You may be asking who Jane is and why would I want to go on a date with her? I worked with a fabulous gentleman by the name of Ed “Coach” Smart. We would regularly discuss where he was going to take his “lovely bride Jane,” as he calls her. This got me thinking, more people should take a page out of Ed & Jane’s book. There is an art to dating, one that requires forethought and planning. In this weekly segment I am going to put together a “Date with Jane” that everyone can enjoy.
One of the best prescriptions for easing anxiety can be found right in your kitchen. When times are tough, people bake and make. Anything to move your hands and take your mind off your troubles is a welcome respite, but even more so, if it results in something insanely delicious to eat. That’s why Ed & Jane are going to be using farm fresh ingredients with a twist on their next date night.
First off…they need to score some ingredients to make their dessert, famous Pecan Buttercrunch Bars from Azalea Inn & Villas. These bars are crazy delicious and if you can get some fresh Georgia pecans even better. I chose this recipe because it is easy, delicious, you can make ahead and the best part…you’ll have leftovers. With this out of the way it gives you plenty of time to get ready for the next part of your date night.
Pecan Buttercrunch Bars
¼ lb butter (1 stick)
1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3-1/2 ounces (1 to 1-1/3 cups) shredded coconut
6 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate morsels
6 ounces (1 cup) butterscotch morsels
1 14-ounce can (1-1/8 to 1-1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk
7 ounces (2 cups) pecan halves
Adjust rack to center of oven and preheat to 350. Butter a 9x13x2-inch pan and line with aluminum foil as follows: Turn pan upside down and center a piece of foil 17 inches long over the pan with shiny side down. Fold the foil down the sides and corners to shape the foil. Remove the foil, turn the pan over and place the foil carefully into place.
Put butter in the lined pan and place in oven until it melts. Tilt the pan to spread the butter all over the bottom and about halfway up the sides. Sprinkle crumbs over butter in bottom of pan. Sprinkle coconut evenly over the crumbs, then the chocolate and butterscotch morsels evenly over the coconut. Drizzle the condensed milk evenly over the top. Cover with pecan halves with rounded side up and quite close to each other. Bake 5 minutes and then reach into oven and press nuts down so they don’t fall off later. Bake another 20-25 minutes, until milk has turned golden brown. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate 1-2 hours before cutting.
Ed & Jane pre-arrange for a special delivery farm bag from Billy’s Botanicals ($50). This can be done on Facebook with instructions for order. It is best to do this on Monday as they normally sell out by Tuesday. The delivery is made to your home later in the week. The beauty of a Billy’s Botanicals delivery is that you are never sure exactly what the ingredients are going to be. All you know is that you will most likely receive $30 worth of Georgia seafood, $15 worth of produce and 2 bags of assorted herbs. You also know is that it will be farm fresh and delicious. This makes for the perfect set up for Food Network’s Chopped Challenge Date Night. Once you review your ingredients, time to get busy with your significant other deciding on what your Chopped dinner creation will be.
In case you are hesitant, I will give you a peek into one of their previous bags: fresh seafood, Cheesehouse pimento cream cheese, curly parsley, farm fresh cheddar curds, clams and assorted greens. If I was given this challenge, I would serve some clams casino for an appetizer, fresh fish over sauteed garlic greens and use the pimento cheese and cheese curds in some creamy grits. I mean, I’m not saying Jane is a cheap date, but around $60 for a delicious dinner, activity and challenge…sign me up!
To end the night continuing with the theme, watch a great movie all about cooking. A couple to choose from are Julie & Julia, Chef, Ratatouille, No Reservations, Tortilla Soup and Burnt.