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Nutty About Sahale Snacks & Food Gal Contest

I’m a bit nutty.

By that, I don’t mean I’ve lost my marbles. At least not yet.

I just mean I’m wild about nuts. I love their crunch, their richness, their unique shapes, and the way they make most any candy or baked good just so much better and far more interesting.

So when I recently tried some samples of Sahale Snacks, I got even nuttier, if that’s possible.

These all-natural nut blends and glazed nuts assortments are so creatively flavored. The Seattle company was founded six years ago by Josh Schroeter and Edmond Sanctis after the duo managed to climb Mt. Rainier even after subsisting on a lackluster supply of ho-hum trail mix and energy bars. When they got back down to sea level, they vowed to make something much tastier. And they named the company after Sahale Peak, which is north of the Cascade Pass in the North Cascades National Park in the state of Washington.

The glazed nuts come in three varieties: Honey Almonds, Almond PB&J, and Pomegranate Cashew (a 4-ounce bag is $5.29). The nut blends come in six varieties, each based on the flavors of a different global cuisine (a 2-ounce bag is $2.99).

The Soledad Almonds Nut Blend, for instance, is reminiscent of the Mediterranean with its mix of almonds, flax seeds, dates, balsamic vinegar, and a touch of cayenne. The nuts have a fresh crunch, and the mix has sweetness, savoriness, and a whisper of heat. The flavors are almost reminiscent of a fabulous fruit stuffing for roast pork. It’s addicting stuff.

The Almond PB&J mix with dried strawberries is delightful with its salty and fruity marriage.

And the Pomegranate Cashew has real vanilla bean, giving it an almost creamy nature. It’s like the flavor of a rich vanilla milkshake in your mouth with just a faint tang from the fruit.

The 2-ounce bags of glazed nuts have 112 calories each, while a quarter cup of the pomegranate cashews has 150 calories. The nuts are available online, as well as at Andronico’s, Draeger’s, Lunardi’s, and Whole Foods stores.

Want to win some samples to try for yourself?

Or a total of four bags (2-ounce each) of nut blends, three (4-ounce) glazed nuts packages, and a Sahale Snacks apron to be exact?

To enter: Just tell me your nuttiest cooking escapade. The most amusing, original or memorable will win. The contest is open to anyone in the continental United States. Deadline to enter is end of the day, Oct. 24. Winner will be announced Oct. 26.

To get you in the nutty mood, here’s my own nut-case cooking fiasco:

I’ll never forget the time I tried to steam a whole duck.

Oh, I’ve steamed plenty of things in my life — fish, pork, chicken, veggies, dumplings — you name it. But my first attempt with a duck came years ago when I was a food writer for the San Jose Mercury News. I was testing a recipe that required the duck be steamed in a wok on high heat for an hour.

Now mind you, the directions did say you had to replenish the water in the wok periodically, which I did. But it never said what kind of wok to use. So I used the only one I happened to have in my tiny apartment back then — a nonstick one.

Things were going swimmingly. Steam was spurting out of the bamboo steamer atop my wok as the time ticked, ticked, ticked away.

It was only toward the end that I noticed something rather alarming. The once dark-colored interior of my wok was now a stainless steel color. You guessed it — that amount of heat for that amount of time had completely melted the Teflon coating away. It was then, too, that I started to notice the rather foul — as opposed to fowl — odor spreading throughout my apartment. It was a noxious chemical-like plume that refused to vanish no matter how many windows I opened or how high I turned up the exhaust fan.

I was sure it would do me in. My friends would find me prone on the floor. And it would be ruled death by duck.

Of course, I lived to tell about it. But I never ate that noxious duck. And I’ve never steamed one since.

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