In the Kitchen


We asked the CJDG members to send us some of their favorite recipes. Here is the first installment of what we hope will be an on-going feature. And since Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays will be upon us shortly, we thought we’d begin with recipes that would be welcome on any holiday table!

Our menu includes a special cocktail accompanied by sweet and spicy nuts, a pumpkin soup and pecan pie bars for dessert.

Cameron's Kick submitted by Rebecca Overmann, Rebecca Overmann Jewelry

2oz Scotch (Blended)

.5oz Scotch (Peaty Single-Malt)

1oz Fresh Lemon Juice

.5oz High Quality Orgeat Syrup (French Almond Syrup, preferably Small Hands Foods brand)

Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino Cherry

Shake and Strain into a chilled glass. Cheers!


Sweet and Spicy Nuts submitted by Sydney Lynch, Sydney Lynch Jewelry nuts

This holiday nut mix was a perennial hit from Sydney’s mother's old Connecticut Women's League cookbook.  A few years ago Sydney sent this recipe out to everyone on her mailing list (since it wouldn't have been possible to actually make an industrial-size quantity and send them all a holiday treat) Very high positive feedback on this one!

Yields 5 cups, but if you're having a party you'll want more.

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

1 cup unblanched whole almonds

1 cup walnut halves

1 cup hazelnuts

1 egg white

1 1/2 T water

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp allspice

Combine nuts in a large bowl.  In a small bowl beat egg white and water together until foamy, then stir in sugar and spices.  Toss mixture with nuts until well-coated.  Spread nut mix on buttered or foil-covered baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees for about 55 minutes, or until brown and crisp.  Cool. Store in covered container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Harvest Moon Soup submitted by Vicente Agor, Vicente Agor Precious Jewelry

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Even those who say that they despise pumpkin will like this soup. Vicente once made it for a “Friendsgiving” and one guest who loudly proclaimed she hated pumpkin consented to trying a spoonful. She then proceeded to eat three helpings! It is very rich, smells divine and can be made ahead.

1 large onion chopped

1 tsp. olive oil

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin

2 quarts chicken stock

1/2 cup butter

1 lb mushrooms, chopped

3 tbs blackstrap molasses (honey will work also)

2 tbs curry powder

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup flour

Salt and pepper

Large heavy bottom pot

Caramelize onions in olive oil; set onions aside. In the same pot, sauté mushrooms, then remove.

Melt butter and add flour. Cook over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes stirring constantly to create a roux.  Do not brown. Slowly add stock, while whisking constantly. Let this simmer over low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Stir intermittently. Add the pumpkin, onions, molasses or honey, and curry. Stir and cook over medium-low heat for 30 min. Add additional molasses and/or curry to your personal taste.  Add mushrooms and cream. Do not boil the soup after you’ve added the cream. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes on low heat.

If you are making this soup for Thanksgiving dinner, you can make this the day before. It will taste even better on the next day! Stop cooking after adding the mushrooms. Refrigerate. Add the cream when you reheat the soup the next day. Do not boil the soup after you’ve added the cream.

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Gooey Pecan Pie Bars submitted by Julie Romanenko, Just Jules. 

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Anyone who has seen Just Jules at a trade show knows that Julie is a baker. They have sampled the diamond shaped cookies that she brought to Couture this year. Julie loves these bars! They are so ridiculously decadent she can only justify making them for the holidays...but so well worth it!!!

Who could say no to a pecan pie in a bar? These rich, buttery, thick cookies, taste like candy with a crust!!

2 Cups all purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

⅛ teaspoon salt

¾ cup butter 

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup light-colored corn syrup

½ cup butter or margarine

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2½ cups finely chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in ¾ cup butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press the mixture evenly into the baking pan.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned; set aside. Note: In Julie’s oven they took 23 minutes. Ovens vary.

In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup and the remaining butter. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Place the eggs in a medium bowl. Gradually stir about ½ cup of the hot mixture into eggs. Return all mixture to saucepan. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Pour nut mixture over baked crust.

Bake for 27 to 29 minutes or until the filling is set. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars to serve.

Makes 20 to 32 bars.

Julie likes to undercook them a bit so the filling is really gooey! Pecan Pie bars 2