The Richmond Register

April 16, 2013

Peanuts really do grow in the ground!

By Arritta Morris
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — As a kid growing up on my grandparents’ farm, I had to work in peanuts every summer with the rest of the grandchildren who visited my grandparents.

They lived in a small town called Gorman, Texas. I did not know until I was grown that those peanuts we hoed all summer were really growing in the ground. Having not being around at harvest time, I always thought they grew on the plant that we kept weeds out of.

I will share with you some of my grandmother’s favorite ways to use this highly valuable protein we eat today.

Boiled peanuts in a crock pot

INGREDENTS:

1 1/2 qts uncooked raw peanuts in a shell, if you get the salted ones, omit the salt.

1/2 cup of salt

2 and 1/2 quarts of water.



DIRECTIONS:

Wash peanuts until the water runs clear. Put the peanuts in a crock pot, add the salt and water. Cook covered, on high for 5 to 7 hours. Keep water level over peanuts during cooking.

Of course, my grandmother did not have a crock pot back then, so she had to boil them on the cook stove and watched them for what seemed like all day and all night, and we could smell them for hours.

Peanut butter bars

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: 30 servings



INGREDENTS:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cups quick oats

3/4 cup butter (I used salted)

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter, divided

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate frosting

1/2 cup salted butter

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 cup milk (2% or whole)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar



DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda, then whisk in quick oats and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter, light-brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

Blend in peanut butter. Stir in eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until combined. Mix in vanilla.

With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Spread mixture into an even layer into a 15 by 11-inch rimmed cookie sheet (it will be fairly thin once spread). Bake in preheated oven 13-15 minutes, until lightly golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes, then dollop remaining 3/4 cup peanut butter by the spoonfuls over peanut butter bars.

Allow dolloped peanut butter to rest about 1 minute then carefully spread peanut butter into an even layer over top.

Prepare chocolate frosting according to directions listed and spread over peanut butter layer. Allow to cool (if you can handle waiting) before cutting into squares. Store in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature.

For the chocolate frosting:

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in cocoa powder, then whisk in milk and bring mixture just to a boil.

Once mixture reaches a boil, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Add in powdered sugar and mix until well blended. Immediately pour frosting over peanut butter layer and spread into an even layer (frosting sets quickly so I wouldn’t recommend being to meticulous with the design like I tried to be, because then you’ll end up with a slightly grainy looking frosting like I did).



Taking a bath on the beach

When one works all day in the fields, one has to take a bath to remove all the sand that these peanuts have to grow in. There were usually five to six of us working each day, so the bath time got to be a surprise.

My grandfather told us that when we take a bath (in the galvanized tub, we had no running water) and that the last one would always be on a sandy beach like one would sit on in Florida.

I was the dumb one in the bunch and always wanted to be last. To this day, when I sit on a beach on the coast, I recall those crazy days he had me convinced that I was sitting on a beach when I took a bath in the old tub.



Peanut butter addiction

My brother is addicted to peanut butter. He can even eat it on cabbage. He told me recently that he cannot have it in the house because it is like a drug to him. He must have inhaled all the smells my grandmother had in the house to addict him to peanuts.

No-bake peanut pie

INGREDIENTS:

Prepared graham cracker crust pie shell or regular pie crust (I cheat and buy one already made in the food store.)

1 small box (4 servings not instant) butterscotch or vanilla pudding

2 cups of milk

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

Whipped cream for topping-I use cool whip



DIRECTIONS:

Make the pudding according to package directions using the 2 cups of milk and cook until the mixture comes to a boil. Add peanut butter and stir until well blended. Pour into cooled crust. Chill. Top with whipped topping before serving.



Spreading peanut butter

One time I went to church camp and helped my best friend spread crunchy peanut butter on all the commode seats in the boys’ bathroom. I just had to confess this so St. Peter might take it out of his book that he is recording the deeds I did in case I get to those pearly gates one day.

Arritta Morris has bachelors degree in nutrition and a masters degree in counseling from Eastern Kentucky University. She is a certified as a food service specialist by the School and Nutrition Association.