Friday, November 18, 2005

Let The Games Begin! (with pecan pie)

Well, here I am on the third day of weather cool enough to turn off the A/C since February. Not that we actually keep the A/C on all that time - our Army days have conditioned us into thinking Summer begins officially on June 15, the day the Post Commander says it's OK to use the A/C; and ends on September 15th, when we must turn it off. In my old age, I have extended "summer" from May 1 to Oct 1. No matter that I am a crabby menopausal bitch even with the A/C on - but it's a matter of degree. When I pant, rant and stomp the house saying, "It's so fucking hot", mr. dks mildly observes that we do have A/C, and that he would even go turn it on for me. That just makes me more hormonally freaky. But today, like yesterday and the day before, it is actually cool here in South Texas. The cat wishes to spend her days cuddled up to the dog, kneading her side coat. Madame La Chat gives me malevolent looks, trying to force me to turn on the heat. That we do no earlier than November 30th which is the Duck's birthday. But mr. dks came home from work last night, in the cold dark, and said in his commander's voice, "Turn on the heat, now." See, he got some sort of tropical affliction when he deployed to Panama. He can no longer stand cold weather. Some sort of mild, tropical fever he got down there has the lasting effect of have him shivering in temperatures under 75 degrees, and the docs are stumped by it. That, combined with a very weird skin condition he got in Gulf War I, a 50% hearing loss in his "rifle ear", and about 20 stress fractures in each leg and knees that don't work right, are part of his retirement package from the military - along with this strange difficulty I have using the A/C and the heat unless the calendar (or a general) says I can.

I write about Mr. dks today because he and I have made a momentous decision, a decision so unexpected, so far from what we thought we would be doing at this time in our life together, that we are still dazed. Yes, it's true. Mr. dks will be running for a state representative seat in the Great State of Texas. Tonight a lady is coming to talk about setting up a PAC, folks have started already volunteering to work the campaign, and we just look at ourselves across the dinner table, wondering, "What have we done?" I am trying to get used to the idea of wearing makeup, pantyhose and some kind of dress thing in the heat of the campaign summer. People who know me won't recognize me, which will be good thing, because I feel vaguely ashamed, as if I am wearing a Halloween costume, when I wear makeup.

So, in celebration (?) of a new beginning, I offer you my very best, most-requested dessert recipe - Texan By Injection Pecan Pie:

1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick real butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

3 beaten eggs

1 unbaked pie crust for a 9" deep dish pie

2-3 cups fresh shelled pecans

Combine first 5 ingredients in a 2 quart pot, and bring it to a rolling boil. After the butter is melted, cook the syrup for about 2-3 more minutes. Cool it to room temperature. (I do this by placing the pot in a bigger pot of ice and stirring until it cools to room temp.) Stir in the vanilla and the beaten eggs.

Put the pecans in the pie crust-lined pie pan, pour in the syrup-egg mixture. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes on the bottom shelf of your oven. Lower the heat to 325 degrees and bake 30 minutes more. Cool to room temperature before cutting.

Now, you can make this even more nutty by using 2 pie crusts in 2 shallow 9" pie plates, using 2 cups of nuts in each, and dividing the syrup-egg mixture between the two, and baking as directed, except to cut about 5-10 minutes off the final baking. It's OK if the top cracks. It will collapse as it cools and look fine. Done this way, the pies are more like candy in a crust, less like a conventional chess pie.

Oh, BTW, I have won contests with this recipe, even modifying it by adding 1 cup of chocolate chips to the pecans, and 1/4 cup bourbon with the vanilla, and calling it North American Cup Derby Pie in celebration of Little Harvard winning medals at every fencing tournament he fenced in Louisville, Kentucky.

If you use clear glass pie plates, the crust will be best on the bottom, but that's your call. I just really hate soggy beige crust - I like a nice dark crisp bottom crust.

Next week I will post Mawgie's Cranberry Relish. You will need 1 large pkg lemon jello, 2 cups fresh cranberries, an orange, some celery, some pecans and sugar.

The Texan By Injection is yours truly. And watch it be 88 degrees on Thanksgiving.

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