Tuesday, January 24, 2012

National Peanut Butter Day. 

I think this day could be better than Christmas Day, or maybe I'm just as excited about Christmas as I am about PB day. Last time I was asked (about 2 months ago) what my favorite food was, I blurted out "peanut butter!" and I think thats about right. But I do everything in phases--I'll be super into something then over it no time. For the last 6 months or so, I've been diggin' some dubstep, namely Bassnectar. His stuff is AHHHHMAZING. To me at least. But not long before that I was really into A Fine Frenzy, Fiona Apple, Sara Bareilles, etc. They're all still great artists but I just can't jam like I used to with them.

Enough about music though. This blog is about FOOD. The ONLY thing that I have always loved and I don't think that'll ever change. 

I am so thankful for Twitter for so many reasons, but today I am thankful for Twitter because it told me multiple times that today was National Peanut Butter Day. To celebrate, I made chocolate oatmeal for breakfast and topped with a nice glob of PB. Probably the most decedent bowl of oatmeal I make. I mean obviously, I would prefer a Reece's Cup for breakfast but this is a great alternative. No pictures of this bowl but I'll follow with a recipe to make up for it. 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal
((1 serving))

1 cup coconut milk (or other milk)
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 banana
1 T peanut butter

1. Soak oatmeal in milk + cocoa powder overnight. Shake vigorously in a mason jar to incorporate cocoa powder into milk. This step just makes it quicker to cook in the morning and is not otherwise necessary.
2. Mash half of the banana and slice the other half.
3. Mix mashed banana into oatmeal in saucepan and boil for about 3-5 minutes.
4. Scoop into bowl and top with peanut butter first (so it melts!) and sliced banana. 

And then while I was at work today I left this to cook in my crock pot for 8 hours. 

Garbanzo Bean and Chicken Stew
((4 servings)

1-28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 C roasted red bell peppers
3 C vegetable broth
1 C dry garbanzo beans (or 2-15 oz cans)
2-3 cloves garlic
1 heaping T cumin seed or 1 T ground cumin
1 t chili flake
2 t salt
2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed or shredded
Optional toppings: sour cream, cilantro, crumbled tortilla chips

1. Soak beans in water overnight or for 8 hours. Rinse and set aside.
2. Chop garlic cloves in food processor. Add tomatoes and red bell peppers and pulse until desired consistency.
3. Use mortar and pestle to crush cumin seed, salt and chili flakes.
4. Add all ingredients except cooked chicken to crock pot and set to low for 8 hours.
5. About 15 minutes before serving, stir in chicken to warm through.
6. Add dollop of sour cream and other toppings, if desired. 

And since I never let food go to waste, I had these little babies on the verge of going bad. Yes, these are brussel sprouts, but they are certainly not the ones mom made for us as kids. They really can be good. I promise. 

First of all, they can go from this:

To this very easily:

And like Anne Burrell likes to say, "brown food tastes good."
The above photo shows what happens to sugars when they are exposed to high heat. This browning is called caramelization and as Jennifer knows, there's nothing more annoying than someone referring to a charred steak as "caramelized". More on this topic another time. 

And maybe the sound of a spiced stew with a side of brussel sprouts sounds strange. That's because it is. But like I said, they were going to go bad so I had to cook them. Travesty. 

Pan Sauteed Brussel Sprouts
((1 serving))

10-12 brussel sprouts
1 t coconut oil
s + p

1. On medium-low heat, melt coconut oil.
2. Slice the sprouts in half, cutting through the core so the leaves stay together.
3. Place cut side down for about 5-8 minutes, depending on the level of brown you're going for.
4. Sprinkle with some s + p to taste.
5. Flip with tongs and cook for another 3-4 to desired tenderness.
6. Serve and enjoy.

Coconut oil is a must for this recipe. It may sound strange, but it tastes fantastic and can be found at Trader Joe's and other stores, I'm sure. But I just know for sure its at TJ's.

To pay tribute to my favorite day of the year so far, here are a couple tasty links all about peanut butter:

Reginald's is a local nut butter manufacturer. And if I'm not mistaken, he started (or still is) producing in a small home-based kitchen. And even better than that, he is local! I just love that such a small business here in Richmond, VA is doing so well. His products are so innovative and tasty!

This peanut butter noodle dish sounds so good. 

And this peanut butter ice cream is so tasty, and dairy free! That is, if you really like banana.


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