Peanut butter can do more than top your toast | Chef Dez
Last updated 11/2/2016 at Noon
I still remember when I first tasted a peanut butter and banana sandwich as a child. As I chewed, I wondered how many others knew about this phenomenon.
The contrasting flavors of salty nuttiness and the fruity sweetness opened up a whole new world for me.
I then started searching for other ways to indulge my newly established passion for peanut butter spreading a spoonful of it on each bite of an apple was my favorite.
My fascination with peanut butter has matured since then, but I am still finding ways to enjoy this household pantry staple.
It is important to keep in mind, however, the growing number of children and adults with peanut allergies. Always inquire with your guests about any allergies you may not be aware of before planning a menu.
Peanut butter has been in existence for hundreds of years and is a regular food item in over 70 percent of American and Canadian households.
Peanut butter in moderation is a good part of a balanced diet and a source of protein.
Although it contains a large amount of fat, about 80 percent of the fat content is unsaturated. Unsaturated fats have been proven to help reduce levels of LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) without lowering HDL-cholesterol (the good one).
If your focus is on healthier options, however, you are much better off with natural peanut butters where the ingredients are just peanuts.
Peanut butters that are not natural may contain unhealthy artificially produced trans-fats, which have been linked to increases in LDL-cholesterol.
Maybe you’ve tried a peanut butter and banana sandwich, but have you added peanut butter to your sauces and/or dressings?
It serves as a great base in a spicy peanut dressing for your favorite salad or in a peanut sauce for your next stir-fry. There are many recipes available to successfully accomplish these ideas.
For a finishing touch, make sure that the garnish for these dishes include a handful of roasted peanuts.
Here’s another one: For added dimension of flavor in chili, soups and stews, a tablespoon or two of peanut butter is fantastic.
One substitution that always keeps me reaching for the peanut butter, is to replace tahini when making my own hummus.
I love Greek hummus (ground chic pea dip), and it usually requires a sesame paste called tahini. Since I hardly ever have tahini on hand, peanut butter is a wonderful alternative.
It is the same consistency as tahini, and the flavor depth that the peanut butter adds to the recipe is incredible.
In addition, there are many desserts that feature the wonderful taste of peanut butter.
I cannot stress enough to take advantage of the free resources like the library and the internet for an abundant amount of recipes that include peanut butter.
Experimenting in the kitchen is the pathway to creating recipes that you can call your own and take pride in.
Have fun trying these suggestions, but if all else fails, there is still one use that you can rely on: The next time you have a case of the hiccups, swallowing a tablespoon of peanut butter will usually eliminate them.
Dear Chef Dez,
I like buying natural peanut butter for the health aspect of it, but because I have to store it in the refrigerator it is terrible for trying to spread on toast. Any suggestions?
We only buy natural peanut butter, and how we overcome this is simple. We use a toaster oven.
Once the bread has been toasted, we place a serving of peanut butter on each piece and put it back in the warmed oven for about 30 seconds (with the toaster oven off).
Alternatively, if you don't own a toaster oven, just microwave a portion for a few seconds.
The “old school” way would be to plan ahead and leave some out at room temperature before breakfast time hits.
Gordon Desormeaux aka Chef Dez is a chef, writer and host serving the Pacific Northwest. Visit him at http://www.chefdez.com. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, BC V2T 6R4.