It's peanut butter jelly time!
Last week my friend Jerod from LA stayed with me for a night since he was in town for the Maker Faire. Before his arrival he suggested we make something special for the blog: peanut butter and jelly.
Now before you start laughing, let me explain. We weren't simply going to slather some peanut butter and jelly on some bread and call it a day. Ohhhh no siree. We'd make the bread, peanut butter AND jelly entirely from scratch.
Ha!! Whose laughing now?!
The results, I must admit, were fantastico.
Unfortunately I don't really have recipes for the bread or the jam. The recipe for the bread, a wheat bread with bits of whole bulgar wheat, came from The Bread Bible, and Jerod was the master chef in charge of that. Soon I'll try to replicate it on the blog, along with a full recipe, because it was really really delicious. And purty.
The jam- well, there's really no recipe for the jam either. Plus like the bread, Jerod took charge of it. (Thanks for making me do almost next to nothing Jerod!)
Basically what he did was mix a bag of frozen raspberries (~2 cups) + 2 cups sugar (or less to taste) + some pectin. Boil away and cook until it's the consistency you like. (Pectin also gives you recipe suggestions on the back of the box.)
How do you know when it's done? A neat trick that Jerod taught me to figure out when you've reached the right consistency: (1) put a metal spoon in the freezer (2) place a drop of the jam onto the spoon (3) if it's the right consistency you're done. If it's still runny keep boiling. Neat huh??
(Note: There's a million and a half web sites out there that can give you more details about jam making if you're interested. We didn't jar our jam, so you've got to eat relatively soon after making it. If you want long term jammy storage, you've gotta get into the whole canning process.)
But this is a food blog so you guys are probably asking "Where the hell is my recipe, woman?!" Fret not- I have an awesome recipe for homemade peanut butter for you (after the link).
I always buy the all-natural peanut butter from Trader Joes but until last week I'd never made it myself. Let's just say that I'll never be buying peanut butter again. The homemade stuff was SOOOOOO good, and I love that you can adjust the sweetness/saltiness/texture yourself! And start to finish you'll be done in less than 10 minutes (including dish-washing time).
All-natural peanut butter, adapted from Alton Brown
16 oz peanuts*
3 TBSP honey (more or less, to taste)
1 tsp kosher salt, optional
1 1/2 TBSP peanut or veggie oil (not olive oil; you want an oil without a strong flavor)
1. Place the peanuts, salt and honey into the bowl of a food processor and process for 1 minute.
It'll look kinda like this at first...
2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Place the lid back on and continue to process while slowly drizzling in the oil** and process until the mixture is smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. At this point it will look like hummos and will be quite soft.
3. Place the peanut butter in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. You'll want to give it some time in the fridge before using to cool down a bit and harden up to normal consistency.
* Note: I used reduced salt peanuts so I felt it was the perfect amount of saltiness for me and did not add additional salt. If you're starting with unsalted peanuts you may want to add some/all of the salt suggested. But I'd try to avoid fully-salted peanuts because remember: it's always easier to add salt than take it away!
** Note: the oil isn't 100% necessary- you can make the peanut butter without it. However, I think it helps keep the peanut butter at a smoother, easier-to-spread consistency straight from the cold fridge.
Feel free to make any kind of nut butter you like using this basic recipe as a starting point. Almond butter, cashew-macadamia butter, whatever you like. I suspect that some nuts will take more/less oil in the process, so just keep that in mind when making them.