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In the Kitchen: Peanut, peanut butter recipes
peanuts

As I told you last week, when we explored the history of rice and then I shared some favorite rice recipes, I absolutely love food history. I thought it would be fun to look into our state crop — peanuts! 

Let me be clear about peanut butter. It should have one ingredient in it: Peanuts. Maybe salt. Peanut butter should not have sugar and other additives.

So, remember what I always tell my readers — be a label sleuth. 

My current favorite peanut butter brand is Santa Cruz Organic. You can find it in most grocery stores. It’s so flavorful and delicious. I love both the creamy and the crunchy varieties. Now let’s get cooking.

 •    •    •

Do you love a peanut dressing on an Asian salad or on noodles? I do! 

While there are many out there already in bottles, guess what? Yep. Most are loaded with additives and preservatives. 

Since making peanut dressing is simple to make using fresh, quality ingredients, just haul out your blender and make your own. 

I promise once you taste the homemade version, you will never go back to the store-bought kind. It is fantastic as a salad dressing, but is also yummy on cooked pasta. I like it hot, warm or cold. 

Honestly, you could put this dressing on cardboard and it would probably be delicious. Enjoy!

 

Thai crunchy salad with peanut dressing

Peanut dressing:

½ cup best quality creamy peanut butter

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

4 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice

5 tablespoons avocado oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce (more to taste)

4 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons fresh-grated ginger

1 tablespoon jalapeno, seeded and minced

 

Salad:

4 cups favorite lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces

2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced

2 carrots, carrots

1 cup edamame pods, cooked

½ cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

2 green onions, sliced

1 cup cilantro, chopped

 

Wonton chips:

20 wonton wrappers, cut into small squares

½ cup avocado oil

Sea salt

 

For the salad, in a large bowl, toss together lettuce, cabbage, carrots, edamame, cucumber, green onions and cilantro. 

For the dressing, in a blender, add peanut butter, rice vinegar, lime juice, avocado oil, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and jalapeno and blend until very smooth. 

For the wonton chips, in a non-stick skillet, heat avocado oil until hot, but not smoking. Quickly fry wonton squares in hot oil in batches being careful not to burn them. 

Remove to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with a little sea salt.

To assemble salad, pour dressing over salad and toss well. Top with wonton chips and serve.

 •    •    •

Making boiled peanuts yourself is easy — especially if you use a slow cooker. I have made these on the stove top before, so you can do it that way too. Just make sure you monitor them on the stove because you will have to add water as the peanuts cook.


Paul’s famous boiled peanuts

2 bags of raw peanuts

1 bottle of beer

Sea salt to make the water taste salty

1 teaspoon cayenne (more if you want them to be really spicy)

 

If using slow cooker, add peanuts, beer, sea salt and cayenne and enough water to cover the peanuts. Stir to dissolve the salt. Cook on low 12 hours. Add more water if necessary. 

If cooking on the stove top, you will need to monitor while cooking all day and add water as needed — and it will be needed. Taste the water and make sure it is salty, adding more salt as needed. You can also add more cayenne if you want them spicier.

If your children or grandchildren like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, they are going to go crazy for this treat!

 •    •     •

Peanut butter and jelly French toast

 ¼ cup peanut butter

2 tablespoons apple butter (plus more for dipping)

4 slices bread

2 tablespoons butter

1 egg

¼ cup milk

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Powdered sugar

 

Spread peanut butter and apple butter on bread, as if making a sandwich. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. 

In a bowl, whisk together egg, milk, cinnamon and salt together. Dip both sides of the sandwich in mixture and then fry 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. 

Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining butter and sandwich. Slice on an angle and serve with more apple butter for dipping.

•    •    •

This is a great side dish or add some grilled chicken or shrimp and it is the perfect main dish. 

You can use any kind of noodle, but my favorite is soba, noodles made with buckwheat flour. Make sure you rinse the noodles in cold water after cooking to stop the cooking process and keep them from sticking together.

 

Cold Asian noodle salad with spicy peanut sauce

1 package noodles, my favorite ones to use are soba noodles

1 European cucumber, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and grated

1 cup green onions, sliced

1 cup cilantro, chopped

2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced


Sauce:

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce

½ cup creamy peanut butter

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

2 tablespoons water

 

Cook noodles according to package directions and then drain and rinse in cold water. Drain well. 

In a large bowl, toss together drained noodles, cucumber, grated carrots, green onions, cilantro and cabbage. 

For the sauce, combine rice vinegar, soy sauce, peanut butter, ginger, water, honey and crushed red pepper flakes in a blender. Blend until very smooth. 

Toss sauce with noodle salad and then cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. 

Before serving, top with peanuts, lime juice, and cilantro garnishes.