There are many things I love about living in the South. Mind you, I've come to terms with the fact I'll never be a true Southerner (West coast, represent!). I like mountains too much. Despite that, I can still appreciate some of the Deep South's goodness.
Please note that I say “Deep South.”
I've learned since being down here there are a multitude of Southerners. For example, there are the Mississippi Southerners. Not to be confused with the Carolina Southerners. Who definitely cannot be confused with the Louisiana or Lower Alabama Southerners. It's like a bunch of little eco-systems within the South. And Florida? I still haven't figured out where to stick Florida.
Being a part of the Deep South over the last seven months (yes, can you believe it's been that long already?) I've been able to take advantage of continual local harvests, beautiful beaches, citrus, a complete lack of cold & snow, and my most favorite part – oak trees covered in spanish moss.
The South also brings with it specific cuisine. Gumbos. Crawfish. Shrimp & grits. Po Boys. You know – the big hitters.
I really haven't dove into the historical, local cuisine all too much – for no other reason, really, than we just cook everything at home. Not eating out sort of limits our exposure to the variety of local dishes. Plus, it just so happens that where we landed in LoAl, a lot of others did also. There aren't a ton of indigenous Fairhopians to cook the local cuisine, if you know what I mean.
Where was I going with all this scientific talk?
I'm not a huge football fanatic (I love watching it, but I'm just not intense about it) and I've learned to not let this fact be well known. Down here, football is FOOTBALL if you catch my drift. You're either Auburn or Alabama (is that right?) or you're a Florida something-or-another…
Man. I'm going to get ridiculed for this.
What can I say? I'm a Cougar, baby. At this point, all the Southerners are scratching their heads and going ‘What the heck is a Cougar?'
One football tradition (and there are many) that I can appreciate down here is the food. Boiled peanuts, in particular.
After picking up this 15 lb. bag of locally grown peanuts a few weeks back – I thought I'd give this ‘ol favorite of Stu's a try.
I'd munched on gas-station boiled peanuts (yes, they sell them at gas-stations) a few years back and didn't like 'em (imagine that). But home-boiling makes all the difference.
These were incredible.
Georgia and I sat around and ate four bowls.
Super simple, delicious, nutritious, and munchy. The perfect snack food. And a perfect accompaniment for beer. Or hot chocolate. Or red wine. Or kombucha.
So many great beverages to choose from!
Homemade Boiled Peanuts
You will need:
– A crockpot
– Raw peanuts in the shell
– Filtered water
– Sea salt
Step One: Using a colander, rinse the peanuts of excess dirt. Pick out any bad ones. Then, put the peanuts in the crockpot. Cover with filtered water.
Step Two: Add sea salt. I use slightly less than 1/2 cup for an entire crockpot full of peanuts. Adjust this according to how full your crockpot is (ie: 1/4 cup of salt for a half-full crockpot of peanuts).
Step Three: Cook on high for 20 hours. Yes, you read that right. 20 hours. It's best to check the peanuts a few times throughout the cooking process and ensure they still have water in there. If they are running low, just add some hot water in and continue to cook accordingly. They should be submerged throughout the cooking.
Step Four: Voila. Boiled peanuts.
See that little hand sneakin' in the photo? It's trying to get another peanut to munch on.
They are best eaten warm, with a giant bowl to keep the empty shells in. Or even better, best eaten outside where you can throw the shells on the ground.
I, for one, will be feeding the shells to my worms. Which thanks to the help of some FACEBOOK FANS, I will refer to as ‘The Dozers'.
More on them later this week.
For now, let's just eat peanuts – ya?
For other great meal ideas, no matter what your dietary restrictions, check out the meal planning service I use: Real Plans.