Day 83 – National Nut Day

Let me get all my teenage boy titters out of the way.  Yes, I love some good, warm salty nuts in my mouth.

There.  Now that that’s been said, I can get down to business.  We go through a lot of nuts here in our house, especially lately with all my cooking.  We’ve used pecans, macadamias, cashews, peanuts – the list never ends.  Our daily goto nuts however are the walnut and the almond – the perfect snack food.  Some mornings when I make breakfast for Lola, she will just have a bowl of yogurt with walnuts and almonds chopped up and mixed in along with some fresh fruit.  That’s her power breakfast.  I am not a fan of yogurt, but when I make it for her, I am always sneaking a few bites of nuts and fruits for myself.  It’s instant energy.

Nuts at my house growing up were more of a party thing.  Every Sunday dinner that my uncles would come for would begin with them fixing and drinking a round of Manhattans at the kitchen table and a bowl of Planter’s salted cocktail nuts were served as the nosh (maybe some cheese and Triscuits too).  Then, during the holidays, there was always that bowl of mixed nuts still in their shell out for display.  I used to like to crack them open because we had this devise that acted like a vice and crushed the nut.  Then I’d give my Dad the fragments to eat.  I guess nuts in shells are festive.

Nuts are everywhere!  No wonder squirrels are so busy.  Nuts seemed like a pretty good thing to celebrate, I just didn’t really know where to start.  I ended up finding a recipe from Food Network chef and saucy minx Nigella Lawson.  She had a recipe for the Union Square Cafe’s bar nuts.  I didn’t know what the Union Square Cafe was but I discovered it’s kind of a famous New York restaurant run by a very famous restauranteur named Danny Meyer (he I was familiar with).  Apparently the nuts they served at their bar were pretty famous as in the best-thing-I-ever-ate famous.  That intrigued me.  And while I contribute the recipe here to Nigella, it’s really Danny Meyer’s recipe from his cookbook.  Nigella, along with about 50 other chefs, are just passing it along.

Pretty simple actually: Heat up some mixed nuts then mix them in a concoction of brown sugar, butter, salt, cayenne pepper and fresh rosemary.  Serve ’em up hot.  Took less than 15 minutes to make from start to finish.

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I gave some to Lola who was busy working on her computer and not paying too much attention to what was happening in the kitchen except for smelling some wonderful smells.  Her reaction was, “These are fantastic!”  I thought so too.  Good variety.  Nice and salty with the warmness of the nuts bringing a new level of flavor to every bite.  The predominant seasoning was the rosemary which wasn’t overpowering but just a nice, fresh exotic taste.  Great combination.  I could see why they are a fan favorite.  I have a feeling that these might make a future appearance.  I also took comfort in knowing that this recipe is blog fan JDB approved because she has made the recipe too.  If it has her approval, we know we are making good things.

And that was our nut celebration.  It was a quiet night for us as Lola was out babysitting her nephews, so we had to squeeze in our nut party before she left.  At least I can say she left with the taste of my fresh made nuts in her mouth. (Sorry.  I just can’t stop myself.)

Speaking of nuts, here’s something nutty.  Tomorrow morning I will be waking up early and running over the Newport Bridge.  It’s the annual Pell Bridge Run and I signed up for it about 7 weeks ago.  It’s not really a big run (just about 4 miles, so slightly longer than a 5K) but it’s definitely a unique one because you start in Jamestown and run over the bridge into Newport.  I am looking forward to the view from up top.  This race will be my first race  since . . . ever.  I’m not much of a runner.  I don’t even remember having to run a mile in school.  That’s what makes this all a little nutty.

When I started the quest I realized that it would involve me eating a lot of sweet, rich food.  I began to think that this might cause some issues to my health in the long run.  I figured I needed to push myself to make some changes and when I saw this race coming, I thought it would be a personal challenge I could attack (a literal bridge to fitness).  I downloaded an app called 5K Trainer which helped pace my training over the last few weeks.  It’s been a long, slow journey, but I’ve been doing a little better and a little farther every day.  I still won’t be able to run the whole race, but I will run most of it, which will be ok to me.  In any case, I’m excited, and a little nervous. My goals for tomorrow:

  1. Don’t die.
  2. Finish the race.
  3. Don’t poop my pants (I ate a lot of nuts today).
  4. Again, I’ll go with the not die thing.

Wish me luck.  And if you happen to say someone left on the bridge slouched over and screaming for Ben Gay, don’t leave me hanging.

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Next Up: National Boston Cream Pie Day (unless of course I’m a drooling vegetable, but that goes without saying). 

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