Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spicy Georgia Sugared Peanuts #FoodieExtravaganza

Crunchy, sweet and spicy, these peanuts are easy to make and even easier to eat! 

Since March is National Peanut Month in the United States, this month’s Foodie Extravaganza ingredient is, of course, peanuts. And, yes, yes, I know we already did peanut butter last November. It’s not the same, people! Plus, one can never have too much peanut butter or too many peanuts. Especially these little sweet and spicy ones. I could not stop eating them. Then my husband came home and I offered him a taste. He said, and I quote, “You better close the container or I’ll just keep eating them.” They’d be perfect to put around in bowls at a party. They go especially nicely with a cold beer!

The original recipe is all over the internet because apparently Georgia Sugared Peanuts are a thing. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since Georgia has the largest production of all the peanut producing states, accounting for 46 percent of all US grown peanuts. According to the Georgia Peanut Commission, peanuts are a $2.0 billion industry in Georgia alone. So much for the idiom about working for peanuts!

The one change I made was to add a little cayenne into the mix, because just sweet is too sweet for us. We also need a little hit of heat.

2 cups or about 350g raw peanuts, shelled, with skins on
1 cup or 200g sugar
1/2 cup or 120ml water
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 300°F or 150°C.

In a medium size pot over medium heat, combine the sugar, salt and water and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Add in your peanuts and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the syrup is very thick.

Sprinkle in your cayenne pepper and stir well.

Continue cooking the peanuts until they are completely sugar coated and there is no syrup left.

Scoop the peanuts out onto an ungreased baking pan, spreading and separating the peanuts as much as possible.

Bake until the peanuts are completely dry, about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring at five minute intervals.

Allow to cool and then, enjoy!

A bowl for you and a bowl for me! 

Come celebrate National Peanut Month with us! Many thanks to this month's host, Alexis of We Like to Learn As We Go! 

Welcome to the March Foodie Extravaganza!  
Where we all share delicious recipes with the same main ingredient.
This month the ingredient is peanuts!  We have a great variety of yummy recipes from main dishes to desserts to share with you. If you would like to participate in the next Foodie Extravaganza, just go to the Facebook page to join. We would love to have you! 

American playwright Channing Pollock is quoted as saying, ""No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut." I say, "When you are blessed with a list of 11 lovely peanut recipes, courage is overrated."

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Salami Cheddar Lentil Muffins #MuffinMonday

Spicy salami, extra sharp cheddar and tender lentils combine to make a delicious savory muffin that’s great for breakfast or lunch, with flavor and protein enough to get you through the day. 

If you’ve never cooked lentils before, you can surely used canned ones for these tasty muffins, but lentils are one of the easiest legumes to cook, taking only about 25-30 minutes and no soaking beforehand. Just add a little salt and cover them amply with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until tender. Rinse and use how you will. (I save the broth for soups too!) I often make a pot of lentils and then drain them and freeze the little green nuggets of goodness. They are great in salads, soups, muffins and quiches or throw a few in an omelet. I also make a lentil burger that I should share someday. Meanwhile, there are muffins!

2 cups or 250g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 1/3 oz or 150g extra sharp cheddar cheese
7 slices salami (about 2 1/4 oz or 65g)
1/2 cup or 105g cooked, drained lentils (I like the French Puy lentils.)
3/4 cup or 180ml milk
1/4 cup or 60ml canola or other light oil
2 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin tin by spraying with non-stick spray or lining with muffin papers. I tend to just use the spray when I’m baking a cheesy muffin, in case the cheese sticks to the paper liners.

Grate your cheddar if it didn’t already come grated and slice your salami into long strips. Set aside a handful of the cheese, a handful of the drained lentils and 12 of the longest salami strips for topping. Chop the rest of the salami up in smaller pieces.

Combine your flour, baking powder, paprika and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Isn't that paprika a fabulous red?!

Add in the smaller pieces of salami, the bigger piles of cheese and lentils and mix well. Use your fingers, if you have to, to separate the pieces of salami from each other.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together your milk, eggs and oil.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stop when it’s just mixed.

Divide your batter between the 12 muffin cups.

Sprinkle the tops with the reserved cheese and lentils. Roll your long strip of salami up into a spiral and poke it into the top of the muffin batter.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove to continue cooling on a wire rack.

If you can't stand it, go ahead and cut one open and eat it. They are lovely inside.


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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Classic Cassoulet #SundaySupper

Apparently the essential ingredients of a classic cassoulet are hotly debated and depend on the region of France. Although all will include beans, the meat that is added varies. Today’s tasty dish is in the Languedoc-style with confit duck and sausage and bacon. It's my favorite. 

When I started this blog, it quickly became both a place of experimentation and recording old favorites, a creative outlet where I could explore the food options as I moved from Kuala Lumpur to Cairo and then on to Dubai, even as I cooked and reminisced about family recipes. For all the things I missed when left behind, I discovered new options that had not been available to me. Two years ago, we were newly in Cairo and I wrote a post about butchering a whole duck, using the breasts for one meal, making confit out of the legs and thighs and then roasting and simmering the carcass for rich stock. Eventually, when my mother came to visit, that duck confit was turned into a classic cassoulet, one of the tastiest dishes ever concocted, but with some of the ugliest photos ever snapped so it never saw light of day in this space. I’ve since made it a couple of times but somehow never got around to posting those either.

When I saw that the theme for today’s Sunday Supper was Beantastic, I knew cassoulet would have to be revisited yet again. The photos still aren’t spectacular but I think the richness of the dish shines through. Cassoulet is meant to be peasant fare but, unless you have a duck you've hunted for yourself to make confit, that one ingredient is kind of expensive to buy. Let me say this, though, it’s totally worth it, not just for what it adds to the cassoulet but also for the extra duck fat you get that sits around the confit duck in the can or jar. Save that stuff! It’s fabulous!

Many thanks to Tammi from Momma's Meals for hosting this great Beantastic event!

1 lb or 450g dried white beans
1 medium onion
2 large onions
10 cloves garlic
7 oz or 200g slab bacon (I like smoked bacon. Some purists say it should be unsmoked. Pffft to them.)
2 bay leaves
Several fresh thyme sprigs
Olive oil
1 1/4 lbs or 540g fresh pork sausage
4 leg/thighs duck confit  - You can make your own. It’s not hard, just time consuming. Or buy the ones in a big can or jar. For this dish, I used these from Rougié.  <affiliate link
Black pepper

Soak your dried beans overnight or cover amply with boiling water and leave to soak for one hour.

Meanwhile, cut your medium onion into quarters and cut your slab bacon into chunks.

Pour off the soaking water and put the beans into a large pot with the thyme sprigs, the quartered onion, the bacon chunks and one bay leaf. Cover with fresh water and cook until tender over a low fire. Stir the pot occasionally and add more water, if necessary. You do not want the beans drying out.

Drain the beans and bacon and reserve the cooking liquid. You can discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf but the onion has probably melted away to almost nothing so I wouldn’t worry about it.

Scrape the fat off of the confit duck legs and thighs and save it in a clean jar in the refrigerator.

Slice your other two onions and your garlic and slowly caramelize them in a saucepan over a low heat, with a drizzle of olive oil or, better yet, some of the lovely duck fat you just saved.

If you are just sitting around, waiting on your beans to cook to tenderness, you can wait till the onions and garlic are caramelized and use the same pan to brown the sausage. Or use another pan and get on with it, if your beans are already ready.

When your onions/garlic are well caramelized, eyeball the pan (or the bowl into which you have transferred them to reuse the pan for the sausage) and mentally divide it into three major portions with a little leftover for the final topping.

Brown your sausage in a little olive oil or a little duck fat.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

In a cassole or casserole dish, start with a good drizzle olive oil or duck fat, then add almost one-third of the caramelized onions/garlic. Top with half of the cooked beans and tuck the browned sausage into the beans. Sprinkle with salt and few good grinds of fresh black pepper. Add on some more (perhaps almost one-third again) caramelized onions.

Now spoon on the rest of the beans, the boiled bacon chunks and season again with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper.

For the final layer, add almost all of the remaining caramelized onions and top with the confit duck and then the very last of the caramelized onions. Pour in some of the reserved bean cooking liquid to cover the beans and come half way up the duck. Not pictured here but you should: Tuck a bay leaf into the liquid.

Bake in your preheated oven for about an hour or until the duck is lovely, golden and crispy on the outside and the beans melt in your mouth.

Serve with a hearty red wine and some crusty bread to mop up the juices.


Check out all the Beantastic recipes we have for you today!

Beantastic Beginners
Bean-a-rific Soups and Stews
Bean-a-licious Sides
Incredi-bean Main Meals
Amaze-beans Sweet Endings
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter every Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET.

Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.


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