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Follow Me on TwitterAs the title says, I love, love food! This column is dedicated to sharing my love of food with the masses! From tips and tricks to food reviews, I cover it all. My love of food came at a very young age (about 12), being the eldest in my family and my mother and father both working late one of my responsibilities was preparing dinner for five of us. Don't get me wrong, I loved it! If you have questions or wish to contact Tony, please email him at tlacroix@ourhometown.ca
What’s a peanut?
Tony Lacroix
OurHometown.ca

What’s a peanut?
It is thought the peanut originated in Brazil, then came to the United States from Africa as many Southern delicacies have. In the 1890's George Washington Carver, of Alabama, started to promote this legume (the peanut) as a substitute for cotton crops (which most had been destroyed by the boll weevil). By the time 1903 came around he had successfully created hundreds of uses for peanuts in all type of recipes.

Cornwall - January 19, 2012 - PEANUT noun: 1.The oval seed of a South American plant, widely roasted and salted and eaten as a snack. 2. A paltry thing or amount, esp. a very small amount of money - he pays peanuts 3.Small pieces of Styrofoam used for packing material. I like definition #1 best!

It is thought the peanut originated in Brazil, then came to the United States from Africa as many Southern delicacies have. In the 1890's George Washington Carver, of Alabama, started to promote this legume (the peanut) as a substitute for cotton crops (which most had been destroyed by the boll weevil). By the time 1903 came around he had successfully created hundreds of uses for peanuts in all type of recipes. Peanuts are one of the most prominent types of crop in many Southern states (USA). Peanuts are actually a legume not a nut. After the peanut plant flowers are fertilized, they fall to the ground and bury themselves; the pods mature underground. They are usually harvested by uprooting the whole plant to dry the nuts.

You can eat it yes, but what else can it be used for?

Peanuts have many uses. You can eat them raw, use them in recipes, made into solvents and oils, used in make-up, medicines, textile materials, peanut butter and the list goes on. Tasty treats made from peanuts include salted peanuts, peanut butter (sandwiches, peanut candy bars, peanut butter cookies, and cups), peanut brittle, and shelled nuts. Salted peanuts are normally roasted in oil(s) and packed in small plastic bags or sealed cans. Dry roasted salted peanuts are also quite popular. Peanuts are often the major ingredient in mixed nuts because of them being cheaper in cost compared to say Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts etc. The primary use of peanut butter is in the home, but large quantities are also used in the manufacturing of sandwiches, candy, and baked goods. You can also find boiled peanuts, unshelled green peanuts boiled in brine and eaten as a snack. Lately, fried peanut recipes have come into fashion - allowing both shell and nut to be eaten (going to have a find a recipe for this).

Now for the DIY part of the column: Here’s what I call the best cookies ever!

Peanut butter, pecan & chocolate chip cookies

As the title says, these awesome cookies have tons of good things in them. To clarify, the ingredients are good, but the fat content is a little high, but boy are they worth the extra 10 minutes you’ll be doing at the gym later. I’ve been making this recipe for at least 15 years now, it’s never failed me.

Ingredients
0.5 cup granulated sugar
0.5 cup packed brown sugar
0.25 cup butter
0.5 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1.25 cup white or whole wheat flour
0.5 cup finely chopped pecans
0.5 of finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate chips
0.75 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp. baking powder
0.5 tsp salt

Mix sugars, butter, peanut butter & egg till light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, stir-in to first mixture, then add chocolate chips & pecans (only until combined). Take the dough out of the bowl, make a ball out of it and wrap in clear plastic wrap (or parchment paper). Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (this is the most important step in this recipe).

When ready to cook the cookies, heat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls (I use a small ball scoop, the kind you use for ice-cream). Place about 3 inches apart on un-greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly in crisscrossed pattern with a fork dipped in sugar. Bake until light brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool 2 minutes, remove from cookie sheet.

Tips & Tricks: when these come out of the oven you might say to yourself: “these cookies look underdone”… don’t be fooled, these tasty treats still cook while they’re cooling. For a fun treat: take two of these cookies & place a scoop of your favorite ice-cream in between them: makes a great sandwich. Tip on this last one, make them one day ahead, they’ll get softer! Also, dipping half of the cookie into some melted chocolate is also divine!


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