I mentioned that I once had an exceedingly dull job working the day shift in a hotel bar. “Sure, we reused the lemon garnishes” I told a group of appalled New Yorkers. “And we were supposed to tip any un-eaten hot nuts back into the hot nut dispenser for next time.”
“I have often wondered about this,” said a Russian friend of one of the people in this group.
“Olives. I wonder, how many times does an olive go out in a bowl on the bar, then back into the jar, then out on the bar again. So I think, I will do an experiment.”
I should probably say at this point that he is an eminent scientist.
“I put a tiny bit of radiation on the olive – nothing too much, only the same as people would get from the environment anyway, well, more or less – then I would monitor the olive with a Geiger counter and see what happened.”
He looked at us proudly, expecting perhaps, academic interest.
“Oh my God! You are out of your mind insane!”
“You radiated people to see how much a bar reused an olive? Jesus Christ!”
“Oh.” He sat for a moment, thinking. “Maybe my English is not so good. I meant, it would be a good idea to do this, no? It would be interesting and also funny, I think. It is a joke. I do not do.”
“Oh, that’s ok then.”
But suspicion had been planted in our minds. None of use ate our martini olives.
Pepper Spiced Walnuts
The only way to avoid the “should we throw away these nuts or tip them back into the packet” conundrum is to make nuts that are so delicious that there will not be any left to worry about.
I tried these sweet peppery walnuts at Hilary’s on Sunday, came home and described them in great detail to Jon, who came home the next day with a bag of walnuts, ready to try them out.
Here’s Hilary’s recipe as she sent it to me.4 cups of walnut halves 2/3 cup sugar 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 teaspoons salt 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
- Put the sugar in a nonstick skillet, and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the sugar just begins to dissolve. Add the butter, then add the walnuts and stir to coat while adding the salt and pepper.
- After the sugar has melted and the walnuts are well coated, pour them onto a sheet of wax paper. Separate the walnuts as much as possible with the wooden spoon, and allow them to cool completely.
- Store the walnuts in an airtight container at room temperature until you are ready to serve them. They will keep for weeks at room temp and for several months in the freezer.