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Fall Donuts

This month I decided to give up processed sugar (as well as all processed sugar substitutes).  I did it for two reasons.  First off, I have been looking for a way to cut artificial sweetners out of my diet, specifically heavily processed candy and soda.  Very specifically diet coke. I love me some diet coke.  Secondly, I wanted a kickstart. I’ve been tired, sluggish, cranky, and downright hard to deal with lately.  I haven’t felt like cooking or writing or waking up, and I was hoping that a sugar-free period would allow my body to rediscover an energetic, sugar-free life.

Mostly, at the near end of the month, I feel the same.  I don’t have much more energy and getting out of the bed is still totally the pits.  I haven’t lost any weight and my hair is still frizzy. But, what did I really expect to happen? That one day, a few weeks into October, I would wake up Penelope Cruz? Unrealistic. Mostly I wanted a way to say goodbye to the sugary crap that was killing me slowly, and that I have accomplished.  I haven’t craved soda yet, and the only chocolate I want is on a croissant (I guess that reveals my real dependence- butter).  What I have been craving, like it is my job, is a donut.  I want a donut.  On November 1st, I will eat all the donuts. (PS- Donut or doughnut? I’ve gotten mixed feedback. I prefer donut).

I’ve been saving this recipe since last fall, and I have to tell you, these donuts have been in my dreams.  They’re light, delicious, and covered in tasty chocolate that makes your mouth water.  Mostly, they epitomize the things I love about this time of year.  The beautiful colors, the slightly richer food, frying things in my backyard… oh fall.

Still on a quest to kick my ass into gear I’m thinking that in November I’ll excuse myself from white carbs and alcohol that isn’t red wine.  Thanksgiving aside, of course.  We’ll see.  Fall is always a hard transition for me, I don’t expect there is a magical cure to the shorter, darker days and the dreary prospect of a long winter.  If there is, please let me know.  Also, I’d love to hear what worked for you, if you’ve tried something similar!

Fall Doughnuts

Doughnuts
3/4 cup milk, warm
1/4 cup heavy cream, warm
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, very soft
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
Peanut oil, for frying

Glaze
1 stick butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup hot water

Chocolate topping
2 cups dark chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups fall-colored chocolate candy, crushed

Mix milk, cream and yeast. If you’re using a stand mixer, go ahead and combine them in the bowl for your mixer. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes. Add sugar, butter, yolks and flour. In a stand mixer, or by hand, mix together and then knead until it forms a ball. Add warm water as necessary.

Cover and let rise 1 hour.

Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch. Use a biscuit cutter (3 to 4 inches) to cut out circles. Use a smaller cutter (or a doughnut roller, if you have one) to cut a 1-inch hole from the center.

Heat your oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Two or three at a time, drop your donuts into the oil. Let fry one minute, flip, and then another minute on the other side.

While your doughnuts cool, make your glaze. Combine all ingredients. Dunk your doughnuts in the glaze and set aside.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Stir in cream. Dip each donut in the chocolate and then sprinkle with chocolate candy.

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Boiled Peanuts

Last spring, the National Peanut Board sent me some peanuts and coke as part of a national campagin to raise awareness about how delicious it is when you put peanuts in your coke.  During the email exchange they asked me if there was anything else they could do and I said “well, if you’ve got any green peanuts…”  And here we are.

When we got home from Savannah & Charleston we were very excited to see a box full of peanuts on our doorstep.  Well, I was very excited.  Dan didn’t know what to expect.  I put them aside until this past Saturday, when we held our second annual Eastern North Carolina Barbeque.  As you may know, smoking pork takes a zillion hours, and with party goers arriving as early as 11, I wanted something for people to nosh on.  Namely, I wanted boiled peanuts for people to nosh on.

First of all, for those of you who have never had a boiled peanut, they’re heaven. The specialty of roadside stands across the south, they’re salty, mashed-potato like, perfectly delicious peanuts.  You boil the green peanuts for hours in salted, spiced water, then eat them hot.  A delicacy, in my opinion.

They were a hit. Thanks, Peanut Board!

Boiled Peanuts

1 lb fresh green peanuts

2 quarts water

1/2 cup kosher or sea salt

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp chipotle spice

Combine all ingredients in a large pot.  Boil for 3-5 hours, or until peanuts are tender.  Strain and serve.

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Food : Art

As artists, I like our apartment to be filled with artwork, both our own and work that we love.  We’ve slowly been building our collection, from Brian Andreas prints to framed greeting cards, the art on the walls helps our little apartment feel like home.

Until recently, we didn’t have any food art, which is kind of strange since 90% of the photographs made in our house are of food.  It just hadn’t occurred to me to print and hang the photos I make for this blog.  Recently, however, I was approached by a local company, Easy Canvas Prints.  They offered to turn one of my photos (the photo of my choosing) into a canvas print.  I happily accepted and a few weeks later, this beauty was on my doorstop.

For the canvas print I chose a picture I took last summer of sliced figs.  It’s a (in my humble opinion) beautiful picture that I thought would fit in perfectly with our wall of art.  When the print arrived it was exactly what I expected.  It’s perfectly printed, crystal clear, and amazingly rich.  Since we hung it a few weeks ago every person to walk through our living room has commented on how incredible it looks.  Win!


It fits perfectly into our collection and our home.  Thanks, Easy Canvas Prints!

 

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