Texas style make bbq sauce, pecan pie better

<p>Chris Barr gets ready to slice up a pecan pie made from her mother's recipe. | Judy Buchenot~For Sun-Times Media</p>

Chris Barr gets ready to slice up a pecan pie made from her mother's recipe. | Judy Buchenot~For Sun-Times Media

If you go What: DuPage County Observance of the National Day of Prayer Who: Led by local pastors and community leaders; organized by Concerned Women For America When: Noon-1 p.m. May 1 Where: Naperville Municipal Building, 400 S. Eagle St. Janis William’s Pecan Pie 1 cup sugar ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup dark corn syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 eggs 2 tablespoons butter 1 cup shelled pecan 1 prepared 9” pie crust Mix together sugar, salt, corn syrup, vanilla, eggs and butter in a large 8-cup glass bowl or measuring cup. Use an electric mixer to thoroughly combine ingredients. Microwave the mixture three minutes on high. Stir and then microwave two more minutes. Add pecans to mixture and stir to coat the pecans. Place prepared crust into a 9-inch pie pan and pour mixture into crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle of the pie comes out clean. Cool completely. Serve plain or topped with cool whip or ice cream. Mama’s Barbecue Sauce 1 cup catsup 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce 2 dashes Tabasco sauce 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 lemon 1 small onion ¼ cup vegetable oil salt and pepper to taste Peel lemon and remove seeds. Cut into chunks. Peel onion and cut into chunks. Place lemon, onion and remaining ingredients into blender. Blend until smooth. Brush onto chicken, spareribs or other meats. Store leftover sauce in refrigerator.

Although the 50 states join together to make one country, there are still regional flavors that make the United States a joy to explore.

Chris Barr was born and raised in Texas before she married and moved to Naperville. She has been happy living in the Midwest but still holds dear her memories of life in Texas.

“My dad was a hunter,” she recalls. “He brought home doves, quail, deer. I remember one year there was a deer hanging on the porch that he skinned and took to the butcher to have it wrapped up. But the thing we liked most was the doves,” begins Barr.

Her father would take the cleaned doves and skewer them. “He wrapped bacon around them and then grilled them with my mama’s barbecue sauce. They were so yummy,” says Barr.

When Barr’s sister married a serviceman and was stationed in Hawaii, the whole family went to visit her in 1968. “My dad packed some doves on ice and carried the cooler of doves to Hawaii so we could grill them there and have barbecued doves in Hawaii. I don’t know if we could do that today.”

Another one of her Texas favorites involves pecans. “There are a lot of pecan growers in Texas and my mom made us pecan pie,” says Barr. Her mother, Janis Williams believed that the best pecans were fresh out of the shell even though it almost took her longer to crack all of the pecans than it did to actually make the pie.

“Cracking pecans stains your fingertips brown so we knew if she had been making the pie. She used to offer to make a pecan pie for us if we would crack the pecans.”

Her mother’s recipe required multiple steps including making a pie crust, starting the oven at one temperature, then turning it down and covering the crust at the end of the cooking time. “My sister and I tweaked her preparation directions a little to make the pie easier to make,” says Barr.

By microwaving the mixture before baking, they were able to cook the pie at one temperature for a shorter time with the same delicious results. She also has found that using prepared pie crusts and shelled pecans make the process much easier although she still admire her mother’s determination to do everything from scratch.

Barr and her husband Richard raised two daughters in Naperville and now have four grandchildren. The couple recently moved to a smaller home in Plainfield but have remained active in Naperville organizations. For several years, Barr has been part of the Concerned Women For America, a group which hosts a local session of the National Day of Prayer.

“The National Day of Prayer was established by congress in 1952 and President Reagan set the date as the first Thursday in May. The DuPage County observance used to be in Wheaton but four years ago, we moved it to Naperville,” she says.

Local pastors and community leaders participate in the free service which focuses on eight areas of concern including government, marriage and family and education. The service is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Barr offers her mother’s two recipes for others to try. The pecan pie was on the table for every holiday including Easter and the barbecue sauce was a favorite on everything from chicken to beef to doves.

If you go What: DuPage County Observance of the National Day of Prayer Who: Led by local pastors and community leaders; organized by Concerned Women For America When: Noon-1 p.m. May 1 Where: Naperville Municipal Building, 400 S. Eagle St. Janis William’s Pecan Pie 1 cup sugar ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup dark corn syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 eggs 2 tablespoons butter 1 cup shelled pecan 1 prepared 9” pie crust Mix together sugar, salt, corn syrup, vanilla, eggs and butter in a large 8-cup glass bowl or measuring cup. Use an electric mixer to thoroughly combine ingredients. Microwave the mixture three minutes on high. Stir and then microwave two more minutes. Add pecans to mixture and stir to coat the pecans. Place prepared crust into a 9-inch pie pan and pour mixture into crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle of the pie comes out clean. Cool completely. Serve plain or topped with cool whip or ice cream. Mama’s Barbecue Sauce 1 cup catsup 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce 2 dashes Tabasco sauce 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 lemon 1 small onion ¼ cup vegetable oil salt and pepper to taste Peel lemon and remove seeds. Cut into chunks. Peel onion and cut into chunks. Place lemon, onion and remaining ingredients into blender. Blend until smooth. Brush onto chicken, spareribs or other meats. Store leftover sauce in refrigerator.

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