Monday, December 21, 2009

Season's Eatings

This year I jumped at the chance to participate in Katie's little holiday get-together, Season's Eatings.

Season's Eating's is a food exchange to celebrate the holiday season. Katie organized all the names, kinda like a secret Santa and then each person sends a small gift of a local herb, spice, or other food unique to or characteristic of where they live, along with a recipe using it, to a fellow foodie.

I prepared a little package of unique Oregon snacks along with some local made spicy mustard and a recipe for some very tasty meatballs in cranberry pinot noir sauce and mailed it to Rosie in Sheffield, England.

I was so excited to receive this wonderful package from Palma.

The most amazing dates from the heart of Palm Desert's date growing region along with some pecans and a recipe for yummy pecan/date bars.

I am not that much of a baker, but Palma's recipe was really easy. I made them for our Christmas Tree decorating weekend and froze a batch to eat over the holidays.

We loved them! Thanks, Palma and thanks to Katie for organizing such a fun event.

Pecan-Date Squares

1 lb pitted dates, chopped
1 1/2 cups orange juice

Crust and Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
2 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut up
powdered sugar for garnish

1. Bring dates and OJ to a boil in a 3 qt sauce pan. Reduce heat to simmer, stirring often, until dates are tender, and juice is absorbed. Mixture will thicken. Set aside to cool.

2. Heat oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil, extend foil at each end. Lightly spray foil with cooking spray.

3. Put flour, oats, brown sugar and 1/2 cup pecans in food processor, and pulse to blend. Add butter, and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Transfer 2 1/2 cups of crumb mixture to a bowl (for topping). Press remaining crumbs into bottom of prepared pan. Spread date filling over crust in an even layer up to 1/4 " from edges.

4. Stir remaining chopped pecans into bowl with crumb mixture. Sprinkle evenly over date filling and press down gently with fingertips.

5. Bake 35 minutes or until edges brown. Cool completely in baking pan. Lift by foil onto cutting board. Cute into 1 1/2" squares. Dust with powdered sugar. keep in sealed container in fridge for up to one week, or freeze for up to a month.