History & Recipe for Boiled Peanuts

Raw peanuts in the shell are put in a large pot of very heavily salted water and boiled. This can be done inside on the stove or outside on a propane burner for a larger volume. Depending on the locality, some cooks use rock salt or standard table salt, or both. The boil can go on from four to seven hours or more, depending on quantity and the age of the peanut (green “raw” peanuts cook faster and tend to be better tasting), and the boilings will most often be of several gallons of water. Flavorings such as ham hocks, hot sauce, Cajun seasonings or beer can be added to the boil. An alternative method for dried raw mature peanuts is to rehydrate them by soaking overnight in the salted water, after which they can be cooked in the conventional manner.

The resulting food is a very soft peanut in the shell, invariably quite salty. The softened peanuts are easy to open. Often small, immature peanuts (called “pops”) are included, which have even softer shells and can be eaten in entirety. These tend to absorb more salt than the larger ones. Some aficionados of the food prefer them cooked for a shorter period of time so that the nut is not quite so soft.

Uneaten peanuts should be stored in a refrigerator, as they can become slimy or moldy quite quickly without refrigeration. Boiled peanuts can be frozen, and later reheated in a microwave for out of season consumption. (CLICK TO SEE RECIPE)

 

Carla’s Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

Recipe by Carla Crudup of Make Yourself Comfortable: Macaroni and cheese is a true food icon.  This legendary dish made its public debut in the United States in the early 1800s as it graced the table of President Thomas Jefferson, who served it in the White House.  A star was born, and the rest is history!  Today, macaroni and cheese is considered one of the classic American comfort foods. This recipe exemplifies the true essence of this popular dish. The spices and cheese blend highlight the wonderful taste of this American food prodigy. -Carla

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, finely minced
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg*
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 7 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz. grated mozzarella cheese
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • paprika and dried parsley for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook macaroni in 4 quarts of boiling water until tender; drain and set aside.  In a large saucepan over medium low heat melt butter.  Add shallots and sauté 1 minute.  Add flour, salt, and peppers. Stir and cook until mixture is smooth and bubbly.  Gradually stir in milk and add nutmeg.  Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until thick and smooth.  Reduce heat to low and stir in grated cheeses until melted. Add macaroni to cheese sauce and pour into cooking spray coated 3-quart casserole dish.  Garnish with paprika and parsley.  Bake uncovered for approximately 30 minutes or until bubbly.  Serves 6.

 *Substitute ground nutmeg if the fresh nutmeg seed is unavailable. But freshly grated nutmeg has a much more intense flavor. Nutmeg is commonly used in sweet or baked goods, but it is also fantastic in savory dishes such as this béchamel cheese sauce.  It is one of my favorite spices because of it’s versatility and subtleness that enhances the natural taste of any dish.

 Watch Carla talk about her passion for Nutmeg and Food: http://www.multiculturalcookingnetwork.com/videos/viewvideo/35/whats-the-dish/carlaintmov.html

Miss Ruby’s Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

A popular expression is, ” as American as apple pie.”  However, if one wants to become more specific about the African American cultural group then it might be fair to say, “as African American as sweet potato pie.”  I have quite a few African American friends who do not like the pie but truthfully most that I know love it.  My family has a multi-generational recipe that I am not allowed to give out or punishable by death by my mother.  Tough luck getting Southerners of the U.S.A to give up family secrets. 

Well, I found this recipe on the site of a fellow Examiner Talli Counsel, Presidential Master Chef.  Do not take the title lightly.  He actually has consulted for three U.S. Presidents.  This pie was served to Bill Clinton while in office. –Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes about a 1/2 pound)
  •  1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  •  3/4 cup sugar (*or to taste)
  •  3/4 cup half & half
  •  3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (*pan toasted)
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1 tablespoon dark Jamaican rum
  •  1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch good quality pie shell PREPARING THE PIE

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

 Place the sweet potatoes on a shallow baking pan or pie tin, in the middle of the oven and roast until very tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool to room temperature. With a soup spoon, scoop out the sweet potatoes into a bowl and dispose of the skins. Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar. Add the melted butter to the sweet potatoes with the half and half milk and the eggs, and beat with a whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining ingredients (the filling will be very liquid). Pour the filling into a docked (fork holes in the pie crust) pie shell. Depending on your oven, and where you live, the middle rack may be a better alternative to place the pie for baking.

Learn more about Talli Counsel at: http://www.examiner.com/x-3156-LA-Sustainable-Chef-Examiner?showbio

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Oatmeal Cookie Topping

This is a great alternative to marshmallow topped sweet potatoes. Cutting the sweet potatoes into slices of even thickness is important in getting them to cook at the same rate. A potato masher will yield slightly lumpy sweet potatoes; a food mill will make a perfectly smooth puree.  You can also skip the cookie topping and just serve the sweet potatoes on their own.

6 large sweet potatoes (about 4 pounds)
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 Tablespoons heavy cream

3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup sweet orange marmalade
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh gingerroot
2 teaspoons salt

For topping
fourteen 3-inch crisp oatmeal cookies,(like HobNobs) broken into pieces (about 3 cups)

½ cup toasted pecans

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1. Combine butter, cream, salt, sugar, and sweet potatoes in large pot; cook, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes fall apart when poked with fork, 45 to 55 minutes.

2. Off heat, mash sweet potatoes in saucepan with potato masher, then stir in marmalade and gingerroot .  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Spread potato mixture evenly in baking dish. Potato mixture may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring potato mixture to room temperature before proceeding.

Make topping:
In a food processor grind cookies fine. Add the pecans and pulse 3-4 times. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles soft cookie dough. Wrap topping in wax paper and chill until firm, about 2 hours. Topping may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Preheat oven to 400F. Crumble topping over potato mixture and bake in middle of oven until topping is browned lightly, about 25-35 minutes.

Recipe from the cookielikejames.com

Home Cooking With Trisha Yearwood-Cookbook Coming Soon

trishayearwood43-280x210After compiling her first cookbook, Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen, Trisha Yearwood found 60 or 70 recipes on the chopping block. However, she wasn’t sure those leftovers would ever end up in print since she says it takes about a year to put a cookbook together. To help her make the decision, she enlisted family members to bring their favorite dishes to a reunion — along with the recipe. Then she divided the stack of recipes between herself, her sister and their mother, plucking the best ones. The result is Home Cooking With Trisha Yearwood, a new book being served in April 2010.

Calling from the Oklahoma home she shares with husband Garth Brooks, she spent about half of our conversation describing her new dishes, such as asparagus wrapped in bacon, Crock-Pot macaroni and cheese, sweet potato pudding, Key lime cake (her new favorite), ambrosia with apples (contributed by family friend, the late Betty Maxwell), cornbread salad with homemade French dressing and chunky, meaty cowboy lasagna.

After wiping away the drool, we were able to talk about cooking meals for her friends, sharing (or not sharing) famous recipes and holding out for the best brownies.

To read the interview with Trisha Yearwood visit: http://www.cmt.com/news/country-music/1625752/trisha-yearwood-finds-more-family-recipes-for-her-second-cookbook.jhtml

Memphis at the Beach Cafe- A Comfort Food Spot Bringing Fine Dining with Soul to The Beach

memphis at the beach

by Crystal A. Johnson – Los Angeles Examiner Comfort Food & Soul Food Restaurant Critic

A group of Manhattan Beach locals claim they are “…Bringing a little bit of Soul to the beach”, by partnering with Memphis Group to bring Memphis at the Beach Café. The Memphis Group has been around since 1995 and started with a small spot located in Costa Mesa. The Memphis at Beach Cafe take on the franchise is a large venue and very cosmopolitan. The Manhattan Beach location is known as the former post office to locals, situated on the corner of bustling Manhattan Ave. The streets are lined with a plethora of restaurants. Memphis at the Beach is no more than a block from beach and it’s pier. The outside of the restaurant features beautiful shades of blue and green glass surrounded by lush green organic faux grass with interiors warmed with eco-friendly high design furniture. The windows are large and the lighting is enticing to those who pass by.

None of the upscale trendy aesthetics scream Memphis or soul but once you sit down, see the families dining together, and  recieve a serving of cornbread then a sense of comfort comes over you. My dining companion and I quite enjoy the cornbread served with delicious honey barbecue butter. Being the child of Southern parents, I can guarantee that I know good cornbread. Before sampling the main course entrees, a pecan crusted goat cheese salad is served. It consists of arugula, beets, and yam chips with roasted garlic buttermilk vinaigrette. We are impressed with the plating of the salad and not once does the plating disappoint.

(We’re just getting to the good part- Read more at the link below)

Memphis at the Beach Cafe- A Comfort Food Spot Bringing Fine Dining with Soul to The Beach

Posted using ShareThis

Best Soul Food…I mean Southern Cuisine Restaurants

by Crystal A. Johnson-letter from the editor

There is the old expression, “If it looks like a duck, it is probably a duck.”  That’s what “Southern Cuisine” looks like to me.  Collard greens, cornbread, catfish and sweet potato pie are soul food in my book but I understand those foods have a common ground which extends beyond the borders of a soul food heritage.  Gone are the days of say it loud, “I’m soul food and I’m proud.” People say the term Southern Cuisine is all inclusive.  We do not want to alienate anyone. Mexican food restaurant in the title would not stop me from entering El Torito and neither would Chinese food in a title.  Read my popular Los Angeles Examiner article on Southern Cuisine Vs. Soul food.  It begs the question of whether soul food has a bad connotation to it. 

With respect to the restaurants listed below, I shall reveal some of the best “Southern Cuisine spots.”  If your restaurant isn’t listed, invite me to check it out.  If you think you know a better place for Southern Cuisine, email MCCN  at multiculturalcookingnet@gmail.com.  Look out for a people’s choice list of Southern Cuisine spots on the upcoming official website.

Ms Peaches-North Hollywood, California

Why did it make the list? 

  • The owner’s  healthy preparation and consideration to serve  healthier food to customers when it comes to Southern Cuisine.
  • Desserts- All bets are off! You want fabulous desserts like grandma use to make.  Look no further (Click on Article below)

miss_peaches_jan_2009011005

 

Ms. Peaches brings southern cuisine to the heart of North Hollywood

Posted using ShareThis

 

 

 

Connell Moss owner of Ms. Peaches

Mary Helen’s Southern Cuisine-Hampton, Virginia

Why?  This is the south, like it or not, pig feet and chittlins(yes, I spelled like it is said rather than correctly)  are on the menu.  And the pig feet is good, really good.  The collard greens… Oh yes, why go on about it when I written about it. Click below:

http://www.examiner.com/x-9408-LA-Comfort–Soul-Food-Restaurant-Examiner~y2009m7d15-East-Coast-Pit-Stops-In-Search-of-ComfortFood-in-Virginia

Red Springs Cafe- Baltimore, Maryland

Why?  The food is darn good.  When people make me try something that I don’t normally like and it is good then I am impressed.  Great coconut cake.  I don’t like coconut anything normally.  Read more:

http://www.examiner.com/x-9408-LA-Comfort–Soul-Food-Restaurant-Examiner~y2009m7d28-East-Coast-PItstops-Seeking-ComfortFood-in-Baltimore-Part-II

Sylvia’s- Harlem, New York

Although I have never written a review on this classic well known spot, the memory of the flavorful experience of smothered fried chicken lingers.