Nutty Over 10 Nuts and Yes! That Includes Chestnuts

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Unless you are on a low fat diet or have a nut allergen issue, you’ll probably find a few of these nuts in your pantry at home or on your plate at your favorite restaurant. I love nuts and I could probably live on them for an extended time but I recognize that even with nuts, everything is best in moderation. Here’s my list of theTop 10 nuts to pantry stock for your cooking, baking and snacking needs, saving my favorite for last just in time for the holiday season.

  1. Brazil Nuts
  2. Macadamia Nuts
  3. Almonds
  4. Pecans
  5. Walnuts
  6. Cashews
  7. Hazelnuts
  8. Pistachio Nuts
  9. Pignoli (Pine) Nuts
  10. Chestnuts

#10 Chestnuts – I love Chestnuts or Castagne as they are called in Italy. They are the classic comfort food when it comes to nuts, putting us in a good mood and reminding us that the holiday season is here. I add them to our Thanksgiving stuffing and make sure they always have a place on our Christmas dessert table.

I have fond memories of my in-laws loving chestnuts as much as we do today. Tom’s mother would inspect each and every chestnut in a bulk basket at the produce store for the good ones. His Dad would get his handy “chestnut knife” ready. In actuality, it was a simple pearing knife but we knew that the task would not continue without this special tool which was perfect for marking an “X” on each chestnut before roasting them on a salted pan. They loved to have a few chestnuts dipped in a small glass of red wine at the end of Christmas dinner. Personally, I’m good with a buttery salty coating and a glass of egg nog as I stare at the large basket of fruit, feeling guilty but not enough to pass up this seasonal treat. How do I like chestnuts best? In a simple little brown paper bag so I can make believe I am enjoying them while window shopping in the Big Apple.

Burlap.Chestnuts     ChestnutsAtPinocchios

We even brought our little love of chestnuts to Pinocchio’s Ice Cream when we operated the store on Sanibel Island. The first Friday in December is the Sanibel Luminary Stroll. It’s a festive time for island businesses to kick off the season with complimentary food, drink, song and cheer. Giving the little bags of Chestnuts to our loyal Customers was memorable. Although a few patrons admitted to never eating them, (those are the fans who came back for seconds) many Customers shared their own treasured memories of preparing and sharing chestnuts with family and friends.

 

Enjoy eating your Chestnuts. I hope you cherish every bite this holiday season.

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Here are the lyrics to “The Christmas Song”

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols
Being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like eskimos
Everybody knows
A turkey and some mistletoe
Can help to make the season bright
Tiny tots, with their eyes all aglow
Will find it hard to sleep, tonight
They know that Santa’s on his way
He’s loading lots of toys and goodies
On his sleigh
And every mother’s child
Is gonna spy
To see if reindeer really know how to fly…
And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said
Many times, many ways
Merry Christmas, to you
They know that Santa’s on his way
He’s loading lots of toys and goodies
On his sleigh
And every mother’s child
Is gonna spy
To see if reindeer really know how to fly…
So I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two…
Although it’s been said
Many times, many ways
Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, to you
Merry Christmas

The Christmas Song” (commonly subtitled “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” or, as it was originally subtitled, “Merry Christmas to You) was written in 1945 by Bob Wells and Mel Tormé.
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Lobster Paradise in Wiscasset, Maine

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Lobsters are not a take it or leave it seafood. It’s plain and simple. Either you love lobster or you don’t. Our family falls into the first category. We savor these sweet juicy crustaceans on any chance that comes our way as a dinner or on a roll. Our family lived in New York much of our lives and we vacationed where lobster reigned supreme from Montauk and the Hamptons in Long Island to the New England seaside areas of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine. We recently returned from a trip to the Maine coast expecting to see some vibrant fall foliage and of course taste delicious lobster. It was not a great year for fall foliage due to extremely warm weather conditions but I am happy to report that we can put our crustacean obsession to rest because we found the BEST, yes! The BEST lobster roll you will ever taste at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, Maine outside of Boothbay Harbor.

We drove on US 1 past this cute quirky little red and white seafood place on our way to our resort in the Rockport area. The little seafood shack was lined with patient smiling Customers wrapped around the small building so we knew it was a priority on our GO TO bucket list. Our casual lobster roll curiosity was now a full blown quest for the best lobster roll in coastal Maine. Of course, I began to Google them on the internet along with nationally recognized travel sites and there they were along with beautiful pics of lobster rolls. The meat was piled so high that you could barely see the bread, accompanied by a side cup of local hot butter. No lettuce. No Mayo. No fillers. And that my friend is what separates a lobster dabbler from serious lobster roll aficionado.

WorthTheWait

It was a brisk day but no one cared. Everyone had lobster rolls on our mind.

The lobsters are steamed and yes a little cold when you get it but this is not a bad thing. It’s October and the weather is windy but the side cup of sweet locally crafted butter takes care of the chill. The roll is buttery and slightly grilled to support the volume of meat. You want fries or onion rings or anything else? Sure. It is all reasonably a la carte and one portion of fries was more than enough for 2 adults.

We first visited Red’s Eats on Monday and from that moment on, we were hooked. The owner and staff were so friendly. Amidst the hungry crowd, they found the time to smile, make quick small talk and win our loyalty. Why go anywhere else? We opted to abandon the typical lobster dinner at a well known restaurant in a neighboring town on Wednesday and visit Red’s Eats a second time. She remembered us when we reached the ordering counter and rang the bell, announcing over her PA system that we were 2nd time visitors this week as everyone clapped and cheered.

WaitingInLine                               Hubby Tom happy that we are #2 today waiting in line

I realize this is starting to sound like a restaurant review but after serving loyal Pinocchio’s Ice Cream Customers these past 12 years at our Sanibel store, I realized why Tom and I were so enamored with this establishment. Red’s Eats is a family run business that offers the best quality lobster in huge portions with a smile and a reason to return again. These are the simple principles that we used to grow our own business into the destination landmark it is today for handcrafted frozen confections.

What can I do now that we are back home in SW Florida? Ship some Maine Lobster meat TKC (tails – knuckles – claws) along with decent bread to grill and locally crafted butter. Then I can hope it will taste as good as it did at Red’s Eats. If not, we need to plan our next trip to Wiscasset.

If you go:   Red’s Eats.  41 Water Street • Wiscasset, Maine 04578  http://www.redseatsmaine.com/

  • Lobster Rolls at time of Article = $24.95 and worth every penny J
  • Cash Only. No Credit Cards. No worries. They have an ATM right next to the ordering counter.
  • This is a small establishment with outdoor patio seating on upper level and outdoor seating by the water on the lower level.
  • They are closed at this time. The last day of their season was October 21 L
  • Their accolades are endless. Don’t be surprised to see a TV food chef or celebrity waiting on line with you.

If you cannot make it to Wiscasset:

  • Go online and order a pound or two (or five?) of fully cooked TKC lobster meat. There are plenty out there to choose from. Red’s Eats website even lists some that will ship right to your door.
  • Buy some top sliced buns.
  • Slowly melt sweet salted butter. I cut my own fresh herbs and add them to the butter for extra flavor and I remove them just before serving.
  • Pile it high on the lightly grilled bun, dip into the butter and Enjoy!
  • Serve with shoestring potato fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings or a bag of your favorite flavored kettle cooked potato chips.   Enjoy!

Trip2     Trip #2. Look at those tails, knuckles and claws! I write this from miles away hoping to have a Red’s Eats Lobster Roll for lunch.  A girl’s gotta dream.