Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Chestnut story

I had the best of intentions. I really did. I had my camera in the kitchen the entire time, intent on telling my bloggy friends (you guys) the story of my dinner party. What happened instead involved a chaotic meal, a species of nut which refused to peel, and a gingerbread bearing uncanny resemblence to a charcoal briquette.

It all started with the chestnuts. This picture, the only one I took, illustrates perfectly my mood of the early afternoon. Stillness. Quiet. The pretty tranquility of an ivy plant juxtaposed with a tray of tasty-looking roasted chestnuts.

Then things went a little off-track. A pound and a half of chestnuts took two capable human beings (Patrick and myself) an hour to peel. We watched two episodes of The Simpsons on Hulu, cursed and sweated (just me, actually), and drove numerous chards of chestnut shell up under our fingernails. I had never worked with chestnuts before. Is this usual? Are these things, delicious though they are, really worth the trouble?

In the end, they pureed nicely into a sweet and velvety soup (which I conveniently forgot to photograph), so maybe they were worth it. But they threw the whole day off, and I'm not over it yet.

I suppose, with Thanksgiving having gone so swimmingly, that I was a tad over-confident. Maybe, as with Patrick's pancakes, my pride interfered. Whatever the cause, both sets of parents charitably complimented the immolated gingerbread, and helpfully amused themselves as I put the finishing touches on Molly's Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding (which was delicious).

Thanks be to kind-hearted, good-natured families everywhere. Mine especially.


Ashley M. said...

oooo -- chestnut soup!??!?!

Kristina said...

Yes! It was easy, aside from the &%$#*@ peeling-- eight cups of water simmered with one leek, two onions, two carrots, and two cups of chardonnay to make the stock, then strain and return 6 cups of stock to the pot (it makes extra!), cook 1 1/2 lbs peeled chestnuts in stock until soft, puree, add two tbsp sherry, 1 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of allspice and serve. It was delicious.

Becky said...

Hmmm, sounds yummy! Did you roast said chestnuts on an open fire? Sometimes they rebel if you don't.


Kristina said...

Becky-- no chestnuts roasting on an open fire for us. We oven-roasted them. Was that the culprit?

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