Saturday, August 22, 2009



"The small brown mouse named Ralph who was hiding under the grandfather clock did not have much longer, to wait before he could ride his motorcycle. The clock had struck eight already, and then eight thirty.

…Ralph observed the boy with interest. He was the right kind of boy, a boy sure to like peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Since the day Keith had left the hotel, Ralph had longed for crumbs of a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. Ralph could not understand the boy's behavior. He had often heard other young guests wearing the same kind of white T-shirt speak of a place called camp, but unlike this boy they always sounded eager and excited about going there. Ralph did not know exactly what a camp was, but since medium-sized boys and girls went there, he thought it must be a place where people ate peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

…The desk clerk summoned old Matt, the elderly bellboy and hotel handyman, to show the family to their room. As Matt picked up their suitcases and led the way to the elevator, he said to Garf, "Well, young fellow, what are you going to have for breakfast tomorrow? Apple pie or chocolate cake?"' Matt, who was not always popular with parents, was always liked by children.
The boy smiled faintly at. Matt's joke as he followed the old man into the elevator. What that boy needs is a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, thought Ralph."
- Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary

"Sapristi, Milou! Guess what the BSI is for this week!"

Scrumpdiliumptious, She says…

Peanut butter was an integral part of my childhood; how many afternoons found me perched in the branches of the tree in the front yard, book in one hand, peanut butter sandwich in the other? Peanut butter was my culinary playground, the foil for oh so many different flavors. I experimented often, playing around with texture and taste, savoring each unlikely combination: spread and layered with sweet, soft bananas and salty, crispy potato chips, or sandwiched between white bread pressed up against slices of salami or bologna or pickles, or simply gooey and sticky on white bread, using fingers to push clumps off the roof of my mouth, or melting smooth and unctuous on warm toast, and peanut butter on matzo got me through the Passover week. Peanut butter snuggling down into the smooth groove of a branch of celery seemed oh-so grown up when I was a kid, the sharp crack then the crunch of the green vegetable, a mouthful of cool followed by the creamy is something sensual and refreshing like lying on sheets and feeling the warm breeze flutter over your body. Peanut butter and jelly, grape or cherry, the jelly was always secondary, just another flavor to highlight the peanut butter and, more often than not, I simply forewent the jelly. Creamy or crunchy, depending on my mood, hopping from one brand to another, ever-changing like my temperament, even going through my all-natural, 100% pure peanuts phase. Yet the need – and the taste - for peanut butter stayed with me, through childhood as I explored my emotions and my tastebuds, the two ever linked in a holy embrace, through my college years, comforting me when I needed comforting, a way to travel home when nostalgia yanked at my heart, through my adulthood, a way to pull me to a warm, culturally reassuring place.

Peanut butter is such an emotionally charged food. There is something so primal about it, bringing out the best – or the worst – in us, turning us back into children, purring in all of our innocence, sighing with wide-eyed delight, or growling like some beast from a deep, dark netherworld battling something fanged and evil. In other words, either one loves it or despises it with a passion. My mother bought the stuff for us but couldn’t stand it herself. The smell alone made her get up and leave the room, grumbling under her breath. I have one son who loves it, eating sandwich after sandwich, a purist at heart he’ll eat it no other way, and one son who wants nothing whatsoever to do with it. My husband dislikes it and refuses to see the attraction, but, then again, he’s French, so what does he know of peanut butter?

And curiously, dogs love the stuff. We got such a huge kick out of feeding spoonfuls of peanut butter to our English setter, Peewee, when we were kids, laughing uproariously as she struggled to eat it, her tongue glued to the roof of her mouth. And I discovered that it brings out the wild animal in Marty: this photograph is witness to the fact. Snapping pictures of peanut butter to illustrate this post, I inadvertently forget the open jar on our dining room floor. A bit later as I was in the kitchen preparing to make the biscotti, I heard horrible, utterly disgusting slurping noises coming from the other room. What in the world could it be? Put my head around the corner and found Marty up to his globular eyeballs in my very expensive jar of Skippy, lapping it up for all he was worth. Egads! Lucky for me I had a second unopened jar!

Peanut butter is extremely versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory treats; from cookies to sate to pies to curries to, well, basically anything. Kim at Ordinary Recipes Made Gourmet is this week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient host. She has decided that peanut butter is our BSI. Yay Kim! Great choice! I have made not one but two wonderful recipes using peanut butter, one sweet for snack time and one savory for a great meal.

Let’s start with the savory:

From my Better Homes & Garden New Cookbook (this is meant for ribs, but I prefer cooking chicken at home)

Chicken pieces (I bought enough for 4 of us: 2 leg-thigh sections and 1 breast filet, skin on)
¼ cup hot water
¼ cup peanut butter
2 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs sliced scallions or spring onions
½ tsp grated fresh ginger
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Trim excess skin and fat off of the chicken pieces. I separated the legs from the thighs. Line a large baking pan with foil.

Put the peanut butter in a small saucepan and gradually stir in the hot water until smooth. Stir in the lime juice, spring onion, grated ginger and the cayenne. Cook over low heat until warmed through.

Brush the chicken pieces on both sides and lay them on the foil-lined baking tray. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until cooked through to the bone.

Serve with the rest of the sauce, warmed to thin, in a small bowl. Delicious!

And now for the sweet, to calm our biscotti yen (click here and here to see my other biscotti):


2 ¾ cup flour
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup peanut butter
¼ cup water
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (I used mini chips)
1 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

In a large mixing bowl, blend the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Stir in the chocolate chips.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the water and the peanut butter until the peanut butter is “melted”, thinned and smooth. Whisk in the eggs.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, stir until all the dry is moistened and you have a dough. Biscotti dough is fairly wet and sticky, but it should be dry enough to easily pat into a log shape. Knead briefly in a bit of extra flour until homogenous and smooth.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Divide the biscotti dough into two and pat into two long logs, about 3 inches wide. Place on the baking sheet and pat and press into shape.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes until lightly browned and set in the center.

Remove from the oven without turning the oven off. Allow the biscotti to rest for 10 minutes.

Carefully slide the logs off the baking sheet onto a cutting board. Using a sharp bread knife, slice each log on the diagonal into even slices about ¾-inch wide.

Lay as many cookies as will fit on the baking sheet, cut side up. Bake for 10 minutes, pull out the tray and carefully flip each cookie over. Pop back in the oven and bake for an additional 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown. Repeat with any cookies that didn’t fit in the first time round.

Cool on a cooling rack before eating. These are best eaten dipped in a cold glass of milk or a cup of coffee.


Erin said...

oohh I love Peanut butter and peanuts too! I am still a big fan of the peanut butter on celery but I can't wait to try both of your recipes. Hub isn't much on it though so I end up making only little portions just for me. The food contributor on my site just did a peanut (chinese takeout type stuff) recipe too. I haven't tried it yet but it sounds interesting enough.

Oh and I love the quote from Runaway Ralph! I just started reading my son The Mouse and the Motorcycle!

ejsmomej at gmail dot com

Heavenly Housewife said...

I love love love peanut butter! Very creative uses! Wishing you a wonderful weekend :D

Jenn said...

I love peanut butter. I used to eat spoonfuls of it from the jar when I was a kid.

Peanut butter marinated chicken. I've never had it that way before. Yum!!! I like that. I bet it tastes great. I need to try it.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I am addicted to that "evil" paste ;-P! I cannot live without it (there's always a pot in my cupboard)! Peanut butter is so versatile, regressive and delicious. I love it on bread, matzo, mixed with honey or Nutella and in anything baked or in savory dishes...

Your chicken recipe is fabulous and those biscotti are so irresistible!



The Cooking Photographer said...

Marty is so cute! How in the world did he get the lid off?

Your peanut butter and chocolate chip biscotti sounds wonderful! I've put the recipe in my cookie file.

Now I want peanut butter. Serious craving here, and I've already had lunch. Maybe I can just sneak spoonfuls out of the jar.

doggybloggy said...

nice entry....I need to come up with something fast!

Donna-FFW said...

Jamie- I cant decide whic I like better. I am a peanut butter fan! Love the chicken and that biscotti looks phenomenal! Nice choice on both.

Elra said...

LOL, your dog is so funny. I still like to give my dogs peanut butter for a treat.

The chicken, and the biscotti sound really good.

Pink Little Cake said...

What a great post, thank you for sharing a little about your life and the recipe looks awesome.

girlichef said...

It's funny, you're right...peanut butter is so primal! I still, to this day love to grab a big old spoon of it and grab a big, cold glass of milk. Ah, heaven. Both of your recipes sound scrum-diddly-umptious :D

♥♥♥Ria♥♥♥ said...

Loved the doggie pic the best!!! :)
Chicken looks delicious! And the biscotti...Crrrunchy!!

Mary said...

I loved your post. I am never without peanut butter. I keep a pair and a spare jar in my pantry. I also loved your recipes today. The biscotti look marvelous and the chicken divine. Thanks for sharing. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

MeetaK said...

the truth is the younger me used to love peanut butter - however the older me (the me that puts on 5 kilos by just looking at a jar of peanut butter) tries to avoid it. believe it or not soeren has had the pleasure of enjoying a peanut butter sandwich twice in his 7 years!! i like these biscotti and think it's time to become friends with PB again!

Sirenoftitan said...

I love peanut butter with cucumber.

Great recipes Jamie.

Hilda said...

I heart you I heart I heart you for including a picture of Tintin. I heart Tintin and Milou (I can never remember his name in English, do you know what it is?) Never seen peanut butter scones before, but when I have peanut butter available, will definitely be trying them, they look fabulous! and I'm a sucker for biscotti. xo

Katy ~ said...

What a fun post to read. We are rarely without peanut butter in this house, unless it's due to some gross oversight, usually keeping at least one jar in backup in the pantry, LOL.

The peanut butter biscotti sounds very good. I think we would both enjoy that. Cannot seem to envision peanut butter with meat though...

Selba said...

I love peanut butter! And also Tintin with his dog Snowy :)

Here in Indonesia, most of our salads are using peanut sauce :)

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

I ♥ PB!!! I used to love the soggy sandwiches in my school lunches. You know - all misshapen and the jelly seeping way down into the bread. The yummiest ever. I love this chicken! One of my favorite ways to eat it. And the biscotti - so yummy with chocolate chips!

the ungourmet said...

Wonderful post as usual! :0)

Yesterday we were making and eating PB and Ritz cracker sandwiches for a snack and my kids couldn't get enough of them!

Both of these entries are fabulous!

Faith said...

Peanut butter is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. Both your recipes look fantastic. I've never made biscotti, but yours is gorgeous, I think I'll give it a try!

burpandslurp said...

PB is BSI! Oh wow! I must definitely come up with a recipe, then!

And I LOVED this post and your ode to PB! I seriously can't even imagine WHY I disliked it before!

heidileon said...

oh Jaime, both recipes looks great. I personally think peanut butter goes perfectly well with chicken, and, for the biscotti, I think you forced me to try it by myself ;)

Brit said...

Oh yum. And double yum with Marty there too :-)

Joanne said...

What a great post! I was not a peanut butter fan as a kid but I devour it now that I am an "adult". I could eat it every day and be totally happy.

I love the peanut butter recipes you have here, especially the biscotti. They are definitely bookmarked.

biz319 said...

Great BSI entries! I never think to make biscotti in the summer - its my go to in the fall and winter though.

Totally bookmarking your chicken dish!

5 Star Foodie said...

Wonderful peanut butter creations! I would definitely eat a whole bunch of those biscotti!

asiangrrl said...

Snort. I'm cracking up over Marty frantically eating as much peanut butter as possible before you took it away from him.

And, I never thought I'd say this, but as scrumptious as those biscotti look, the chicken looks even more mouthwatering!

Amy - very culinary said...

I think I have the only 3YO on the planet that doesn't like peanut butter. (If I didn't actually experience the birthing process, I would swear she's not mine.)

My husband and I, though...we can polish off an entire container in one sitting. Easily


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