Whether directly from a chimney, a street vendor or even the oven, roasted kastana (arabic & greek for chestnuts) are guaranteed to transport you to cosy land, bringing back fond memories of prior times you gathered around a chimney with family and friends and most importantly they will warm you up!
As I’ve already discussed in a previous post about nuts, chestnuts are also a great source of fiber which lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. Kastana is a great option for an afternoon snack on a cold day and complements an afternoon tea very nicely.
While people often go for the marron glacé version during the holiday season, i’m not a fan from a nutrition perspective as they’re pumped with sugar (but I won’t deny that the marron glacé deserts can be quite delicious, so perhaps limit those unhealthy versions to very special occasions (e.g. over the holidays in a bûche de Noël / Yule log)). If you’re really looking to try a healthy variation from the classic roasted version, remember that chestnuts can be eaten raw – they will have a different texture (crunchier / harder) and the taste will be a bit stronger, but I find they make a great addition to a drink (warm or cold).
Of course, for the ultimate experience, you have to pop on this tune while you enjoy your kastana!
A friend once told me “you’re very seasonal!”. Initially perplexed by the note, I soon became captivated by its accurate portrayal. While I think that in the grand scheme of things I look for a well-crafted routine in life, which gives me a sense of security, stability and structure; every now and then, I pursue renewal and stimulation. Mother Nature gives me a helping hand by providing the ultimate rejuvenation: Seasons!
So Yes! I am very seasonal in the sense that I love living every season to the fullest: I wear the season, eat the season, and connect with nature through each season’s unique richness. Back in my hometown, autumn was the joy of petrichor after the first rain, the smell of my new schoolbooks, the sight of wheat harvest and bulgur production and the savor of green mandarin. Since I moved to North America, with every fall I look forward to my yearly apple picking, getting lost in picturesque foliage sceneries and savoring the season’s richest tastes. Eating local in-season produce is the best way to really benefit from the freshness, deliciousness and nutritional content of vegetables and fruits while supporting sustainable agriculture. Here are my autumn superfood picks from around the world. Choose a variety from this list to get your daily intake of vegetables and fruits. The best way to get what’s in season in your local area from the following list is to head to your local farmer market and see what treasures you can fill your basket with.
Top: Nothing better than the comfort of a smooth pumpkin soup to adjust to the crisp cool air
Bottom: Mix your autumn produce in this delicious medley in-season salad! (Ingredients: any green leafy vegetable, roasted apple, roasted chestnuts, grapes, cranberries, baked sweet potatoes, feta cheese)
Bring the colors home
Top right: autumn wreath
Top left: coffee table decoration
Bottom left: flower arrangement
Bottom right: seasonal Baccarat table set-up
Apple & Pumpkin picking in the Hudson Valley, NY
Fresh Green and Mission Figs
I have special feelings towards figs. This delicate fruit has a big nostalgia effect on me. Back in my childhood in my small Mediterranean village, I spent a lot of time with my brother, sister and my zillion cousins climbing a fig tree deep down my grandfather’s orchard. We played house on this tree but mostly we ate a lot of fresh green figs! These were pure happy and delicious moments. Besides my childhood nostalgia, there’s nothing like the sweet tingling taste and the beauty of a fresh fig. God is so good at designing fruits! Fig is actually known as “nature’s most nearly perfect fruit” because of its wide-ranging nutritional benefits: super high in fiber, calcium, iron and potassium particularly when it’s dried. Check this delicious in season Tartine garnished with figs that I recently had at Maison Kayser, my favorite UES brunch/lunch spot.
Tartine Chèvre & Figues: Goat cheese, caramelized onions, fresh Mission figs, balsamic reduction