Hidden Treasure!

Published 9:08 am Wednesday, September 24, 2008

By Staff
Lisa Tindell – Cook's Corner
It's peanut digging time again, and that activity certainly brings back a ton of memories.
When I was a child, my daddy would plant several rows of peanuts each year. When the peanuts were ready to come out of the ground, we usually pulled them up instead of digging them. Since we only had a couple of rows about 80 feet long, it didn't warrant gearing up the tractor to dig them up.
After the peanuts were pulled from the ground, they would be piled up beneath a big tree in our back yard. The whole family sat around picking peanuts from the vines getting dirtier than you can imagine.
As the day went on and the peanut pot got fuller and fuller, the peanuts would get washed and put in the wash pot to boil. What memories those times made. It's a shame that children these days don't get the opportunity to pick peanuts the way we did.
I've used this space in the past to tell how to boil peanuts using different seasonings and spices to give the peanuts flavors other than just salt. I'm using this space, once again, to give you some tips on preparing a bountiful harvest of peanuts.
I like roasted peanuts, especially in the fall and winter. I've never had much success in roasting them at home, but that's probably because I didn't know what I was doing and I was anxious to taste the peanuts.
I've burned them, undercooked them and generally fouled them on more than one occasions. I think I may have stumbled across a method that works pretty good. I'll be trying this one out this week and I'll let you know how it turns out.
Roasted Peanuts
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Arrange peanuts in the shell in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and place in the preheated oven. Turn oven off. Leave peanuts in oven for 1 hour without opening door. Serve warm or at room temperature.
If that method scares you, there is another method you may want to try. This one actually calls for leaving the oven on while the peanuts roast. Either way, the peanuts are bound to turn out good.
Slow Roasted Peanuts
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread unshelled peanuts out on a large baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the shells are browned. Watch carefully, the peanuts brown rather suddenly. When cool enough to touch, break open the shells and eat.
If you want your peanuts to have some additional flavors once they are roasted, this next recipe may give you just what you're looking for in a peanut. This would be great to serve as a party food and you probably won't have to worry about having your dish duplicated.
Sweet and Spicy Peanut
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons butter
tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound skinless peanuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Stir together the sugar, chipotle powder, chili powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl; set aside. Stir together the butter, honey, and kosher salt in a large saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted, and the mixture is bubbly. Stir in the peanuts until well coated, then pour out into a 9×13 inch baking dish Bake in preheated oven until the nuts are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Stir the mixture 2 or 3 times to ensure even cooking. Once done, scrape the peanuts into a large metal bowl, and sprinkle with the spice mixture. Toss the peanuts to evenly coat with the spice mixture. Allow the peanuts to cool to room temperature, tossing every few minutes so the nuts do not stick together.
One thing I really enjoy is peanut brittle. This is the perfect time to of year to enjoy the sweet, salty treat. Since the recipe calls for raw peanuts, this could be the best time of year to prepare this wonderfully sticky and sweet treat.
Peanut Brittle
1 cup raw peanuts
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
Lay out several sheets of foil to spoon the hot peanut brittle onto. In a large skillet mix the sugar, syrup, and water together. Cook at a medium-high heat, stirring regularly. Heat until the mixture has a hardball consistency. You don't need a candy thermometer for this. When stirring, occasionally hold spoon above mixture, allowing it to drip off spoon. When mixture is at hardball stage, it will “hair” off the spoon when falling, looking like a clear spider web. Once mixture is at hardball consistency, add raw peanuts. (They will pop a little.) When mixture starts to turn a light clear brown, as if it's starting to burn, remove from stove. Add soda and stir. Mixture will foam up. Spoon out bite-size pieces onto unbuttered foil, stirring constantly between each couple of pieces. Mixture can also be poured onto unbuttered foil as one big piece and broken into smaller pieces once cooled.