Yes – it’s beyond true. I am obsessed with the stuff. I’ve even given it up for Lent (a whole 40 days) and, of course, I slipped a few times. With my love of the scrumptious food group, I mean condiment, I could not resist posting this article from the NYTimes. I’ve also listed my top 5 ways of enjoying pb!
PeanutButterandKelly’s favorite ways of chowing down pb:
1. A spoonful in my Old Fashion cooked oatmeal
2. On a Wasa cracker (these crackers are fab and diabetic friendly)
3. Smothered on a high fiber wrap with a few raisins
4. In my Kelly Kookies (I will have to blog about these healthy and sexy cookies in the near future)
5. Off a spoon! (Oops am I allowed to say that publically?!)
ADORED in the United States, ignored or mocked almost everywhere else, peanut butter is among the most flavorful and reliable single-ingredient processed foods.
Skip to next paragraphI say “single ingredient” because salt is not normally counted as an ingredient, and great peanut butter contains just peanuts and salt. That’s the way brands labeled “natural” or “organic” are, as well as peanut butter you grind yourself in a health food store or at home. Let’s not talk about peanut butter that contains sugar, hydrogenated fat or chemicals: it’s not worthy of either the name or our attention.
Peanut butter’s most common use — as a mere partner in a pedestrian white bread and jelly sandwich — is, to some of us, uninspired. (On whole wheat bread with ginger or lemon preserves, or with a bit of sriracha, now you’re talking.) Yet cookies made with peanut butter seem to improve annually, especially as we learn to appreciate salty desserts. The peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich cookie recipe here was inspired by a nearly savory PBJ dessert at Momofuku Ssam Bar a couple of years ago.
But otherwise, why is this wonderful food with so many admirers — me among them — so underused?
There have been some small steps in discovering the possibilities of peanut butter. For example, home cooks have learned that it is an easy-to-find substitute for tahini (sesame seed paste) in some dishes, which can result in quick meals like cold noodles with peanut butter sauce and hummus and baba ghanouj made with peanut butter.
And my own explorations of the last few decades affirm that peanut butter is a natural in curries, stir-fries and noodle dishes, like the shrimp recipe here.
Experimentation can yield good things. Last winter I began stirring peanut butter into oatmeal; weird, maybe, but good. I also put it in stewed lentils and vegetables (dal) with curry powder, which may not be traditional, but it felt as if it could be. This dish is a revelation: cook lentils or beans and whatever vegetables you like along with ginger and garlic, then simmer curry powder or a similar spice blend in some butter until golden, stir in a glob of peanut butter, and mix that into the dal. Wonderful.
Still, for an ingredient that is both powerful and lovable, I feel there must be more, though I’m not quite sure where to find it. When I appealed to readers of my blog, Bitten (nytimes.com/bitten), for ideas, I quickly got a small flood, and some of them were uncommon, intriguing and appealing.
They included smearing peanut butter on a wedge of raw white cabbage or a pork burger, roasting peanut-butter-stuffed jalapeños, and whipping up a simple satay-like sauce of peanut butter, soy sauce, orange marmalade and red pepper flakes. More ideas are on the blog; I’ve summarized some of what I think are the best.
And yet. And yet. Despite these explorations and suggestions, I long for something else: unrealistic as it may seem, the peanut butter main course. I recognize it’s not the new roast chicken, but peanut butter has been so lightly regarded for so long that I think its best days may lie ahead.