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I know, I know, it has been far too long since I posted anything here.  I am not going to explain, or apologize, just post!

Tonight we are entertaining old friends.  Of course, dinner is not complicated (it’s summer). We are roasting some chickens on the grill and serving them with sweet potatoes and a big, fresh, green salad.

It’s the before-dinner snacks I fret over.  A bit of salami, some cheese and some smoked salmon all sounded good, and we had some pistachios, in the shell, bought in bulk a week or so ago.  The problem with the nuts is that they were a bit stale.  

I’ve toasted pistachios before, so I thought I’d toss them onto a sheet pan and see if a quick toast in the oven would help.  

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I spread the nuts (shells and all) on a sheet pan, and put them in the oven (which I had set for 350 degrees), while it was still preheating (I know, not a good idea, generally).  After less than 10 minutes (and just after the oven had gotten to temperature) I took them out and let them cool.  

The sweet smell of pistachios filled the room as I opened the oven.  Some of the shells were slightly browned, otherwise they looked as they had before toasting.  After the nuts had cooled, we had a taste, and…

…they are fantastic.  

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A little smoky, a little salty, nice and crunchy.  These are some of the best pistachio nuts I have ever eaten.

Give it a try.  I think you will be surprised.

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Spring break

I wasn’t planning to take much of a spring break this year, but a last minute opportunity presented itself and I ended up in St. Louis (where I grew up) visiting the midwestern branch of my family.

In addition to various, disparate, adventures (including seeing the new movie,  Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and hearing the smokingly loud band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at local venue The Pageant), and the pleasure of being surrounded by people wearing St. Louis Cardinals paraphenalia, I am luxuriating in having the time to slowly read a new book by one of my favorite authors, Peter HesslerCountry Driving is his third book about living in and exploring modern-day China (following Oracle Bones and River Town) and I am enjoying it as much as the first two.

And, just to celebrate the official arrival of spring, I thought I’d share a couple of springy pictures.

Happy Spring!

I hope it’s sunny and warm wherever you are.

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