Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Aww, Nuts!

Or should I write - ahhhh, nuts! 

As I while away the hours here in Oregon and spend some great quality time with my Mum, one of the things she alway keeps on hand is nuts and I do like my nuts!  (not those nuts you dirty readers you but frankly I'm rather fond of those as well if I must say).

My Mum keeps a mix of roasted nuts around at all times as one of her pre-prandial accoutrements.  The folks here in Oregon stop each day for cocktail hour and although they gave up the "cocktail" many years ago in favor of a glass of the grape or a bottle of hopped grain beverage, the hour has stuck.  Many times it is just freshly popped popcorn or some sliced toasted baguette with some olives but the pre-prandial nosh is an institution here.  It makes for not feeling like such a piggie to tuck into a large meal as it's taken the edge off the afternoon hunger pangs or also can be a surrogate to the meal if lunch was substantial; today was one of those days.

Henry spent the night last night to help Grandma through a tough day and even around his time spent on the PSP and the tube he was really good and spent time with her asking what he could do for her.  We played a terrific game last night called "Apples to Apples" and I could see the honest joy in both their faces as we concentrated on the good stuff after a tough day.  Today Henry's Mum Kristin came out and the 4 of us went to lunch at a terrific spot here in McMinnville where the beer is exceptional and the food is always terrific, Golden Valley Brewery & Restaurant.

We ran the gamut on the food with a bacon cheeseburger for Henry, side salad and a bowl of chili for Kristin, Cajun chicken sandwich for Mum and a roast pork sandwich with kraut for me.  All delicious made from scratch in their kitchen onsite and very filling.  Beers for the adults and root beer for the lad along with good conversation and most importatnly family around for Mum.

We walked the main street through McMinnville and did a little window shopping for a bit of post prandial perambulation before Henry and Kristin headed back to Vancouver to spend the evening and the holiday tomorrow with friends.  It will be a quiet holiday for Mum and I but that will be just fine, we'll find a local restaurant and head out as we just aren't ready for the big prep session yet although Mum and Henry did spend the morning making yummy pumpkin pie (breakfast tomorrow?  we shall see :)).

Back to the nuts, it's not a recipe, there's nothing special other than they are always here when we visit but it is a constant and a pleasurable assurance to find these in the same spot each time we roll in.  Mum tells me she goes to to the bulk bins and holds the bags beneath the valve until she has what her eyes and hands tell her is enough and stops.  On returning home she mixes up all the different nuts she gets with the hazelnuts she buys by the 100 lbs (we are in Oregon afterall) and spreads them on sheet pans.  Roasting until they smell good, they are removed and stirred occasionally while allowed to cool and then kept in a big jar for noshing.

Tonight that was dinner for me along with the majority of a bottle of Tre Nova Bonatello Sangiovese.  I'm satisfied with my nuts for dinner and a bit tipsy from the wine but all in all a fine evening with me Mum that we topped off with a rerun of last week's Top Chef.

Sometimes it's the simplest things that bring out the best taste and the simplest times that are truly memorable.


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