5 Spice Candied Pecans


This is one more recipe I cooked during the holidays that makes a treat welcome anytime!  In fact, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and  these spiced nuts make a nice thinking of you surprise. I filled some glass star dishes with these for small gifts for friends before Christmas. .  There are many ways to make candied nuts but this one is different because of an ingredient called Five Spice Powder.  5 Spice is a blend of wonderful flavors and fragrances –  Chinese cinnamon, cloves,sichuan pepper, ground fennel seeds, and star anise.

Five spice is used in Chinese cuisine, but is also found in other Asian food and Arabic cookery.  It may be used with fatty meats such as pork, duck or goose. It is used as a rub for chicken, duck, pork and seafood, or added to the breading for fried foods.is used in recipes for It is used in recipes for beef stew as well as a marinade for Vietnamese broiled chicken.  In Hawaii, some restaurants place a shaker of the spice on each table.

I like having a small bag of these in the freezer to use as a topping for salads.An extra bonus for us is the fact we are able to buy locally grown pecans.

Five Spice Candied Pecans
Yields 2 cups, or four 1/2 cup gifts

4 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder
2 cups pecan halves
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°.
In a medium saucepan, warm 4 teaspoons vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar, 4 teaspoons water, 1 1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder; stir until sugar dissolves and mixture bubbles. Add 2 cups pecan halves; cook, stirring until pecans are thickly coated, about 3 minutes. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Bake 5-8 minutes,or until fragrant and crisp. Cool completely.

Store in an airtight container, or place 1/2 cup portions in four cellophane bags and tie with festive ribbon.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Tea Marbled Eggs

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”  ~ Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright

I would add to the above “…and cooking!”  I find that pulling out a good recipe and getting busy in the kitchen is not only one of the nicest things about life, it is good medicine for me when I am feeling things are not so nice. I call it “kitchen therapy.”  Sometimes, I just want to get a pot of a family favorite soup started to bubble on the stove, a comfort food.  At other times, I look for something new and different to have fun cooking.  Last week after I brought Joe home from the hospital and got a little sleep, one of the first things I needed to do was get breakfast ready. While I was reading an email newsletter, I saw a link for these amazing tea stained and flavored eggs which have an ancient Chinese origin.

Joe loves boiled eggs.  I had all the ingredients and I had plenty of time for them to cook, so I put a large pan of eggs on the stove, covered them water, brought all to a boil, turned off the heat and covered the pan for 12 minutes (perfect way to hardboil eggs!) and gathered the few things needed to make the marbling “stuff.”  The results speak for themselves.  It was a fancy breakfast, helped us laugh alot while we were peeling them, and I have a new Keepers recipe. Serve them when you make a Chinese dinner, or use them for making deviled eggs.  They are pretty enough to grace a party table, and so much fun that my 9 year old granddaughter took the recipe home to make them herself.

Tea Infused Marbled Eggs
12 eggs

4 teaspoons black tea leaves ( I used Earl Grey)
8 teaspoons green tea leaves
2 whole star anise (I omitted because I didn’t have these)
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon sea salt
4 tbsp soy sauce
3 cups of water

Hard boil the eggs and set them aside (do not peel them).

Combine all the other ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a full boil.

Gently tap each egg with the back of a metal spoon until they are cracked all over. The more cracks, the more marbled the eggs will be, but be careful to leave the cracked shell on. Put the cracked eggs into the pan with the tea mix and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Some recipes say cook them longer, but we like them just fine after 30 minutes. Drain and peel. You may serve them hot or cold.

You can eat them with a small dipping bowl of soy sauce, or make a flavored mayonnaise by adding to 1/2 cup mayonnaise a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of the liquid you used to infuse the eggs.

I adapted my recipe from those on www.rosemaryhouse.blogspot.com and www.epicurious.com.