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Story - Food

Dec 1, 2017 1:01 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Gifts To Buy, Or Bake, For The Holidays

Pistachio/Coconut Squares JANEEN SARLIN
Dec 5, 2017 10:45 AM

Gifts of heartfelt love from your kitchen are the most appreciated. Don’t go nuts about holiday giving—simply make one of these delicious nut filled gifts for the people on that list.

Think about it: When you care enough to spend an hour or more making a gift, it is very special. Skip the wrapping paper, use aluminum foil and tie a beautiful silk or velvet ribbon around the package. Include a list of ingredients on the gift tag.

For a delicious healthy treat make a double batch of Pistachio and Coconut Squares, one to give away and one for you.

This Cheddar Cheese Date Nut Bread is perfect with a cup of afternoon tea. It is an excellent option to an old-fashioned “fruit” cake. Toast slices of the bread and serve it with marmalade or honey for a special breakfast treat.

The ideal gift for the person who prefers “savory versus sweet” is a crock of Pistachio and Artichoke Pate for hors d’oeuvres.

And finally, this new cookbook is the best gift for a pheasant and meat lover on your list who loves to cook: “Pure Charcuterie: The Craft and Poetry of Curing Meats at Home” by Meredith Leigh. Bon appétit!

Pistachio Coconut Squares
(12 large bars or 24 small bars)

1 cup roasted salted shelled pistachios, plus extra roughly chopped for topping

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes

About 1 tablespoon honey for drizzling

Optional: About 2 tablespoons melted bittersweet chocolate for drizzling

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment leaving the overhang exposed.

In a food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade, process the pistachios, oatmeal and salt about 30 seconds until a “meal” has formed. With the motor running, through the feeding tube add the maple syrup, oil and vanilla in a thin stream. Continue processing until the meal begins to come together in a crumbly almost-wet dough.

Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. With dampened-hands press the dough evenly into the pan. Scatter coconut flakes and chopped pistachios on top and slightly press them into the dough. Drizzle thin lines of honey over the whole affair and bake until the coconut is golden brown and dough is cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Check after 12 minutes and turn the pan around. Set on a rack to cool.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and with a small pastry brush or fork, drizzle squiggles of chocolate over the whole affair. Cool completely before cutting.

Carefully lift the cooled dough out of the pan by holding two sides of the parchment paper and place it on a cutting board. With very sharp knife, cut it into squares.

Transfer the squares to airtight containers, placing parchment paper between the layers. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks or freeze for up to one month.

Cheddar And Date Nut Bread
(One 9-inch by 5-inch by 3-inch loaf)

1/2 cup chopped dried dates

1 cup strong black tea, hot

2 cups self-rising flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

1 large egg beaten

To prepare:

In a small bowl, soak dates in hot tea for one hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
 Lightly grease and flour a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, sift flour with salt, sugar, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender cut in the butter until it resembles coarse meal. Add cheese and nuts, tossing well to mix.

Drain the dates and reserve the tea. Add dates to the flour mixture and toss well to mix.

Whisk the egg into the reserved tea and quickly stir the liquid into the flour mixture. Transfer the batter, spreading it evenly in the prepared pan. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Cool the loaf in the pan for five minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

To store, wrap in plastic wrap, and then in aluminum foil. Store at room temperature for about five days. Refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze for up to one month.

Pistachio And Artichoke Pate
Adapted from
Dame Dolores Snyder,
“Tea Time Entertaining,” Wimmer Cookbooks, 2004.
(Yields 2 cups)1/4 cup shelled pistachios

1, 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (not marinated), drained and rinsed

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Splash of Tabasco sauce to taste

To prepare:

Working in a food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade, add pistachios and coarsely chop. Add artichoke hearts and pulse briefly. Through the feeding tube, add the butter about a tablespoon at a time and pulse until combined. Add lemon juice and black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings with Tabasco or more lemon juice.

Transfer to a crock, cover with plastic wrap directly on the pate and refrigerate over night or up to five days.

Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with toasted French bread slices.

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