It's Not You It's Brie

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Buttered Pecans (with Pepper): A Holiday Goat Cheese Charmer

Buttered Pepper Pecans If you're reading, "It's Not You, It's Brie, " I'm betting that many of you are thinking about your holiday cheese plates right about now. Perhaps because you got a little snacky last night while wrapping gifts (ahem…. like someone ) and ate all the Fiscalini Cheddar and now have to pick up more. Sometimes that just happens. Or maybe you're like my housemate who caters fabulous events and is thinking of the best accouterments to serve with the cheese the hosts already have. Or, maybe you just want a little more inspiration to match the glowy feeling that's been powered by your egg nog.

My holiday cheese plate inspiration came in the form of buttered pepper pecans and goat cheese this year.

I'm pretty much helpless when it comes to pecans. Roast them, butter them, candy them, grind them, toast them, whatever them, I'll eat them. In fact, I'll eat all of them. Hiding them is probably the best idea if you hear I might be stopping by.

So when I had a little extra Caña de Cabra hanging about my house, I decided to consider how my favorite nut would pair with it. Dashingly, it turns out. Caña de Cabra is a lemony, peppery Spanish bloomy-rinded goat cheese. It looks like Bucheron and has a texture that morphs between flaky chèvre and pure silk.

Buttered Pepper Pecans

The buttery flavor of the pecans (not to mention the butter flavor of the butter) brought out the cheese's creamy texture. It also offered a little cushion for the Cabra's lemony notes. The ground pepper topping the pecans matched the punchier spicier notes of the goat's milk and the nut's crunchy texture cozied right up to the cheese's alternating velvety and flaky layers.

They're… tasty, and completely worthy of holiday attention!

Other cheeses that would work well with the buttered pepper pecans would be anything lively and goaty. Some of my picks would be: Zingerman's Lincoln Log, Bonne Bouche, Prodigal Hunkadora, Stawley or Timsbury from Somerset, or Bucheron.

The recipe follows- I'm off to go back some shortbread! Please say a little prayer to help me not eat all the dough before baking it. Happy Holidays!


Buttered Pepper Pecans

Serves 3-4

1/2 cup pecans, untoasted 1 tablespoon salted butter 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Bring a sautee pan to medium heat. Add the pecans and cook for about two minutes, shaking the pan periodically to evenly cook. Add the pat of butter to the pan and melt. Cook for two to four more minutes (I cook them at least four minutes for an extra crisp), shaking the pan every thirty seconds or so to flip the pecans. Add the salt and pepper and  stir.

Place a paper towel over a plate. Pour the pecans over the plate and let sit until just warm. Serve with cheese.

I hope you enjoy your holidays and