Nuts About Nuts! Where Would Drinks Be Without Them?
March 27, 2002 7:16 PM   Subscribe

Nuts About Nuts! Where Would Drinks Be Without Them? The Nut Factory is one of the world's greatest sources for nuts, of all kinds and descriptions, handled, roasted and presented in every possible way. Herman Swartz founded the company in 1952. If you've ever enjoyed a few nuts in your life, a good proportion was probably prepared in their headquarters in Spokane,Washington. Their site happens to be the most informative and passionate about nuts on the whole Web. Wherever you click; you learn and drool. Connoisseurs will welcome the chance to match nuts with their favorite drinks. Mmmm... [Mine would be Irish whiskey and club soda with roasted, salted almonds!]
posted by MiguelCardoso (23 comments total)
I thought Metafilter was the nut factory?

Actually, I don't like eating nuts. Which is strange because I love peanut butter, marzipan, and amaretto liqueur. It was always the texture more than the taste that bothered me. I also love the smell of roasting pralines. Plus someone who drinks as much beer as I do should give Beer Nuts a fair shake. The pictures at that nut site look appetizing as well. As an adult I love sauerkraut which I detested as a child, so congratualations, miguel, you have persuaded me to begin trying nuts!
posted by jonmc at 7:24 PM on March 27, 2002

Yum! Nice site. Thanks for a good post, Miguel.
posted by bjgeiger at 7:33 PM on March 27, 2002

Jon: The real clincher for cocktail parties and starting conversations in bars has to be their report on the international nut markets, dated 1 April 2002. You know: "You think those pistachios are good? Wait till the Summer, when the first premium Iranians start coming in, now that importing those babies is legal again..." Could just as easily qualify you as the biggest bar bore in the world, too! :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:35 PM on March 27, 2002

One of my favourite Mefi threads "Everyone's favorite nut!"
posted by riffola at 7:57 PM on March 27, 2002

Miguel, I was going to posit a burning nut question I've always had - "is it a filbert or a hazelnut?" - but on searching for appropriate links to illustrate the two, I found the answer within your own link. Now that's a thorough nut site!
posted by yhbc at 8:27 PM on March 27, 2002

I miss Kentish cobnuts and English chestnuts in autumn. You've made me very nostalgic for home.
posted by quirkafleeg at 8:41 PM on March 27, 2002

I'm not sure if this is an Midwestern-American tradition, but I've been asked if I wanted a filbert in my margarita. I'm guessing they used hazelnuts (salted, of course). Either way, they usually plop 2 in. What gives?
posted by G_Ask at 11:21 PM on March 27, 2002

Love the site Miguel. I love cashews and Brazil nuts and #1: Oregon Hazelnuts, washed down with a few long necks.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:27 PM on March 27, 2002

Remember, kids...from now on, when you think of Miguel, think of "nuts".
posted by Optamystic at 11:34 PM on March 27, 2002

Bacardi, lime and soda thanks, served with macadamia nuts. Or walking through a park in London, on a crisp autumn day and eating hot chestnuts mmm
posted by Tarrama at 11:50 PM on March 27, 2002

I like nuts, almost any kind, but I never buy them. I like free nuts.* At parties, look no further, wonder no more: I'm the bastard who ate all the nuts and drank the last good beer.

* Genetically, I'm 100 percent Scottish.
posted by pracowity at 2:17 AM on March 28, 2002

[Mine would be Irish whiskey and club soda with roasted, salted almonds!]

Miguel, may I suggest taking some fresh almonds and toasting them yourself in a frying pan with a teaspoon of good olive oil, plenty of sea salt and a finely chopped mild red chilli? Far better than shop bought roasted almonds and they taste great warm with a cool whiskey and soda.
posted by Markb at 4:32 AM on March 28, 2002

Ricard pastis with very large salted peanuts. Mmm... is it too early for booze?
posted by bifter at 4:49 AM on March 28, 2002

Markb: if you knew how long it takes me to roast almonds! I shell them after soaking them briefly in two bowls of just-boiled water. They have to be shelled quickly, still scalding the fingers, so they don't become waterlogged. Then I dry them very well. This means finishing the job with a hair-drier. That is the secret weapon. It has my friends in stitches - until they bite into one. The drier ensures each almond is squeaky dry.

If I want perfect almonds I ask my wife to separate each almond into their two sides. She can detect the fault-lines on each nut - uncanny - and that way you get double crunchiness as the surface of each half is obviously greater, guaranteeing perfect roasting.

I then use a very small amount of butter just to cover the roasting tray. The butter is there so that the salt and pepper will adhere to each nut. Without butter they're just as delicious though. In that case cover the nuts with lots and lots of kosher salt(I use "fleur du sel" which is cheap here)and freshly ground pepper. The difference is that the butter-roasted almonds are very salty; whereas the dry-roasted are only very slightly salted.

The oven should be going at about 75% heat. You then have to sit down in front of it, with ovenmits and a long wooden spoon to move them about as they roast. If you leave the kitchen, they roast unevenly or burn. When they're cappuccino-coloured, I remove them and place them, spread out, on a cool tray near an open window. It's really important that they cool quickly. Almonds continue to roast even while out of the oven...

When they're just slightly warm, they're ready. You'll never be able to eat packet almonds again. They're probably the most delicious thing on earth. The frying method, the Spanish way, is also very good - I'll definitely be trying them a la Markb with the chopped chili! In fact, probably in about half an hour! :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:53 AM on March 28, 2002

Harlan Pepper likes naming nuts - cashew nut, pistachio nut... red pistachio nut... filbert... macademia...brazil nut...Drives his momma crazy!
posted by martk at 6:29 AM on March 28, 2002

I love pecans. During my childhood, it seems like there was always a 5-lb. bag of unshelled pecans around. My father must have owned every whacky nutcracker design - some of them downright dangerous. But it was worth losing a few digits for my mom's fresh pecan pie.

Miguel, if you can get fresh pecans, try substituting them in your roasted almond recipe, you may be converted. We always use a very low temp, however. (The chili pepper thing sounds great!)

And its pe-KAWNS, not PEEK-ans. I have the evidence.
posted by groundhog at 6:46 AM on March 28, 2002

I was in Guatemala, at a coffee farm where they used macademia trees to shade the coffee plants. The finca was too far from civilization to make the nuts profitable, so there was always an over-abundance of macademia nuts, freshly roasted and salted, and macademia oil, macademia butter, etc. mmmmmm......
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:18 AM on March 28, 2002

From my admittedly skewed pastry-chef-ish view of the world, most anything can be improved with the addition of nuts. Yesterday, in preparation for the weekend cookout that is a tradition with me for Easter, little conch shells made of dark chocolate, Grand Mariner and roasted almonds were the stars (though I confess to buying pre-shelled). Today, it's local pecans (and groundhog has it spot-on, pe-kawns has ALWAYS been correct) roasted and covered in caramel. And then tomorrow, it's the Making Of the Pralines for the Cheesecakes.

And the sweet-hot combo of pecans as an appetizer (roasted with butter, sugar, and pepper flakes/hotsauce and garlic) is unbeatable.
posted by ebarker at 8:42 AM on March 28, 2002

Incidentally, spellcheck will let "Mariner" pass, even if it's supposed to be "Marnier."
posted by ebarker at 8:46 AM on March 28, 2002

But just how does the filbert tree know that it's St. Filbert's day?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:46 AM on March 28, 2002

sweet-hot combo of pecans as an appetizer (roasted with ...

So that's how you do that. I'm going to the supermarket right now. Ebarker, you wouldn't happen to have a skewed pastry-chef-ish type website with recipes anywhere, would you? Your cookout sounds heavenly. The guests are lucky people.
posted by iconomy at 10:55 AM on March 28, 2002

groundhog: My father must have owned every whacky nutcracker design - some of them downright dangerous.

when i was a kid my brother and i were cracking pecans with this rubber-band-breech-loading type nutcracker and i almost put his eye out...

ahh, the memories..

posted by PugAchev at 11:04 AM on March 28, 2002

puga: that's the one! One of the earlier designs could only be used outside, as it didn't have a pecan-shrapnel containment shield. Pieces of shell flying everywhere, very dangerous.
posted by groundhog at 2:01 PM on March 28, 2002

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