Monday, March 12, 2012


PI(E) DAY = 3/14, or as we non-mathematician, foodies see it, March 14th.

What exactly is "PI DAY"? 

     Pi is the Greek symbol used to show the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, which happens to be a mathematical constant of 3.1415926535 . . . . . . . , an infinite number computers can take to a trillion digits.  Remember that from school?
     The fact that it was voted in as a national holiday in 2009 is just too funny.  I think it was legislators looking for an excuse to have PIE, as in pizza pie, or apple pie, or whatever kind of pie.

          And that joke comes from the equation used to find the area of a circle, using the radius, or diameter of the circle:  
A = PI R (squared)

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14TH is the day to celebrate!  So make a pie.....pumpkin, apple, or our fav, a chocolate pecan pie.   Get the lard out......or shortening..... and roll out your pastry.  Or, buy a pre-made crust.  I'm not proud, for they are mighty convenient.

     Just this week I made a Chocolate Pecan Pie for my youngest daughter, home for Spring Break.  Even though it has two ingredients I try to shy away from - corn syrup and sugar - it's one of the best pies ever and her favorite.  How often do we eat such an indulgence?  As Julia Child said, "Remember moderation."

   Here's the RECIPE:

Chocolate Pecan Pie

         CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE, (c) from THE OUTER BANKS COOKBOOK, by Elizabeth Wiegand, Globe Pequot Press, 2008.
             This is one of the most decadent pies, almost fudge-like, featuring two favorite ingredients – chocolate and pecans!

1 uncooked pie crust

1 cup corn syrup (light or dark)
¾ cup sugar
6 Tablespoons butter
3 large eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
4 to 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 ½ cups pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2.
  2. Place corn syrup and sugar in small saucepan.  Stir together, then bring to a boil without stirring further.  Remove from heat, and add butter and chocolate and stir until both are melted and mixture is smooth. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy and add salt and bourbon.  Slowly whisk chocolate mixture into eggs, and stir until well blended.  Add pecans, and stir. 
  4. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell, smoothing pecans into filling.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until filling is set in center.   
YIELD:  6 to 8 servings

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


    Wish we could catch our own rainbow trout, but it's not that easy.  I've spent many a pleasant afternoon hiking up streams or planting myself by a flowing river, taking a nap or reading a book while the hubby casts over and over with high hopes of catching dinner.

    Not a bad way to spend a day, huh?

     And sometimes, we get lucky.  He gets the thrill of reeling one in, and I get the final thrill of a delicious fish for dinner.

     The rule is, he catches, he cleans, I cook.  I'm not into gutting anything!


Here's one of his prize catches last year, a brook trout, the only trout that's native to the Blue Ridge.

                                                                Native Brook Trout

Rainbows, that touted mountain trout, were originally imported to the Blue Ridge!

During the early 1900s, the Blue Ridge mountains were heavily timbered, so much so that the environment was decimated, with heavy soil erosion that ran into streams.  That killed much of the fish.

To make amends, the railroad company brought in trainloads of tanks loaded with rainbow trout from Idaho and Montana, to re-stock the streams of the Blue Ridge.  That's how rainbow trout became our "mountain" trout.  Today, trout farms have ponds where you can catch your own, or we can find rainbow trout in our groceries supplied by Sunburst Trout Farm near Canton, NC and others.

Watch me prepare this recipe for pan-roasted trout with pecans on Daytime Blue Ridge  (click)  with host Natalie Faunce that we taped last week.  

And here's the recipe!

PECAN-ENCRUSTED RAINBOW TROUT  adapted from THE NEW BLUE RIDGE COOKBOOK, by Elizabeth Wiegand, Globe-Pequot Press, 2010.

            Fly fishermen love to practice their casts in the wild streams of the Blue Ridge, where rainbow trout are often stocked.  Or, try catching your own at a trout farm.  Rainbow trout filets are available at most seafood counters.  This is a simple and quick preparation, so have all ingredients ready to go, as well as your side dishes that you'll be serving along with the trout.

4 fillets of rainbow trout - about 4 to 5 ounces each (sea trout is good, too)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs – choose lemon thyme, regular thyme, parsley, chives or a combination
2 to 3 Tablespoons butter and 2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil OR 4 tablespoons canola oil
juice of one lemon

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash trout and pat dry.  
2.     Mix flour, cornmeal and salt together on a plate or in a shallow bowl.  In another shallow bowl, whisk together egg and milk.  And in a third shallow bowl or plate, mix the pecans and herbs together.
3.     Press fillets in  the flour mixture on each side, lift, then knock away coating until just a thin haze of the flour/cornmeal is left.  Dip just the skinless side into the egg mixture, then press that side into the pecan mixture. 
4.     In a large, ovenproof sauté pan, (or use 2 pans if filets are large), melt butter and add olive oil, or just heat the canola oil, over medium high heat.  
5.     When hot enough to make a sizzle with water droplets, add trout, skin side up, and sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on thickness.  Turn fillets over, and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.  
6.     Slide sauté pans into oven to finish cooking, for about 3 minutes, or until the trout flakes easily with a fork.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve immediately.