Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Chestnuts Roasting - In Summer?

Christmas time is here. Well for us at least. For all the department stores, it started right after Halloween. But we choose to ignore that. Did you? 

It's kind of a big deal at our home and was kind of a big deal growing up. Just like most families, we had our traditions. It started on black Friday. Dad was off and instead of joining the crazies at the stores, we took the next two days to decorate. We lived in a small apartment, but that didn't stop mom from decorating the place like a gingerbread house. 

I admit it was over the top. I mean she wrapped all the picture frames to look like presents. She even wrapped the front door. She sprayed artificial snow on the windows and tree. Garland and lights were everywhere. Christmas shower curtains, rugs, and even salt and pepper shakers. You're probably chuckling right now because you know someone just like that. 

I loved it and decorating was always accompanied by traditional Christmas tunes. On vinyl of course. We had them all:   Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and Brenda Lee. Although these songs are now played 24 hours a day on your local radio station, they still send me back in time. 

It was one song that I never seem to tire from, and surprise - it involves food. Yes, I mentioned Nat King Cole above. It represented everything I thought of about Christmas, though the Chestnuts never entered our kitchen, nor did we have a fireplace. That's not true. Mom had a cardboard cutout of a Christmas fireplace, how else would Santa get into our apartment? Duh.

"Chestnuts roasting by an open fire"

 "Jack Frost nipping at your nose"

When I get into a blog post, I typically find myself deeply buried beneath the layers of the web. This time I stumbled upon some interesting history of the origins of The Christmas Song.

First, it wasn't originally called A Christmas Song, but was originally titled Merry Christmas To You. It was written by Bob Wells and Mel Torme wrote the music and some of the lyrics.  Now here is what you probably don't know. It was written in the summer-say what? 

"Yuletide carols being sung by the fire"

"And folks dressed like Eskimos"

You see, Bob Wells was sitting at the piano playing on a hot summer day and to mentally cool himself off, he wrote down the phrases Chestnuts Roasting..... Jack Frost Nipping...... Yuletide Carols.... Folks Dressed Like Eskimos. Though it may not have cooled Bob off, it surely led to one of the most celebrated Christmas songs of all time and Nat King Cole mastered it. 

Since we are talking about Chestnuts roasting, I would like to share a few Chestnut inspired recipes. The truth is that chestnuts are much more popular in Europe than the U.S. There are venders on the street corners of France selling hot fire roasted chestnuts. Chestnuts are found in many Italian culinary treats such as bread, cakes, and even beer. Below are three recipes I have located and also pair well with Paradocx wine. Try cooking the nuts with our award winning wine.

Here is a recipe that you can try out for your Holiday feast. Goose is typically served along side this traditional stuffing. Try our 2015 Merlot.

Chestnut Stuffing

The earthy starch character of fresh chestnuts balance perfectly with the tartness of this braised cabbage dish. Use our Barn Red to add a touch of sweetness to this classic European dish. 

Braised Red Cabbage With Red Wine And Chestnuts

Finally a creamy chestnut soup. For easier results, find peeled chestnuts in cans or jars. I recommend serving this with our award winning 2016 Yield.
Creamy Chestnut Soup

One Final Thought

A New Holiday Tradition

We all know the Holiday season can be stressful. Not can be, but always is. It's our fought after all. We buy into the craziness. Wait in long lines on black Friday for that hot toy. We decorate our house like a museum, stay up till 4 in the morning playing Santa, entering a Cookie baking marathon, and sending cards out to our long lost cousin that my not be living any longer. 

But those things don't nearly stress me out as much as that damn Elf On A Shelf. Since this Pinocchio looking creepy one-way staring elf entered our home, my nights and early mornings have become a pain in my ask me later..... 

Don't get me wrong, it was fun the first 2 months but then our patience and creativity went into overdrive and the creepy factor sky rocketed. The Elf, aka Heart, found her way into the cookies, she wrote on the bathroom mirror and she wrecked a Barbie's hot rod. She was telling ghost stories to woody and Jessie. Heart even once cut herself with a knife. Do you know how strange it was taking her to the emergency room. She cried like a baby. 

Then there were the days the lazy elf forgot to hide and broke the kiddies heart. The good news is the girls got up earlier than usual but that damn elf needs to go, like soon. 

It is now mid December and Heart hasn't arrived from the North Pole yet. She probably got fired. Maybe she's at the winery. Hopefully the girls won't notice, keeping my fingers crossed......

Insert Elf on Can of Barn Red?

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