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Posts Tagged ‘pecans’

We have been so on the go lately and with our busy schedules the weekly menu plan has kind of gone by the wayside. We are finally back on a normal schedule and I was so happy to sit down this morning to plan the week’s menu and make the grocery trip. One of the first things that I do when I’m menu planning is check the store specials. I knew I wanted fish tonight and saw that they were offering rainbow trout at a great price. A quick search on Epicurious led me to this recipe for Sauteed Trout with Pecans.

I made some modifications to the original recipe. First, it called for an obscene amount of butter. I greatly reduced the butter with no detriment to the flavor of the dish. Second, after reading some of the online recipe reviews, I decided to add a bit of brown sugar to the pecans. I loved the hint of sweetness it gave the nuts.

This dish took less than 15 minutes to prepare. It was so simple but provided a lovely Sunday dinner when served alongside brown rice pilaf, green beans and ciabatta. I would have no problem serving this dish to dinner guests. Another win from Gourmet magazine – you just can’t go wrong with their recipes. This would have been a great dish for 68 Days of Gourmet!

One Year Ago: Malted Ice Cream Sundae Pie

Sauteed Trout with Pecans
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, January 2008)

Ingredients:

2 trout fillets with skin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions:

Pat fish fillets dry and rub flesh sides with cayenne, teaspoon salt and pepper. Dredge in flour to coat both sides and shake off excess.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat until foam subsides. Cook trout, skin side down, until skin is golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Turn fish over and cook until just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.

Pour off butter from skillet and wipe clean. Cook pecans with remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and brown sugar, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley and spoon over trout.

Yield: 2 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 44

I’ve wanted the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid mixer for years now. They’re not that expensive, I don’t know why I didn’t just buy it for myself. I was so excited to finally receive the attachment this year for Christmas. I conducted a little poll a few weeks ago on Twitter to see what flavor of ice cream I should make for the first batch. The crowd favorites were Salted Caramel and Maple Butter Pecan. I decided to go with the Maple Butter Pecan because the method was a little simpler. But the Salted Caramel will definitely be making an appearance soon!

This ice cream is so good. How can it not be with pure maple syrup, heavy cream, whole milk and toasted pecans? It’s definitely a splurge. I could only eat a small scoop of this at a time because it was so rich – and this is coming from a huge ice cream fan! I think that I’ll save recipes like this for special occasions and try to use lighter ice cream recipes for everyday consumption.

So after taking two rest days last week, I managed to step it up on the fitness front over the weekend. I attended two 90 minute hot yoga classes and ran 3.5 miles with the pup (in the snow!!!). My leg is definitely still super sore and I have to ice it right when I get in from running but I can make it through short distances. I’m excited to share that my yoga practice was on this weekend. I was feeling really strong and balanced. Loved it.

This morning I taught BodyPump and couldn’t resist taking Sullie for a quick 3-miler when I got home from work. Love that it’s staying light until after 6 p.m.

And I leave you with a cute picture of Sullie in the powdery soft snow we received unexpectedly this weekend and the recipe for delicious Maple Butter Pecan Ice Cream!

Maple Butter Pecan Ice Cream
(Recipe source Gourmet, August 1997)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon maple extract (I substituted vanilla extract)

Directions:

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add pecans and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, to taste. Cool pecans and chill. (Buttered pecans may be made up to 3 days ahead and chilled.)

In a medium heavy saucepan bring cream, milk, maple syrup and salt just until boiling, stirring occasionally. In a separate medium bowl beat yolks until smooth. Slowly add hot cream mixture to egg yolks in a slow stream, whisking constantly, and then pour back into saucepan. Cook custard over low heat, stirring constantly, until a thermometer registers 170 degrees. (I did not have to reheat my custard in the saucepan, it was already 170 after being added to egg yolks.) Pour custard through a sieve into a clean bowl and cool. Stir in extract. Cover surface of custard with plastic wrap and chill, at least 3 hours or overnight.

Freeze custard in an ice-cream maker (following the instructions for your manufacturer). Fold in chilled pecans. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer to harden. Ice cream will keep for about 1-2 weeks.

Yield: 1 quart

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 23

I made these cookies as part of my holiday package for Operation Baking Gals. This is an organization that I’ve been participating in since the last holiday season. Check out what I baked for the other rounds here and here. Rather than me try to explain the organization, I’ll just give you a blurb from their Web site.

“Baking GALS (GALS stands for Give A Little Support) is a group of volunteer bakers from around the country who bake and ship homemade goodies to our heroic military men and women who are currently deployed in a war zone. Our goal is to show our support and send a little bit of home to remind them that we appreciate all that they do for our freedom.”

Basically, the way is works is that someone (usually a blogger) forms a team to host a soldier. Then they recruit people to join their team and bake. I’m so excited to report that there were 47 teams for this round of Operation Baking Gals. That’s seriously amazing! I joined Team Beantown Baker – hosted by fellow blogger, Jen. Check her awesome blog out here.

We baked for Rebecca. She and her husband Brian are stationed in Iraq. She still has about a year left in her 18 month deployment. Rebecca and Brian met in basic training and were married last Valentine’s Day. Our team baked for Rebecca and another team baked for Brian! I hope they’re enjoying all their treats :)

Rebecca and Brian

I decided to go with sturdier cookies for this round. I browsed through The Gourmet Cookbook and looked for recipes that said the cookies would keep for 5 days plus. Pecan Sables sounded nice and holiday-ish and I also picked Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that recipe!

The Pecan Sables were crisp and had a lovely balance between salty and sweet. The ground pecans in the cookie batter provided a nice nutty flavor. These are simple and delicious.

I tried a new packing method for this round. I wrapped the cookies in sets of two in cling wrap, then placed them in sandwich bags and then layered the sandwich bags in plastic containers. I have high hopes that they will arrive in tact and fresh tasting!

I was dreading the trip to the post office today to send off my package. I was shocked to discover that the post office was rocking – they had a system down and were fully staffed. It was a great experience. Once I got through the hustle of getting in and packing up the cookies in the APO flat rate box, I found myself waiting in line fighting back tears. It was such a juxtaposition that I was standing in the post office in the holiday hustle and bustle while Rebecca is serving our country and spending her holidays in Iraq.

I will be hosting an Operation Baking Gals team in 2010. One our friends is being called back into active duty to go to Afghanistan. I encourage you to participate with me. I will share the details when I have them. I will also be helping fellow blogger Tracy with a round in 2010. Her brother is currently serving in Afghanistan as well.

And now for the recipe…

Pecan Sables
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook, published in Gourmet November 2002)
Printable Recipe: Pecan Sables

Ingredients:

3/4 cup pecans (3 ounces), toasted and cooled, plus about 32 pecan halves (3 ounces)
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg, separated
Special equipment: a 2-inch round cookie cutter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

In a food processor, pulse toasted pecans with 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar until finely ground. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat together butter, remaining 2/3 cup confectioners sugar and vanilla on high speed until fluffy and lightened in color. This should take about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and beat well to incorporate. Slowly add flour and pecan mixture on low speed and mix until just combined, about 1 minutes. Dough should be crumbly but hold together when squeezed.

Halve dough and roll out half between 2 sheets of wax paper until 1/4 inch thick, about a 9-inch round. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Arrange 2 inches apart on baking sheets, reserving scraps. Roll out and cut remaining dough in same manner. Gather scraps, then re-roll and cut again.

Beat egg white until frothy and brush tops of cookies lightly. Place a pecan half on top of each round and brush pecan lightly with egg white.

Bake cookies for about 15 to 20 minutes, until tops are lightly golden. Cool cookies on sheets on racks 2 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Yield: about 32 cookies

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angelbars

Behold, Dream Bars (also known as Angel Bars apparently). So according to Joy of Cooking (my favorite cookbook ever) they have sold many copies of their cookbook over the years “on the strength of this recipe.” How could I resist trying these when they tell me that? I was intrigued, especially once I read the ingredient list.

I think the best way I can describe these is pecan pie-esque with coconut and a lemon glaze. I know that sounds strange but somehow it works. First you make a shortbread-type crust and bake it. Next you spread the pecan/coconut mixture over the crust and bake again. And finally you top it with the lemon icing. It’s quite an addictive combination.

I don’t think these will go into the regular baking rotation in my kitchen but I will make them again. If you’re a nut and coconut fan you will definitely like these!

Dream Bars (Angel Bars)
(Recipe source Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUST
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

FOR THE FILLING
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
2 large eggs
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

FOR THE ICING
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 11 x 17 pan with aluminum foil, leaving about a 2 inch overhang on the narrow sides. Spray with cooking spray.

Beat together butter, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla until fluffy and well blended. Stir in flour and knead until blended and smooth.

Firmly press dough into pan into a smooth and even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, set aside to cool.

Place the nuts and coconut on a baking sheet in a thin layer. Bake for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the coconut is very lightly browned.

Beat together the eggs, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla on medium speed until well combined. Stir in the nut and coconut mixture. Spread evenly over the crust and bake for about 20-25 minutes. The top should be firm and golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out slightly wet.

Stir together the icing ingredients (adding a tablespoon of water or two if necessary to make spreadable) and spread evenly over bars while they are still warm.

Let the bars stand until they are completely cool. Lift the foil out of the baking dish and carefully peel from sides. Cut bars into squares.

Yield: about 12 bars

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