Pecan Pie

Baking has never been my forte, I find it to be too systematic. But every once in a while, I come across a stellar recipe and it piques my interest. My mom has always been a fabulous baker, but she’s especially known for her pies. She always adds that little extra something to make it outstanding. I’ve decided to share a recipe for pecan pie that she made for Easter this year.

Pecan Pie
Yields: 8 Servings

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons cold water
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped (leave a few whole)
1 dash cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 350-degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar and mix with a whisk. Continue by adding the oil, mix well. Then add two tablespoons of cold water, mix again.   At this point you can press the dough into the buttered (9-inch) pie dish (this creates a nice rustic look). 
In another medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with a hand mixer for two minutes until it’s an even consistency. Continue by adding the corn syrup and vanilla and beat this for another minute. Whip the chopped pecans into this mixture. Pour this mixture into the pie shell. Place a few of the whole pecans and a dash of cinnamon on the pie top for aesthetics.
Put the pie into the oven for forty five minutes uncovered. Then cover the pie with aluminum foil (so that it doesn’t burn on the top), and continue to cook it for another five minutes. Pierce the pie with a sharp knife and if it comes out clean, then remove it from the oven- if not, place it in the oven for another few minutes.


Arugula & Parmesan Salad

Working in center city Philadelphia, I have access to the some pretty fabulous spots for lunch. However, when I don’t feel like spending a fortune or when my work load requires that I stay in, this salad is my go-to. The arugula is peppery and flavorful, the parmesan is perfectly salty, and the crunchy croutons are to die for. In fact, my sister and I have been known to bake a batch of these croutons, and have to make another because we devour the first as soon as it leaves the oven.

You would think I would get some sideways glances for my elaborate lunches, but the engineers and architects at my firm are a cultured bunch. The things that come out of the microwave range from lemongrass scented thai dishes to banana leaf wrapped latin dishes. So this salad is pretty low-brow in comparison.

Arugula & Parmesan Salad
Yields: 1 Serving

1/8 baguette
drizzle of olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
1 cup baby arugula
5 thin shards of Parmesan
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1/4 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Dice the baguette into 1 inch chunks. Place the baguette pieces onto a sheet pan, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Place it into the oven for fifteen minutes. 
Combine the lemon juice with the olive oil and add a little bit of salt and pepper before whisking it lightly with a fork. Toss the arugula leaves with the vinaigrette. Finally, sprinkle the arugula with the pine nuts, croutons and parmesan.