I think that this is the start of a wonderful thing. I do love cooking, no matter what, but it is so nice to be able to share the experience with someone else. It becomes an event, that always has a satisfying end product (unless you forget to turn off the oven and char a batch of sweet potato fries... Sorry brother!).
I found locally grown chestnuts at the Birmingham farmer's market. Hill's Chestnut Farm is located in Saginaw, MI and they drew in quite a crowd, having set up a grill in which they were freshly roasting chestnuts on site!
Chestnuts post-shelling. Which was quite a process...
There are quite a few ways to roast these babies but step 1 is always the same: cut X's into the shells.
This is super important because roasting them can cause pressure and lead to them exploding!
Don't make little chestnut bombs!
In a pan
Place scored nuts into pan on high heat.
Roast until shells begin to char, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool, peel, eat.
Cook nuts on High for 30s*
Cool, peel, eat.
*Cooking time depends on individual microwave, overcooking makes for a rubbery nut.
Preheat oven to 375F
Place scored nuts on a cookie sheet.
Place sheet in center of oven.
Roast until cut part of shell starts to peel back, about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool, peel, eat.
Warm Mushroom Salad with Roasted Chestnuts
3 c of leafy greens (I used a "spicy mix" from Tantre Farm)
1 T olive oil
2 T mirin (or sherry or white wine)
1/2 t salt
2 T almond oil (or other high-heat oil)
1 lb of maitake mushrooms (a. any type will do b. 1 lb is a total guess, I would say it was 6"x8"...ish)
1 t dried thyme
3 T tamari
1/4 c roasted chestnuts, chopped
Wipe dirt off of mushrooms and chop into bite-sized pieces.
Heat the almond oil over medium-high heat.
Add in the mushrooms, thyme and tamari and cover.
As liquids evaporate, pour about 1/4 c water into pan and cover.
Continue until mushrooms are soft.
Uncover and allow tamari/water mixture to reduce.
Prepare greens by washing and ripping into bite-sized pieces.
Place sauteed mushrooms on top of greens.
Sprinkle chestnuts on to salad.
Whisk together olive oil, mirin, and salt and pour over salad.