25 July 2008

Beat the Heat Pralines


When I think of heat nothing stands out in my mind like Texas. In fact I’m pretty sure Dallas was where I learned the definition of hot...

The summer I moved to Texas just happened to be the hottest summer on record. My husband had taken a job in Dallas and I agreed to move there sight unseen, as soon as school was out and the wedding was over and we had managed to spend a little time on a honeymoon. I had never been to Texas but that didn't really bother me. I liked adventure and had been wanting to move somewhere my whole life.

We arrived in Dallas in our brand new bright blue Dodge with black vinyl interior in the middle of June. We rented an apartment which happened to be on the western edge of the apartment complex next to an open concrete parking lot. Within a week the temperature soared over 100 degrees and the daily highs stayed there for the next month and a half. On my birthday it was over 110 degrees. The heat poured into our apartment through the large sliding glass doors, and the air conditioning had no hope of keeping up.

On the news the weatherman was frying an egg on the sidewalk. I think you could have baked a cake in our car as that black vinyl interior sizzled in the open parking lot. Day after day the heat wave broke records and I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Thank goodness for air-conditioning, something I had lived without until we moved to Texas. People without it died that summer. Hundreds of deaths were attributed to the record breaking temperatures. It was a difficult summer in a number of ways but I adapted. In the end I think it changed my body chemistry forever.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Texas. Texas is a huge part of who I am. And, for the most part, I enjoy the heat. On many a drizzly gray day in the Pacific Northwest I have driven my friends to distraction pining for that Texas heat. In fact, it was in Texas that I learned to appreciate not only the virtues of air conditioning but of many other heat inspired blessings as well. Blessings such as:

  • Warm summer evenings under the stars.
  • Huge jars of Sun Tea that are brewed on the patio with water heated by the sun instead of in the kitchen with water heated on the stove.
  • Pesto sauce mixed in a blender or food processor from the many happy basil plants that thrived in my garden.
  • BBQ Brisket in the slow cooker to keep the kitchen cool while providing a most delicious dinner for family and friends.
  • The beauty of a bread machine which also releases little heat and requires little effort while making a nice loaf of bread.
  • The knowledge that guacamole and tortilla chips, on occasion, can amount to an incredibly delicious no-cook dinner.
  • The recipe for these amazing microwave pralines. Though I have traveled many miles since I discovered this recipe and have had many different microwaves with different power settings and options, this recipe, as written, has never failed me.



Pralines
from the November 1986 issue of Southern Living

2 cups sugar
2 cups pecan halves
¾ cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

In a 4 quart microwave safe casserole (I have always used my CorningWare oval 4 quart French white casserole dish) stir together the sugar, pecan halves, buttermilk, butter and salt. (It isn’t necessary to have previously melted the butter.)

Microwave on high for 12 minutes, stopping to stir well at 4 minutes intervals.

Stir in the baking soda and microwave on high for 1 to 1 ½ minutes.

Remove from the microwave and stir until the mixture begins to thicken, then quickly drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper.

When cool the pralines should lift easily from the waxed paper.

These are best served the same day but can be kept for several days in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Grace, from A Southern Grace, is hosting a Beat the Heat event this month. This post is my entry.

10 comments:

Grace said...

i. love. pralines. i mean, come on--sweet, caramel-coated pecans that are perfect for eating by themselves or as a topping and that are easy-peasy to make? yes please! great entry, thank you! :)

Paula said...

OH MY GOSH! I almost crawled inside the screen to get at these! YUM, YUM, Triple YUM!

Kristen said...

I just got back from TX, and normally love the state, but this time around hurricane Dolly did us in.
I did eat at three fabulous restaurants... one in South Padre, one in Austin, and one in Fort Worth. Great food!

Your pralines look yummy! Put them in some ice cream ;)

Kim said...

These not only bet the heat, they look like they beat anything.Wonderful!

the southern hostess said...

Pralines are one of my favorite treats! This sounds so simple and looks delicious!

Lisa said...

grace - I agree. What's not to love about a praline? And these really are easy-peasy. Thanks for hosting a great event!

paula - Thanks! They really are good. I'm going to make some more this weekend.

kristen - Texas is great but it does have its weather extremes. Glad you could still enjoy the food!

Pralines in ice cream? I wouldn't say no! :-)

kim - Thank you!

southern hostess - Thanks! I have never tried another praline recipe but I can say this one gives a pretty good return on investment.

Michelle said...

We had a summer like you did while living in Chicago. The heat went on for days and days and my poor dog would not even walk on the sidewalk because it was so hot.

And you're right pralines were perfect for that kind of weather.

Pam said...

Oh my! I think I have all these ingredients in my house, right now, as we speak.

Krysta said...

the problem is that if i made these.. i wouldn't share. at all. those looks yummy!

Mrs. L said...

Yum, these sound really good. And so easy. Like others, I LOVE pralines!