Sunday, July 27, 2014

Crockpot Cajun Boiled Peanuts

Cajun boiled peanuts

     I was at home enjoying a cold beer after a long week at work when I got to thinking, what snack goes best with beer?  Peanuts.  Not just regular peanuts though, Cajun boiled peanuts!  The kind found at roadside stands, hole in the wall gas stations, and sporting events throughout the southeast United States.  My favorite Boiled P-Nut stand is located across the street from the Eagle's Nest bar on SR-44 in Samsula, FL on the way in to New Smyrna Beach. I have friends & family that will drive an hour just to get some Cajun Boiled P-Nuts from this place because they are so good. The only problem is, this boiled p-nut stand is only open on weekends. The solution, learn how to make Cajun boiled peanuts at home in your crockpot. Here is my secret crockpot Cajun boiled peanut recipe-

raw peanuts for making boiled p-nuts
2 lbs of raw peanuts
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup crushed red pepper flakes
1 oz. concentrated liquid shrimp & crab boil
4 jalapeno peppers (seeds in, sliced into thick rings)
1/2 an onion (quartered)
2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 Tbsp. black pepper
cut broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower (optional)*

     When you go shopping for peanuts to make boiled peanuts at home, you may have some options. You'll need to buy peanuts in the shell, but make sure they are NOT the dry roasted & salted peanuts that you would find at a baseball game. Your looking for RAW peanuts in the shell. If you happen to live in the southeast United States during the summertime, you might see green peanuts. While some people only use green peanuts to make boiled peanuts, I don't care for them. They are tiny, and just not that available. I purchase Raw Jumbo Virginia Peanuts. Yes, they are a little more work to make boiled peanuts from, but the final product is worth it. I buy my peanuts from my local produce market, but I have also seen them for sale in Publix, Walmart, and Winn-Dixie in the produce section.

soaking raw peanutsjalapeno rings     After gathering all of your ingredients, you will need to wash your peanuts because nobody likes dirty nuts. Peanuts grow in the dirt, and need to be soaked in a big bowl of water to knock the dirt off. Change the water a few times during this process. Depending on how fresh your peanuts are, they may have a very low water content. Soaking your nuts will help to re-hydrate them some. I let my peanuts soak overnight. You can skip this step, but your cooking time will be increased.

Jumbo Virginia Peanuts

Shrimp & Crab Boilboiled peanut brine     Now, pull out your crockpot. I use a 5 quart pot. It holds 2 pounds of peanuts. If you wanted to make 10 pounds of boiled peanuts for a BBQ, a bonfire, or in my case a family gathering at the beach, you can adjust my recipe, and use an outdoor propane cooker. Fill your pot about 1/4 full with water, and add 1/2 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of crushed red pepper flakes, 4 jalapeno peppers (sliced  into rings, leave the seeds in), 1/2 of an onion (quartered), 2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper, 1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 1/2 Tbsp. onion powder, 1/2 Tbsp. black pepper. Crank your crockpot to "High", and stir to dissolve seasonings. This couldn't be a secret recipe without a secret ingredient. The secret ingredient I use to give these Cajun boiled peanuts a kick is Zatarain's Concentrated Liquid Shrimp & Crab Boil. The keyword here is "concentrated". This stuff has a kick! Unlike the dry seasoning, you'll only need to add 1 - 1.5 ounces of the liquid shrimp & crab boil to your water.

crock pot boiled peanuts

     Add your raw peanuts to the pot, and fill with water to float the peanuts.  The peanuts will float for the first few hours of cooking. I like to place a small plate on top to keep the peanuts down in the water.  Put the lid on your crockpot. If you have a hole in the lid, plug it with a small piece of paper towel. Let the peanuts boil on high for 24 hours. You will need to add warm water a few times during the boil to keep the water level up. After 24 hours has passed, sample one of your boiled peanuts. It should be soft, but not mushy. Once your boiled peanuts have reached the desired texture, remove the lid, kill the heat, and let them soak in the brine until the boiled peanuts reach your desired level of heat / saltiness. If you want to kick it up another notch, try adding cut broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower during the soak time for a spicy Cajun veggie treat!

Cajun Boiled P-Nuts

     Enjoy your fresh hot & spicy Cajun Boiled P-Nuts with your favorite beer! If you have any leftover boiled peanuts, refrigerate them in a freezer bag for up to 1 week. Leftovers can be warmed up in a bowl of water in the microwave. If your making boiled peanuts for young children or people not fond of spicy foods you can omit the spices, and boil your peanuts with 1/2 cup of salt in the water for plain boiled peanuts.

     Now crank up those crockpots, and get to boiling some Cajun Boiled Peanuts!  Then come back here, and let me know how they turned out. 

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Red Snapper Fishing out of Port Canaveral

Sunrise at Port Canaveral
     Last Friday, I hit the water with some friends for the opening day of Atlantic Red Snapper season. During the 2 1/2 weekend season in July this year the government was kind enough to let us keep ONE "endangered / over-fished" Atlantic Red Snapper per person, no size limit, for purpose of gathering data from the carcasses back at the dock. After loading the boat up with gear, ice, frozen squid & sardines, and beer, we launched from Sunrise Marina at Port Canaveral as the sun was coming up. After a quick stop to catch some live bait, we headed out for our target fish, Red Snapper. We fished, caught fish, laughed, drank some beer, and had a great time! I brought the GoPro along to document our trip. Check out the HD video on YouTube- 

... There was no shortage of Red Snapper.  ;)

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We caught our limit...

Atlantic Red Snapper

Back at Sunrise Marina feeling sore, tired, and hungry, we cleaned our catch, and headed home.

Red Snapper limit

Saturday night, I made lemon pepper baked red snapper with roasted green beans & red potatoes for the Wife & I for dinner. 

If you have any good Red Snapper recipes, please send them my way. I have another big fillet in the freezer, as well as some scraps that I plan to use to make fish soup out of. 

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

SCUBA Diving the Blue Heron Bridge (west site)

Earlier this week, I dove the Blue Heron Bridge west site. The Blue Heron Bridge was named #1 on SportDiver Magazine's Planet’s 50 greatest dives! For more information on SCUBA diving the Blue Heron Bridge, refer to my old post from two years ago: SCUBA Diving the Blue Heron Bridge.

During our dive we saw all the usual snapper, grouper, flounder, lobster, eels, crabs & tropical fish as well as some very rare creatures like batfish, banded coral shrimp, arrow crabs & stone fish. The Blue Heron Bridge is an underwater macro photographers dream. We took a GoPro Hero 3 camera for video, and a Sony Cybershot 14 megapixel camera with housing for still shots... And now for the video. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

SCUBA Diving with Nurse Sharks!

I had the opportunity to go SCUBA diving with nurse sharks last weekend.  It was a shore dive in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, FL with a max depth of less than 15 ft, located near the Anglin's Fishing Pier just 1 block south of Commercial Blvd. Parking is limited, and cost $1.50/hour. A dive flag is required for divers & snorkelers.  If you need to rent gear or get air fills, I recommend Gold Coast SCUBA. They are friendly & very knowledgeable.

As we were unloading our gear, I talked to a diver that was just coming out of the water. She told me they didn't see much. I asked about sharks, and was told their group didn't see even one... That was not the case for our group. We saw about 10 nurse sharks, and I was able to get some great footage on my GoPro. Here is the video (watch it in Full Screen HD). Enjoy!

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Keep an eye out for my next post: SCUBA Diving the Blue Heron Bridge (west site)

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