Thursday, January 26, 2012

January 26: Pistachio Day and Peanut Brittle Day

Pistachio Day

Pistachios are pretty cool nuts.  Normally, if a nut is green, it's somehow gotten moldy and gross.  Not so for a pistachio!  They're normally a beautiful green color.  And tasty.

Pistachios are one of two types or nuts that are dangerous to put within arm's reach of me - if I can reach the pistachios, I can gaurantee that I'll take them from you and eat them all.  They're just so delicious!  I try to be good about not having a whole bag of pistachios in front of me and usually use small bowls, but I always seem to find myself re-filling the bowls. 

I'm also loving the new ad campaign for pistachios.  It's a pretty well done campaign.  I snooped around, which I believe is linked to the campaign.  Now, as with any information out there on the internet, be cautious about who is providing the information.  That said, it's a pretty nifty site.  There's plenty of information in every day terms for the consumer, and for RDs and DTRs  there's afree CPE opportunity for 1 credit

I just wish I could figure out what to do with all those pistachio shells.  I wonder how well they'll work as drainage for potted plants...

Peanut Brittle Day

I've made peanut brittle multiple times for classes now.  Both times, we used this Alton Brown recipe and I've also used it for my Christmas candies bags.  I'm actually very surprised that the reviews are so low, but in reading some of them it seems as if the "light amber color" phrase is what throws people off. I actually had the same problem once- more on that in a bit.   If you decide to make the recipe, use a candy thermometer if you have one; otherwise, use the cold water test.

The first time I made the brittle, everything went perfectly.  I was a little worried that it wouldn't set because it was a bit humid that day, but apparently it was dry enough to work in my apartment.  The brittle came out very nicely and everyone at my work helped me eat it.  (There was no way I was going to eat four pounds of brittle all by myself!)

The second time was a disaster of a brittle.  My lab group didn't do the cold water test or use a thermometer and just tried to gauge by color.  "Light amber" is what the recipe calls for, but I think we all forgot that "amber" is close to a rosy medium brown.  It never set but we managed to salvage the mess by turning it into oven roasted peanuts and we had enough ingredients left over to get it right the second time.  The trick is to do the cold water test enough times or use a thermometer until you feel confident in your ability to judge what is "light amber."

So don't be scared off if you don't get it right the first time.  I've made it (successfully) multiple times now and once you get the hang of it, it's a truly easy recipe.

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