Today’s blog post is brought to you in honor of Special Corespondent Yaelle, Peanut Butter, and the letter J.
I have an entire jar of uneaten peanut butter whose expiration date is today. It occurred to me that today might be the first time I bake in my apartment; after almost 2.5 years, I couldn’t hold out forever. You’ll be happy to know that your blog was the first place I decided to look for peanut butter baking recipes. I knew you’d have peanut buttery stuff. I was right–and I was so tempted by your “no bake” peanut butter-chocolate-oat dessert recipe…alas, I think I will have to bake my peanut butter so it doesn’t go bad. Onwards I turn, thinking of you, my fine friend.
There are days when I have no food in my pantry. Those are terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days. Both of them. The only times I’m completely at a loss are the day before Peasch and the day after. Or rather, those used to be the days when I scrounged for food or went to bed hungry. Then, last year, I found a solution. The solution is:
Spicy Peanut Butter Rice & Beans
2 c rice, cooked [this year I was out of rice and used barley. It turns out that barley requires less water to cook than rice. I made it work – by dumping out the excess water after the grains had plumped up and then leaving the pot on the burner for another 10 minutes to burn off the excess liquid. Or rather, that was my intent. I forgot about it and had to scrap the pot a bit about leaving the grain on for another 25 minutes.]
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
8 oz spinach [frozen is all I’ve got right now]
3 tbsp chunky peanut butter
1 – 3 tsp chili powers [to taste]
sprinkling of red pepper flakes
Cook the rice, or what every carbohydrate you have left in your pantry. Separately, in a pan, melt the peanut butter with the frozen spinach, till the spinach is defrosted and the peanut butter evenly incorporated. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Serve together. It might be excellent with hot sauce, but you’d have to have some in your pantry to enjoy it. Some of us are still working on stocking up the basics.
I realize that this is way more food than most people have when their pantry is empty. If you’re more like the rest of the world than I am, I recommend buying cereal and milk and waiting for the next day. Minimally nutritious and completely delicious.
“It came out like out like it was a mix,” is the highest form of praise my family can offer. Nothing any of us makes turns out like it’s from a mix. Because none of us are capable of following a recipe.
My sister tried make latkes with her roommates. They removed her from frying-pan duty when she refused to put in the cup of oil they insisted was necessary for frying the potato pancakes to a crisp. She wasn’t capable of using that much oil – regardless of its hydrogenation. I wouldn’t have been able to do it either – which is why Special Correspondent Ellen was always in charge of making latkes while I took care of eating them.
My inability to follow cooking directions – my wanton disregard for using the mandated ingredients, my inability to use copious amounts of sugar – is well documented. Such as here, here, and here.
All of this came from some where. Rather, someone. My mom. Mom is a firm believer that recipes are meant as suggestions rather than instructions. This means that we’re asked, on a regular basis, why something mom made came out differently than it did when someone else made it. Such as the time she made Ellen’s Chicken Oreganata – chicken breaded with an oregano-based coating – and didn’t use breading and replaced the oregano with rosemary. It came out differently – but still good! Because, my mom explained, Ellen had provided such an excellent recipe. This ability to make something new out of something else also means that we’re never at a loss for new dishes. This is one such dish – with mom’s comments included. I made it too – added in 2 zuchinnis, replaced the vegetable stock with a quarter of that amount in black bean soup, made a few other tweaks. It came out great. Make it for yourself – any which way – and you’ll see that it’s a recipe that really can’t be beat.
AFRICAN GROUNDNUT STEW
6 servings Prep.: 30–40 mins.
2 T. (peanut) oil -I used olive or canola 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes -sometimes I chop into smaller pcs.
3 c. diced red onion – I used yellow, < 3 c. 4 c. veg. stock
2 cloves minced garlic 3/4 c. peanut butter -I used almond butter, and less.
3 T. minced ginger -I put a chunk in a coffee filter closed w/ twist tie to not overwhelm diners.
1/2–1 t. cayenne pepper -I used less 3/4 c. roasted peanut halves -I used 1/2 c.
1/2 t. cinnamon 1 c. chopped fresh spinach -I used arugula, can use > 1 c.
pinch salt and blk. pepper 3 c. diced sweet potato, 1/2 inch cubes -I used mostly butternut
Heat oil in lg. pot over med./high heat; add onion and saute 5 mins., then add sw. potato/squash, garlic, ginger, and spices and cook about 3 mins. Add diced tomatoes and stock, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, 15 mins. or until the potatoes/squash are soft. Stir in the peanut butter, peanuts, and spinach, season w/ salt and pepper, simmer to desired thickness and serve.
Suggestions: serve over rice or grain of choice. I added tempeh. For more ‘kick’: Harissa or sriracha sauce. Hotcha.
It was a long morning.
A hard afternoon.
Followed by a difficult evening.
The night ended with me sitting on the kitchen floor. Eating peanut butter from the jar. Listening to Kung Fu Fighting.
There’s nothing better.
Unless you have multiple versions of Kung Fu Fighting.