Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pecan Cheesecake Pie

For the second year in a row, I've spent Thanksgiving with my co-workers and good friends, Peggy and Tom. Peggy and Tom live in a cozy little house on the side of a mountain in the forest. There is still snow on the ground and trees and pulling up to their house with the smoke pouring from the chimney set my heart full of gratitude for all the wonderful blessings in my life. Tom and Peggy are big hunters, barely having to leave their back yard to make a kill. They're also
hunters in the best way, using every inch of the meat for eating through the winter. They always thank the animal for the abundance it provides and Tom always buries the heart in the place where the animal was taken. Last year, we had venison tenderloin cut right off the deer that was hanging to age on their back porch. This year, Peggy made a venision roast that is probably the best meat I've ever put in my mouth. (Sorry, dad!) This really was the best Thanksgiving as far as the quality and taste of the food that I've had thus far in my life.


I contributed the pecan cheesecake pie shown above, Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Bacon and a big green salad with dried currants, pine nuts, radishes and a homemade balsamic vinagrette. I find if anything is usually missing from a Thanksgiving feast it will be something nice and fresh and green. One of Tom's brothers, Carlo, made some fantastic garlic and herbed mashed potatoes. Peggy roasted sweet potatoes with butter and honey. Tom's mother made a cold green bean salad with beans from their garden and of course, we had turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.


I'd like to thank Peggy and Tom and Tom's family for being so gracious in sharing their holiday with me and bringing me in just like a member of the family. Holidays can be difficult for single people far from home, but they are so generous and warm that it keeps me from missing my family and friends in Georgia so much.


Now, the recipes.


Pecan Cheesecake Pie


Ingredients


1/2 (15 oz.) package refrigerated pie crusts
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs, divided
3/4 cup sugar divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup light corn syrup


Fit pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions. Fold edges under and crimp. Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. (What did they ever do without electric mixers?) Pour cream cheese mixture into pie crust; sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans. Whisk together corn syrup, remaining 3 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla; pour mixture over pecans. Place pie on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees on lowest oven rack 50-55 minutes or until pie is set. Cool on a wire rack 1 hour or until completely cool. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 2 days. You would never know this pie was so easy it comes out so rich and delicious!


Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Apples


Ingredients


1 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed
4 bacon slices
1 Braeburn apple, peeled and diced (I have no idea what kind of apple I used as Tom's mother gave me some from their tree. It worked fine.)
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used a chardonnay - gasp!)
1/4 cup low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup freshly shaved parmesan cheese


Cut Brussels sprouts in half, and cut into shreds. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, drain on paper towels, reserving 3 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon. Saute' apple, shallots and garlic in hot drippings over medium-high heat 3 minutes. Stir in wine and next 3 ingredients, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts; saute' 8-10 minutes or until sprouts are crisp-tender. Top with shaved parmesan and crumbled bacon. Serve imediately. (I wasn't able to serve immediately so I kept the bacon and parmesan separate and added after heating the Brussels sprouts in the microwave.) They were great!

11 comments:

Kikipotamus said...

Angela, as I was reading along I was thinking, RECIPE? RECIPE? RECIPE? RECIPE? and was so happy when I scrolled down to find...the recipes! Thank you so much!

Diva Carla said...

Angela, thanks for the recipes. I am extremely fond of brussels sprouts. I think I will roast them and finish with your technique and apples, etc.

I made a divine pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin and sweet potato pie. My friend cooked a free range (not wild) turkey.

I love it that you had a true Mountain thanksgiving, with meat from the local deer people, not a shipped in or raised turkey.
Aho!

Aine said...

Ahh, your Thanksgiving dinner sounds wonderful! I love when folks capture the true spirit of being thankful for the food that is available in our "back yards". One year, we ate a turkey that my husband (Jason) shot in the woods by our cabin. I felt a stronger connection to our American ancestors who were struggling to live off the land and understood the significance of the help they received from the native Americans.

Angela said...

Aine,

Yes, I find it a much more heartfelt holiday when eating consciously and in true communion with the earth.

Angela said...

Aine,

I look forward to reading your blog! Just saw you're Jason's wife.

Janet said...

What a great way to spend Thanksgiving! Kudos to your friends for having you over :-) I'll be trying that brussels sprouts recipe soon, I love those things!

Aine said...

I'm not starting my own blog, I'm just becoming more visible and active on Jason's. Now that our children are both in school I have more time to spend blogging (and collaborating with Jason.) :)

claud said...

That brussels sprouts thing is just gorgeous. I've been looking at Thai recipes since our last lunch, and honestly -- there are so many beautiful recipes in the world I just don't see how I'm going to have the time to make them all. And eat them all. Cough.

Angela said...

C,

You crack me up. :)

Beverly Keaton Smith said...

Gosh, I'm getting hungry now! Yum, Yum! Thanks for adding my link to your blog Angela...I'll add yours to mine too. I'll have to pass these recipes along to my husband since I don't cook...Thankfully, he does!

Jane said...

I'm definitely going to make that cheesecake. Also, I wanted to share that my Thanksgiving in Oregon was kind of similar. I stayed at a hunters ranch in the middle of nowhere. Everything is fresh from the eggs and milk to the meat. It makes you marvel at how some people can really live off the land this way. As for me, I'm still used to my shameless daily trips to the grocery store. Happy weekend!!