I owe you a bit of an apology. Not only have I been very busy lately, but Blogger has been very wonky with the photo uploading and so I've been having a lot of trouble blogging. Never fear, though! I continue to photograph my creations and will be posting about them, just not quite as timely as I would have liked. I never promised to post a certain number of times per month, but I do want to make this a more active blog, and so I'm going to commit myself do that in the coming months. As you can see, this post has no photos, and the last AVF has only about half, but I will be fixing that as soon as humanly possible.
So anyway, later this week, I'll finally be posting the "final roundup" for the first Vegetarian Feast Challenge. But in addition to one more blog link for you, I have a couple of my own post-Thanksgiving treats that I wanted to share.
My Thanksgiving this year did not include any sort of pie, and I decided that, delicious as the dessert I did consume was, that just wouldn't do. Going on a Southern kick, I decided to make two of my favourite holiday creations - pecan pie and chocolate chess pie. At first, I didn't think it was going to happen, because there were no frozen pie shells at Hy-Vee the day after Thanksgiving (raise your hand if you're surprised by this) but then a nice man in the freezer section found some for me in the boxes waiting to be unpacked. So... pie!
There's nothing particularly complicated about this recipe. I had a few to choose from, and went with the simplest in my recipe database, copied from an old healthy cookbook whose name escapes me. The recipe isn't really healthy, but it is easy. Beat 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup soft margarine or butter, a cup of corn syrup, 1/2 t salt, and three eggs with an electric mixer. Stir in a cup of pecan halves or pieces, pour into a 9" pie crust, and bake 40-50 minutes at 375 or until set.
I used margarine and light corn syrup, as I always do, and though I did put about a cup of pecan pieces in the batter itself, I also arranged whole toasted pecans on the top in concentric circles, as you can see from the first picture. I also added a handful of sweetened shredded coconut, because as a kid I always thought pecan pie had coconut in it. I baked an entire hour, because no "setting" appeared to be happening. It turns out that this recipe is a little flawed, because it will do most of the setting while it cools. Therefore, my pecans were a little too brown for my taste. I also noticed that it was a little goopier than I like. Maybe beating it a little bit less, or at a lower speed, would have helped. Maybe more pecan pieces. I'm not sure, but hey. It was still mighty tasty.
Chocolate Chess Pie
I did a quick internet search for this one and found a recipe on Allrecipes that suited my tastes. The recipe is here, and I followed it more or less exactly. Again, I had to bake longer than the time stated, and the crust wasn't really browning so I didn't think this was a problem. The middle was still rather goopy, like chocolate pudding almost, but it wasn't exactly a problem. I've been eating it cold, which helps it stay firmer. The top, though, is absolutely perfect, all crinkly with pecans. Mm, mm.
To go with my pie explorations, I decided to make some mulled wine. This is one of my favourite holiday beverages (though there are many - eggnog, brandy, cider, the list goes on). My mom used to make it when I was far too young to enjoy it, but since then I've tried mulled wine at several holiday house parties and have been itching to make my own. For this, I combined several recipes and tips from Mom, and it turned out pretty decent. It was a tad too citrusy, so next time I'll probably use less orange.
I made two batches, because the first only made half a cup so I ended up mulling the rest of the bottle (whoo, whee!) I used cheap wine as suggested by Mom, specifically Black Swan cabernet. I took a taste before mulling, and yeah, it's cheap. For the spices, I threw in about a quarter cup of sugar, a couple cinnamon sticks, some cloves, some allspice berries, a dash of nutmeg, and a few wedges of a big orange, peeled with the peels thrown in as well. I heated the wine with this combination about twenty or thirty minutes on a fairly low heat, and then strained the mixture into my cup. I still got some un-dissolved nutmeg, so this could probably use some work!