Tag Archives: peanut butter

What the cucumber?

14 Aug

As of the beginning-ish of May, Paul and I have lived in an apartment complex here in New Hampshire. It’s a nice place, a little small, but very quiet and full of nice people. One of the perks of this place is the garden plots.

We were able to snatch one up upon moving in, and have been tending to a good sized plot of dirt, trying to grow things. Our pole beans seem to be positioned in just the right spot that they are doing very well, but our cucumber plants (that we were sure would die shortly after planting) have been doing great! We put in a bush variety, not ever hearing of a cucumber bush. Sure enough, we needed to trellis them. But anyway, our first cucumber looked like a lemon!

What the heck, cucumber?!

Upon slicing, we found that it looked more like a cucumber inside. And it tasted good, as have the subsequent cucumbers that look more like cucumbers than lemons.

Last week, I found out how easy it is to make your own nut butter. I’ve been on a long search, trying to find the best natural peanut butter (I think I found it – Once Again Crunchy, no salt, opinions?), but I had a feeling I was missing something. So I headed out to my co-op to buy a pound of almonds. I went with the dry roasted, no salt almonds, instead of raw. I could have roasted them in my oven, but I was feeling lazy and didn’t know how this was going to pan out.

After less than ten minutes in my food processor (with a pinch of sea salt added), voila! Almond butter! The best I’ve ever had? Indubitably.

I’ve been putting it on everything lately, even just on spoons that go directly into my mouth.

And then I try to justify it with the “you’ve been training so hard for this half marathon you need calories” talk. More on that tomorrow.

Peanut Butter Banana Soy Ice Cream

29 May

I have a deep, dark secret hiding in my freezer.  Not the collection of severed heads, I kind of like showing those off.    No, I have about half a case of the limited edition Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  You know, peanut butter and banana.  I was so excited about these things that my friend Brian bought me an entire case when he first spotted them.

But they didn’t quite live up to my expectations and a case of peanut butter cups is a lot to handle, so I started feeding them to anyone that came over to my apartment.  I chopped them up and put them in brownies.  Anything.  Eventually I forgot they were there, and they pretty much just serve as a ledge to put my frozen veggies on.  Maybe someone will eat them someday.

Peanut butter and banana is one of my favorite combinations.  Peanut butter is one of my favorite things to put in ice cream.  Ice cream is one of my favorite foods, period.

So I thought I’d give the soy ice cream another try.  I would really, really like to get a soy ice cream made that doesn’t turn to a rock in my freezer.  I mean, it’s fine, just let it thaw for a little bit and it’s still creamy and good.  But I really like attacking the ice cream in my freezer at random moments, spoon in hand.  I can’t do that if the ice cream is too hard to eat.

There’s two problems with homemade soy ice cream.  1) You need a high fat content to get it creamy.  Soy cream doesn’t quite have the fatty fatness of heavy cream from cows.  2) When making ice cream, it just gets whirred around in the ice cream maker for a half hour or so.  Any longer and it would probably turn back into ice cream liquid.  So you don’t get a bunch of air mixed in.

So I wanted to use half soy cream and half soy milk, and hoped that the peanut butter would add enough fat to make it creamy enough.  The grocery store near me has stopped carrying soy cream (jerks!), so I had to use all soy milk.  To even things out, I decided to add a couple of teaspoons of canola oil to the mixture.  And I hoped for the best.

Fresh out of my ice cream maker, it had the usual soft serve consistency.  It tasted awesome, but I let it get a little more solid in my freezer.  After a few hours it was firm enough to scoop nicely.  Look!

Holy cow, that’s some nice looking ice cream.  Since I really like peanut butter a lot, I would up the amount to maybe 3/4 cup next time.  The banana overpowered it quite a bit.  It’s not an incredibly sweet ice cream, even though there is a lot of banana.

After a whole day in my freezer, it did turn to a brick.  Less of a brick than other soy ice creams have, but still very hard.  Oh well!  I haven’t had a chance to feed some to anyone yet, but I’m bringing a container of it to Bret’s this weekend so hopefully it wont kill him.

 Okay on with the recipe!

Ingredients!

3 ripe bananas

2 cups soy milk or 1 cup soy milk and 1 cup soy cream or any combination you want, I suppose

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 – 3/4 cup peanut butter

1 Tbsp. vanilla (or less, I don’t think it needed that much)

1 – 2 tsp. canola oil or flax oil (optional, I’m not actually sure it did much)

Directions!

Put your bananas (peeled!) into a blender and blend with the soy milk/cream until there are no chunks left.  At this point you’ll be tempted to drink your banana soy shake, but resist temptation and pour it into a saucepan.

Add the brown sugar and the peanut butter to the saucepan, and heat it over a medium-low heat.  Stir it all up until the peanut butter and sugar dissolve.  Take it off the heat and add the vanilla and the oil if you’re going to use it.  Go ahead and lick the spoon that you’ve been using, because it’s gonna taste real good.

Let the mixture sit until it’s cool, then transfer to a lidded container and stick it in the fridge for a few hours.  Once it’s cold, process it in your ice cream maker.

Eat it right away or let it harden a bit in the freezer.  Once it’s frozen for more than a day, you’ll need to soften it up in the microwave for like 10 – 15 seconds so it’s scoopable. 

– Ellen