Friday, October 26, 2007

Meeting Tyler Florence

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him." Jeremiah 17:7 

Earlier this week I discovered that Tyler Florence was going to be in Portland at the newly renovated Macy's (Meier & Franks) today from 1-3 for a book signing. I was quite excited and determined to go, until I realized that the schools had Friday off, and I would have not only 13 month old Emily but 11 year old Christian for the day. So I gave up on the idea of seeing Tyler Florence. But late this morning Christian was invited to spend the afternoon at a friends house. Yes! I got him their shortly after noon, then drove straight down town, got parked, got a tall Americano, and headed for Macy's.

The event was on the fifth floor. At this point in time that is the highest floor of the store. In the old days, the store had 12 floors. It really had been a great department store in its day. As a kid I loved going down town on Saturday with my best friend. We would get very nicely dressed, gloves and all, and we'd take the bus. The first store we would go to was Meier & Franks. Later, after lunch on the 12th floor at the lunch counter where we would get a hamburger and coke for 45 cents, we'd go to Lippman Wolfs or J K Gills or maybe one of the three five and dime stores. And to finish the day off we would either have lemonade in the tea room of Lippman's, or cake at the Bohemian Bakery, or lemonade at the London Grill in the Benson Hotel.

So today, on the fifth floor which used to be the fabric department and the book department in the old days, was Tyler Florence in the housewares. The line was rather long when I got there, but I soon found the end of the line. A nice young man soon came and assumed the position of the end of the line after me. He made a good line associate, which was good since we were there close on to an hour. There were all sorts of staff people, buzzing around doing their jobs, like seeing about what we had for Tyler to sign, or giving us recipe cards, or handing out drinks in champagne flutes and mini breakfasts on disposable plasitc plates. At one point someone maybe four ahead of me dropped thier glass. This sent some of the staff people into a tizzy. So when just a little while later I spilled part of my drink down a display of all-clad pots in lovely white boxes I just as quickly as possilbe wiped up using the red paper napkin I had been given. I certainly did manage to cover a rather large area with not all that much liquid. The young man who was acting as security for the event and was standing right there and saw everything, didn't say a word. I think he realized the necesisty of not getting the attention of the clean up people. Then not long after that I spilled the plate of food upside down on the floor. I didn't make an effort to clean that up. It was a bit dissappointing because Emily was enjoying the food, and I hadn't had enough time to feed her a decent lunch. But she was loving the drink. I got another one and poured it right into her bottle so I wouldn't spill it again.

Not too much later we were in sight of Tyler Florence, and before I knew it we were talking to him. He was just as delightful as he is on tv. It was Emily he was really interested in. I had not brought my camera, thinking they wouldn't allow it, but au contraire. That's my one big regret of this outing. But anyway... he talked quite a bit with Emily and said he loved her hat. I told him that it was a Hannah Anderson and that the store was on 10th and Flanders. He wrote this down, and said that he was hoping to go there to buy somethings for his new son, who is about 5 months. His name is Hayden.

Not knowing really what to talk with him about I asked him a couple of questions. First, who is he routing for in the world series. He immediately said that he was a die-hard Yankees fan, but that he was inclinded to pull for the Colorado Rockies, but if Boston won that was all right too. That's how I feel about it also. It was good to see that he knew what was going on in the world of baseball. I told him that I had gone to New York last month and seen the Yankees play Toronto, but he didn't seem to connect with that statement. Then I asked him what his favorite pie was at Thanksgiving. With just a little bit of thought he said pecan pie, chocolate bourbon pecan. At that he said something more to Emily and we left. Oh, I forgot to mention ... the book that I had him sign is the one pictured above, He wrote Molly and Emily, keep on cookin', Tyler, and then wrote his name on the back cover.

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
Show: Food 911
Episode: Southern Roots

Pie Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely ground pecans
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup or sugar cane syrup (such as Steen's)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 teaspoon salt
11/2 cups pecan halves

To make the pastry: combine the flour, ground pecans, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in the ice water and work it in to bind the dough until it holds together without being too wet or sticky. Squeeze a small amount together, if it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Carefully roll the dough up onto the pin (this may take a little practice) and lay it inside a 9-inch pie pan. Press the dough into the pan so it fits tightly and trim the excess around the rim. Place the pie pan on a sturdy cookie sheet so it will be easy to move in and out of the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the filling: melt the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, remove from heat and let cool. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl until frothy and then blend in the sugar. Stir in the syrup, vanilla, bourbon, salt, and the melted butter mixture until well blended.

Arrange the pecans on the bottom of the pie crust and carefully pour the egg mixture over them. Bake until the filling is set and slightly puffed, about 45 minutes. Test for doneness by sticking a thin knife in the center of the pie, if it comes out pretty clean, you're good to go. Transfer the pie to rack and cool completely before cutting.

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