Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Little Blender That Could

Who needs a Cuisinart food processor when you have a $5 yard sale blender? I'll admit I had my doubts. This little blender had made many the standard smoothie and even pesto, but could it possibly grind hard peanuts?

To add to my list of obsessions...PEANUT BUTTER. Anything and everything peanut butter. It is no exaggeration when I say I have peanut butter at least once a day. This evening I was dismayed to find our cabinets devoid of peanut butter, and my mom, unwilling to make a special trip to the grocery story (it is times like this I wish I already had my license), suggested instead I try making my own with the bag of shelled peanuts that had been sitting on top of our refrigerator since June. With no school tomorrow because of Hurricane Sandy warnings, I figured I would give it a shot. 

There were a LOT of peanuts to shell...

We got the recipe off of this website: 

12 ounces roasted, unsalted peanuts, plus ½ cup if you want a crunchy consistency
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon peanut oil, or more if needed
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon honey (optional)

Of course I didn't follow the recipe, but it was a good base. Foods like peanut butter you really just have to experiment with. It's all a matter of taste and texture preference. First of all, we didn't have peanut oil in the house, so I had to substitute it for extra virgin olive oil with a splash of sesame oil. (I figured the sesame oil would give it a "nuttier" taste, but the sesame oil was strong so I recommend  being conservative with it.) Unsure of how olive oil would taste with it and if the little blender would stand the test, I started with a small batch. And it worked! 

I found the best way to make the peanut butter was to gradually add more olive oil, honey, and sesame oil, stirring frequently. As I added more peanuts, it became harder for the blade to spin, so making the peanut butter in small batches is best. The peanuts I used were stale, so the honey helped sweeten it (I can tell you I used a LOT more than a tablespoon of honey), and the salt made it more flavorful. I also added flaxseed to the peanut butter, and tomorrow morning I'm thinking of stirring in chia seeds too!
I can't say the peanut butter tasted like what you buy in the store, but it still had an impressive flavor. Next time I make it, I'll be sure to use peanut oil and fresh peanuts; my guess is the stale peanuts are the major reason the peanut butter lacked a bit of the, well, standard "peanut-buttery" taste. 

I never should have doubted my little $5 yard sale blender. It might've been noisy and taken a little longer, and perhaps my peanut butter is not as smooth as Teddy's, but it still sticks to a spoon and I can spread it on toast and pour it into an old Tostitos salsa jar and tie it with a cute ribbon. The blender believed it could blend it and it did. 

For those of you on Hurricane Sandy patrol, stay safe!

P.S. "Did you notice?" is updated.

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