Monday, April 16, 2012

National Pecan Month

Thanks to Georgia Senator Max Cleland who in 2001 established National Pecan Month. Now, every April we are reminded of the delicious taste and health benefits of this “All American Nut.” Since this is one of my personal favorite nuts, I decided to join in the celebration by sharing one of the recipes in Cruising Connecticut with a picnic basket that contains pecans.

The following recipe is simple to prepare, packs well and is delicious, all necessary criteria for picnic fare. And, since April is the beginning of picnic season, don’t waste a moment. Get outdoors and have a picnic!

Wild Rice & Ham Salad

2 cups cooked wild brown rice
½ pound lean ham, cut into bite-size chunks
½ cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and drained
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
Salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup pecan halves

In small shallow pan spread pecan halves in a single layer. Bake in 350-degree F. preheated oven until tasted – approximately 5 minutes. Watch closely. Cool. (I personally like smaller pieces so I cut them in half again.)

In large bowl, stir together rice, ham, raisins, and scallions. Add salt and pepper.

In small bowl, whisk oil and vinegar together until well blended. Slowly pour over rice and ham mixture until the salad contains the amount that suite you. (I almost never use the entire amount.) Toss.

Serve at room temperature or chilled. Just before serving, garnish with pecans. Serve on lettuce leaves.

Serves 4-6
Note: Refrigerate salad overnight, or at least two hours before packing in cooler.

If you like this recipe, you’re sure to like another recipe in my book that contains pecans. Hint: It’s sweet. It can be found on the page “What’s in Our Picnic Basket” at my website,