… from the California Kitchen
How you doin’? Are you a muncher? Do you snack on potato chips, tortilla chips or corn nuts? We all have “trigger foods”… foods that we crave and once we start eating them it’s hard to stop. Joan’s trigger food is Cheetos, and I always know when she’s been indulging by the telltale trace orange stains on her fingers. Sorry Joan, you can’t get away with it. My trigger food is peanuts. I feel so sorry for the relative few that have a peanut allergy and can’t indulge or over-indulge in this wonderful snack. Aside from them being healthier than fried snacks they just taste so darn good.
Back in my early jet-setting days, I was obsessed with Eagle Snacks Honey Roasted Peanuts. If memory serves me right, they were made by Anheuser-Busch as a complement for beer. It was a great way to help pass the time on an airplane and I got hooked on them for life. Then, alas, Eagle Snacks and Honey Roasted Peanuts were gone—no longer on the planes of the friendly skies. Heart break! So, what’s a guy to do?
I went into the test kitchen with my gang of developers and we created our own absolutely delicious recipe for spicy honey roasted peanuts! This recipe started as a basic honey-roasted beer nut recipe and became a fantastic party treat or everyday snack.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Cool time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 16 ounces
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic powder (I prefer Penzeys brand)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons natural honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound skinless, lightly roasted peanuts
The first thing to consider, buy a good brand of honey—one that has not been adulterated with corn syrup or liquid sugar. A lot of honey imported from China may not be 100% honey—in fact, chances are, it’s not. There is only one place I know where you can source real organic honey and that’s from the Amazon basin areas in South America. Bees fly and visit many farms as they pollinate crops and suck-up their nectar. It isn’t always organic. I’m not much of a stickler on organic as I am on adulterated honey.
There are some rights and wrongs in storing honey. If you have a jar in your kitchen and it isn’t stored correctly it could end up crystalized. While it might not change the flavor too much when it’s no longer fluid, it may never have that luscious texture you think of when you make recipes with honey. For the best results, there are a few secrets you should take to heart.
Honey is food safe stored at practically any temperature. Honey is resistant to bacterial growth due to its unique composition. It's a bit acidic while having a low moisture level. That means that bacteria can’t get a foothold to survive and thrive. With no bacteria, there's no spoilage to worry about—no need to keep it in the refrigerator… in fact please don’t.
Keeping air out of the container will help the honey stay viscous longer. The best idea for avoiding air is to keep the honey in the container it came in. These bottles and jars are designed for long-term honey storage with few entry points for air. If you do need to change containers, make sure it's airtight. Glass or plastic is preferred; metal can oxidize the honey leading to “off” flavors.
Keep honey in the dark… sunlight is less than ideal for honey. The sunlight and increase in temperature can take a toll on the sweetening power. So, avoid windowsills, cabinets near ovens, or anywhere that's hit by the sun or heat. Honey can be kept indefinitely; after all they found it in King Tut’s tomb thousands of years after he was interred and it was still edible (can you imagine the poor soul who volunteered to tasted it?).
While you may not want to eat something older than you, rest assured that most honey is safe to eat if it still looks like honey. You can tell honey is past its peak when its darker or crystalized. Even then, the honey is likely still safe to eat. It just may have a grainy texture or weaker flavor and that's not what you're looking for.
Quip of the Day: “if everything is honey, and I am what I eat, I must be made of honey and life is very sweet.” Winnie-the-Pooh
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To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America.
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