I’ve lived in Oregon for 15 years and yet I’ve never considered myself an Oregonian. My husband was born and raised here, my children were born and are being raised here but I’m the odd one out. Born in Ohio, raised in Missouri and California and now here I am…
The funny thing is, this is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. But, I’ve been reluctant to embrace my inner Oregonian. In fact, I may or may not have regularly
made fun of referenced my aversion to tree hugging and wearing flannel.
But on this day, October 22, 2014, I’m proudly declaring that I AM AN OREGONIAN.
I think the tipping point for me occurred a couple of weeks ago when my parents gave me a huge bag of fresh hazelnuts that they had been given by some friends who are local farmers (a big shout-out of thanks to Craig and Beth!).
They were simply beautiful. And as I researched hazelnut recipes I discovered that Oregon produces 99% of all of the hazelnuts in the United States.
Sigh…I give. I’m waving the white flag and surrendering. 😉
How To Roast Hazelnuts
There are several methods for roasting hazelnuts and the purpose is to remove as much of that thin paper-y layer as possible. It’s edible but makes them more chewy.
Preheat your oven to 400°. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
Roast for 10 minutes or until you can see the skins beginning to ‘blister’ and there is a strong nutty aroma.
Remove from oven and immediately pour the hazelnuts onto a kitchen towel then wrap them up all nice and snug.
Leave them in the towel for 5 minutes to let them steam and allow the skins to loosen.
Then, keeping them wrapped securely in the towel, roll them back and forth over and over until the friction begins to remove the skins.
Now, you could just stop there and enjoy them as is.
But why would you when you can make them even better by roasting them again with some seasonings and turning them into a totally delicious and totally addictive snack?!
I may not be a native Oregonian. And I might be a reluctant Oregonian.
But, I love this state. And I live in the Willamette Valley which is truly stunning. It’s filled with farms and trees and vineyards and trees and open fields and trees. Oh and did I mention there are lots of trees? 😉
The Willamette Valley is so beautiful in fact that when on our last trip to Napa Valley we were asked by one of the winery owners where we were from and we told him he replied, “Why are you here?”
Because he knew what I know.
That Oregon isn’t just about the flannel or the tree hugging or the rain or the show ‘Portlandia’.
It’s about that feeling I get when I’m coming back after an out-of-state trip. I look out my window and see the flat top of Mt. St. Helens, the magesty of Mt. Hood and the beauty of Mt. Rainier.
My breath catches as I take in the glorious mass of green and I feel like I’m seeing it again for the first time.
I love this state. It’s my home.
I’m an Oregonian.