Thursday, February 28, 2013

Groundnut Stew

Groundnut Stew.

Patrick comes over about twice a month to cook with/for me, and he usually likes to try some exotic dish.  Yesterday, he made groundnut stew.  I spent one summer in West Africa (Ghana) and a dish that we had frequently was this stew.  Peanuts are called groundnuts in West Africa.  We usually had it with goat meat which is really good, but Patrick used chicken.  Next time we make this we will try to find goat meat which I believe is available here.

Not long after I returned from Ghana, The Africa News Cookbook was published and as the forward indicates, African cooks have developed imaginative variations for otherwise monotonous diets.  And where there is abundance, they have created culinary masterpieces.  This Cookbook adapts African recipes to western cooking with ingredients easily found here.  Patrick used a recipe from this Cookbook.*
Africa News Cookbook.
Recipe for Groundnut Stew.
Cut boneless, skinless chicken thighs into small pieces.
Brown chicken in peanut oil.
Place browned chicken in large pot.
Saute onion in same pan used for chicken.

Add onions, water, and peanut butter to chicken.
Add tomatoes, ginger root, okra and peppers and simmer for 30 minutes.
Enjoy this nice rich stew.

Yes, we will try this with goat meat next time.

*Patrick omitted the salt, but used the suggested peppers.  Although okra is optional, he used it.  Okra is native to Africa and is commonly used in African dishes. It serves as a thickening agent for this stew.  At our house we use natural, unsalted peanut butter, because of a low sodium diet.   He used no salt added canned tomatoes. So this is a low-sodium dish. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

LITdecor Moroccan Inspired Lanterns

Hand decorated Mason jars. Photo from LITdecor.

Vanessa Cline, my good friend Marcia's daughter, is a graduate of the NC State School of Design and a very talented young woman.  Vanessa has established her own shop, LITdecor, through Etsy where she decorates Mason jars in beautiful designs, each one unique, with Moroccan motifs.
Vanessa Cline owner of LITdecor.

You'll see them pinned on Pinterest,  and before Christmas she had a large order from Free People. It's amazing how she takes ordinary Mason jars and makes these beautiful lanterns, vases, candles and glasses.
Photo from LITdecor.
Photo from LITdecor.
Wouldn't this be lovely for a wedding or reception?  Photo from LITdecor.

I love these vases.  Photo from LITdecor.

Vanessa's Etsy store was featured on Sara's blog, Embrace My Space as the Etsy find of the week back in September.  I really like the way the lanterns are used in the basement with the Moroccan motifs.
Beautiful chandelier of decorated Mason jars. Photo from Embrace My Space.

Glasses that will soon be ours. Photo from LITdecor.

I have just ordered four gorgeous glasses from Vanessa. She has other items that are on my wish list! Check out her shop on Etsy.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Quiet Evening by the Fire

Nice fire in the fireplace.

I have so neglected my reading recently! I haven't even read the two books I received at Christmas nor the Hemingway Nick Adams book Dan bought while we visited the Hemingway House in Key West in January.  I stay too busy with other "stuff".  I had planned to spend last Saturday doing nothing but reading, but I found that wasn't possible.

Here's some of the "stuff" I've been doing---instead of reading.


Scrabble online.



By evening however, I decided to make a nice fire in the fireplace (the first fire we've had this winter) and do nothing but settle in on the sofa and READ.
A fire in the fireplace and a book on the sofa.

Put on some good music, for example Johnny Mathis.

Grab a good book.

With my favorite cat throw.  It looks like a big cat is on my lap, but it is just the throw.
What a nice way to spend a Saturday evening.  I managed to get about a third of the way through Nick Adams Stories before I became sleepy.  I am determined to do more reading, to spend less time on "stuff" and to have at least one more fire in the fireplace before winter ends.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Broughton Boys Cap 8 Tournament Champs 2013

Broughton scored one more to make it 67 to 58.
On Friday night the Broughton High School Boys Basketball team defeated Leesville to win the Cap 8 Tournament.  I'm an avid fan of this team and have been for four years.  My grandson Zach, a senior, is on the team.
My grandson, Zach, number 20. (Photo by Greg Mintel, N & O)
Brickhouse or "Brick" as we call him. (Photo by Greg Mintel, N & O)

Cam Gottfried shoots a 3-pointer. (Photo by Greg Mintel, N & O)

Chase Johnson. (Photo by Greg Mintel, N & O)

Devonte, our star player, has signed with Appalachian State. (Photo by Greg Mintel, N & O)
Coach Ferrell. (Photo by Greg Mintel, N & O )

James Hemphill has signed with Navy. (Photo by Greg Mintel, N & O)
Zach goes for a 3 pointer. (Photo by Greg Mintel, N & O)

Zach's friends made Zach "face masks". (Photo by Greg Mintel, N & O)
A proud GrandPat with grandson Zach. (Photo by Claire Salisbury)
GrandPat between Devonte's step-dad (left) and Jamie's dad  We three always together behind the bench. (Photo from the N & O, Greg Mintel.)

I'm looking forward to the state playoffs. I'll be right there behind the bench.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Double Chocolate Cake With Peanut Butter Cream Filling

Double chocolate cake with peanut butter cream filling.

When I'm in New Bern at the Antique Show each year, I enjoy chatting with Virginia, from Oriental, NC, who has a booth directly across from me.  Invariably our chats turn to food.  This year we had the Preview Party of the Show on Valentine's night and somehow that night our conversation turned to "candy".  I was expressing my penchant for Reese's Peanut Butter candy bars, when Virginia proceeded to tell me about this cake she had made recently that combined chocolate and peanut butter.  I got the recipe from her and earlier this week, I made the cake. 

This cake is easy and quick to make.  If you are a purist and like cakes made from scratch this recipe isn't for you.  But if you would like a recipe that might qualify as "Semi-homemade" (Sandra Lee-like),  you should try this.

Double Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Filling
1 Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix.
1 can Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Frosting
1stick softened butter
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
Whipped cream (optional)
Crushed peanuts
Mix chocolate cake mix according to box directions and bake in a 9 x 13 pan. 
Duncan Hines triple chocolate cake mix.

While cake is baking make the peanut butter cream filling.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar until smooth.  This should be the consistency of frosting.

Frost the COOL cake with peanut butter cream and refrigerate until firm.
Baked chocolate cake.
Frost with peanut butter cream.
Offset spatula is perfect for spreading frosting.

Frost the cooled cake with chocolate frosting.
Duncan Hines milk chocolate frosting.

Serve with whipped cream topped with crushed peanuts or top cake with crushed peanuts after chocolate frosting. 
Ready to enjoy.

Quick, easy, and delicious!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Low Sodium Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed cauliflower.
I had decided that I was going to eat cauliflower only roasted in the oven which is quite delicious until I saw this recipe from Whole Foods. This tastes similar to mashed potatoes but with fewer carbs.  It's very good topped with grated cheese.

Mashed Cauliflower (4 servings)
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets (about 6 to 7 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted* water to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and then drain well and transfer cauliflower to a food processor. Add oil and reserved water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and puree until smooth. (Or, mash cauliflower with a potato masher). Season with salt* and pepper and serve.

Medium head of cauliflower trimmed.
Cauliflower cut into small florets.
Cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
Mash with potato masher, I like it kind of chunky. (Or you could puree in a food processor.)
Add pepper, olive oil, butter and stir.  Ready to eat. Top with grated cheese if desired.

*To make this a low sodium dish, I did NOT add salt to the water, nor did I season with salt, only pepper.  I also added a tablespoon of butter in addition to the olive oil.   
This freezes well too.