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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So, you like pine nuts, eh?


I've been doing some research for a roasted red pepper sauce recipe the last week or so. I have my own, but I'm just not that happy with it. There seems to be something missing and I can't quite put my finger on it. I've been in love with red pepper sauce since I had it five years ago at a seafood restaurant in Burlington, Vermont. It was served with seared scallops and linguine and it was so gosh-darned delicious that I had a hard time not sticking my whole face in the bowl and licking it clean. Thankfully, there was a nice crusty Italian bread served with the meal. It was the only thing that saved me from embarrassment and total humiliation in front of my husband, mother-in-law and a restaurant full of reserved-looking diners.

I will be making this same dish for a couple of friends in two weeks and I want it to be perfect, or as perfect as a self-learned cook can make it. Soooo, I found one that has garnered rave reviews on Pioneer Woman's blog, but in reading the comments I found this interesting tidbit of info from another blogger, ZoeSelina. Apparently, certain pine nuts originating from China can cause an adverse reaction. A day or so after consuming them, you develop a horribly bitter, metallic taste in your mouth that nothing, NOTHING will remove. Eating sweet foods seems to make it even worse. Sometimes it can take up to a week to dissipate and until that happens, you are miserable.

So, friends, if you have pine nuts in your pantry, RUN, do not walk, and read the package to see if the country of origin is China. One commenter said the same thing happened with nuts from Vietnam, so those would be suspect also.

By the way, I think David is getting tired of meals that include roasted red pepper sauce.

27 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

I'm going to have to go check my pine nuts! Although I think I've already cooked with them and don't remember any wierd tastes. I have a recipe for a roasted red pepper dip that my husband begs me to make...great with pita chips! If I remember, you puree the roasted peppers with walnuts plus a few other things.

CottageGirl said...

OMG!!
Who knew that those yummy, buttery little chunks of yumminess could have such an adverse effect!
I'm running right down to the pantry to see where my little stash came from! That big bag of pine nuts that Sam's carries for such a relatively cheap price .... wonder where they come from?

Keep us posted about your roasted red pepper sauce and how the dish turns out! Sounds marvelous, Susan! Lucky, lucky guests!!!

Natalie said...

Thank you. They can get pricey, so I wonder if the *cheaper* ones aren't coming with a heavy price?

VioletSky said...

Hope you find some non-Asian pine nuts. Really, I do.

Tattered and Lost said...

Well, geesh. This might explain my dislike for them. I always find the taste a bit off, but love them in pesto. And I usually buy them in bulk at the fruit stand I shop at so who knows where they're coming from. Thanks for the piney tip!

Natashya said...

Very interesting! I actually don't like pine nuts and sub in almonds when they are in a recipe. Maybe I have been eating Chinese ones!

Cindy said...

Nice to know there's someone else out there with my roasted red pepper sauce obsession. I've been trying find the right one for many years after having an amazing one at a local restaurant served over ravioli. I do hope you will post the perfect one you come up with. I will be forever grateful!

I checked my pine nuts package, which I keep in the freezer. They're from our local Costo (they have the best price around on these pricey little buggers) and although packaged in Seattle, they're from China! I've never noticed an adverse taste though. I have several batches of pesto in the freezer made with them. We'll be having some tonight and I'll be ultra aware now.

ds said...

Who knew? Thanks for the warning, and please please let us know how your sauce turns out. I've never made it, and am curious--it sounds so good!

Susan said...

Sandy, that dip sounds interesting and I love pita. You might have to pass that one along to me!

Susan said...

CG, so funny that you mentioned Sam's! I was just there today and looked at the bag and the only information is the distributor. I think if a food comes from a foreign country, that info has to be on the package, right? Or is that just fresh produce?

Susan said...

Natalie, I think you might be right about the cheap ones. Heaven knows we have sure paid a heavy price for buying other cheap foreign goods!

Susan said...

Sanna, you know I will try my best!LOL Actually, the pine nuts are optional in the recipe and I prefer a smooth consistency, so I probably wouldn't use them anyway. Feel better now?

Susan said...

Tattered, maybe the pine nuts you've had were a little past their prime. They turn rancid awfully fast. They have a very short shelf life.

Susan said...

Natashya, I usually don't buy them either, but only because I'm too cheap! And I never have them on hand when I decide to make pesto, but I always have walnuts and they make a great substitute IMO.

Susan said...

Cindy, I almost had the recipe from the recipe from the restaurant right after our trip. I contacted the chef by email and asked if he would share it. He was very gracious and agreed but said he would have to reduce the amounts first. I never heard from him again. Figures, huh? Now I can't even remember the restaurant's name. I tried going through all the ones I could find online, but none of them sounded familiar, so I guess it must have gone out of business....or my memory is even worse than I thought!

Maybe only certain people are affected by the nuts. There sure were a lot of comments from ones who are on the ZoeSelina site, but it probably isn't 100% of the population.

Susan said...

ds, I will let you know if I attain success. I may even do a post about it and share the recipe with everyone. I can tell you if it's done right, there's nothing better!

Alaine said...

Sounds delicious, Susan. We love grilled red peppers in the Summer. They're very expensive here in Winter.

Char said...

I love red bell peppers but do dislike pinenuts so no worries for me

JackeeG4glamorous said...

Nuts, the bearer of nasty bitter tastes? I am truly shocked. Now here's the other kicker, nuts are also the bearer of huge calories tucked into every tiny centimeter. True Storey. I once gained five pounds eating a "handful" of cashews (from Singapore) Nasty little buggers.
only a handful I swear.

Where exactly do pine nuts come from? Pine trees?

Ruth said...

EEEEEEEEEEEEE. How exciting. :D

You know I love red pepper sauce, hehe. The first time I had it was at our favorite restaurant, the Common Grill in Chelsea, also with seafood linguine. So yes yes yes.

I had never heard of this, so good that you did my dear. I have been making pesto like crazy this summer, and so far we haven't had this happen, thank goodness. Maybe Natalie is right.

I made the pesto Sunday when Lesley & Brian came home from the bed & breakfast, and suddenly we wondered if pine nuts are nuts?? Brian has a nut allergy. Well, he ate the pesto knowing he was taking a risk, and no adverse reaction thankfully.

Susan said...

Alaine, they're very expensive here in winter, too!

Susan said...

Good for you, Char!

Susan said...

Jackee, cashews can be very sneaky that way! lol

Of course, you know I only eat them for the heart benefits. ((rolleyes))

Susan said...

Ruthie, if this recipe works out, maybe I'll get to make it for you someday! :)

I'm not sure if pine nuts are true nuts, or just a seed. Of course, I guess walnuts are also seeds, aren't they? I think I need to do more research. My botany skills are failing me.

Obviously you must have the non-Asian variety of them....mmmmm, pesto!

Oliag said...

Now this reminds me of an episode that happened many years ago...For several weeks I had a persistent metallic taste in my mouth that I couldn't connect to anything I ate ...I worked with many nurses and everyone was mystified...just when I thought I would get medical advice it went away...so of course I never made the appointment. The only thing to cause this that I had previously heard of were certain antibiotics which I definitely didn't take. It was too long ago to remember if I had eaten pine nuts but who knows?

Susan said...

Oliag, I've had that taste in my mouth, too, but I rarely eat pine nuts. So, I don't know...it's happened several times and it is very aggravating, to say the least...even the coffee tastes bad.

VaNeSsA said...

Well that sounds horrible! I have to admit that I am kindof leery of food products from China anyway, and I am so glad that they label all the food now, so I can avoid it as much as possible. They just don't seem to have appropriate regulations there or something. Thanks for the heads up. :)