Adventures in Cooking

It’s that dreadful Crazy Christian Season again: decorating, sending cards, gift buying, parties, and BAKING.

Actually, I’ve given up on most of that. Decorating will be a door wreath. Card sending will be maybe 10-20 out of state folks; gift buying will be 3 gift certificates, cash, and promises.  And parties? Not here.

But I was assigned appetizers for Thanksgiving and decided, if I had to do it, I might as well kill two birds with one stone and make enough of something to pass out to neighbors at Christmas.

I decided on making two kinds of pecans: sugar coated and spiced. For the TG meal I also added those bacon wrapped dates everyone likes.

Starting early, Dave and I shopped for the ingredients. After going into debt paying for the pecans, bacon, cheese, and dates, I put my ingredients in a locked bag hand cuffed to my arm and made a speedy departure to the loft where I secreted them upstairs.  Step one accomplished.

Next, I had to find the various spices, cups, baking sheets, and utensils. It’s true. I don’t know where some of these things are in the kitchen. I’m not at the stage where I need Prozac to venture into the cupboards, but there is a degree of anxiety.

Luckily, the nut recipes could be made early. I started with the sugarcoated pecans first. Four ingredients. How hard could it be?

I mixed the sugar and cinnamon and the egg white and water. After coating a handful of nuts, I tossed them in the sugar mix. They looked a little like puffy miniature snowmen but a little nut showed through to recognize what they were. The next handful got a little darker as some of the egg slopped into the sugar. By the middle of the bag I had run out of sugar and egg and had to double the recipe. Words cannot describe my joy.

The picture below shows the embedded egg white stiffening on the recipe page.

Giving Blood

The process started over and by the end I just threw the whites into the sugar to make a slurry, dumped the rest of the nuts in and stirred. The nuts looked like little fuzzy cat turds.  This entire “easy” recipe took me 90 minutes.  I won’t even count the time in scrapping the nuts off the pan after they were baked.

At least I didn’t let anything burn. We don’t have a smoke detector. We have a SPRINKLER SYSTEM. Imagine watering the whole building over a baking mistake?

When it came to making the spiced nuts the next day, the process was much quicker. No swearing was involved. The dishes were already out. Not coating was required. Thank you New Basics Cookbook.

Thanksgiving Day arrived with me in the kitchen in my bathrobe and newly showered hair.  I had taken my vitamins, girded my lions, and sharpened my knives. I am woman, HEAR ME ROAR.

Opening each date one at a time had me feeling like I had flypaper at the end of my fingers.  Forget touching anything else. Who knew dates were natures super glue? I stuffed most of the dates with blue cheese and some with almonds. Then I cut up the bacon to wrap the little buggers. This is when I sliced my finger. (Thus the blood on the recipe).

Did you know that band-aids don’t work over bacon grease?

Closing a date has new meaning here

I got all these little darlings in the oven and baked them for 35 minutes and they were still sort of warm when we arrived at Rich’s house.

People were polite and ate my food. They had to. They are family. They will see me again. I know where they live. I’m not sure, but maybe some of these little date chewy things went to Scooby. I saw him licking his doggie lips.

Bless Dave for eating the leftovers later that night.  He still seems healthy.

I’m giving everyone an early Christmas gift this year. I’m staying out of the kitchen.


4 responses to “Adventures in Cooking”

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  1. Carolyn says:

    I relate! I relate! I would go crzy stuffing dates! At Christmas time I find a line to buy my contribution that way I know the folks will glow and not with retribution! You were one brave, fearless, silly woman! All cooks? Wherever you are? We love yoU!

  2. Dave says:

    Karen’s in the Kitchen Again
    (sung to the tune of Santa Claus is Coming to Town
    You better watch out
    You’re sure to cry
    Better look out
    I’m telling you why
    Karen’s in the kitchen again
    She’ll make a big mess
    Not just once but twice
    Flavoring nuts with sugar and spice
    Karen’s in the kitchen again
    It’s sure to be a disaster
    Your future is at stake
    She’ll make decisions that are not good
    So take cover for goodness sake!
    Oh! You better watch out!
    You’re sure to cry
    Better look out
    I’m telling you why
    Karen’s in the kitchen again
    Karen’s in the kitchen again

  3. Fran says:

    Your kitchen adventures made me miss you a lot!
    Merry Holiday Season — I don’t send cards anymore