Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Peanut Pie!

Note: I first came up with the idea for this post in August of 2013 - Here we are in July 2014 and it's finally coming to fruition!

Greetings parental units (must be read in "80s Robot" voice):

I don't know why we give our kids (and others) names based on food, but it's pretty darn common. Honey, pumpkin, sugar, sweet pea, etc. etc. etc. Certainly as we were waiting for our little Olivia to be born, Kari and I took to calling her "Peanut". So much so that we're a little worried she'll think it's her actual name! After she was born, somehow Peanut became "Peanut Pie" (as in "Oh Peanut Pie, why are you fussing?"). So, naturally, the thought came to me "Is there such a dessert as Peanut Pie?"

Me and my little Peanut Pie!

Turns out the answer is YES! I did some research and found out a bit of background on this dish. And by "background", I mean I pieced together that it's a pie made in the tradition of pecan pie, but in Southern states like North Carolina and Virginia, peanuts are far more bountiful than pecans, so it makes sense that they'd be the nut to use.

Before we get into the recipe itself, I wanted to have a little chinwag about pie crust. Now, everyone and their mom has a "secret" recipe for pie crust. Me, I got nuthin'. I've never made pie before and all  I really wanted to ensure was that I could make a decent enough crust to fill with tastiness. I confess not having much interest in making a "perfect" pie crust; the crust is simply a vessel for tasty goodness (I know, sacrilege). So, with that in mind, I took to the internet to find a simple butter-based crust, not wanting to mess around with lard and being scared of Crisco. It was pretty easy to find. For your convenience, I'll reprint the recipe here:

Butter Pie Crust


- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
- 1/4 cup ice water

- In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

- Poke holes throughout the pie shell before baking to ensure the pie shell cooks through and doesn't puff up.

Now, the ingredients were simple enough to assemble (all four of 'em), but there are a few elements to keep in mind when putting it together. First off, follow the Directions TO THE LETTER! Second, get a pastry cutter. I have no idea what I would have done without this handy-dandy tool. I've heard of people trying to "cut" pastry with a fork and it smacks of madness. Second, when rolling out the dough, make sure you roll it very thin. When making my pie for the first time, I didn't do this and it left me with a slightly chewy crust; that is NOT what you want!

It ain't the prettiest, but not bad for my first time

The pie shell is one thing, the filling is another. I got the basics for the filling from this web site but also needed to tweak it a bit by adding bourbon.

Peanut Pie Filling


- 1/3 cup(packed) dark brown sugar
- 2tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle's)
- 1/2 cup sorghum syrup or 1/2 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle's) or corn syrup mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped salted North Carolina peanuts or coarsely chopped salted cocktail peanuts
- 1/2 cup bourbon (optional)


- Whisk brown sugar, flour, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, cinnamon, and cayenne in medium bowl. Whisk eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Add golden syrup, sorghum, melted butter, vanilla (and bourbon) to eggs and whisk to blend. Add brown sugar mixture and whisk until smooth. Mix in peanuts. Pour filling into cooled crust.

- Bake pie 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; continue to bake until crust is golden and filling is set (center of filling may move slightly when pie dish is gently shaken). Cool pie on rack. Cover loosely; store at room temperature. Cut pie into wedges and serve.

Tasty pah!

So, how did it taste? Well, pretty damn delicious, actually! As I mentioned earlier, the crust was a little chewy, but that's because I didn't roll it out thin enough, not because of a flaw in the recipe. But the filling was a thing of beauty! It follows a similar flavour profile as Pecan Pie, but a bit saltier with the peanuts and a little more depth of flavour brought out with the bourbon.

All in all, not a bad first time foray into making pie! (which is totally not as easy as pie)

A sweet tribute to my little Peanut!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Introduction: Cooking with a Newborn

Hello everyone!

I began my cooking blog, Dude, Cook! in 2009 mainly to show single guys n' gals how to cook awesome meals in a tiny kitchen. As time went on and my circumstances changed, it involved into "30something guy in a long-term relationship blogs about all sorts of aspects of food". Well, as is wont to happen when in a state of long-term coupledom, babies doth ensue, as you can see:

In case you were wondering, yeah, she's worth it. 

So, I figured I'd start a "spinoff" blog on the challenges and thrills of making tasty food with and for a little person. Now, since there isn't going to be much to talk about when it comes to feeding the baby other than breast milk or formula for the next few months, I thought I'd start with a post or two on feeding the other two family members. We're lucky enough to have managed a home birth, so I was able to feed Kari whatever she wanted while at home when she was pregnant and in labour. Once our little Olivia was born, however, cooking epic meals was the first activity to fall by the wayside. We've been living off of dinners brought by friends and leftovers from visits with our parents, with the occasional bout of take-out.

But after 3 weeks, we started to get our collective groove back and have since gotten our timing between feedings and meals a little better. Now, if you're as fortunate as I am in your role as significant other to a new mama, you've been able to finagle a few weeks off work to help out. One of the most important roles I have is making sure the "human milk bar" stays fed herself, and well-fed at that.

So when she's had a terribly stressful day dealing with her boobs and a fussy baby and clamors for veggies and freshness for dinner, you don't screw around, you make an epic salad.

With that in mind, I put together what I call the "Frazzed Mama Salad", a very dense and plentiful salad with edamame, chorizo, avocado and a bunch of other filling and nutritious elements, essentially throwing in all four food groups in one bowl.

Sophisticated recipe writing is what I'm all about!

So here is the recipe in proper amounts and with directions:

Frazzed Mama Salad

Serves 2-4 (depends on whether or not a frazzed mama is actually eating it)

All kinds of fresh goodness... and an empty formula bottle... 


- 2 tbsp blood orange infused olive oil (use regular olive oil if you don't have the fancy stuff, mixed with the juice of an eighth of an orange)
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- juice and zest of 1/4 orange
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- pinch dried basil
- pinch smoked paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- hot sauce to taste

- Whisk all ingredients together.

Happy dressing!



- 1/4 cup dry cured chorizo, cubed
- 1/4 cup small bocconcini balls, drained
- 1 cup homemade croutons (see below)
- 1/2 cup grape (or cherry) tomatoes, quartered
- 1 cup frozen edamame
- 2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1 avocado, pit removed and diced
- 1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

- Fill a small saucepan about an inch deep, set to boil and steam edamame for a minute and drain. Run under cold water until cooled.
- To make croutons, set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cube enough bread for 1 cup. Toss bread in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread over baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden and crunchy.
- Put all ingredients except croutons in a large bowl, stir in dressing and toss until all ingredients are well coated with dressing.
- Serve salad in bowl with croutons on the side to top as desired.

Coming together

This was one of those "of course it'll be good" salads, mainly because, well, look at the ingredient list! That is some tasty sh**! With all this goodness, nourishing and rich flavours mixed with the sunny, bright dressing, this is the kind of meal that will make any frazzed mama, daddy, grandpappy or Uncle Edwin feel a whole lot better about life.

Ready to eat!

So, that's the first of many posts on food for mommy, daddy and baby. More to come in the future!

Have a great day and feed your mamas well!