Pine Nuts

The other day, there was something interesting on my desk as a souvenir when I came back from the mission.
This something helped to link two different but familiar things through an unfamiliar process.

It was pine cone.

In short, the other side of the link was pine nuts.

When I started cooking 8-9 years ago, I met pine nuts for the first time to cook Genova paste (the green pasta sauce with basil).
Since then, I really liked this sauce and always kept it in my freezer.

Coming back to the pine cone on my desk, I didn’t think about this big brown thing turning into that tiny beige thing (I just had a knowledge of it), since I never saw the process of that change. I never thought I would learn to take pine nuts from pine cone in Mongolia, which made me figure out the link between them.Pine nuts 9

Pine nuts 5

So this time, I learned from my colleague that there are two steps for that:
(1). Take the cone edge and take small pine seed out of it (left photo).
(2). Take outer brown skin to get beige pine nuts (right photo).
The difficult part is (2) because it is very easy to break nuts. After some trials and errors, I learned that if you bite the round shaped part from the top, it will come out easily.

Pine nuts 3 Pine nuts 4

It took me about half an hour to get only a handful pine nuts and I could tell why it was so expensive (below).

Pine nuts 2
But this time, now that I could link two different familiar things (pine cone and nuts), when I made genova paste today, I felt appreciation to the sauce compared to the previous times.

Speaking of genova paste, I will briefly mention how to cook it. I remember that when I started this blog, I wrote more about cooking topic.

1. Roast pine nuts (FYI, this is what I bought since what I got was not enough)
Pine nuts 6 Pine nuts 7
2. While you cool down the roast pine nuts, put basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper in the bowl.

3. Then add roast pine nuts then mix everything with food processor, then it’s ready to go to the freezer or eat (I said it was going to be really brief). I usually keep some in the freezer.
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My favorite use of this sauce is to cook with potato and chicken and mix with pasta. 
Pine nuts 1

Anyway, it was an interesting experience, since nowadays, we live in the world where it is hard to see the process, be it pine nuts, animals (only seen on the plate) or other products.

This time, I learned that:

When you know how and where your familiar thing comes from, you can see the link and appreciate even more (this concept can be used for school lesson in the modern society).

 Finding basil in Mongolia was very difficult especially when you don’t know the language, but you can distinguish it from other similar shape green herb by smelling it. 


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