Peanut farmers put their hearts and souls into the crops that they grow. Dozens have volunteered their time and energy over the years to serve on the National Peanut Board to promote peanuts. During their tenure, we get to know not just the Board members but also their spouses and families. Unsurprisingly, peanuts take a starring role in many of their family meals. Four long-serving members cycled off the Board this year and here they share their favorite family peanut recipes with us.
Best Peanut Brittle from the Jordan Family
Eileen Jordan is partner in Jordan Planting Company in Oak Ridge, La. with her husband Vic, former chairman of the National Peanut Board. Jordan has been farming for 35 years and grows peanuts, corn, soybeans, rice, timber, pasture and has a cow/calf operation. “This is our family’s favorite, and we never let a special occasion or holiday go by without making this wonderful peanut brittle,” says Eileen. Eileen was appointed to the Board this year as the at-large member, representing the minor producing peanut states.
Start to finish: 55 minutes
1 cup sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup water
1 cup peanuts
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda
Grease a large cookie sheet and set aside. In a heavy two-quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring sugar, corn syrup, salt and water to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 degrees F, or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads. Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. With two forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14X12 inches; cool. Snap candy into pieces.
Peanut Banana Salad from the White Family
Pat White is married to Bob White, a fourth-generation farmer in Clarendon, Texas. They grow peanuts, cotton, wheat, forage and raise cattle. Bob is a former chairman of the National Peanut Board. “This recipe has been in my father’s family for generations. My family loves it and we continue to fix it during the holidays and on special occasions, even though my father has passed away.”
Start to finish: 20 minutes
1 bunch bananas
1 12-ounce jar of mayonnaise
1 12-ounce bag of Spanish salted peanuts
Layer each ingredient until you have as many layers as you want. Increase or decrease ingredient amounts as needed.
Peanut Butter Brownie Cheesecake from the Harrell Family
Deena Harrell is the wife of John Harrell, a sixth generation farmer. The Harrells live in Whigham, Ga., growing peanuts and cotton and raising cattle. John is a former chairman of the National Peanut Board.“This delicious and beautiful brownie cheesecake is a crowd-pleaser. My family and guests look forward to it when we celebrate something special,” said Deena.
Start to finish: Approximately 2 hours
Brownie Crust Ingredients:
1 cup butter
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup hot fudge-flavored ice cream topping, warmed
Two-8-ounce packages softened cream cheese
½ cups crunchy peanut butter
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1-1/2 cups whipping cream
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 family size bag of mini Reese’s cups
Brownie Crust Preparation:
In a saucepan, melt butter and chopped chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool. Grease 9 X 13 pan. Stir sugar into cooled chocolate mixture in saucepan. Add eggs, one at a time, beat after each addition until combined. Stir in vanilla. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and baking soda. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; stir until combined. Spread the batter in the greased pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely. Cut brownies into bars. Using ¾ of the bars, press brownies into the bottom of a 9 X 3-inch springform pan, forming an even crust. Spread with the fudge ice cream topping and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and peanut butter. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until just combined. Add sweetened condensed milk. Beat until combined. In a medium bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Reserve ½ cup of the whipped cream mixture. Fold remaining whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Spread ½ of the cream cheese mixture over the hot fudge topping in pan. Sprinkle with ½ of the mini Reese’s cups and reserved brownie bars. Spread remaining cream cheese mixture over the brownies. Top with the reserved whipping cream. Sprinkle remaining mini Reese’s cups and drizzle with warm peanut butter. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.
Rib Eye Steak with a Roasted Tomato, Peanut & Jalapeno Relish from the Rast Family
Cathy Rast is married to Monty Rast who owns and operates Edward Rast Jr. Farms near Cameron, S.C. They grow peanuts, cotton, wheat, corn, onions, strawberries and blueberries. Monty is a former chairman of the National Peanut Board. “We grill a lot of steak–and with the warm climate in South Carolina, we can grill outdoors almost year-round,” says Cathy. “This tomato jalapeno relish topping with chopped peanuts is one way to dress up a classic dish.”
Start to finish: 30 minutes
1 small red onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 large jalapeno, cut in half
¼ teaspoon salt
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
¼ cup basil leaves, shredded
1/3 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 rib eye steak, at least 1 inch thick
Kosher salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice onion into 1-inch wedges. Place on baking sheet and toss with 1 teaspoon oil. Roast, stirring occasionally 10 minutes. Meanwhile, if tomatoes are large, slice in half. Discard seeds from jalapeno to reduce heat if desired. Place all in a bowl along with garlic and vinegar. Just before serving, stir in basil and peanuts. Add salt if desired. Grease grill and preheat to medium-high heat. Season steak generously with salt and pepper. Grill about 12 minutes, turning once for medium-rare. Serve sliced with relish on the side.
Cathy got this recipe from the Canadian branch of the American Peanut Council.