Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Italian Chestnuts and Blood Orange Apertif

As a "spring/summer personality, I have always dreaded the thought of dreary winters filled with dark days and cold nights. Living in Georgia I can almost certainly count on a weird mix of mild, moderately cold or severe winters.

Rather than complain I have adapted to the odd winters and look forward to my winter rituals of warm, fragrant baths and lovely evenings in my wonderful kitchen recreating many favorite Italian dishes while enjoying a glass of Tuscan super-red wine.

A chilly evening can be magically warmed by a serving of roasted Italian chestnuts tossed with fragrant garlic oil and a light sprinkling of kosher salt. The evening is further transformed with the addition of a Blood Orange and Brandy Apertif.

I choose a beautiful, faceted crystal hi-ball, something special that reflects the intense garnet reds of the blood orange as they swirl into the coppery browns of the orange brandy. With a tiny silver spoon I ladle one delicate teaspoon of sugar and wait for the gentle fizz from the addition of soda water. Ah! Sweet success!

The chestnuts are cleaned and scored with an "X". I toss them with the fragrant oil flavored by sweet garlic until each chestnut glistens. Finally, the chestnuts are placed in the oven to roast and I wait for the house to fill with the aroma and memories of Italy!

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