Go Nuts for Thanksgiving

Georgia Trend. November 2021.

Pecans, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, macadamia – oh my! Georgia produces a wide variety of nuts. In fact, Georgia leads the way as the nation’s top pecan producer, growing 142 million pounds last year.

Nuts are a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, have very low sodium (if unsalted) and are cholesterol free. They are versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. In a nutshell, you don’t have to thrive on chocolate covered nuts, praline pecans and baked goodies. This Thanksgiving, incorporate healthy and delicious nuts into your holiday recipes.

As you think of dishes to serve for Thanksgiving dinner, consider make-in-advance or ready-made walnut pesto on a crostini with feta cheese.

Larry and Beverly Willson, at one of Georgia’s longest-running nut farms, Sunnyland Farms in Albany, recommend cutting dried Medjool dates or figs in half, stuffing

them with a whole almond and topping with crumbled blue cheese, for a sweet and salty snack. You can also sprinkle on bacon bites and cayenne for an extra kick.

The Spicy-peanut party hummus recipe by Gloria Piantek was the winner of the 2021 National Peanut Month Recipe Contest. And it’s no surprise. The combination of sweet and spicy pepper relish, chipotle peppers, creamy peanut butter and mashed chickpeas, tells your tastebuds that its festive season. You can find more such recipes at the Tifton-based Georgia Peanut Commission’s website.

Instead of traditional olive oil and vinegar salad dressing, toss in pecan oil or peanut dressing. The nutty flavor gives more personality to the greens and your guests will keep guessing your “secret recipe.”

For a twist on traditional sweet potato casserole, bake a side of easy-to-grab sweet potato muffins featuring small pecan pieces. The recipe calls for the exact same ingredients – canned sweet potatoes, butter, cinnamon, milk, eggs, sugar – and some flour.

This holiday season, branch out from the traditional turkey with chef Virginia Wills’s almond crusted trout with pecan brown butter. Dress the fish with roasted almond rice pilaf or Asian cashew slaw. The recipe can be found on the Georgia Pecan Commission website.

Georgia Grown peach pecan cranberry sauce is easy to make and adds color to the thanksgiving table. It is boozy with pecan liquor, festive with cranberries and can be made in the microwave in just a few minutes. Use the leftover sauce to make hand pies for breakfast the next day. Georgia Grown partners with chefs around the state to share creative recipes like this, using the freshest homegrown ingredients.

For dessert, try a peanut ribbon cake recipe dating back to the 1970s. The already-frozen pound cake, layered with sweet, grated chocolate and chopped peanuts, can be assembled and frozen until ready to serve with whipped cream and liqueur. Take a look at the Georgia Peanut Commission’s retro recipe collection and you may discover one of your childhood favorites.

For an after-Thanksgiving treat while you trim the Christmas tree, have the kids help arrange a charcuterie plate with crackers, hard and soft cheeses, sliced salami, roasted mixed nuts and fruit jams. The plate is easy to graze on and takes further advantage of the nutty flavors of the season.

However you decide to go nuts this year, roast them first to release the oils and add more crunch. Store nuts in a zip-lock bag or airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. The lower the temperature you store the nuts, the longer they will keep.

Happy Holidays!

~ Written for and published by Georgia Trend Magazine. All rights reserved.

A Pumpkin Halwa That Will Change how You Feel About Squash

Fifth Season Blog. November 2021.

When I entered my suburban apartment kitchen, the once bare white walls were covered with stringy orange slime. It looked like a chaotic scene from Ghostbusters. But these were pumpkin fibers, not viscous green psycho-reactive slime. And there were no ghosts. Just my own mom and grandma attempting to make pumpkin halwa for Thanksgiving. 

Perhaps my imagination was stretched by my newly found love for scary Hollywood films. At 17 years of age, I had moved from India to the United States and now had access to 24 hours of cable television. 

t was October in Atlanta. There were pumpkins all over the grocery stores, pumpkin lattes at coffee shops, and pumpkin cheesecakes at restaurants. I never even knew there were so many ways to eat pumpkin.

Continue reading on Fifth Season’s blog – The Green Room

This Juneteenth, Grab a Plate of Gullah Geechee Goodness

Greatist. June 2021.

The Juneteenth season is about remembrance and celebration. We remember the day Union troops arrived in Texas, announcing that the Civil War had ended and enslaved people were free. And we celebrate the cultures that have been preserved and reborn out of that time. 

One such culture is that of the Gullah Geechee people, one of the oldest communities of Black culture in the United States. Today you can mostly find Gullah Geechee communities in the coastal lowcountry regions of Georgia, Florida, and both Carolinas. And, as with so many other vibrant cultures, food is their lifeblood.

We spoke with a couple of Georgia restaurateurs who have made it their mission to preserve the rich Gullah Geechee cuisine for today’s generation and those to come.

Smalls but mighty: How one couple gave their food legacy new life

Food doesn’t get much more soulful than Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar, a mouthwatering spot opened in 2019 by executive chef Gregory (Gee) Smalls and general manager Juan Smalls in downtown College Park, just outside Atlanta.

The Atlanta power couple made their mark by introducing Gullah Geechee cuisine to the community (and providing scholarships to LGBTQ students through their nonprofit organization, The Gentlemen’s Foundation).

Continue reading on Healthline Media’s Greatist

7 Doughnuts from Around the World That’ll Make You Want to Put a Ring on It

Chowhound. Oct 2020.

Doughnuts (or donuts) are one of the most popular fried snacks that unites cultures around the world. Doughnuts come in all sizes and shapes: rings, holes, spheres, twists, and balls. It’s hard to argue that everyone enjoys fried dough no matter what shape or form it is served in. As long as it’s hot, fresh, and fried crisp!

Most doughnut recipes include flour, water, sugar, oil, eggs, milk, and shortening. Jellies, chocolate, cream, powdered sugar, and many other flavorings are used as toppings and fillings. To make doughnuts at home you only need some basic equipment: a large saucepan or Dutch oven for frying, a wooden spoon or spider, a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and perhaps a piping bag. Continue reading on Chowhound….

The Ultimate Guide to Pomegranate, ‘The Jewel of Winter’

Chowhound. Oct 2020.

Mystic, beautiful, decorative, lucky, nutritious, superfood—these are some of the words used to describe a pomegranate fruit. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing and using pomegranate.

The brilliant ruby red ball has a thick rind on the outside, and spongy white tissue and edible sweet yet tart arils inside. Whole pomegranates are often used as holiday centerpieces, while the citrusy seeds are useful for juicing, cooking, and garnishing. Continue reading on Chowhound

10 Ways to Work Pimento Cheese into Your Game Day Menu

Chowhound. October 2020.

Often referred to as “Carolina Caviar” or “Southern pâté” in the southern United States, pimento cheese is a classic at tailgates, parties, and in lunchboxes around the country—and these are some of the best pimento cheese recipe ideas around.

This unique cheese mixture is traditionally made with shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and sweet cherry peppers called pimentos. You can add hot sauce, horseradish, jalapenos, garlic, pickles, or any condiment to season the spread. Blend it smooth or leave it chunky. Serve it as a dip with veggies and crackers, spread it on sandwiches, add it to collard greens, or top it over a pizza. The possibilities to personalize pimento cheese are endless. Continue reading on Chowhound

The Best Wraps Around the World and How to Make Them All at Home

Chowhound. August 2020.

Wraps are a much healthier alternative to fast food and one of the easiest things to make at home. Versatile for picnics, road trips, and office lunches, wraps are portable, quick, and hearty. They are also packed with nutrition and can be adapted to your taste. If you’re tired of lockdown cooking and bored of plain old sandwiches, here’s some inspiration for your next wrapped meal.

Continue reading on Chowhound.

The Ultimate Guide to Mangoes

Chowhound. July 2020.

Get to know the mango in this handy guide, from types of mango to mango recipes, plus lots more info you never knew about this marvelous tropical fruit.

Mango is one of the most popular fruits in the world. It is believed that mango was first found in India over 5,000 years ago, and traveled with humans from Asia to almost every continent since. Mango is still considered a symbol of love in India, and according to local tradition, presenting a basket of mangoes symbolizes a gesture of friendship. Continue reading on Chowhound…

How-To How to Make Roti with Gluten-Free Flour

For Chowhound. March 2020.

If you’ve never tried roti (or chapati), it’s a delicious flatbread that’s fairly easy to make at home—there’s no yeast involved. And you can make it with gluten-free flour too.

Roti is an unleavened flatbread commonly found in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, as well as parts of Africa and the Caribbean. Roll it with peanut butter, stuff it with scrambled eggs, dip it in curry, or mix it with spices. Wholesome, plant-based, vegan, and versatile, you can have roti at practically every meal.

Read more on Chowhound…