Friday, November 25, 2005

You Crack Me Up!

I'm going completely nuts.

I know that to some of you, this is no surprise. In fact, I can hear some of you saying, "Going?" (Quiet, you.)

But this time it's not my fault. Really.

My Wonderful Parents brought me a big bag (probably around 4 to 5 quarts) of cracked-shell pecans from their local market when they visited last weekend. And just in time for Thanksgiving, my good friend Sojourner sent me a couple more quarts of cracked-shell pecans from her local pecan grower in Illinois.

Such bounty! And just in time for holiday baking, too. But first, of course, I have to spend some time actually extracting the nuts from the shells before I can use them.

So, for the past couple of evenings I have snuggled up on the sofa, listening to lively Celtic and folk Christmas music, with a pan and two bowls on my lap as I pick apart the broken shells and pop out those tasty pecan meats. It's slow, meditative work as I concentrate on getting even the tiny pieces of shell from the nuts, and vice versa.

I'm not done yet -- it takes a while, and there are still walnuts to crack and shell, too -- but I've filled one half-gallon bucket of pecans already.

And when I'm done, just think of the things I'll be able to bake: baklava, ginger-pecan biscotti, spiced nuts -- even a pecan pie if I so choose.

But until then, I'll keep going nuts.

Care to join me?

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