The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

Pistachio Brittle

Group hug. Come on everybody. Bring it in. Unless you don’t believe we are there in our relationship then you can stand back or high five me. I need some love today. The past few weeks have been hell, just generally bad bippy. You know when you hear something in your brain snap, like an actual pop, you better find a way to relieve some stress. A hot shower occasionally helps although I tend to choose violent activities for this. That’s just my thing. On the mild side would be some aggressive songs, maybe a little crazy dancing along with this then it goes to kickboxing, hitting the ol’ punching bag, ripping apart pillows in the backyard while the annoying neighbor dog barks its little head off as I’m yelling, “oh yeah, you like that…well there’s plenty more where that came from” as the fluff lands in my hair, on the ground and the neighbor just shakes her head after seeing the whole thing play out from her window. Then I try to gain my composure while saying hi, Mrs. Smith, your flowers look lovely and duck back in the house unless it’s a really bad day, then I walk in, staring her down, like what-bring it, old lady. Then she comes out and kicks my ass. No, that story went too far. Wouldn’t it be cool if she was secretly a ninja and somehow I knew some ninja tricks and we went all Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon out back then just went on our way with few injuries and mutual respect, awaiting another meeting at a later date? Ok, now it went too far.

Sometimes verbal threats to things around the house work too. Like telling the toaster you’re going to cause it harm in an oddly descriptive way that doesn’t make sense, somehow giving it body parts and feelings, when it starts to make that burning smell even after its been cleaned. Sometimes you realize that the threat you just made would do nothing but electrocute yourself. But you play it cool and act like it’s possible. Can’t flinch, the toaster will know you’re not serious.

It’s also my thing to scare the bejesus out of myself and with the new season of the Walking Dead it’s never been easier. My room-the one I’m in right now-looks like the jail the crew happens to be in on the show. And the light is dwindling and I’m too scared to move to turn on the light by the door because you just never know. Slightly embarrassing but I often think about what could be a weapon in each room if zombies or scumbag intruders roamed the earth/came into my house. I think I need a bat or katana. Wow, this is a mighty violent post.

It was the Zombie Pub Crawl in Minneapolis/St.Paul this past weekend and my favorite station, the Current, played songs perfect for the event. We were not able to go. Because I’d piss myself for sure. They missed one song, Zombie by the Cranberries (a great karaoke song btw), that they played a little while ago this Monday evening. A song that’s not about the flesh-eating dead but something more frightening, the killing of 2 children in an IRA bombing. Nonetheless the very song I was singing all day yesterday in anticipation of the new Walking Dead season. Today, the song flipped my freak button and I worked myself into a frenzy. But my dog would tell me if there was a zombie around…right? I tell myself that and it helps.

Does not help that Halloween is around the corner. I’m more of the carve a pumpkin, have cute, little kids get candy dressed as a Mario Brother, Ninja Turtle (what year am I living in..perpetual nineties) or princess than go to haunted houses or watch scary movies person.

Sometimes you just want to scare yourself though. It’s a rare thing for me. I hope the noise I just heard was a squirrel. People used to call me in high school/college when they knew I was driving the long route home and tell me awful stories or act like some creeper. Of course it got me every time and I would say something like pick on someone it would be hard to scare, I’m no challenge but it never went that way. I didn’t answer the phone but just the ring conditioned me to imagine creatures ramming my car or sitting in my backseat. Country roads in pitch black or with fog can be very scary. (Have you read the Mist by Stephen King? Cause I have and fog is now scary to me.)

So, do you like to be scared or play it cool for Halloween? Do you host or go to parties? Any rituals, not of witchcraft per se unless you are into that kind of thing, but maybe traditions is what I’m going for?

Maybe this is more for Christmas but I made pistachio brittle recently and can’t get enough. I should. I’ve got brittle on the brain…better than a zombie. I’ll probably switch the nuts and do a sunflower kernel version later. Believably good. Because you wouldn’t believe me if I said it was unbelievably good. Come on, caramelized sugar not awesome? Exactly.

Pistachio Brittle adapted from the Kitchn
Makes a delicious amount of candy (I don’t know exactly how much)

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces shelled, salted pistachios, smash them up a bit

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water, butter and corn syrup. Bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the caramel is a deep amber color and has a hint of a lightly burnt smell (about 10 minutes). Don’t overcook. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the baking soda. The mixture will bubble so watch out. Stir in the smashed pistachios, then immediately scrape onto a large rimmed, nonstick baking sheet. Do this very fast. Using the back of a large spoon or an offset spatula (oil it lightly if it sticks), spread the brittle into a thin, even layer…so said the directions but mine cooled way too fast to be able to. It should spread out on its own and it doesn’t ruin anything if it doesn’t. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Break the brittle into large shards.

5 thoughts on “Pistachio Brittle

  1. I love The Walking Dead but when it ends (10 pm Pacific) I am completely wide awake and it takes at least an hour before sleep is even a remote option. But I do love to be scared. In high school I would stay up too late reading Stephen King then have to sleep with the light on in part because I was scared about what might grab me from under the bed.

    1. That sounds like me for both the show and high school with a King book. I was afraid of what was under the bed then I watched Nightmare on Elm Street and saw someone get pulled through the bed (mistake because I still think about it) and I just froze. Pet Sematary did a number on me too. I’m not sure what movie it was but a speck of something fell in someone’s drink and the next thing you know this giant alien is coming out of the person’s mouth so I had a thing about my drinks for a while. Just ridiculous but I kept reading and watching.

  2. This looks like a good thing to make for Christmas pressies too. Sorry to hear you were under stress – hopefully better now? I see you’ve started a different blog too – it’s a bit addictive isn’t it? Here’s one for this bit of my life, here’s another one for this bit…

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