Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Farmer's Market Share Gives the Gift of Nuts in Your Mouth

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge ALISSA NELSON
  • Alissa Nelson
These days it's smart to be budget-minded and realistic when giving gifts. If you're like this blogger, that means forgetting that Hanukkah is coming and then blaming late gifts on finals or wanting to make something yourself to save money. In previous years, I've knitted various clothing items for everyone I know, which is slow going, guaranteeing that gifts will be late. This year, I had the luck of both finals and having quit my job to go back to school.

No time, no money and no sense of the lunar calendar: Not bad, right?

Despite waiting to do anything until I'd finished with classes, I actually planned ahead this year and went the route of food as gift. This ensures that I'll send things out on time because moldy gifts are not looked upon highly. And it staves off a visit to the shopping mall.

It's a win-win.

Step one involved my exchanging some unnecessary items at Fair Shares for a pound of Missouri pecans. In the past, I've bought pecans from a stand at Soulard Farmers' Market. They are extraordinarily cheap -- usually about $5 a pound -- and incredibly good. I might like Missouri pecans more than the standard kind, but this might be due to the freshness factor. I also bought a pound each of walnuts, cashews and peanuts. All can be had raw and in bulk at various locations around town, from standard supermarkets to the aforementioned Soulard. They're not necessarily local, though if you wanted to step it up, you could get Missouri black walnuts.

Step two: I used three different techniques for coating the nuts. See, now that the semester is over, I can spend a whole day doing that. It felt a lot like America's Test Kitchen, but with less counter space and more profanity. Those on my list will receive nuts à la Mark Bittman, Bryant Terry and/or Smitten Kitchen.

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