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Avocado Pate with Pecans

  • 4 avocados; peeled and pitted
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 16-ounce package cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons shallot; minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves; minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup parsley; chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces
  • 4 butter lettuce or Boston lettuce leaves
  • ½ cup black olives; pitted
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • Tortilla chips
  1. Line a 6 cups rectangular glass loaf pan or ceramic dish with 3 layers of waxed paper, extending over long sides only. Brush top sheet of paper generously with oil.
  2. Puree avocados and cream cheese in processor. Add shallots, lemon juice, garlic, chili powder and sea salt and blend 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer mixture to prepared pan; smooth top. Press plastic wrap onto surface of pate and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove plastic and un-mold onto a platter lined with the lettuce leaves. Mix parsley and pecans and sprinkle over the pate.
  5. Garnish with olives and tomatoes. Surround with tortilla chips.

Yield: 10 servings

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Basil-Pecan Cream Cheese

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese; softened
  • ¼ cup butter; softened
  • ½ cup snipped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic; minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Stir in basil, pecans, vinegar, garlic, red pepper, salt and black pepper until well combined.
  3. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 3 days

Makes 1½ cups

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Ginger Pecan Butter

  • ¾ cup sweet unsalted butter or margarine
  • ½ cup Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces; finely ground
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger; ground
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar; firmly packed
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  1. In a small mixing bowl mix butter, pecans, crystallized ginger, brown sugar, and allspice
  2. Store in refrigerator.
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Honey and Pecan Nut Nachos

  • 4 tablespoons honey4 soft taco size flour tortillas
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ cup Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces; finely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Spread honey over one side of each tortilla; sprinkle chili powder over the honey. Top with pecans. Cut each tortilla into 8 pieces.
  3. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven for 5 to 6 minutes or until the edges of each chip are light brown. Cool.

Makes 32 nachos

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Pecan and Gorgonzola-Coated Grapes

  • 1 cup Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces; finely chopped
  • 6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese (can also use Cambozola); crumbled
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 20 seedless red grapes
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  2. On a cookie sheet, spread out the chopped pecans and toast for five minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
  3. Using a wooden spoon (or electric mixer), cream together the Gorgonzola and cream cheeses.
  4. Put 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the palm of your hand; imbed one grape in this mixture, shaping the mixture around the grape to coat. Then roll the covered grape in the finely chopped pecans before placing on a serving tray. Chill for 30 minutes until coating is firm. If grapes are large, use a sharp knife to cut into halves.

Serves 5

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Pecan Cheddar Crisps

  • 1 cup unsalted butter or margarine; softened
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese; finely shredded
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup Pecan Valley Pecan Halves
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and cheese.
  3. Combine flour, paprika and sea salt; add to creamed mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on un-greased baking sheet. Top each with a pecan; press down to flatten.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Yield: about 2 dozen

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Pecan Cheese Crisps

  • ⅞ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups shredded strong cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, mustard and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Cream margarine; gradually blend in cheese and nuts. Add flour mixture slowly until blended. Divide dough in half, make rolls 1½” in diameter, wrap in foil, chill.
  3. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  4. Slice each roll into very thin slices. Arrange on greased cookie sheets.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven for 6 minutes. Cool immediately on wire racks.
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Pecan Pancake with Grilled Shrimp and Cucumber Salsa

  • 20 large shrimp, peeled, defined
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup cilantro; minced
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic; minced
  • ½ teaspoon jalapeño; minced
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper1 small red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup fish stock or clam juice
  • ½ teaspoon garlic; minced
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ cup whipping cream1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 plum tomato, finely diced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic; minced
  • ¼ teaspoon jalapeño; minced
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  • 6 tablespoons milk
    1 egg, beaten
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter; melted
    1 medium red potato, peeled, grated
    ½ cup Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces; finely chopped
    ¼ cup onion; minced
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    ¾ teaspoons cornstarch
    ¾ teaspoons baking powder
    ½ teaspoon garlic; minced
    Pinch of sea salt
    Pinch of white pepper
    Oil for frying pancakes
    Cilantro sprigs for garnish
  1. For shrimp: Mix shrimp, olive oil, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, oregano, sea salt and white in medium glass bowl. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour.
  2. For roasted red pepper sauce, put bell pepper, fish stock or clam juice, garlic, paprika, sea salt, cumin, oregano and white pepper into a small non-aluminum saucepan; simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Add cream and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Puree in blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Keep warm.
  4. For cucumber salsa: In a small mixing bowl, mix cucumber, tomato, green onion, cilantro, sour cream, lime juice, garlic, jalapeño, sea salt, ground cumin and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. For pecan pancakes: In small bowl mix milk, egg and melted butter.
  6. In another bowl mix red potato, pecans, onion, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, garlic, sea salt and white pepper. Stir in milk mixture until smooth.
  7. Heat a thin layer of oil in large non-stick skillet; pour one-fifth of the batter into skillet to make a 4-inch-diameter pancake. Fry until golden and crisp on both sides, about 3 minutes.
  8. Repeat to fry remaining pancakes. Keep warm.
  9. While pancakes cook, heat broiler or charcoal grill. Arrange shrimp on broiler pan or grill rack, 6 inches from heat. Cook, turning once, until pink and cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  10. To serve, put one pancake onto each serving plate. Top with cucumber salsa; arrange four shrimp on top. Drizzle with warm red pepper sauce and serve garnished with cilantro sprigs.

Note: To roast a red pepper, place it directly over the gas flame or on a broiler pan 4 inches from heat source. Roast, turning often, until the skin blackens and blisters on all sides, about 10 minutes. Wrap in foil and let stand 10 minutes. Use a paring knife to remove charred skin; cut out core and seeds.

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Pecan Stuffed Eggs

  • 6 eggs; hard-cooked
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces
  • 1 tablespoon onion; grated
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon parsley; minced
  • Fresh sprigs parsley
  1. Slice eggs in half length. Carefully remove yolks.
  2. Mash yolks with a fork; add mayonnaise, pecans, onion, vinegar, dry mustard, sea salt and parsley, mixing well.
  3. Spoon pecan mixture into egg whites. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.
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Texas Pecan Cheese Balls

  • ½ pounds cheddar cheese; grated
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup of all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup Pecan Valley Pecan Halves
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. In a large mixing bowl mix cheddar cheese, sea salt, melted butter, flour and paprika, kneading with hands if necessary. Form dough into small balls. Press center of each ball with them. Insert pecan half into thumb imprint and bring dough up around pecan. Place on cookie sheet.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned. Serve hot.
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