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A Discovery - Qualified Perceptions
A Discovery
I have an arch-nemesis, and it is Chestnuts! (Well, maybe it's just a nemesis. I probably don't cook with them often enough for them to be at the top of the pyramid.)

Happily, I also have tried-and-true stop-being-cranky music.
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merastra From: merastra Date: November 22nd, 2007 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do the thin tough shells get under your fingernails and make them bleed?

Trader Joes has pre-shelled ones I think. Though they're usually closed on Thanksgiving day.

Yay for "tried-and-true stop-being-cranky music"! What song(s) is that?
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 22nd, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
The shells poke me under my fingernails, trying to peel them hot results in singed fingertips, I tried switching from roasting to boiling when roasting wasn't working very well, and that led to singed pruny fingertips... somehow, I think the first time I roasted chestnuts, the shells just came off, but I've never repeated the process nearly as satisfactorily since.

The anti-cranky music is Edgar Meyer on double bass playing Bach's unaccompanied cello sonatas; I discovered it a few years ago on a stressful day, bought it nigh-instantly later from Amazon, and for me it Just works. :)

I had it on a month or so ago, and really confused mjperson, who is pretty good at identifying cello players, because he couldn't recognize this one.
readsalot From: readsalot Date: November 22nd, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Cook's Illustrated just reviewed something called the "Chestnutter", that works sort of like a garlic press to cut a steam vent in a chestnut. Would that help?
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 22nd, 2007 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I cut X's with a knife or kitchen scissors for steam vents, and they do peel back nicely when roasted. But somehow I can only seem to get the outer shell off properly, not the inner skin, even if the X goes all the way through the skin. (I actually suspect it has to do with the freshness of the chestnut; the fresher ones generate a bit more steam and push the skin off more readily, but I may only be getting the picked-over less fresh ones when I buy them.)
readsalot From: readsalot Date: November 22nd, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ok, I wasn't sure which part of the process was causing problems. I cut X's with a knife, too, but it can be difficult to do that on a hard, curved shell--that's what the Chestnutter is supposed to help with. I also have problems peeling them, but it doesn't matter that much because I don't use chestnuts as an ingredient, just as a snack, so I don't have to worry about how I've destroyed half of the ones I roasted.

I set some chestnuts on fire in the microwave, once. That was exciting.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 22nd, 2007 08:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
My best recent cooking disaster was setting some eggs to hard boil, and getting distracted and missing the timer bing. About an hour and a half later, I woke up from my computer game to a little explosion in the kitchen, as the water had boiled away, and one of the eggs had roasted sufficiently to burst. There were rubbery egg bits everywhere.
twe From: twe Date: November 22nd, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, so I am not the only person to do that! It is impressive were little bits of egg bomb can wind up...
merastra From: merastra Date: November 23rd, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

little bits of egg bomb

Oh wow. That's "exciting". :)
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