If you are driving in Georgia and see a “Boiled Peanuts” sign by the side of the road, by all means, pull over. Peanuts are one of the top products of the Peachtree state, along with peaches and pecans.
Georgia produces a little over half of the peanuts in the country, with 1.7 million tons harvested in 2015. Boiled peanuts are one of those Southern specialties that are little known outside the region. Soft, salty and utterly addictive, this delicious snack is easy to make at home if you have a few hours. Be sure to use raw peanuts, not roasted, and keep a watch on them as the water will evaporate quickly at high heat.
Who is the most famous American presidential peanut farmer? Why, Jimmy Carter of course. Check out the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta. This museum and research institute houses 40,000,000 pages, 1,000,000 photographs, 2,200,000 feet of film, and 2,500 hours of video.
- 2 pound raw peanuts, in the shell
- 6 tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 gallons water
In a large bowl, let peanuts soak in water for 30 minutes. Drain. In a large pot, bring peanuts, 3 gallons of water and salt to boil. Let boil for two to three hours or until peanuts reach desired consistency. If a very soft consistency desired, and more cooking time is needed, add more water if necessary. Drain and let cool before serving.
The next time you cut a sweet onion and don’t cry, thank a soldier named Peter Pieri. Pieri is credited with bringing sweet onion seeds from the island of Corsica to Washington in the 1880s. Sweet onions
have a very low amount of pyruvic acid which is the compound that makes you cry and gives onions their pungent bite. Walla Walla sweet onions are Washington’s official state vegetable thanks to a persistent group of schoolkids who lobbied the state legislature.
Sweet onion season is fleeting, just like summer. This recipe, slightly adapted from the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee, pairs the allium with summer fruit stand-outs mango and kiwi to make a terrific fruit salsa that will be a hit at your next patio gathering.
Towering over 14,000 feet, Mount Rainier makes its presence known, just 64 miles southeast of Seattle. With over 27 major glaciers and countless smaller ones, this peak supplies six rivers and is also an active volcano.
Walla Walla Onion and Mango Salsa
- 1 Walla Walla onion, diced
- 2 mangos, peeled and diced
- 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
- 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- Juice from 1 lime
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.
The Rum Runner cocktail evokes white sandy beaches, warm ocean breezes and sherbet colored sunsets. The drink was purportedly invented in the 1950s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada,
Florida, to get rid of an excess supply of rum and other liqueurs. This tasty concoction is a like a mini visit to the tropics and a great summer time sipper.
You can camp, bike, birdwatch, canoe, fish or hike at Everglades National Park, near Homestead. Wildlife sightings could include manatees, gators and maybe even a Florida panther.
Rum Runner Cocktail
- 1 oz. orange juice
- 1 oz. pineapple juice
- 1 oz. banana liqueur
- 1 oz. blackberry liqueur
- 1 oz. light rum
- 1 oz. dark rum
- Splash of grenadine
- Orange slices (for garnish)
In a cocktail shaker, add juices, liqueurs, rum and grenadine. Shake well. Pour over ice. Garnish with orange slices.
Just because Thanksgiving is over does not mean that we are done with the cranberry. The tart little cranberry is the Bay State’s official state berry and cranberry juice is the official state beverage. The
name cranberry is thought to be a bungled derivation of “craneberry,” so called by the Pilgrims because the spring blossoms resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill crane.
Because you can never have too many cocktail options with the holidays approaching, we bring you the cranberry mimosa. This fun little drink whips up with just a few ingredients and is light and refreshing,
Main Street, Nantucket, is the site of the 43rd Annual Christmas Stroll, December 2-4, 2016. Visit historic homes decorated for the holiday, visit the craft show and watch Santa arrive via a Coast Guard Cutter.
- Orange slices
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- 3/4 cup champagne or sparkling wine
- 2-3 fresh cranberries (optional)
Take orange slice and rub on rim of wine glass. Sprinkle sugar on plate, turn glass upside down and rub the rim of the glass in the sugar. Add orange slice to glass, then cranberry juice, then champagne. Add a few cranberries as a garnish if desired.
We admit to loving anything with peanuts. And why not? Peanuts are a good source of protein and contain vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium and Vitamin E. Virginia peanuts are
mostly grown in southeastern Virginia but also in the Carolinas. Virginia peanuts are prized because they are bigger than other types such as Spanish, Runner, and Valencia.
Most peanut soup recipes use peanut butter and add cream — not an option if one is vegan or lactose intolerant. But then we found this recipe from the Washington Post where the peanuts are soaked overnight. It was like the answer to all of our soup prayers. This earthy soup is perfect for these chilly fall evenings or football Sundays.
Great Falls National Park is just 15 miles from Washington, DC and boasts spectacular views of the waterfalls with three overlooks. Activities include biking, boating, hiking, and fishing.
Recipe credit: Washington Post
- 2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts, covered with water and soaked overnight
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup apple, diced (for garnish)
- Dash of hot sauce (optional)
Drain soaked peanuts, set aside. Place oil into large soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add onion and celery. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the drained peanuts. Add celery seed and bay leaf, cook on medium for about 2 minutes. Add broth. Turn heat to medium-high and cook until the soup begins to boil. Reduce to low and continue cooking about 25 minutes or until peanuts are quite soft. Remove bay leaf and let soup cool a bit.
With an immersion or stand blender, blend soup in small batches until desired consistency is reached. Return soup to the pot and add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Heat through. Garnish with diced apple and hot sauce if desired.
Picon Punch is an old libation with a long history in the Silver State. We’ve talked before about how the Basque people — those from a region in Europe about the size of Rhode Island that includes both
Spain and France — immigrated to Nevada and other parts of the west during the mid-nineteenth century. Many of them were sheepherders and they set up boardinghouses across the state as way-stations for themselves. The boardinghouses that remain are now restaurants and the Picon Punch is a product of those establishments. Some lament the drink used to be better when Amer Picon was available in the United States (alas, it is only available France) so we used Torani Amer which is a common substitution. Having no frame of reference for what used-to-be, we enjoyed the caramel, orange and brandy flavors of this cocktail.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas features a 13-mile scenic loop, as well as opportunities for hiking, biking and rock climbing.
- 2 ½ ounces Torani Amer
- 1/2 ounce grenadine
- 1/2 ounce brandy
- Crushed ice
- 1-2 ounces club soda
- Lemon twist
Mix Torani Amer, grenadine, and brandy in a cocktail shaker. Add crushed ice to glass. Pour brandy mixture over ice. Top with club soda and a lemon twist.
Hi folks! We’re back after a fabulous vacation in Scandinavia. The food was terrific! More on that next week. First we have to talk about sour cherries. We’ve talked before about how Michigan is the top producer of sour cherries. The sour cherry season is just a few
short weeks, so you really have to hustle to take advantage of this delicate but delicious fruit. Living close to Michigan, we’ve been indulging for a week now with sour cherries in our morning yogurt, sour cherries on top of salad and this fabulous focaccia recipe topped with sour cherries from Martha Stewart. Don’t be put off by the amount of time it takes, most of that time is hands off when the dough is resting. The finished product is delightfully crisp and chewy, and the sour cherries and dusting of sugar add a hint of sweetness. Don’t fret if you can’t find sour cherries, just use bing cherries instead.
Mackinac Island is located in Lake Huron between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. Bicycles reign supreme on this vehicle-free island where Somewhere in Time was filmed. Golf or horseback ride, tour Fort Mackinac or the Grand Hotel, and don’t pass up the many fudge shops throughout town.
Martha Stewart’s Sour Cherry and Rosemary Focaccia
- 5 cups bread flour
- 2 ¾ cup warm water
- 1 package yeast
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 cups pitted sour cherries
- 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
- 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Combine flour, water and yeast in bowl of a stand mixer. Mix for 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot until tripled, about 2 hours. Add salt, then switch to a dough hook. Beat on low speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds longer. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface (it will be very runny and sticky). Fold dough into thirds as best you can, patting as you go so the dough deflates. Return dough to well floured mixing bowl. Cover and let stand for one hour or until doubled. Repeat folding process. Cover again and let stand for one hour or until doubled.
Take a large baking sheet (preferably 13 x 17) and add 1/3 cup olive oil. Using your fingers, make sure the oil covers the entire baking sheet. Turn dough onto the baking sheet, spreading it out evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes, and continue to press out the dough until it fills the entire baking sheet. Drizzle dough with 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil. Add cherries, then rosemary. Dust with sugar. Bake at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until focaccia is golden brown.
We don’t know about you, but when we think of the foods of Virginia, two things come to mind: Smithfield ham (which is a type of country ham protected by state law and only produced in the town
of Smithfield) and peanuts. There are actually thousands of peanut cultivars but the four main groups grown in the U.S. include Spanish, Runner, Valencia and Virginia. Virginia peanuts are mostly grown in southeastern Virginia but also in the Carolinas. Virginia peanuts are prized because they are bigger than the other types.
For those who love sweet and salty snacks to go with a beer or cocktail, this recipe will deliver. Just try to keep yourself from eating too many at once, we found them totally addictive. You’ve been warned.
Enjoy the wildflowers on the historic Skyline Drive which covers 105 miles through Shenandoah National Park. Be sure to allow enough time for checking out the visitor center, hiking, exploring neighboring towns, and of course, eating.
Sweet and Savory Peanuts
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon agave syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (up to ¼ teaspoon if you like spicy)
- 1 ½ cups lightly salted Virginia peanuts
- 2 tablespoons sugar
In a large bowl, place agave syrup and spices (everything except the sugar). Stir until well blended. Add peanuts and stir to coat. Spread peanut mixture evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees, stirring every five minutes for 20 minutes or until nuts are caramel brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle on sugar, then toss with spatula until nuts are fully coated. Let cool. Break up into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container.
You’ve probably heard by now that the U.N. declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses. What are pulses? They are a group of 12 crops that includes dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils.
High in fiber, protein, vitamins and low in fat, pulses are heart healthy and a meat alternative you should consider.
Pinto beans are popular in the southeast and southwest and Dove Creek, Colorado, is the self-proclaimed pinto bean capital of the world. If you’ve got a leftover Easter ham bone you don’t know what to do with, this recipe is just the ticket but it’ll work just as well without if you are vegetarian or vegan. Soak the beans overnight, then rinse and drain before throwing them in the slow cooker with some onions, garlic and spices. Add some cornbread and an easier meal cannot be found.
Taste of Vail takes place March 30-April 3, 2016, and is considered one of the best spring food and wine events in the country.
Slow Cooker Pinto Beans
- 1 pound dry pinto beans, soaked in water overnight
- 1 ham bone or 2 ham hocks (optional)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4-5 cups water
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt (optional, for serving)
- Scallions, chopped (optional, for serving)
Pick through dried beans, making sure there are no stones. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with water, let soak overnight.
The next day, drain beans and then add to slow cooker. Add ham bone (if using), seasonings, onion, and garlic. Add enough water to cover beans. Stir well. Cover with lid and cook, approximately 5 hours on high or until beans are very tender. If you used a ham bone, fish it out and remove any meat. Shred and return meat to slow cooker. Season again with salt and pepper.
If never made homemade granola, we’re here to tell you it’s the simplest thing ever. Besides that, you have the added bonus of being able to control the ingredients, especially the sugar. This recipe uses
Vermont’s most famous and favorite product – maple syrup. We’ve told you before how Vermont leads the states in producing maple syrup and how maple is the official flavor of the Green Mountain State.
We’ve been making this granola recipe for years and it’s a big hit whenever we have company. We are partial to pecans and dried cherries but you can use whatever nuts and dried fruit you prefer – almonds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries – it’s all good.
If a visit to the Vermont is in your future, check out the Open House Weekend, April 2-3, 2016, when sugarhouses across the state give tours, demos and samples.
Vegan Maple Pecan Cherry Granola
- 4 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
- 1 ½ cups pecans or other nuts
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
- 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup dried cherries
In a large bowl, place oats, nuts, chia seeds (if using), turbinado sugar and salt. Stir until combined. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil. Add maple syrup and water. Heat until boiling. Add maple syrup mixture to the oat mixture. Stir to combine.
Place granola on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 300 degrees, stirring granola every 15 minutes until it reaches desired shade of brown (approximately 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how dark you like it). Let cool. Add dried cherries. Granola will keep 2 to 3 weeks if sealed tightly.