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Snackable

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Ahhhhh. Look at that. Perfect weather in my opinion. A sunny beautiful day, great for a run, about a perfect 18 C degrees outside (about 70 F or 72 F).

And you have guests coming over. New ones you’ve never met. And you are expected to provide dinner. And it is already 3 or 4 in the afternoon and you don’t have a menu. I know, first world problems. Anyway, I had a plan. And that was enough.

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I headed straight to the Viktualienmarkt here in Munich and bought amazing cheeses, some Italian sausages and ham, a selection of breads, beautifully fragrant muscat grapes, and a wild herb salad and headed home quickly. We were going to do a fancy “Brotzeit” and that was going to be good enough. No cooking.

Well, but just one thing. Fire roasted walnuts.

I was tempted by these at the market:

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But those huge walnuts have just come off the tree and are a lot of work because you have to first shell them and then peel off their bitter skins. Too much work.

Barbara Tropp has a simple but simply amazing recipe for walnuts in her cookbook “The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking” for a “light bite” or whatever she calls them. Basically a snack. I make them all the time because they are no fuss and easy and they always draw oos and aahs. If you just buy a bag of good quality shelled walnuts, this recipe comes together with very little active cooking time – maybe 10 minutes. They take about an hour and a half to prepare, but 80 minutes is just time while you wait for the walnuts to soak and then to bake.

Process?

Soak your walnuts in boiling water for 30 minutes. This releases the bitterness from the nuts. If you taste the water you have soaked them in, you will immediately taste the leached out bitterness. Spread them out after 30 minutes on a baking sheet. Put them in a pre-heated oven (about 110 degrees C, 225 degrees F) for 30 minutes. You are drying them out. If after 30 minutes, they are not dry in their centers, let them go for another 10 minutes or until you feel most of the water is gone from the nut meats. Then heat a couple tablespoons (for about two cups of nuts) of peanut oil in a pan on medium.

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Toss the nuts in, follow with about two tablespoons of sugar, constantly stirring the nuts. You want the sugar to caramelize and not burn. When you see the sugar is liquid, toss in about a teaspoon of salt and a couple pinches of cayenne pepper. Stir another minute and then remove from heat.

Put in a bowl to cool.

I served them with the cheese and fruit platter. You can store them in a tupperware container for quite a while.

And they work just as well with pecans. A mix of the two nuts is great.

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You’ll be surprised when you taste them. You are used to the slightly bitter flavor that walnuts have, but in these, it’s virtually gone. They are buttery and delicious. And your guests will keep reaching for them…:-)

Which happened.

 

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Posted by on October 18, 2016 in Chinese, Cooking at home, Famous Chefs

 

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Looks like Munich, Feels like Singapore

Heat wave abates for the day

Heat wave abates for the day

I might have named this post “having your cake and eating it too,” but that is really only tangentially the topic at hand.

Here in Munich it is finally summer. I don’t dare complain. Riding my bike home from work, I just wasn’t sure it was *really* Munich, because it is soooo hot and fairly humid at the moment. More like Singapore. Although I hear/read that in Singapore the smog/haze is back, so I’m quite glad I am not in Singapore. Munich will do just fine, thank you very much, although I wouldn’t object to a nice bowl of Laksa just about now…. Hmm. Might be an idea…anyway… We are told to expect about a week of the heat before things begin to cool off a bit. Fine. There is likely no travel this week, maybe just a day-trip on Thursday, so I can deal with a little sweat.

It would have been nice to have been at our Cologne offices, where I am occasionally these days – I’m envious of the guys who sit up at the top of the new space we have there, overlooking the quaint little courtyard with very beautiful potted olive trees.

Office courtyard

Office courtyard

They have quite the view – both into the courtyard, but also the buildings just across the way. Nice summer feeling on the balconies there.

Speaking of which…don’t you want to jump in?

Isar waves

Isar waves

Looking forward to a run in the morning. Will go early while it is still cool(er).

When I get back…there will still be a few bites of this cake, which I made for a picnic yesterday.

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Not my photo but mine looked the same except for the fact that my pan was round. There was a wedge left over after the picnic…delicious when eaten very cold straight out of the fridge with a spoon.

But thus…a run is in order.

The recipe is here. Have a look. It’s reasonably fast and easy – you just need some time to let it cool off and let the milk soak in for about an hour. Keeps well…if you don’t eat it all right away…for a few days.

 

 

 

 

 

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