Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thursday's Spread - The Aftermath

Photos by Geoff Leibinger

As I mentioned in an earlier post, last Thursday I had agreed to provide an appetizer spread at Sekhet-Maat Lodge for the lecture and book signing by author Richard Kaczynski. The event went well and the food was a success, even though it did not go off exactly as planned.

The idea was to only do finger foods and items that could be nibbled, as opposed to a full meal spread. The menu was as follows:
Roasted red pepper hummus with toasted pita bread
Baked spinach artichoke cheese dip with sliced baguette
A cheese tray with brie, blue and herbed goat cheeses, served with toasted garlic cloves
A fruit and nut tray with dates, figs, peanuts and candied pecans.
Lemon poppyseed bread

The Spread
Everything turned out wonderfully and exactly as I had planned except for the lemon poppyseed loaves which were accidentally left at home! The hummus and artichoke dips in particular received their share of compliments.

One of the most popular snacks were the candied pecans. I had never made this tasty treat before and now that I know how easy and delicious they are, you can bet that I'll be making them much more frequently! The recipe is simple.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Take a large mixing bowl and whisk with a wire whip:
1 large egg white
until it's light and frothy. Add to the bowl:
2-1/2 c pecan halves
Gently toss the pecans with your fingers until they are well coated. In a small bowl, mix together:
1/4 c sugar
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground allspice
1/2 t salt
Sprinkle the mixture over the pecans and toss very gently so as not to break the nuts until all the pecans are well coated with the sugar mixture. Spread the pecans out evenly over the parchment lined cookie sheet and place in the oven for 30 minutes. When finished, remove the nuts from the oven and slide the parchment directly onto a large wire rack to cool. Once the nuts have cooled, carefully break them apart and store in a cool dry place until they are served.

When I made the recipe I used white granulated sugar, though I'm willing to bet that brown sugar would be tasty as well. The next time I make a batch, I will try that and see! The spices could be toyed with as well, perhaps using clove or ginger. This recipe would also work real well with walnuts, which are much cheaper than pecans! Candied nuts are a wonderful holiday snack and, best of all, when packaged in an attractive can or box, this recipe makes for a fantastic gift!

My thanks to all at Sekhet-Maat Lodge for helping make this event a success, and for your kind compliments on the food spread! Thanks to Richard Kaczynski for sharing his knowledge with us, and to Geoff Leibinger for taking the awesome photos! And thanks to you, dear reader, for continuing to support this, my humble blog. Cheers!

Peredur and his food.

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