You can see many, many pecan trees in Texas when you do road trips. They are everywhere! Until this spring, I had no idea we even had them in our backyard! How lucky are we?! We moved in over the summer and only realized the following spring that we had a whole bunch of nuts on the ground when we started mowing the lawn: We stopped mowing and started harvesting pecans instead pretty quickly 🙂 I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised. Pecans are big in Texas! When doing road trips in Texas it is impossible not to notice all the pecan orchards on the sides of the roads that are offering to sell pecans and/or shell them for you. And of course there are a whole bunch of foods with pecans as well: pecan pie, pecan brittle, pecan cookies, mashed sweet potatoes with candied pecans, chocolate brownies with pecans, …. Must be a Southern thing! So, after discovering that we had our very own pecans in our backyard, we were busy shelling them… for weeks! So much work, I tell you! Next time I’ll try to find a pecan orchard to shell them for me. Pecans really are pretty hard to shell by hand, because they grow so close to the shell and then they even stick to it. And the shells break in weird patterns and cut your skin… but in the end it was all worth it: our pecans are delicious! We stored all the shelled ones in plastic containers and whenever a recipe calls for any kind of nuts, I can use our own. How cool is that?! The latest creation were ricotta muffins. We had ricotta in the fridge and I had no idea what to use it for – I know that people here use for lasagna, but I’m a purist when it comes to lasagna: it needs to have bechamel instead of Ricotta. Then I found this recipe for muffins and have made them twice since then. The only change I made was using Lebkuchen spices instead of anis: ground ginger, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Yummy and sort of christmas-y 🙂 I keep promising Marco that one day I’ll make my grandma’s walnut-chocolate-cake and substitute ground pecans for the ground walnuts the cake uses as a substitute for flour (it’s delicious!!). Pecans and walnuts are very similar in taste. In fact, I would go as far as saying that pecans are to Texans what walnuts are to Germans 🙂 For those of you who have been to Germany before, I’m sure you’ve noticed that we don’t use pecans – in fact, I hadn’t tried pecans before moving to Texas. We use walnuts in everything instead: in cheese, on cookies, in bread, on salad, in cakes, … So, if you’re an American expat in Germany, just use walnuts for all the pecan dishes you crave right around Thanksgiving 🙂 We’re probably taking part in an “Orphan’s Thansgiving” again this year, so maybe I’ll use that as the occasion to finally bake my grandma’s cake and bring it instead of the pecan pie everybody is probably expecting 🙂
© 2011, Country Skipper. All rights reserved.