4 lb pumpkin, shorter rather than taller (top cut off and seeds scooped out,
like a jack o' lantern) or 2 smaller pumpkins
3 c bread, cut into cubes and left out to dry for a few hours or overnight (french baguette or any bread that's hearty, even raisin bread works great)
1 3/4 c heavy cream
2 oz unsalted butter, melted
1 t pure vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1 c brown sugar (white sugar is what I normally use but I wanted brown for the molasses taste for this rendition)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the pumpkin shell on a sheet pan and place the bread cubes inside. They should cover the bottom of the pumpkin in 2 or 3 layers, loosely packed. Beat the eggs lightly in a medium bowl. Add the cream, melted butter, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar. Pour over the bread cubes and allow to sit for 10 minutes to let the bread soak up the custard mixture. Put the lid on the pumpkin and bake for 30 minutes then uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the custard is set, the pumpkin is soft and the top is browned. Allow to sit out until cool enough to serve. Present at the table or buffet with the lid on. Scoop the bread pudding out along with some of the pumpkin and serve with whipped cream.
I am enjoying my time spent in Mexico. I am devouring all the culture I can and cooking with ingredients found locally while at the same time, choosing to write about and share ideas and dishes that you can make during the winter holiday season at home. Last year, my son Alex bought me a cookbook for Christmas called Frida's Fiestas. It's all about Frida Kahlo, her favorite recipes and her love of cooking for friends and for her famous artist husband Diego Rivera. As it so often happens with great cookbooks, my friends here in Mexico have a copy too. I thought it would be a great time to finally read this book and gain some food inspiration while I'm at it. In the chapter titled "December" I came across this delightfully different, refreshing salad. I think it would be a great choice for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or anytime really. I changed a couple of things but the idea remains Frida's. I wish I could have been a guest at her table when she was throwing her parties at the 'Blue House' in Coyoacån, she had such enthusiasm for life, loved preparing food and had a passion for entertaining, kind of like me!
Roasted Beet, Jicama, Orange and Peanut Salad, Honey-Lime Vinaigrette
2 medium or 1 large jicama, peeled and sliced thinly
2 oranges, peeled and sliced
2 medium beets, *roasted, peeled and sliced
3/4 c peanuts, roasted, salted, chopped
1/4 c cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional)
6 T olive oil
3 T fresh lime juice
1 t honey
zest of one orange
pinch of chile powder or cayenne or both!
salt and pepper
To make the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake to blend well, the honey will emulsify the dressing. On a large platter, arrange the jicama slices in a circle then the oranges. Pile the beets in the middle. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the peanuts and cilantro. You could sprinkle with a bit of Tajin (a chile-lime salt available in most stores) as a finishing touch or sprinkle with pomegranate seeds for more color.
*To roast the beets, heat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle whole beets with olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap in foil. Roast for 1 hour, cool then peel, dragging the dull side of a knife over them to remove the skin. Slice or chunk, your choice.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"