Thursday, September 24, 2009

Flashback Friday - Cocktail Party

Flashback Friday! I'm joining Suzy at Kitchen Bouquet for another flashback! A while back I took a couple of cooking classes with some friends. Girls night out. So much fun. These were from the Cocktail Party class. Even better than a cooking class with cocktails is a cooking class with cocktails and a pregnant lady who can't drink so you can have her cocktail, too! I nodded out for dessert but these are so worth repeating...

Spicy Vanilla Pecans
source: Viking Cooking School - Cocktail Party 2006
Printable Recipe
Makes 1 pound

1 (4-inch) vanilla bean
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more!)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 quarts water
1 pound pecan halves
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (grapeseed or canola)

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

For the seasoning mixture: Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into a small bowl. Add the salt, cayenne, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, stirring to combine. Set aside until needed.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the pecans and boil for 1 minute. Drain the nuts well; immediately place them in a bowl and toss with the sugar and oil. Let the sugar-coated nuts stand for 10 minutes.

Arrange the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, turning every 5 to 10 minutes until the nuts are light brown and very crisp. Remove from the oven.

While the pecans are still very hot, place them in a clean bowl and toss with the seasoning mixture. Spread in a single layer to cool.

Serving Suggestion: These nuts are delicious served by themselves as a snack or served over ice cream with caramel sauce. Great for gift-giving!

Make It Ahead: The pecans may be prepared up to one week in advance and stored in an airtight container.

Variation: Substitute walnut halves for the pecans.

Cobb Salad in Endive Spears
source: Viking Cooking School - Cocktail Party 2006
Printable Recipe

1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
3 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, cooled, and crumbled
2 ounces chicken or turkey breast, finely diced
1/2 small avocado, peeled and finely chopped
1 small ripe, red tomato, seeded and finely diced, divided
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 to 2 heads endive, separated into spears

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

For the Salad: In a medium mixing bowl, gently toss together the blue cheese, bacon, chicken, avocado, and half of the diced tomatoes. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream and mayonnaise.

Gently fold the mayonnaise mixture into the chicken mixture, then season to taste with salt and pepper; chill at least 1 hour before serving.

To Assemble: Arrange the endive spears on a platter. Spoon a small amount of salad into each spear, then sprinkle with the remaining tomatoes and the chopped parsley; serve immediately.

Note: Have your deli cut a thick, 2-ounce slice of turkey or chicken breast for you; when you are ready to make the recipe, simply dice that slice.

Pomegranate Martini
source: Viking Cooking School - Cocktail Party 2006
Printable Recipe
4-6 servings

1 wedge of lime, for moistening rims of glasses
sanding sugar for garnishing rims of the martini glasses
pomegranate seeds for garnish
2 cups cracked ice
8 ounces (1 cup) chilled vodka
4 ounces (1/2 cup) Triple Sec (or Cointreau)
3 ounces Pomegranate syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
orange twists, for garnish

Moisten the rim of each chilled glass with a wedge of lime; gently press the rim of the glass into the sanding sugar. Drop a few pomegranate seeds into the bottom of each glass.

Fill a metal cocktail shaker with cracked ice; place the top back on the shaker and shake for about 15 seconds. Add the vodka, Triple Sec, pomegranate syrup and lime juice and shake for 15 seconds. Strain the drink into the prepared glasses, garnish with an orange twist and serve immediately.


  1. Carol, this isn't a flashback for me ... it's all new. :) Not sure how I missed it the first time.

    The class sounds like a fun adventure ... cocktails and appetizers, a good combo. The spicy vanilla pecans are definitely on my "to make" list.

  2. Oh, I love cocktail party food, Carol. Yes, the nuts are on my to make list too.

  3. Pomegranate anything tastes good, but right now a martini sound wonderful!

  4. I think I missed this one the first time too...pour me one of those pom martini's...I'll be right over :)

  5. Adding those pecans to my collection. Plan on making a few versions to give as holiday gifts. Thanks Carol!

  6. No Martini's for Sierra Mist and a big handful of those nuts!

  7. I remember when you took that class. So much fun. I had forgotten about the pregnant girls drinks though lol. It all sounds delish That salad..I know I would love it. Thanks for joining me for the flashback!

  8. I love your pecans recipe! It sounds so delicious :)

  9. All three recipes sound great! I'll have a pom martini while I'm munching on some spicy pecans, then proceed to the cobb salad!

  10. These look great -- they are all new to me also! The pecans and pmp martini look especially inviting..can't figure out why!


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