In that picture is visible: rolls, foccacia, salad, stuffing, and mushrooms. There was a turkey, it was just on the other side of the room, cowering under tin foil. See?
I had fun and I'd like to share one of the most successful dishes of the evening.
One of the things I've noticed, in my limited but enthusiastic experience of throwing large dinner parties: food always takes longer than I think it will. This is especially true of dinners like Thanksgiving, where you slap a large chunk of poultry in the oven and hope the kitchen fairies are with you. When I invite people over, I want them to have a good meal and a good time. This is why I try to have something already prepared while the rest of the food gets ready.
This year and last, I relied on the geniuses at Fine Cooking and their menu planner. One of the suggestions for a nibble were these spiced pecans. They'd also be good for Christmas, so here you go!
Spicy Maple Pecans
(adapted from this recipe)
The original recipe calls for walnuts but I didn't have any. LEAVE THE GINGER IN. I took some of it out because I was dubious about it, and I wish I hadn't. A lot of the spice comes from those ginger pieces--despite its title, this isn't a very spicy recipe.
The baking time when I made these was only 20 minutes because the pecan pieces I used were quite small. Yours may take longer.
4 tbs unsalted butter
1/3c maple syrup
6 slices fresh ginger, the size of a 10p piece, cut small
1tsp ground ginger
1/4tsp hot sauce
Preheat oven to 200C. In a large pot on the stovetop, mix everything but the nuts and stir for a few minutes until combined. Take the pot off the stove, pour in the nuts, and stir to coat. On a greased baking sheet, spread the nuts in a single layer. Bake for ten minutes, then stir, then bake for another ten minutes. If they still look wet and untoasted, repeat the bake and stir step one more time.
Put the pan on a rack to cool. When the nuts are completely cooled, put them into bowls.
Makes 4 cups, which is good to feed 17 people with very little left over