Boiled Peanuts, Indonesian Style

Snack on these…

I grew up in a part of the United States where the appeal of boiling up peanuts for a snack is right up there with throwing your herring in a vat of lye. You know that people have been known to do such things to perfectly harmless ingredients, but why?

However, recently I became great chummy with the folks at the National Peanut Board after my shrimp salad recipe won a nice prize. (They love that sort of thing, you know, for promotional purposes).

I had some interesting conversations about all things pea-nutty; topics covering the research, cultivation, nutrition, history and overall plain goodness of the peanut.

And then Matt and Ted Lee presented me with an autographed copy of their book, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. These guys know from boiled peanuts. Homesick in New York City, they started boiling peanuts in their apartment, then tried to get fancy food stores and restaurants to buy them. It took a while for the idea to catch on, but you have to credit their talent and cleverness. They’re now award-winning food writers and proprietors of a mail-order company that supplies all manner of Southern foods and condiments, including boiled peanuts, of course.

I came across fresh, raw peanuts at Global Foods Market, my fabulous ethnic foods emporium, and brought them home. After leafing through my stacks of cookbooks, I riffed on an idea from Madhur Jaffrey in her book World Vegetarian (have I ever told you how much I love her recipes?)

Boiled peanuts are pretty darn good. They really taste like the legumes they are, kind of a sweetly grassy cross between water chestnuts and baby lima beans. The seasonings in this recipe permeate the shell, delicately flavoring the softened peanut with a whiff of the exotic.

Boiled Peanuts, Indonesian Style

1 pound fresh, raw peanuts in the shell
1 dried chili pepper, crumbled
1 2-inch knob fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 or 2 whole star anise

Put all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; lower heat, cover and simmer about 1 hour, until peanuts are soft. Drain, cool and eat.

More bloggers and their delicious boiled peanuts:

Eat All Day
Algerian Cuisine by Chef Zadi

Desert Candy

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Special Request: Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

Dark, moist cake with a spiced sugary topping
A and I had a girls-only shopping expedition last weekend. Her little powder-blue shoulder bag was stuffed full of gift-card loot from a recent (10 years old) birthday, so we headed off to the mall, one of my least favorite destinations in this world.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy shopping. I do! It’s just that malls have a numbing and dumbing effect on me; I get as overstimulated and disoriented as a wayward bluejay on acid.

I must have been born without the intricate inner GPS system needed to navigate oneself in large public shopping areas, because inevitably I get lost looking for the bathroom or take a right turn out of Bath & Body Works instead of a left, finding myself miles away from the exit that leads out to the parking garage.

So it was good that A was with me. Since were focused on two stores, Limited Too and Gap, we safely pointed ourselves in their direction…right past a Starbucks counter that pulled me over like a dustball succumbing to the strong suck of a Dyson D17. I decided I really needed the fortification of a Grande Green Tea Latte (nonfat, two pump) to get me through the whole mall thing.

While standing in line, we drooled over the Chocolate Cinnamon Bread, a new addition to the Starbucks pastry array, developed by the hot Swedish-New York-Ethiopian-born chef Marcus Samuelsson.

It turns out that other food bloggers tracked down the recipe and baked it at home with good results, including Foodaphilia and Nicole at Baking Bites.

I made A very happy yesterday when I made this cake, and I have to admit it was worth a trip to the mall for the inspiration.

However, despite the word “bread” in the recipe title, be aware that this is not in any way a quick bread, but more like the dark, dense chocolate pound cake of your dreams. The crunchy spiced sugar on top is a nice touch.

Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

From the kitchen of Marcus Samuelsson

Chocolate Batter:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
11?4 cups Dutch-processed cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa)
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1?2 teaspoon baking powder
1?2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1?4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cocoa-Spice Sugar Crust:
1?4 cup granulated sugar
3?4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1?2 teaspoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1?4 cup white decorating sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans and line the bottom of the pans with overhanging sheets of parchment paper (this will make it easier to remove the baked cakes.)

Make the Chocolate Batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment on medium speed, until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next and scraping down the sides of the bowl several times.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, water and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to butter, beginning and ending with the flour and beating just until blended. Divide the batter between the two pans, shake the pans to even the tops and set aside.

Make the Cocoa-Spice Sugar Crust: In another small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, ginger and cloves. Sprinkle the surfaces of both batters with the decorating sugar. Sprinkle with the cocoa sugar mixture, dividing evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely, run a thin knife around the sides to release the breads and remove from pans.

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Peanut Shrimp Salad – It’s a Winner!

My peanut-crusted shrimp salad with basil-lime dressing (photo: MyRecipes.com)

Wow! I’m back after a great trip to Birmingham, where I was lucky to be chosen as a $10,000 category winner in the Southern Living Cook-Off.

All I can say is that the folks at Southern Progress, who also publish Cooking Light, Cottage Living, Sunset and numerous other lifestyle magazines, not only know how to throw a cook-off, but are an amazingly talented, passionate and hospitable group. You get the feeling that they love going to work every day.

I made some new friends, caught up with some old ones and even got that relaxing massage.

The grand prize winning recipe, Roasted Banana Ice Cream with Warm Peanut Butter Sauce, looks wonderfully decadent with lots of Southern style. My only problem with it is that I have an allergy to bananas and I won’t be able to try it!

Peanut Crunch Shrimp Salad with Basil-Lime Dressing
Makes 4 servings

Basil-Lime Dressing:
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Crisco Pure Peanut Oil
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon Domino Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Asian chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced

Shrimp Salad:
1 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup USA-Grown Dry Roasted Salted Peanuts
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Red Curry Powder
20 jumbo Certified Wild American Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Crisco Pure Peanut Oil
3 cups mixed baby salad greens
1 cup diced English cucumber
1 cup peeled diced mango
1/2 cup mung bean sprouts
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
3 green onions, trimmed; white and light green parts sliced into matchsticks
1/4 cup USA-Grown Dry Roasted Salted Peanuts, chopped

1. To prepare Basil-Lime Dressing, puree all ingredients in a food processor. Set aside.

2. Pulse panko, peanuts, cornstarch and curry powder in food processor until fine crumbs form; transfer to a pie plate.

3. Toss shrimp with the egg in a large bowl. Dredge shrimp in peanut mixture to coat.

4. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place shrimp in skillet; cook shrimp 3 minutes per side, or until golden.

5. Gently toss greens, cucumber, mango, bean sprouts, mint and onions in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons Basil-Lime Dressing. Arrange salad on individual serving plates; top each with 5 shrimp; sprinkle with peanuts and drizzle with remaining dressing.

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