Peanut Butter

I started making my own peanut butter because there were limited options for natural peanut butter at the grocery store, and I realized it would be cheaper.  Other benefits are that you don’t have to stir the peanut butter and it is tastier.

I avoid “fake” peanut butter at all costs (the unnatural kinds at the grocery store that are full of hydrogenated oils so you don’t have to stir them, JIF) these are full of sugar and all sorts of non-peanut ingredients that do who knows what to you body (no one knows because there are no long-term studies on the effects of the build up of food additives).  I also avoid “natural” peanut butter that you don’t have to stir, they had to add something to keep it from separating.

Look for raw bulk peanuts at a grocery store near you, I get mine from Natural Grocers for something like $1.76 a pound.  You can also buy unsalted roasted peanuts, and skip the roasting step.  I once bought shelled peanuts and it was not worth it, to shell all those peanuts took forever I think an entire day.

I don’t understand why most peanut butter recipes call for additional peanut oil, if you process long enough you don’t need it.

What you need:

A food processor

at least a lb of raw peanuts (makes a normal sized jar of PB)

Listen to this while you work:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Spread the peanuts out on baking sheets (try to keep them in a single layer)

Roast the peanuts for 15 min, shaking the pans and mixing the peanuts around every 5 min. until the peanuts are golden brown.

Be careful not to over cook, just a few burnt peanuts will alter the peanut butter to have a smoky taste (which can be tasty, but too much burntness causes bitterness).

Let the peanuts cool.

Then put in the big bowl of a food processor.

Pulse a few times until you have small bits of peanuts.  Remove about a 1/4 cup of peanuts now if you want chunky peanut butter.

Continue to process until the peanuts are almost a liquid consistency (about 5 min) it will sound like liquid as well.  Stir in peanut bits for chunky.

Put into a jar, and put in the fridge.

You can make all sorts of nut butters this way, just make sure to roast them, keeping an eye on the nuts so you don’t burn em.  My favorite is nut butter is cashew butter.  I always make a batch of this as well, and sometimes mix it with the peanut butter in recipes.

Coming soon…

I will be experimenting with processing almonds to make almond flour.

A higher protein lower carb and gluten free alternative to flour.

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Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

I usually eat this about once a week, it is one of my easy go to meals.  It is also good for when you only have a small amount of peanut butter left in a jar.  I make my own peanut butter and reuse the jars so when there is only about 2 tbsp left, I add about a 1/4 cup of warm water to the jar and shake it up.  You can leave this in the refrigerator during the day and continue shaking to dislodge more peanut butter and make a peanut butter liquid, this makes the jar a lot easier to clean.

I usually don’t use a recipe to make this.  I just stir fry some veggies and add all the ingredients in various amounts until I think it tastes good.  Some days I prefer it spicier, so add more red pepper, some times sweeter, so I add more sugar, some days I like a lot of soy sauce.  Usually for stir fry I like to use broccoli, onion, carrot, peas, mushrooms, and shredded cabbage.  I try to use local and sustainable ingredients, but I usually keep a frozen stir fry vegetable mix in my freezer for low food level emergencies.  These veggies can be eaten alone or for a heartier meal, you can cook up some linguine or asian noodles and add them.

STIR FRY WITH PEANUT SAUCE

listen to this while you cook (kung fu panda’s dad owned a noodle shop):

Stir Fry Veggies (cut into bite size pieces)

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp cooking oil

2 large spoonfuls of peanut butter

3 tbsp soy sauce

¼ cup water

½ tsp ginger

½ tsp crushed red pepper

2 tsp brown sugar

black pepper to taste

Pour the oil into a wok, or large skillet and set the heat to med-high.

Allow the oil to get quite hot (make sure your stove fan is on) and add the crushed garlic and veggies.  Stir constantly until the veggies are cooked, (still crisp but can be poked with a forked, slightly charred looking.)

Remove to a cool burner.  Pour in the peanut butter liquid or add the peanut butter and water.  Add the rest of the ingredients.

Cook over med heat, stir to combine.

(add cooked noodles if you are using and mix well)

continue to cook until thick and bubbly/desired consistency (the nice thing about this recipe is if you add too much liquid, you can just continue heating until it is thick again, if it is too thick just add more water or soy sauce.)

Taste and add more ingredients to your liking.

Enjoy!

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Pizza Dough

Growing up we always had (and my parents still have) homemade pizza on Friday nights for dinner.  I eat pizza less now because I can’t handle all that mozzarella, but I still love it.

This is the recipe we all use for our pizza dough, it is from a Pizza recipe book my parents have, but i regret that I do not remember the name of the book.  The recipe can be varied to make it a whole wheat or cornmeal crust, but the basic steps are the same.  My little sister is always in charge of making the dough, and she always makes it best ( I still don’t know her secret, perhaps just a lot of practice)

My standard is a white pizza with an olive oil and garlic base, shredded mozzarella, broccoli, spinach, onion, mushrooms and feta.  Sometimes I throw on some pineapple chunks.  I think everyone’s all time favorite is pesto pizza.  Once I replaced the mushrooms on my standard pizza with some sauerkraut, I only put it on a small section because I was worried it might be a mistake, it was surprisingly DELICIOUS, ive gotta do that one again sometime.

BASIC PIZZA DOUGH

Listen to this while your making it, and sing along

1 tbsp granulated sugar

1 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees, warm to the finger, NOT hot)

1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast

3 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix the granulated sugar in the water, stir in the yeast and let it sit.

Add 3 cups of the flour and the salt to the bowl of a food processor, and give it a whirl to mix.

Your yeast mixture should have some foam on top by now.  This is how you know the yeast is active.  If there is no foam, pour  it out and try again.  If there is foam you are good to go.  Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture.

Turn on the food processor and pour in the liquids.

Keep mixing until the dough forms into a big ball.

Turn off the processor and pinch the dough, if it is sticky add the rest of the flour, if it is dry add water a tbsp at a time until it is smooth and not sticky.  (Water and flour amounts may vary by time of year and climate)

You can continue to process the dough for 2 more min (what I normally do) or knead the dough by hand for 2 min on a floured surface.

Pour about 3 tbsp olive oil into a large bowl.  Form the dough into a bowl and roll in the oil.  Rub the dough around the bowl to grease the sides.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm place ( the oven with the light on).

Let the dough sit and rise, until double in size (a few hours).

Punch down the dough, roll it out, and top with your favorite toppings.

Bake in the oven at 450 degrees until the cheese bubbles.

You can also cook pizza outside on the grill.  Cooking on the pizza stone yields a nice crisp crust.

 

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Peanut Butter Pizza

One day I was browsing the internet for more savory peanut butter recipes, I came across several entries for peanut butter grilled cheese sandwiches. This inspired me to try to make a peanut butter pizza.

I decided to start small-scale in case it was a flop.  Had some pita bread lying around so I spread some peanut butter on two small ones, crushed some garlic on top and spread that around, then topped that off with some shredded Colby jack cheese (the only cheese on hand). I stuck them on a pizza screen and into  a 425 degree oven until the cheese started to bubble.

I am not gonna lie, this was not the most tasty lunch.  There was too much peanut butter and not enough cheese.  The peanut butter was too sweet and overpowering, and the cheese was too mild.

Round 2:

Today I decided to give the peanut butter pizza another try for lunch.

I again used two small pita pieces.  However this time I decided to make some of my stir fry veggies with peanut sauce, I left out the sugar to cut back on the sweetness of the PB (I have a suspicion that last attempt I accidentally used cashew butter instead of PB, which would explain why it was so sweet.)

I mixed the veggies with some of the shredded colby cheese (still the only cheese on hand), then I spread some of the veggies, cheese, peanut sauce combo on top of the pitas, sprinkled on some crushed red pepper, and a little bit more cheese.  I again baked this in a 425 degree oven till the cheese bubbled.

Result= much better lunch, DELISH!   I will definitely attempt a peanut butter pizza like this on a larger scale (normal pizza dough) in the future.  I would probably add a little sprinkling of feta cheese on top of the Colby to add a bit sharper cheese flavor.

PEANUT BUTTER PIZZA RECIPE

Listen to this song while you cooking: The Marathons “Peanut Butter”

1 recipe Pizza Dough (or some Pita Bread)

1 recipe Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

red pepper flakes (optional)

1 block Colby Jack cheese

1/4 cup feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees

2.  Roll out pizza dough

3. Mix half the Colby Cheese with the stir fry.

4.  Spread a thin layer of this mixture on top of the dough, sprinkle on the red pepper, the rest of the cheese, and the feta.

5. Bake until the cheese is bubbly.

ENJOY!

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Hello world!

Hey guys!

I created this blog so I could keep track of all my recipes and to share my cooking adventures with all my friends.

I had knee surgery over Christmas break (A skateboarding accident left me and my right knee unhappy with the unhappy triad.)  Anyways since surgery my lifestyle has changed drastically, I hate sitting down, and now I am forced to sit all day (so now I have plenty of time to write this blog).  I have changed my diet to accommodate all of the healing processes currently going on in my body and to adjust to my lower activity level.  I have been focusing on eating a lot of protein (the building blocks of muscle) while lowering my total dietary intake and especially my carbohydrate intake (since I do very little activity I don’t need as much carbs).  I have also been trying to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) and to decrease my caffeine intake (affects mineral absorption).

I am a vegetarian so getting a lot of protein is a little bit more difficult, I am also slightly lactose intolerant so I don’t eat a ton of cheese, or drink a lot of milk, but I do eat yogurt.  I have always loved peanut butter, my entire family does, but now I have become somewhat obsessed with peanut butter.  This blog is called the peanut butter problem because I realized one day that I had eaten peanut butter in various forms for every meal (I have tried to cut back to a maximum of two peanut butter meals a day).

ENJOY!

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