Posts Tagged ‘pecans’

Party Cheese Ball

Monday, December 8th, 2014

My mom is not a cook.

For our wedding (I think I’ve mentioned this before), our friends and family put together an awesome cookbook of their favorite recipes. Since my mom is not a cook, however, her contribution was a little…simple.

Spinach Dip

Submitted by Mom

Ingredients:

  • Money of some sort
  • Your local grocery store
  • 1 round loaf Hawaiian bread
  • 2 lbs deli spinach dip
  • A car

Directions:

Drive to the store. Purchase spinach dip and Hawaiian bread. Drive home. Carve hole in middle of Hawaiian bread. Place spinach dip in hole. Serve with pieces of bread from hole around it. Enjoy!

_______________

It was still a wonderful contribution, since it makes me laugh every time I think of it. Plus, it’s a classic “Mom” dish that she takes to most parties that she has to bring an appetizer. Who doesn’t like Spinach Dip? Even though I love to cook, and would likely make spinach dip from scratch if I were going to take it somewhere, I love this recipe from my Mom.

The other recipes she included is a little more useful. It also happens to be her other appetizer recipe. It’s a classic cheeseball, a popular party snack. Here’s how it goes.

Cheeseball

Submitted by Mom

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar Kraft Pimento cheese
  • 1 jar Kraft Old English cheese
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • Chopped pecans
  • Assorted crackers, for serving

Directions:

Soften the cream cheese. Mix 3 cheeses together, blend well. Shape into a ball. Roll in chopped nuts. Wrap in wax paper and foil, store in refrigerator overnight. Serve with crackers.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Apparently recipes from Mom are about 30 words long. Nothing wrong with that. I make this one often, because it’s easy, and a family favorite. The hardest part is finding the little jars of cheese–I swear they move around the grocery store every time I go. They’re never in the same place twice!

This Thanksgiving, I dressed up Mom’s classic Cheeseball recipe–like a turkey!

Gobble Gobble!

Gobble Gobble!

This is one of those rare Pinterest projects that turns out better than the inspiration. I love this little guy! To adjust mom’s general recipe, I rolled the cheeseball in crushed Ritz crackers to help it hold together, chilled overnight as directed, and then added the other garnishes once I got it on the platter the next day. The back feathers are crackers, I stuck pecan halves in the cheeseball in a feather pattern, rather than using chopped pecans, and the face is a strip of red bell pepper. The beak is cut out of a slice of cheddar cheese, and the eyes were made from a thin slice of string cheese, with a couple of whole black peppercorns stuck into it. I stuck a few toothpicks into the cheeseball and through the pepper, eyes, and beak. The whole process took about 5 extra minutes, and was a great addition to my Thanksgiving appetizer spread!

The World’s Best Coffee Cake

Monday, July 26th, 2010

That Pioneer Woman. Somebody should buy me her cookbook. Everything she makes looks delicious, even if it’s something I wouldn’t normally like. I also love her sense of humor. And how she’s not afraid of butter.

We’re eating healthier (most of the time) and so I don’t make these treats for David as often as I once did. And when I do, I try to make something that’s not too tempting for me. I managed to stay away from this coffee cake for most of the week, but I’m not sure it was due to lack of temptation. The cake was the perfect amount of sweetness, with great cinnamon and pecan flavors. It was slightly dense, and had the perfect slightly-crumbly texture. It’s got me dreaming of other things I could put in a coffee cake. So much for avoiding temptation.

I followed the directions from the site almost exactly. I don’t have a pastry cutter, so I put the dry ingredients in the food processor with the cold butter for those steps, and pulsed several times. Just enough to chop and distribute the butter, but not enough to remove the clumps. You want clumps! She recommends a large pan, and I would definitely agree. I used a deep white roasting dish from CorningWare, and the cake rose to the top of the pan. A regular 9×13 Pyrex would’ve been cutting it close for sure.

The World’s Best Coffee Cake (According to The Pioneer Woman)

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1-½ stick Butter, Softened
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 3 cups Flour, Sifted
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1-¼ cup Whole Milk (I used 1 cup of 1% milk with 1/4 cup of cream, because oddly enough, I keep 1% AND heavy cream on hand, and never have whole milk)
  • 3 whole Egg Whites, Beaten Until Stiff

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 1-½ stick Butter, Softened
  • ¾ cups Flour
  • 1-½ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
  • 1-½ cup Pecans, Chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add flour mixture and milk alternately until combined. Don’t overbeat. Fold in beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula. Spread in a well-greased 9 x 13 (or LARGER!) baking pan. A cake pan with higher sides would be best.
  3. In the bowl of your food processor, pulse topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle all over the top.
  4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until completely set. Enjoy!

The Biggest Loser’s Pecan-Crusted Chicken

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

For the past few seasons, I’ve watched The Biggest Loser pretty regularly. Sure, there’s nothing realistic about the conditions, and yes, they fall into the reality show trap of drama, drama, drama. But despite all of that, it’s still really inspiring what the contestants are able to accomplish in just a few weeks on the ranch.

I picked up The Biggest Loser Cookbook a while back, and finally got around to trying one of the recipes last week when I made their Pecan Crusted Chicken.

As the book said, the breading contains enough pecans to be satisfying, but not enough to make the crust unhealthy. This recipe was pretty simple, though I made a few changes to up the flavor a little bit. The recipe below is my take on this tasty dish.

pecan-crusted-chicken

Pecan-Crusted Chicken
Adapted from The Biggest Loser Cookbook

  • 1 large egg white
  • 4 tablespoons minced toasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray, or cover with parchment paper. In a small shallow bowl, beat the egg white, honey, and mustard with a fork.

In another small bowl, combine the toasted pecans, bread crumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper. Spread on a sheet of wax paper. Dip each chicken breast into the egg white/mustard mixture to coat. Place the smooth side of the breast on the nut mixture; press to adhere. Place the breast, nut side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the other chicken breasts and place on the baking sheet, so that the pieces are not touching.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until no longer pink. Let stand 5 minutes.

Note: If you’ve never toasted pecans, it’s pretty simple to do. You can either spread them in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and bake on the top rack of a 350 degree oven for 2-4 minutes until lightly browned. You can also toast pecans or other nuts in a small skillet over medium heat. Keep an eye on them, because they can burn quickly. Your nose will know when they’re done though–toasted pecans smell delicious!

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

I’ve really enjoyed having my ice cream freezer, as you might be able to tell. After the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream, I took a poll to see what flavor I should make next. Right up until the poll, everyone had been all excited about Butter Pecan. It was all anyone wanted. Then, out of nowhere, after one silly little poll, Butter Pecan came in second. It took a backseat to sexier, flashier Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch ice cream. Until now.

This recipe also comes from the Ben & Jerry’s cookbook, and while I’m not sure I’m ready to blame the cookbook, I have to say: this was the first Ben & Jerry’s recipe that I was slightly disappointed with.

I’m not sure what went wrong here. Maybe it was technique, or maybe it was the fault of the recipe. Maybe the pecans were cooked too much. Maybe not enough. Maybe the bowl wasn’t chilled enough. Maybe the mixing didn’t happen fast enough. Maybe the pecans were too warm.

What I do know is that we lost the perfect texture that I’d worked out during the previous trials. This ice cream had crystals that you could taste, and wasn’t the velvety smooth base that I’ve come to crave.

David thought that he might have over-toasted the pecans, and while I did taste that once or twice, I don’t think that was really the problem. For me, the real problem was another texture issue–ultimately, the finish on this ice cream smacked of butter. There were even little tiny chunks of butter in the mixture. As Alton Brown would say, that’s not good eats.

On the plus side: the flavor was amazing. My issues here were all textural, and those can be fixed, I think. Of course, maybe I’ll just look for a different recipe next time. I’ve had butter pecan ice cream many times, and I’ve even made butter pecan ice cream before. But I’ve never actually eaten BUTTER in my pecan ice cream.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Adapted from the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream & Dessert Cookbook

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 large or extra large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

1.  Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over a low heat. Add the pecans and salt and saute, stirring constantly, until the pecans start to turn brown. Drain the butter into a small bowl and transfer the pecans to another bowl and let cool.

2. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend. Add the melted butter and blend again.

3. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker. Add while the mixer is on the low setting, then turn it up to high.

4. Once the ice cream is almost finished (about2 minutes before it is done) add the pecans and continue freezing the mixture until the ice cream is ready.

When it’s done in the ice cream machine, the ice cream will be the consistency of soft-serve. Freeze for at least two hours for a solid, scoopable ice cream.

Note: I don’t want to point fingers, but I can honestly say that the reason I’m not entirely sure what went wrong with this batch of ice cream is in large part because I had David make it while I worked on the rest of dinner. I’m not saying he did it wrong, I’m just saying I don’t know what was different. I do know that he forgot to add the salt. I don’t think that was the source of the troubles though. As I said, I might try this again, and make sure we’re a little more cautious, but maybe it’s just time to look for another recipe.