The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Opinion

December 21, 2012

COOKING WITH SIMON: Going nuts for chestnuts

PALESTINE — We are all mad about nuts this time of year with barrels of nuts in the grocery store, lots of area pecans and chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Well maybe not the last one, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy eating chestnuts or using them in recipes.

The thought of chestnuts brings back memories from the time I worked in London. I would walk down North Audley Street just around the corner from the American Embassy. Little did I know I would one day live in the United States. During the Christmas season the street vendors would sell hot roasted chestnuts on the street corner. They were placed in a paper bag and were a great way to keep your hands warm on a cold London night.

Warming your hands was about all they were good for since roasting really is not the best way to enjoy eating a chestnut. They are difficult to peel and can be a bit of work.

This week I had the opportunity to be on KYTX-CBS19 in Tyler and showed Tyler Morning Telegraph Food Editor Christine Gardner a better way to peel a chestnut. I read in an old Mrs. Beeton’s cookbook that was published in the mid-1800s another way to cookchestnuts.  

Mrs. Beeton was from England and was the first woman to write a cookbook. She took the country by storm in 1861 with Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management. It was a guide to proper Victorian housekeeping that organized the rules of domestic life in an easy to follow guide. Her recipes, advice on household management and how to buy equipment for the kitchen is just as valuable to everyone today as it was to ladies of her time.

I followed her advice on peeling chestnuts and it works much better than roasting. Simply bring a pot of water to a boil.

Drop the chestnuts into the water a few at a time. Let simmer for three to four minutes. Remove from the water and while still hot, but cool enough to handle, carefully cut a vertical slit through the pointed end of the chestnut. Then begin peeling back the shell.

If it does not peel easily put it back in the water for another minute. Rub off the outer skin of the nut and then it can be used in soups with Stilton cheese, pies, cakes, cookies or as Mrs.  Beeton advises a stuffing for Christmas turkey.

To see the video from CBS19 about how to peel chestnuts go to www.saborapasion.com. It will be posted on the front page of the website.

Text Only
Opinion
  • 7-26-simon-slaw.jpg Cooking with Simon: Stomp grapes and eat Texas food

    If you’re picking up the newspaper on Saturday, you still have a chance to come out to Sabor a Pasion and celebrate the grape harvest at the 2nd Annual Charity Grape Stomp.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Two decades of storytelling

    For the past 20 years, I have covered everything under the sun while working as community editor at the Palestine Herald-Press. I have covered festivals, banquets, graduations, fires, wrecks, elections, giant vegetables, you name it, I probably wrote about it.

    July 26, 2014

  • At the Movies: 'Begin Again' — Fresh tale creates appeal

    Some people film big pictures.  Others do small pictures.  Writer-director John Carney makes small pictures. 

    July 26, 2014

  • IMG_1373.jpeg COOKING WITH SIMON: Summer produce brings recipe inspiration

    Chefs are always recreating their menus and finding new inspiration for recipes. People ask me how where my new ideas come from and what I do to get inspired. The answer – mowing the lawn – and, by the way, I have a lot of lawn, vineyard and fields to mow.

    July 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Swiss Chard  & Peach Salad COOKING WITH SIMON: Garden vegetables ready to harvest

    Last month, I was invited to cook for a group of clients at a fishing lodge in Alaska. It was quite an experience – beautiful scenery, amazing salmon, halibut, and great accessibility to some of the best fishing in the world.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • watermelon COOKING WITH SIMON: Red, white and watermelon

    Happy 4th of July weekend! On every street corner the fruit of Texas is being sold from the back of old trucks and roadside produce stands.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • COLUMN: Musings about life and the pursuit of happiness

    Yesterday was July 4th, a time we celebrate independence and the truths that all men are created equal and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” to quote Mr. Jefferson.

    July 5, 2014

  • MOVIE REVIEW: 22 Jump Street

    I should have known better.  Just like “Legally Blonde” and “Dumb and Dumber,” a comedy based on a premise as opposed to one based on truly funny characters merged with a clever situation should never have a sequel.

    July 3, 2014

  • 6-28--SIMON-Lamb-Sliders.jpg Cooking with Simon: Celebrate July 4th with lamb burgers

    Being born in one country and raised in another can bring a bit of confusion to one’s life. And then to find yourself living in a third country as an adult, is one reason this kiwi is all messed up.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editor's Notebook: Kids can create their own summer fun

    Things are so different today than when I was a kid. A recent conversation with my 9-year-old son reinforced my belief.

    June 28, 2014