Archive for December, 2010

So when I was ten years old my dad moved to eastern Europe to start working with a new company.  I don’t remember if we were en route to Tblisi, Georgia, or Yerevan, Armenia, but I do remember that we had a layover of a few days in Vienna, Austria.  I also remember being so cold I thought my ears were going to chip off and break apart from being so frozen (I have since wizened up to the concept of earmuffs).  There was a street vendor selling some mysterious hot tea that I think was some combination of hibiscus and lemon, and he was also selling roasted chestnuts.  My dad bought me a cup of tea and a little newspaper cone of roasted chestnuts.  Fifteen years later I still remember it as one of the most magically warming, delicious things I have ever eaten.

So when I saw a barrell of chestnuts at the grocery store, I nabbed some and roasted them in my apartment.  I will say, they did not even come close to being as delicious as the Viennese ones, but I think to attain that, you have to go outside and roll around in the snow while the chestnuts bake until you feel like you’re going to crumble into ice cubes, and THEN eat them.

How to Roast Chesnuts:

0: Break out the eggnog or Irish Cream and pour yourself a glass.  Put on Christmas Carols (Pandora has a great “Folk Christmas” station, minus all the piano music).

1: Preheat your oven to 375

2: Wash your chessies and pat them dry

3: Very carefully (especially if you’re already on your second glass of spiked eggnog or Irish Cream) cut X’s into each of the chestnuts for steam to escape.  (If you forget to do this, I want a full account of what happens in your oven–probably an awesome story).

4: Arrange them on a cookie sheet, give them lots of room to spread out and boogie down.  You don’t have to, but I did.

5: Bake 25 to 30 minutes.

*This is the point at which I was served them in Vienna, but when I made them here they were really…not quite dry, but they soaked up all the moisture in my mouth.  I think that the best next thing to do is to sautee them in a pan with some butter and, depending if you want them sweet or savory, add some salt and curry powder, or cinnamon and sugar.

Happy Winter Ya’ll!


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