Simply The Best – Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is best made simple and traditionally, without all that funk and improvisation. You can wow your friends and family with “chocolate,” “maple brandy,” and “so-on” variations, but in the end, the old-fashioned recipe wins favor. So here’s that recipe, time-tested and mother-approved.

Feel free to use a pre-made pie shell from your grocer. You can make your own pie crust if you’re bold enough, but either way works. Be sure to bake your shell beforehand (10 minutes at 400 degrees, a couple holes poked in it with a fork).

PIE FILLING:

2 cups of pecans, toasted, chopped into pieces
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¾ cup (light) corn syrup
3 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven (or reduce heat after baking crust) to 275 degrees.

Time-saver – toast the pecans while you pre-bake the crust. You only need 10-15 minutes to toast them. Once cooled, chop with a knife into small pieces.

Pecan Pie Ingredients

Melt the butter in a bowl, preferably set in a pan or skillet of simmering water. Once melted, remove from the water; add the brown sugar and salt until the butter is blended.

Add the eggs (beaten first), corn syrup, and vanilla.

Put the bowl back in the pan of simmering water, and stir it around until the mixture is hot to the touch.

Remove from the heat and blend with the chopped pecans. Mix well, and then pour it into the pie shell.

Bake on the low or middle rack for between 50-60 minutes (respectively). You’ll know it’s good when you press on it with a spoon, and it’s soft but set.

Remove from the oven and let it cool for at least 4 hours before serving. The heat will redistribute through the pie over that time. Cover it with some tin foil so nothing gets at it.

And that’s it! The result is a soft and smooth texture, sugary, but not overpoweringly sweet. It’s perfect!

Coffee Country: Sip Cafe

Sip Cafe

Some coffee shops thrive off the location, and Sip Cafe is one of those shops. Located right in downtown Boston’s Post Office Square, an adorable park compliments the experience of enjoying a coffee. This shop thrives in the warm season, but thanks to a loyal customer base, they do just fine all year round.

I bought a small (8 oz.) coffee on my first visit. Sometimes a small is 8 oz, I get it, especially when the coffee is quality, which it was. They offer a drip coffee as well as a Daterra Southern Italian espresso, which is pretty, pretty nice. Of course, they have teas and other beverages too, as well as a great selection of tasty edibles if you’re hungry.

Go in, get something nice, and take it outside. Sit in the park and watch the city move and breathe around you. I do that on every occasion, as the indoor scene is hard to adjust to.

Sip Cafe
Zero Post Office Sq
Boston, MA 02109
Neighborhood: Financial District
Map

Review originally published on Yelp.

Running and Routine

If you run, you know about routines. You know it can be important to keep a routine if you want to run harder, faster, longer. Pushing yourself is hard to accomplish without a routine. All fitness has results with a routine. Go exercise more than three times a week, and I call that a routine. Even once a week is the beginnings of a routine, but to effectively pursue excellence, you need to make it a part of your daily life.

The same applies for all good and bad things in life. Routine builds tolerance, endurance, and discipline. Routine keeps life moving forward at a consistent pace. It’s what motivates us to pursue that excellence in all of us. It’s what brings each foot in front of the other, each inhale and exhale, each day and night. Routine is the force that drives me – it doesn’t control me – I control it with my own desires to achieve.

Running and Respect

Respect is deserved on the street. There are so many people out there, and half of them are oblivious… with good reasons. They got their headphones on, their sunglasses on and their voice boxes all a twitter. That’s a cynical observation; most of us are all walking in one direction, and can’t see what’s behind us. It’s good to be aware of your surroundings, or if not, to stick to a region of the sidewalk in anticipation of people passing you by. People pass on the left… mostly.

As for runners, we need to respect what’s around us. We’re usually more aware of our surroundings than the rest – we go fast, but not fast enough to miss a beat. The cars and the bicycles have reign over the road, and when you’re the pedestrian, you have to respect the rules of their road. The only problem (and peeve) is slowing down at someone else’s expense. Drivers pull up past the stop signs and crosswalks, bicycles ride on the sidewalk, and you’re average pedestrian wanders and sidles all over.

Everyone, we need to share respect for one another. We must respect families with their children, their infant babies just learning how to walk, and their dogs that don’t know any better. We must respect the people holding too much, taking on too much to stay apprised of quick changes. Respect the runners that run after something, because they don’t take kindly to stopping or slowing down. Make way, if you can, and don’t dally. Share in the mutual exchange of respect, and no harm will come to you.

Coffee Country: Big Bear Cafe

Big Bear Cafe

As a tourist to DC, I relied on my friend to show me around, and while there, I made him aware of my fascination with coffee. He said to me, “before you leave here, I’ll take you to a great coffee shop.”

Big Bear Cafe is that shop, and I have to agree with him on that. Every bit of the experience prior to ordering reminded me of other truly organic independent cafes across the country. The place feels warm and old fashioned. The casual, intellectual vibe existed both inside and outside, where we ended up enjoying our cups of direct trade brew. They know how to prepare a good cup of coffee, and they do it with a smile.

The coffee was great – strong, well balanced, a perfect pick-me-up after a morning at the farmer’s market. They get their beans from Counter Culture Coffee, a well-known distributor in the area that prides itself on all things coffee. I take that as a promising sign, and the staff at Big Bear agree.

I felt like a regular sitting outside, drinking and chatting with my friend the day before I took off to continue my cross-country trip. I took a button from them that had they’re adorable “Big Bear” logo on it, a memory distilled, even after several future experiences of coffee consumption.

Next time I visit DC, I plan to revisit this place.

Big Bear Cafe
1700 1st St NW
(between N Florida Ave & N R St)
Washington, DC 20001
Map

Review originally published on Yelp.