Posts Tagged ‘peanut’

Several posts ago I wrote about peanut butter-based snacks. I love peanuts and peanut butter so much. Although there is a risk of peanuts carrying aflotoxin (you know, on those really gross-tasting peanuts), the Canadian food supply keeps them at acceptable levels. Peanuts were my dietary staple in The Gambia. I’d grab a bag of roasted peanuts on the road; I’d pick them in the fields with the women and we’d carry them home in big buckets on our heads; we’d hull them on raised concrete platforms with a nut in each hand which we’d whack on the concrete and remove from the shell, with a big pile between our knees that never seemed to end. Peanuts are the way of life there. I ate them every day.

To make peanut butter, simply roast your peanuts, squeeze them in your hands to remove skins when they have cooled, and then place them in a blender or food processor or food grinder and let it spin! The longer you go, the smoother it gets. Add a teaspoon or two full of vegetable oil if it is not liquid enough – that will depend on the variety of groundnut you have! Adding a pinch of salt will bring out the flavours more if you’re interested.

Upon my return, I’ve craved peanuts big time. Thanks to my lovely host families, I had a plentiful supply, despite my distance. I quite enjoyed roasting them and turning them into peanut butter, before they were transformed into the delicious snacks and meals which I’ve already started posting including the Domoda and the Chocolate Kickers, and this childhood favourite snack of mine, these peanut butter logs.

Ingredients – three 4-inch logs (approximately)

1 cup peanut butter (I prefer the ‘just peanuts kind’, which you can buy or make yourself with a food processor or blender – simply follow the instructions under the picture)

4 Tbsp honey

5 Tbsp milk powder (or 7 Tbsp if instant), or more as needed

2-3 Tbsp desiccated coconut


Mix all ingredients together using a strong fork or whatever works for you. Place a third of the desiccated coconut on a sheet of parchment paper, and spread evenly. Form a third of the mixture into a log, and roll in the coconut. Place in parchment paper or wax paper and freeze.

Slice once frozen, and serve immediately for an energy-packed snack!

You can also add dried cranberries or mini chocolate chips for extra punch.

Hope you enjoy these!


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Having another home in West Africa means I have added a whole new repertoire of recipes, West-African style, to my cooking – and I’m really excited to share them on gourm(eh).

Cooking in Gambia is a totally different story than here. Imagine cooking mostly one-pot meals over an open fire, or if you are fortunate enough, an improved cookstove. It a communal experience, and the saying ‘many hands make for lighter work’ is fitting as the work is hard, and most often done in groups.

I found it interesting that my taste buds actually adjusted while living there: a dish I did not like at first became one of my favourites by the end – and this was actually the case with a number of dishes. Domoda, however, was always at the top of my list from the beginning!

Domoda is a rich groundnut (peanut)-based stew, a favourite of mine from Gambia and Senegal.

Ingredients – Dinner for 6
2 purple (spanish) onions, diced
1.5 lb cubed stewing beef or 6 chicken pieces
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp (heaping) tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, germ removed
2 bouillon cubes (I like to use chicken)
1 tsp peppercorns
2 cups just peanut smooth peanutbutter
Juice from one lemon
1 scotch bonnet pepper (very spicy) or 1 jalapeno pepper
3 carrots, peeled and then cut into thirds or quarters
1 eggplant, washed and quartered
1 cup squash cubes (any kind – butternut or acorn for example, peeled)
salt to taste
1.5 cups uncooked rice, medium grain

In a heavy-bottomed pan with a lid, heat oil over medium-medium high heat. Brown the beef, reduce the heat, and add the onions until they are translucent. Then add the tomato paste and stir. Cook for another 3 minutes stirring occasionally. If you have a mortar and pestle, pound the peppercorns and then add the garlic and the bouillon cubes until you get a smooth paste. If you don have a mortar and pestle, just chop everything finely and mix by hand.

Add the seasoning mix to the meat, stir, and then add the vegetables and the whole (washed) hot pepper. Cover with water, stirring well to incorporate all the tomato onion mixture. Increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Once it simmers reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove a cup of hot liquid and pour into a large bowl with the peanutbutter. Stir well with a fork until the peanutbutter is all incorporated. Stir this into the pan with everything else, and stir well so everything is evenly mixed. Add the lemon juice. Let the mixture simmer uncovered until you have a stew-like consistency. If you find the vegetables still need more time but there is little sauce left, just cover the pot.

When it is almost ready, cook rice according to package instructions.

To serve, ladle stew over rice. You can squeeze the hot pepper on your spoon a tiny bit to get spicy juices out thereby tailoring how spicy your own plate is – and then share the hot pepper with the others. Just remember scotch bonnets are VERY spicy!

Alright, bonne appétit.
-Sitelle (Alias Ya Ndey)


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The last few weeks have been busy.  My good friend Dora came to visit from Toronto, and we had a lovely time exploring Halifax and environs. We even had an opportunity to peruse Nova Scotia’s Ice Wine Festival, including a sampling with chocolate.  Then I was off visiting my sister in Montreal – and while it was fabulous to visit with her, the bronchitis that followed has kept me from the kitchen (needless to say having an appetite).

My friend Dora loves all things peanut – but lives with a brother who has an anaphylactic peanut allergy.  When she came for dinner, I decided to make a peanut-inspired dinner menu.

This peanut sauce from Rebar formed the basis of the pasta.  Intensely flavourful, this sauce was a cinch to blend together and absolutely delicious.  I’ll be looking around for more items to dip in it soon!


Peanut sauce with ginger, lime and cilantro (from rebar: modern food cookbook)

(makes 3/4 cup sauce)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon peeled ginger, minced

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves

juice and zest of 1 lime

1 tablespoon sambal oelek (an Asian hot chili sauce)

1/4 cup smooth, natural peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar



In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add all of the ingredients from the garlic through to the sambal oelek.  Blend until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients, blend and season to taste.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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This post comes to you at a time where I have seen more than my share of boxes, dust-induced sneezes, and tired road trips back and forth from our apartment and our parents’ homes. I can’t thank them enough for their help.

I want it to end.

Please, boxes, can you unpack yourselves on your own? Floor, mop yourself? Ok, I think I’m done ranting. There are very exciting things to come now that the move is almost behind us.

In the midst of it all, I had a wonderful dinner with my “Belize family” – we brought together much of the group from Toronto, celebrated the end of school, before many of us go into different directions.

Since my kitchen has been in boxes for the last few days, and I no longer have any kitchen I can really call mine (temporarily – don’t worry!), I am excited to share with you a guest post from Julia. She brought delicious cupcakes in an innovative tupperware set-up such that there were two layers, while preventing the tops from getting squished.

Such a treat!

Ingredients – 50 mini muffins

(adapted by Julia B. from a Canadian Living recipe)

Coffee and chocolate cupcakes

-3 cups all-purpose flour
-2 cups granulated sugar (I used 1 cup white & 1 cup brown)
-2/3 cup cocoa powder
-2tsp baking soda
-½ tsp salt
-2 cups cold coffee (the recipe called for decaf..but I’ve never understood the point of decaf coffee, so I used extra-bold! Haha)
-½ cup vegetable or canola oil
-½ cup applesauce (unsweetened)
-2 tsp vanilla
-3 tbsp cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tin with papers (24 regular-sized muffin papers or about 48 medium-sized papers).

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in coffee, oil and vanilla. Stir in vinegar. Pour into lined muffin cups.

Bake for 18-20 minutes for regular size, 15-17 minutes for medium size cupcakes, or until cake tester inserted into centre comes out clean. Remove to wire rack and let cool completely before icing.

Peanut Butta Buttercream Icing

-8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
-½ cup smooth peanut butter (don’t try and use all-natural, now’s not the time to be health-conscious!)
-¾ cup confectioners’ sugar (add more if needed to reach desired consistency)
-A pinch of salt
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 tbsp milk (add more if needed)

Using electric mixer with whisk attachment, beat butter and peanut butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.
Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the bowl, making sure to get any dry sugar from the bottom and sides of the bowl.
Add vanilla and milk, and beat again at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds.
Scrape bowl, if needed, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Depending on how you want to decorate the cupcakes, you may want to add more confectioners’ sugar to get a thicker consistency. If you’re just going to smooth the icing over the cupcake, the recipe will work with the quantities above. I ended up using almost double the original amount of confectioners’ sugar to make a thicker icing. The cupcakes are not very sweet, so making the icing a little bit sweeter ended up being a good combination!

Thanks for your awesome recipe Julia!


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