It’s a bit of a nutty world at times, and some days and I like to join in by using a nutty recipe.
Pecans are a nut that have heart healthy unsaturated fats. They are high in protein and have no cholesterol or sodium (unless of course you roast them and toss them with salt). They deliver a packet of nutrients including Vitamin A, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc. The nuts include fibre, which help us to feel full longer. Evidence would suggest that consumption of pecans decreases LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol that leads to heart disease. Eating a small serving of pecans, 18 to 20 halves, is a good idea (that of course does not mean that a slice of pecan pie or a bowl of roasted, salted pecans with 18-20 halves is a good idea every day).
Orange-Cherry Pecan Bread
Spread the pecans in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until toasted. (Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn.) Place 1/2 cup pecans and the dried cherries on a cutting board and chop coarsely.
Grate 1 tablespoon zest from the orange into a mixing bowl (by grating directly into the bowl—you get the essential oils from the orange too.) Juice the orange and add 1/3 cup juice to the mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg and stir together.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add the orange juice mixture and stir with a rubber spatula just until moistened (some dry areas may remain). Gently stir in the chopped cherries and pecans. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared loaf pan. Chop the remaining 1/2 cup pecans coarsely and sprinkle over the batter.
Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack, about 1 hour.