Lorraine Wallace, author of "Mr. & Mrs. Sunday's Suppers," dropped by with a food feast!
For the crust:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
4 cups pecan halves
2 cups light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
TO MAKE CRUST: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of a large standing mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of the butter until smooth. Add the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt and mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined and crumbs form, about 4 minutes. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a clean work surface and, using your hands, gently form the dough into a large ball.
Place the ball in the center of a large baking sheet. Using your hands, spread the dough out over the bottom of the pan in an even layer about ½ inch think. Prick the dough with a fork several times all over. Bake until the crust begins to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the crust cool completely while you make the filling.
THE MAKE THE FILLING: In a large bowl, mix the pecan halves, corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla. Pour over the crust. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the filling comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool completely, then cut into squares of desired size and serve at room temperature.
To make these treats even more indulgent and intense, add 1 cup dark chocolate morsels to the filling
Valentine's Dinner for Two
1 garlic clove, halved
8 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
4 ounces aged sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons kirsch, brandy, or cognac
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Rub the inside of a cheese fondue pot or medium enameled cast-iron casserole dish with the garlic clove; discard the garlic. Combine the Gruyere and cheddar with the wine, cornstarch, and lemon juice in the fondue pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cheeses begin to melt, about 5 minutes. Add the kirsch and a generous pinch of each salt and pepper and continue to cook, stirring gently, until creamy and smooth, about 10 minutes; don’t overcook the fondue or it will get stringy. Serve immediately.
Black-and-White Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
Makes 1 dozen
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
8 ounces white chocolate
12 fresh strawberries, stems attached
Place each kind of chocolate in a separate small nonreactive bowl. Set each bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or a double boiler. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. One at a time, holding the stem, dip each strawberry in chocolate, twirling to coat, then transfer the berry to the waxed paper.
Refrigerate the chocolate-dipped strawberries for at least 15 minutes, but no more than 1 hour, to set the chocolate. (Strawberries should not be stored in the refrigerator for longer than 1 hour as condensation drops may collect on the chocolate.) Pull them out of the refrigerator and serve.
Deviled Eggs with a Twist
8 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped smoked salmon (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish, plus 2 teaspoons relish liquid
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard or 1 teaspoon dry mustard
Old Bay seasoning (optional), for garnish
In a large saucepan, cover the eggs with water and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Gently drain the water from the pan. Run cold water over the eggs until chilled. Drain thoroughly, pat the eggs dry, and then peel them.
Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and carefully transfer the yolks to a medium nonreactive bowl. Using a fork, mash the yolks along with the salmon, mayonnaise, relish, relish juice, and mustard. Season to taste with salt. Using a pastry bag fitted with a small tip, mound the filling in the egg white halves and sprinkle with the Old Bay, if using. Chill the eggs slightly before serving, if you like.
Sunday Supper Glazed Ham
Serves 10 or more
One 10- to 12-pound smoked bone-in ham
1 cup peach jelly
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons whole cloves
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Trim the tough outer skin and excess fat from the ham. Place the ham, meat-side down, in a large roasting pan and score the surface, making crosshatch incisions with a sharp knife. Roast for 1½ hours.
Remove the ham from the oven and increase the heat to 350 degrees F. For the glaze, combine the peach jelly, brown sugar, and mustard in a medium bowl. Stud the exterior of the ham with cloves (stick one clove at the intersection of each crosshatch), then brush the ham with the glaze and return to the oven.
Cook the ham for another hour, brushing it with more glaze at least three times. Transfer to a cutting board to rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve warm or at room temperature.
Chicken Piccata with Loads of Lemon
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 to 3½ pounds)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Rinse the chicken breasts with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound each piece between 2 pieces of plastic wrap to a thickness of ¼ inch. Season them with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the flour in a shallow dish and then dredge the breasts in the flour, shaking off any excess.
In a large, heavy skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and the oil over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, add the chicken to the skillet and cook, turning once, until golden brown outside and white throughout, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the breasts to a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. (Work in batches if necessary.)
Add the broth, lemon juice, and capers to the skillet and stir, scrapping up any browned bits. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer for another 5 minutes. Transfer the chick to the serving platter.
Add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter to the pan and whisk until the sauce comes together. Sir in the parsley and cook for 2 minutes to warm through. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.