Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Goodness Of Peanut Butter


Peanut butter is delicious.  Eeconomical, filling and nutritious, peanut butter is a good source of protein, resveratrol [a substance studies suggest may extend the life of cells], vitamin B3, vitamin E, magnesium, folate and fiber.

Once you develop a taste for pure peanut butter, made with only one ingredient, namely roasted peanuts, it's very addicting.  Many health food stores have peanut butter makers, and just like George Washington Carver, you can grind your own.

Peanut better is scrumptious combined with so many foods, from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich washed down with a cold glass of milk to a ripe banana with a dollop of peanut butter on each and every bite.  Peanut butter is a perfect snack, whether you eat it, as is, off the spoon, or spread on a saltine cracker.  

And of course, you can cook and bake with it.  I like to make a simple peanut sauce to pour over noodles.  Here is my recipe for one large or two regular servings:

Prepare 5 ounces of spaghetti according to the box directions and transfer to a bowl. Under cook it by a minute, and save the salted pasta water.

For the peanut sauce:
1) Pour ½ cup of the salted pasta water into a 10 inch skillet on a stove top, and bring to a boil.
2) While simmering add about 1 ½ tablespoons peanut butter, and stir until smooth.  Update: As Barry (below) reminded me, fresh or dried ginger gives the sauce a nice kick, so sprinkle to taste.
3) Next add 1 tablespoon vinegar to the hot mixture.
4) Season with soy sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds and parsley to taste.  I eyeball the seasonings.  Sometimes I also add sesame oil and a sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce.
5) If the peanut sauce gets dry, add a bit more of the pasta water, but just a little at a time.  You don't want a runny consistency.  
6) When the sauce has thicken, it is done; turn off the heat.  Throw the pasta back in the pan to coat with sauce, then return the noodles to the bowl.  
7) Optional: Top with shredded lettuce, carrots and scallions for crunch.

VoilĂ , you are ready eat!
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Baking with peanut butter is quick and easy too.  My Reese's cup-inspired cookie bars are always a big hit.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Ingredients:
2 cups peanut butter
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
12 ounces chocolate

Directions: 
1. Mix the peanut butter, eggs and sugar together and spread on a cookie sheet.
2. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown 25 - 30 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven and lay the chocolate on top.  I slide the tray back into a warm oven with the heat turned off.  Allow the chocolate to melt, then spread.

3 comments:

  1. This is a FABULOUS posting. On the peanut sauce, I could suggest adding bits of ginger and maybe brown sugar, depending on taste of course.

    For "guilty pleasures" peanut butter mixed with honey is unbeatable. Organic is better- but if you go with organic, you'll need to stir it up thoroughly first.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Barry, the ginger, yes! A little fresh ginger, finely chopped and cooked in the peanut sauce. Delicous!

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