[Ed. Note:  Still without camera. So sorry!!! My mom was supposed to return my card reader to me today but now it turns out she can’t find it. Ack! I can’t plug the camera into the computer because it just so happens that this particular model of MacBook Pro and the particular model of Canon camera that I own don’t get along with one another.  Just these two. Go figure! So then my daddy-o stopped by my office with my mom’s card reader but it doesn’t have a slot for a CF card which is what my camera uses.  By the time I learned of this incompatibility issue, I had already foolishly turned down Dea’s kind offer of a loaner camera. Argh. I promise, come hell or high water, that I will have pictures up before Lima Bean Day and I will update all my posts with pics!!!!]

I swear, there is an association for everything these days.  I googled “pecans” and the 4th hit was the National Pecan Shellers Association.  Of course I had to look.  Especially when their website address is “ilovepecans.org”.   This is what I learned there (and I believe everything I read on the internet, but most especially when Wiki agrees):

1. Pecans have more antioxidants than any other nut which makes them good for your heart and could help lower your cholesterol levels.

2. Pecans have lots of good stuff in them like vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and stuff like that.

3. Pecans have a rich history – you can go to the website to read about it.

4. You can make just about anything with pecans.

I got P to buy pecans on the weekend in preparation for today, and then I forgot that I got him to do that and so I bought pecans while I was at the store, so now I have LOTS of pecans.  At first I thought, pecan pie.  It’s the perfect, classic American dish after all and it would use up all my pecans.  But following closely on the heels of Peach Cobbler Day, I just couldn’t do it.  Plus, I was thinking I should eat more pecans given what I have now learned from the Pecan Shellers and if I made pie, I would have to give it away.  So this is what the pecan plan turned into:

Candied Maple Pecan & Rocket Salad

1. Combine in small, heavy bottomed saucepan: 1/4 c. pure maple syrup, 2 tbsp. water, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tbsp. butter, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp red chili flakes, 1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper.  Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches hard crack stage (300 – 310º).  Pour over 2 – 3 cups of pecan halves in large mixing bowl and, moving quickly (and really carefully so you don’t burn yourself!), toss the pecans until they are thoroughly coated in the sauce.

2. Spread pecans on greased non-stick baking sheet (trust me, you need to grease it) and bake at 350° for approx. 10 minutes, watching carefully to make sure they are toasting and not burning.  The transition from good “nice and toasty” to bad “yucky burny” can happen in the blink of an eye!  Pull from oven and transfer to a large platter or wide shallow bowl so that the pecans can cool.

3. Make up your salad while the pecans are cooling.  Put fresh, young rocket (also known as arugula) in the bowl.  If you are feeling adventurous, add some other good mesclun greens – like mustard greens, baby butter lettuce, even baby (really really baby – infants really) bok choy.  Sprinkle with some fresh berries – like raspberries, or blueberries, or small local strawberries, or a combination thereof -, some slices of apple or pear and some chevre.  Toss in the pecans like they were croutons.  Serve with or without dressing.

4. If with dressing, do this: 1/3 c. grapeseed oil, 1/6 c. apple cider vinegar, 1/6 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Season with a small clove garlic crushed (not minced – just want a hint o’ garlic – it should sit on the bottom and the flavour should seep up), 2 tsp. dry mustard powder, 2 tbsp. either honey or maple syrup, pinch tarragon, s & p.  If blending, add garlic after you have blended.

Pecan & Yogourt Dessert

P has this yogourt that he really loves.  It’s pear and french vanilla flavour.  At first I thought it was gross because, for me, it is too sweet. But today I realized that pecans are the perfect balance! I put some pecans in a bowl and put some of the yogourt over them and gobbled it all up.  Delish!

Pecan Hot Porridge Breakfast

Make oatmeal like you would normally following the directions on the oatmeal package, except use fresh squeezed apple juice instead of water and add the following to the pot before cooking (amounts to taste): cinnamon, brown sugar (or honey or maple syrup), berries, pecans.  Perfect, stick to your ribs breakfast 🙂

That’s all she wrote folks.  Enjoy your pecans!