Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Homemade Peanut Butter

Oh, my goodness.  This is SO-O-O GOOD!  I can't believe it took me all these years to make my own peanut butter, because it is so easy and SO DELICIOUS!  The peanut butter manufacturers shouldn't even be in business.  I was raised on supermarket peanut butter.  I bought supermarket peanut butter most of the time I was raising my kids, who are now all teenagers.  Every once in a while I would buy all-natural peanut butter, the health food store kind, but people in my family really don't like it as much as JIF.  Then there was that salmonella scare a year or so ago, when people were dying from the peanut butter they ate.  JIF was not one of the dangerous brands, so we were safe, but it made me think about the whole issue of where and under what conditions our processed foods are processed.  Most recently, I have been buying organic peanut butter from Trader Joe's.  I gave some to one of my kid yesterday in his lunch for school and he said it didn't taste good and he begged me to give him Jif, the peanut butter from his childhood!  He said he liked the sweetness.  Well, I had a bag of roasted, unsalted peanuts in my pantry that I bought about a month ago after reading somewhere that peanut butter was easy to make yourself and that even the store-made natural peanut butter you can buy in health food stores is sometimes gross because they aren't always meticulous about cleaning the machines they use.  I had been planning to try making my own peanut butter at some point, but just hadn't gotten around to it.  So I thought, this morning as I was making my son's lunch, I might as well try making a small batch of my own peanut butter to see how it turns out.  I figured I could make it a little sweet, using local honey.  And I can't even believe how quick, easy and delicious it turned out.  I will never buy peanut butter again.  I put a few pinches of some "vanilla bourbon infused sea salt" in this.  If you happen to have some of this, try it!  Otherwise, use plain sea salt.  The vanilla bourbon infused sea salt is coarse, which I think creates a nice sensation on your tongue because you get this burst of saltiness mixed in with the sweetness.  I also used some fine sea salt in this, so you might want to try all coarse sea salt if you have it, or a mix of the two textures.  Taste it with your finger after you process it, and adjust the saltiness or sweetness to your own taste before you transfer it to a container for storage.  This recipe just makes a small amount, which should not last very long, so you don't need to worry about perishability.  And making something from scratch instead of buying a processed product is greener eating, if you think about all the natural resources required to operate the plant where they make the peanut butter.  It is probably more economical, too, though I must say I have not analyzed the cost difference.

1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1-2 TBS peanut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
a little more than 1 tsp honey

Blend all in a food processor.

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