Things have been a little slow in my kitchen this week. My five-month-old son caught a bug and had a fever at the beginning of the week and then was generous enough to share it with me, leaving me feverish as well. So I have spent the past five days or so caring for a sick baby while also trying to take care of myself. I suppose this is yet another one of those motherhood-initiation events.
That said, I have managed to do the odd bit here and there. Beyond throwing together some quick dinners, I have also managed to make oatmeal cookies, peanut butter, and the prune lekvar that I will be needing for this upcoming Tuesdays with Dorie assignment.
Now, why, you might ask, would I bother to make my own peanut butter when I could just buy a container and be done with it? I have one answer for you: texture. My primary criteria for peanut butter these days is that it contain only peanuts and salt (and honey when I get honey roasted peanut butter). However, I also have texture preerences--I like my peanut butter to be smooth, but not to the point of being a liquid. The consistency of natural peanut butter often leaves a lot to be desired. Jarred peanut butter is often very liquidy. Thus, it is spreadable from the fridge, but it also lacks texture. When I lived in Austin, I subsisted on the honey roasted peanut butter you could grind yourself at the store. (How I miss H.E.B. and Central Market). It tasted fantastic and the butter was ground finely enough to be spreadable and creamy but not to the point of being a liquid. Then I moved to D.C. and all of the stores around me have their grinders set to grind the peanuts to the consistency of soup. I was fine with it for months, but once I was given a food processor for Christmas, I took matters into my own hands.
I would post the recipe for this except that I don't have one. I simply dumped one pound of my favorite roasted peanuts into my food processor and ground them until they reached my preferred consistency. It was incredibly easy to do and took no time at all. An added bonus to making your own peanut butter is that because you can put it into your fridge immediately after grinding it, there is no need to stir it when you first use it.
The other spread I made this week was prune lekvar. For those of you who have never heard of it (I hadn't until recently), lekvar is basically a butter made from dried fruit. It is one of the ingredients required for the Rugelachs I will be making for Tuesday. It too was really easy to make. Once again, all you have to do is throw the ingredients into the food processor, puree them, and dump the paste into a container. I can't post the recipe here because the Tuesdays with Dorie rules provide that only the host can post the recipe for that week, so I will provide that link here on Tuesday. However, here is a picture of my final product:
Luckily, the recipe made more lekvar than I will be needing for the rugelachs, so I have been enjoying this spread on toast. Of note to those who are interested in this recipe: I left out the walnuts that are supposed to be stirred in at the end because I decided that it would be better without once I was done mixing together the other ingredients.
Now that I have a food processor, I am looking forward to trying homemade nutella, other nut butters, and more hummus recipes--I used to make hummus in a blender, but infrequently because it took so long to get the chickpeas to the required consistency. Also, having discovered lekvar, I now want to play with the recipe and I can't help but wonder if dried figs would hold up well to this treatment. I suppose there is only one way to find out....