The Allegory of Pecan Pie

When I was a little girl, my great-aunt Martelle lived on a hill in Mississippi.  She had a huge pecan tree in the front yard which towered over the drive to the house.  I remember rolling up the hill with my grandparents in my grandfather’s Buick, hearing the sound of pecan shells crushing and popping under the tires.

The pecans were eaten as they fell, plain, or baked into one of the most Southern of Southern delights, pecan pie.

Though my grandmother was a good cook, my Aunt Martelle had a gift.  I’m not publicly shaming my Meemaw here, this is a fact she admitted freely.  Both women could make one hell of a pecan pie though.

I don’t have Aunt Martelle’s recipe, and my grandmother took hers directly from the back of the Karo syrup bottle.  What I’m about to share with you is my recipe, taken from a woman named Prudence Hilburn who wrote a wonderful cookbook called “A Treasury of Southern Baking”.  I’ve only changed one small detail to make it “mine”.  Prudence and I too, make one hell of a pecan pie.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

1 c. dark brown sugar, packed

1tblsp. all purpose flour

3 eggs

1/2 c dark corn syrup

1/2 c light corn syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 tblsp. butter, melted

1 cup pecan halves

1 9 in. pie crust, unbaked

Mix the sugar and flour in a bowl.  In a separate bowl combine the eggs, corn syrup, vanilla, and slowly pour in the melted butter, a little at a time mixing in between each addition so as not to cook the eggs with the warm butter.  Add the sugar and flour to the egg mixture and stir until it’s relatively smooth.  Place the pecans in the bottom of the pie crust then pour the mixture over the top.  Bake for an hour.  Allow to cool before serving.

This simple confection means more to me than some regular old dessert.  This pie is love. Jen, this is for you.  oxox



Raw Salsa Verde

This recipe is delicious, could not possibly be easier, and is so good for you.

10 Tomatillos (leaves and stems removed)

1 Bunch of Fresh Cilantro / Corriander Leaves (a rose by any other name…)

5 Cloves of Garlic

2 Limes

1 Fresh Green Jalapeño

1 Small Yellow Onion

Salt to taste

Wash and quarter the tomatillos, wash and rip the stems off the cilantro, peel and remove the hard ends from the garlic, wash and cut the stem off the jalapeño (for a milder salsa, remove the seeds as well), peel and quarter the onion.  Place all ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until thoroughly incorporated.  If you don’t have a food processor, no worries, just chop everything mentioned very, very, finely.  Pour your blended sauce into a non reactive bowl, and squeeze in the juice of two limes.  Stir and salt to taste.

That’s it!  I serve this with nacho chips, on tacos, burritos, over eggs and stirred into individual serving bowls of chicken soup.  It can be cooked, but for the best health benefits, (vitamins A, E, K, and C are diminished or lost completely in cooking) I prefer to serve it raw with a bowl of the least processed nacho chips available.

This little powerhouse of a sauce is packed with: vitamins A, E, K, C, magnesium, selenium, iron, copper, zinc, carotene, antibacterial / antiviral / antifungal / anti inflammatory / and detoxification properties.  It aids digestion and is a powerful antioxidant.


S. Conde


Settle the Tummy Tea

Is your stomach, not quite right?  Does the hot pink color of the common American over the counter treatment frighten you?  Well then, you’re in luck.

This tea helps soothe indigestion, nausea and gas.

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise clusters
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 1″x2″ piece of fresh peeled ginger

Place all ingredients in a pot and add four cups of water.  Cover the pot and turn the heat to high.  Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat to low and allow to simmer until the water turns a shade or two lighter than regular iced tea.  (About ten or fifteen minutes.)

The result of your efforts is a really delicious tea, that’ll cure what ails ya’. I like to take this tea unsweetened, but if you like, add honey to taste.

“Cinnamon has antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial activities. It has been shown to suppress E. coli, staphylococcus, and candida albicans.”

Ginger and star anise aid digestion, and are excellent treatments for both gas and nausea.

Cloves are wonderful for gas, slow digestion, and nausea.

Check out some of the other properties of these ingredients.  Suffice it to say these four items are staples of any good kitchen alchemist’s pantry.

S. Conde


Chicken Soup…The Soul…And All That

Writing about a recipe may seem wildly off topic here, but I assure you it’s not.  Cooking is an alchemical process.  Raw and diverse ingredients combine and transform to create something nourishing, healing, infused with love, and greater than the sum of its parts.

This is the recipe for a version of chicken soup I make to fight the flu.  It is spicy, which helps with congestion, so be warned.  It’s also rich in Vitamin C, B vitamins, minerals, and helps combat free radicals (fresh lime juice and chili peppers).  The soup is loaded with garlic (antibacterial / antifungal), and cilantro (helps remove heavy metals from the body and combined with garlic can eliminate infection).

  • 1 whole Amish chicken / skinned
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 whole heads of garlic
  • 4 stems of lemongrass
  • 2 bunches of fresh cilantro
  • 1 whole piece of ginger (at least the size of your palm)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 4 Thai chili
  • 4-6 limes

Thank the chicken for her sacrifice and rinse her in cold water.  Place your chicken in a heavy bottomed pot and fill to cover the chicken with about three inches of water.  Turn the flame to med high heat.

  • Peel and quarter the red onion
  • Rinse and cut the two heads of garlic in half, skin and all
  • Rinse and remove stems from one bunch of cilantro
  • Remove the hard outer layers of the lemongrass, then hit them up and down the stems with the back of your knife to release their oil.  Cut the lemongrass into thirds

Place the ingredients above into the pot with the chicken.

  • Peel the ginger, then grate it.  I grate it directly into the pot so as not to lose any juice, but be careful.
  • Rinse and cut the stems off two Thai chili.  Cut them lengthwise.  I leave the seeds in place.  If you’re worried about the spicy factor, use one chili and remove the seeds.  Handle the cut chili as little as possible (use a spoon to remove the seeds), and refrain from touching your eyes!  Put the chili in the pot.

Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low, or medium low.  You want the soup to simmer now, not boil.  Let the soup simmer, covered for two hours or so.  Uncover and let cook another hour.

Place a colander over another large pot and CAREFULLY pour the soup into the colander.  Let the contents of the soup sit in the colander until the chicken is cool enough to touch.  Once the chicken cools and all the liquid has drained, put the colander on top of the original pot.  Set the heat to low under the pot that now holds your soup.  Remove all the meat from the chicken and place in the pot with the broth.  Add and stir the coconut milk into the broth. Salt to taste.

Sometimes I serve this soup in a bowl over basmati rice, sometimes alone.

Garnish in individual bowls with freshly chopped cilantro (about a tblsp), and a few slices of raw thai chili.  Lastly, squeeze the juice of one lime into the bowl.

So good, and clears up the sinuses, beautifully. 😉

oxox  Feel better.



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