Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hot 'n Sweet 'n Spicy Walnut Goodness

Hot 'n Sweet Walnuts by annbumbly
Hot 'n Sweet 'n Spicy Walnuts
We met for our Gourmet Group recently and this time our theme was '50's and '60's Gourmet magazine recipes. My contributions were part of the appetizer round and were the above spiced walnuts and strawberry daiquiris. (Got off pretty easy this time around!) The daiquiris were the frozen mix bought at the grocery store along with a fine bottle of Bacardi. They were good, but soooo sweet, we couldn't manage more than one each. The walnuts were simply sublime. Wish I could take credit for inventing the recipe, but I can't. As usual I've now tweaked it a bit (no cloves - didn't have any) and the original recipe suggested that the cayenne was optional. How silly is that? Cayenne is never optional as far as I'm concerned!
The T'nG:
1 - 1 1/2 lbs. walnuts
6 T. butter, melted
1/2 C. confectioner’s sugar (less to taste
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon, (more to taste)
1/4 t. ground ginger, (more to taste)
1/4 t. ground allspice, (more to taste)
1/8 t. ground cloves, (more to taste)
1/8 t. cayenne pepper – (I always use a bit more - we like 'em kickin')
sea salt – optional 
Preheat oven to 325º.  In a bowl, stir the walnuts and butter until combined.  Add sugar and stir to coat evenly.  Bake on cookie sheet 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Put nuts back in your bowl and toss well with all seasonings.  Put back on the cookie sheet and bake for another 15 minutes – be careful not to brown too much.  Let cool in oven.  When completely cooled, place in airtight container until ready to serve.  4 cups.  From:  The Norwalk Hour; edited a bit by moi.
The rest of our Gourmet magazines meal
Of course I didn't think to take a photo of our meal until after we'd eaten and it was suggested that a photo should be shot of all the food, along with all the magazines. Everything looks served from, because it was. (There wasn't a whole duck side left, so we just plopped what remained down on the potatoes.)

We started our meal with the sweet 'n spicy nuts, on the far right. Stephanie, also on appetizers, made two "pates", one a cooked shrimp pate that was delicious, and the second, a chicken liver pate that, somewhere along the way, went horribly wrong. Steph followed the recipe to a "t" as she'd never made it before. It looked like, well, let's not go into that. I tasted it and it actually was tasty, just the looks of it...O dear!  That lovely veggie dish was the ratatouille Julie made. She's an excellent cook that I don't think has ever followed any recipe to a "t". Doesn't matter. Everything that comes from her kitchen is delicious! Next to that is our nearly finished escalloped potatoes and lying in the middle is the very last piece of grilled duck. Suzanne made the potatoes and Brian barbequed the duck. Excellent! Last but certainly not least was our dessert  - a Rum Custard made by Patty. It was one of the most delicious desserts I've ever had - a sentiment shared by all of us. Thankfully Patty has the recipe and, for your enjoyment, here it is:

The T'nG: 

for 10 -  12 servings:

4 C. heavy cream
1 C. sugar
12 egg yolks
3 T. white rum

Preheat the oven to 325º. In a double boiler, cook the heavy cream and sugar together until the sugar is incorporated. In the meantime, beat the egg yolks and slowly add them to the cream mixture. Add the rum and stir until all is combined. Prepare your bain-marie (hot water in a rimmed pan that's just deep enough to come up to the edge of the custard - remember the containers will make the water rise and you don't want it to spill into the containers.) When custard is smooth, pour into individual ramekins and place in the bain-marie bath. Bake in the oven until custard is set, around 20 - 30 minutes. Remove from oven and just before serving (warm or room temp - both are excellent) sprinkle the top with cracked pistachio nuts. DELICIOUS!

We used to keep a recipe record of each time we've broken bread together, but, alas, that fell by the wayside (um, thanks to moi). We'll start our 12th year together this coming February! them!

till we feast again!