Thursday, February 28, 2013

Peanut Praline with Sea Salt for My Legume Love Affair #56

Peanut Praline with Sea Salt

Any similarities to peanut brittle are purely coincidental, although I must admit that this recipe was supposed to be that glossy and transparent slab of break-your-teeth confection. Perhaps it was the heavy-with-humidity weather, or that the original recipe was too vague in its method when candy making requires the most precision of all culinary arts.

In any case, I got better than I knew I wanted, a gently crunchy, butterscotch-rich sweet that has nary a bit of butter in it. Sparked by the elusive taste of sea salt, this vegan treat does not have a smooth, slick mouth feel, but melts on the tongue with a slightly sandy texture that delivers a quick sugar rush to the brain. Enjoyed with a tall glass of ice water, it makes an ideal mid-afternoon pick-me-up when energy and focus flag. Any odd bits can be easily ground into powder or paste for use in extravagant entremets or to scatter atop a simple mound of ice cream. If you are feeling lazy and louche, you can always lick the crumbs off your fingertips when no one is looking.

Peanut Praline with Sea Salt - Slightly adapted from the Martha Stewart recipe referenced above.

Serves 6


2 cups natural, unrefined granulated cane sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups skinned, roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted)
1 teaspoon sea salt


Have ready a greased metal spatula or large metal spoon, as well as a greased sheet of parchment paper fitted in a standard cookie sheet.
In a large bowl that does not have non-stick coating, combine sugar, water, and vanilla extract.  Over high heat, leave undisturbed until sugar has dissolved.  Stir with a wooden spoon.  Maintain high heat.  When mixture comes to a rolling boil, it will foam up. (The mixture will be dangerously hot at this point; to avoid burns, maintain respectful distance from this point forth.) Stir again.  Regulate heat so that syrup does not boil over.  Stir occasionally for the next 10 minutes or until the syrup turns a medium brown amber color and is reduced by half.  For greater accuracy, use a candy thermometer to ensure the temperature of the syrup reaches  235-240 ° F. (N.B. - Texture of candy will largely be determined by humidity level in your air.)

Quickly stir peanuts into syrup, then pour onto parchment paper in a sweeping motion to cover the most surface.  Immediately spread the mixture with the spatula or domed side of spoon to even.  Mixture will begin to cool and set very quickly.  After 5 minutes, lightly touch surface.  It should be very warm and tacky, but not hot. Scatter sea salt over surface.  Let fully cool before breaking it easily by hand into shards.  Store leftovers in a metal tin lined with wax paper. -

This recipe is for Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen, for her inaugural as new doyenne of MLLA, taking over from my long tenure as creator and administrator.  Lisa's round-up for #56 will be online in a few days. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Legume Love Affair 55 - The Round-Up

Although I will still maintain a blogging presence on The Well-Seasoned Cook, it is with mixed feelings that I end my reign as creator and administrator of My Legume Love Affair.  With all of you, as participants, guest hosts, and guest bloggers, it's been a journey of thousands of culinary delights over quite a few years.  And thousands of thanks are in order to everyone for contributing your talents and hospitality.

Although with MLLA 55 I roll out the red carpet of recipes for the last time, the event is continuing in the fine hands of legume-loving blogger and good friend, Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen.  You can find the particulars at the end of this presentation, along with her very appetizing riff on poriyal.

Congratulations to Vaishali of Holy Cow! for winning the random drawing for both book and Hurst Bean prizes.  I will be in touch with Vaishali to make arrangements. 

You've been a wonderful community to engage and share with.  I am very happy for the privilege to have met you.  Rather than say goodbye, let's say see you.  Even so, parting is such sweet and savory sorrow.

Until soon. ~~~













Sunday, February 10, 2013

Creamy Blood Orange Salad Dressing with Honey and Mint


Although the drama-queen color of a cut blood orange is unmistakable, the flavor of its juice is as dramatically elusive and inscrutable. A taste of the Moro on the tongue is pleasantly pallid, so it was with great skepticism and reluctance that I ventured into my own version of a vinaigrette.

I was sure wrong.  The magenta-maroon juice, made pale with cream, sparkled with surprising distinction, holding its own against the bold vinegar, mustard, and raw alliums. 

That the recipe pulled together in a matter of minutes, made it all the more attractive.

Blood simple, I call it.

Blood Orange Salad Dressing with Honey and Mint - My own recipe

Serves 6


Juice of 6 blood oranges, strained of pulp
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, mashed but intact
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
1 teaspoon brown mustard
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons light cream
3 fresh mint leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Whisk all ingredients together in small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour.  Discard garlic clove.  Pour dressing in blender container and pulse for a few seconds.  Taste for any adjustment preference, adding tiny touches of either sweet or savory to suit your palate.


This recipe is for Lynne of Cafe Lynnylu, host of Haalo's ever-popular and enduring Weekend Herb Blogging, now in its 370th week!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chruścik for Black and White Wednesday #69


Chruścik (Chruściki) - Polish fried dough squares or twists, also known as Angel Wings. 

This is my contribution to Black and White Wednesday, presided over by Cinzia of Cindystar, and hosted this week by Sreevalli of Ammaji Recipes.

Friday, February 1, 2013

New World Order for My Legume Love Affair

It gives me the greatest pleasure to announce that effective today, February 1, there is an important and promising change to My Legume Love Affair, the event that I created in 2008 without any expectation that it would still be holding its own five years later . With new ventures on my horizon which will dominate and detour my life, it is only in the best interest of my baby that I give her up for adoption to a very good home. 

Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen is that home.  Many of you already know Lisa as an amazing and prolific vegetarian blogger whose tour de force is legume-luscious recipes.  A frequent participant and occasional host, she has become a good friend to me over the years.  Her talents and fortitude are essential to the dedication of overseeing a popular and long-running event with many behind-the-scenes tasks that need to be addressed every month.  I am sure you will agree with my careful decision and welcome Lisa as Our Lady of Legumes.  She, of course, is hosting #56.

In terms of MLLA itself, there are very few changes despite the transition, but I will let Lisa introduce herself here and explain what you can expect going forward.  As you will learn, I am not going to estrange myself from the event, but will continue to contribute in meaningful ways every month. 

My Legume Love Affair has been a wonderful link of introduction to so very many hundreds of outstanding bloggers who have shared their talents as cooks and bakers, photographers, and scribes.  I thank each and every one of you who have graced these archives for your hospitality, creativity,  enthusiasm, and good will.  In all the years MLLA has run, I have never read nor traded a cross word with anyone.  Considering how toxic the Internet can sometimes be, it is a tribute to all of us that we've been good for the digestion.  Kudos are also in order to the long list of guest hosts who have volunteered to take on the monthly duties with care, diligence, and conviviality.

Given my schedule, I expect to have the round-up for #55 online next week.  It will be a bittersweet occasion.  Fifty-five months, and thousands of recipes later, here's hoping that MLLA has yet many global miles to go before she sleeps.