Category Archives: Wine & Food

Bonus Holidays Recipe Article: Roasting Chestnuts


Hot, freshly roasted chestnuts with a little butter

Yep, it’s late fall. Chestnuts are showing up at the local grocers’ or, in our case, the local Whole Foods. And pricy though they may be, roasting these little gems at home is a heck of a lot cheaper than flying to Europe to get a paper sack full of chestnuts from a street vendor. Besides, if you can find good, fresh chestnuts, it’s simply too easy to do these at home, and in very little time. So, let’s get started with this step-by-step recipe beginning with a list of what you’ll need, directions on how to use what you’ll need, and how to serve these delightful morsels of goodness.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Approximately 30 chestnuts for two people; about 1.1 pounds/500 grams
  • An oven heated to 425ºF/220ºC
  • A very sharp serrated knife
  • A cutting board that can handle a very sharp serrated knife
  • Gauze, tape, alcohol, and perhaps an extra finger or two should you slip with that very sharp serrated knife
  • A pot with some water
  • A baking tray
  • A clean kitchen towel
  • Butter, preferably unsalted, for garnish

First off, forget all that stuff you’ve read about cutting an X across the top of the chestnut. That technique doesn’t work very well later when you want to pop out the nut from the shell. I’m going to show you a better way.

Chestnuts, cutting board, and a very sharp serrated knife

Lay the chestnut flat side down, round side up. Take your knife and, along one edge, made a shallow cut through the shell. Don’t worry if you cut slightly into the nut.

Cut along one side of the chestnut

Continue scoring across the top of the chestnut. You may want to rotate the nut and begin from the other side, but that may not be necessary.

Keep going!
Rotate the chestnut and continue cutting all the way across the top (rounded portion) of the chestnut

Now repeat the process with all the chestnuts. When you’re done, place the scored chestnuts into a pot and add just enough water to cover them.

Add water to just cover the scored chestnuts

Put the pot on the stove and turn up the heat. You want to remove those chestnuts just as the water begins to boil. Most will have begun to open along the cut you made earlier.

Bring just to a boil, then immediately remove the chestnuts from the water

Spread the chestnuts, scored side up, onto the baking tray. Leave room around the individual nuts.

Spread the chestnuts out onto a baking tray

Place the chestnuts into your preheated 425ºF/220ºC oven and roast them for twenty minutes (English) or for 20 minutes (metric). In my case, I used my oven’s convection mode, but that’s not necessary.

425ºF/220ºC oven for either twenty minutes (English) or 20 minutes (metric)

Here’s how your chestnuts should look when you remove them from the oven:

Roasted chestnuts, but we’re not yet done!

Don’t get grabby! We’re not yet done. Remember that dish towel from the list above? Now is when that comes into play.

Place the roasted chestnuts onto the kitchen towel

Place the chestnuts onto your kitchen towel, then fold the towel over to trap the heat. Leave those nuts alone for another ten minutes (English) or 10 minutes (metric).

Hot chestnuts resting in a kitchen towel

Time’s UP! Unwrap those chestnuts!

Time to dig in!

Now, plate a few nuts and, while you’re enjoying those, rewrap the remainder to keep warm. On an unrelated note, do you know what one calls leftover lettuce? The romainder.

Freshly roasted chestnuts practically jumping from their shells on their own

Don’t forget to put a little butter on these delicacies. We prefer cold butter, which is easy to dab onto the chestnuts. The butter then warms up and begins to spread as you prepare to pop a nut into your drooling Pavlovian mouth.

YUM!

If you’re wondering why I put this article together and posted it on an irregular day (a Tuesday rather than my usual Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), that’s because time is of the essence. Chestnuts are just hitting the markets here locally, and they won’t in most likelihood be there a month from now. If they are, they’ll be way past their prime; you’ll wind up throwing out quite a few if you wait that long. So, hurry on out there and stock up. Get a few pounds/kilo or two and store in the refrigerator those chestnuts you won’t be roasting today. I’ve found they stay fresh much longer when kept cold.

Feel free to leave a note on how this recipe worked out for you!

Слава Україні! (Slava Ukraini!)

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Transatlantic 2022 — Returning to a Barcelona Favorite; Restaurante Anduriña


Restaurante Anduriña, Barcelona, Spain

Today concludes my series on our transatlantic cruise, but this trip is far from over. As you may have surmised, since several of the destinations covered over the past several weeks were hit more than once, the next segment of this two-and-a-half-month journey was an eight-day Mediterranean cruise that hit seldom-visited ports in Spain and France. So, while the transatlantic aboard Vision of the Seas ended in Barcelona, our next Vision of the Seas adventure began later that same 13 May date.

Restaurante Anduriña outdoor tapas menu

Now, if today’s restaurant review appears familiar, it’s because I’ve covered Restaurante Anduriña before in an article from when we visited this establishment on multiple occasions in October of 2021. I thought it might be fun to go back and see if the quality is holding up. Spoiler: It is. Here’s the article on our previous visit for comparison: Fun Food Friday — Restaurante Anduriña. If you compare the menu images from last year’s visit to the visit in May, you’ll find that inflation is indeed a worldwide post-pandemic phenomenon. But the prices didn’t go up all that badly.

13 May 2022 prices — Main Menu
13 May 2022 prices — Drinks and Desserts

But, hey, don’t forget the specials:

Menu del Dia — Menu of the Day

Inside, not much has changed. Restaurante Anduriña retains its intimate charm, but with limited seating. If you want to eat there, go early or see if you can reserve a table:

As the old saying goes: When in Spain, do tapas. Okay, I just made that up. But tapas is a truly Spanish invention that bears sampling. However, before getting your chosen tapas, don’t forget Andurina‘s exquisite sangria, which I told you about in my previous review, which read: “It was on our second visit that we also discovered Restaurante Anduriña also makes a mean sangria. Needless to say, the house wine went by the wayside once we discovered sangria by the “jug” (pitcher).

Restaurante Anduriña‘s sangria is still wonderful and refreshing

One of our favorite discoveries here from our last series of visits was the delectable Padrón peppers, which I described thusly: “On our second of three visits Ursula’s nose detected the faint aroma of green chilies. Looking around we saw a couple savoring a plate piled high with what we soon learned were Padrón peppers. It was love at first bite, and we wound up ordering it more than once. No need to worry about spiciness (unfortunately for us), as they were quite mild and very tasty. The peppers came to us fried and rolled in coarse salt.” Well, those Padrón peppers were just as irresistibly delectable this past May:

Padrón peppers; so good you’ll want your own plate

Shall we zoom in for a closer look?

Padrón peppers

And a very short time later we were left with:

Ooops. You blinked and they were gone!

One quibble I might have is that bread comes as a separate expense at Restaurante Anduriña, but Ursula and I remain willing to overlook that because everything else is so yummy and relatively affordable. One item that remains a constant on this visit as well as our previous three last October is the Spanish cured meat platter. From my previous review: “Let’s zoom in and see what goodies await, as this platter includes olives, chorizo (a spicy sausage), Iberian ham, fuet (a thinly sliced dry-cured pork sausage), bull blanc (the pale meat pictured, a type of pork sausage).” That, too, is just as good as it was before, and the price for this wonderful tray is only €2 more than it was last year:

Spanish cured meat platter includes olives; bread is extra, but is an absolute must

You may wish to peruse my previous review of Restaurante Anduriña for details on other menu offerings, such as their pulled pork sandwich served with some incredible fries, anchovies swimming in olive oil, and their great hamburger. Want to know the location for your next Barcelona visit? Well, that’s a secret.

Just kidding:

Restaurante Anduriña; on Carrer Comtal just east of Avinguda del Portal de l’Àngel

As for their website, that is linked here: Restaurante Anduriña.

I hope you enjoyed this return to a Barcelona favorite of ours. See you for this week’s Fun Photo Friday, where we’ll finish up with one more set of favorites highlighting Palma de Mallorca and Valldemossa.

Слава Україні! (Slava Ukraini!)

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Transatlantic 2022 — Palma de Mallorca; Heading to Valldemossa


Royal Palace (left) Palma Cathedral (right)

It’s approaching noon on 12 May and we’re heading back to the tour bus. To get to the bus we once again pass the Royal Palace and the gardens (see below). Our next destination awaits, and it’s a bit of a drive. We’re about to head north for an hour-long journey.

Royal Palace of Almudaina

Our next stop is the enchanting mountain village of Valldemossa. Actually, the word enchanting doesn’t really do this place justice. You’ll find photo-worthy scenes at every corner, and many more between those different street corners.

Valldemossa tour map

For a better description I refer you to this Wikipedia article on Valldemossa, which states, “Since the 19th century Valldemossa has been promoted internationally as a place of outstanding beauty, largely as a result of the affection of distinguished traveller and cultural writer, the Austrian Archduke Ludwig Salvator. Valldemossa is a very attractive tourist destination, as it shows early Spanish culture. There are many shops and restaurants to indulge in Spanish culture.

Valldemossa, Mallorca Island, Spain

After a brief stint with our tour guide, our group was released with instructions to return to the bus at a specified time. So, when I tell you that today I’m going to give you a taste of Valldemossa, I do mean taste. Let’s start with a promising looking panadería (bakery) and repostería (pastry) shop on Via Blanquerna near the corner at Plaça Ramon Llull. Here we’ll try a popular local dish similar to pizza.

Ca’n Cerdà Pastisseria

The dish is called coca de trampó, and it’s simply delish. It’s a bed of delectable vegies sitting atop a thin crust:

Coca de trampó

Did I mention that this establishment is also a bakery and pastry shop? This thing may look like a doughnut, and taste similar to one, but you’ll never believe what the base ingredient of coca de patata is:

Coca de patata con chocolate (potato flour roll with chocolate)

So Ursula and I loaded up with:

It was so good that we returned for another helping. Meanwhile, let’s go hit the streets:

Слава Україні! (Slava Ukraini!)

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Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, Restaurant Review, travel, vacation, Wine & Food