January 19, 2009

PB Loco

I'm a person who gets a food craving and can have no peace until it's satiated. Even over a few weeks, I'll still remember that desire for say, good seafood, chicken vindaloo, khao soy (better at Thai Thai than at Thai Pepper), a medium-rare steak, and lately, peanut butter by the jar and this cannelloni recipe.

It's a hard time to be a peanut butter lover. The news out there is just not good:
CDC: Tainted peanut butter, three deaths may be linked.

Kellogg Company announced it is recommending that consumers not eat some of its peanut butter crackers because they may be tainted with salmonella.

'Little Debbie' Snacks Recalled After Peanut Butter Probe

Is My Sandwich Safe?
News coverage exasperates me. These stories point out that the tainted peanut butter was not sold directly to consumers at the end of their report, effectively putting it in fine print. This is reminiscent of the tomato salmonella scare, which turned out to be a false alarm.

Dad said it would stink to be a peanut farmer right now with all this bad press. I'm trying to do my part to help out the humble farmer. I bought three jars of peanut butter last time I was at the store, including a jar of Jif Extra Crunchy, Jif Creamy, and my second jar of Peanut Butter & Co. Mighty Maple in as many weeks.

I saw the Eggplant and Four-Cheese Cannelloni recipe on the Bakers' Banter blog back in August, which speaks to my good memory or good procrastination skills. I finally made it Sunday, and it got rave reviews. Cannelloni melanzane ai quattro formaggi. I made that up, but it sounds cool.

Eggplant and Four-Cheese Cannelloni

That blog always has a handy dandy cost comparison for buying something vs. making it at home. The cost they list for their baked goods is so low, they've got to be buying ingredients in bulk at Wal-Mart. At those prices, they're certainly not buying name brands at United or Whole Foods. For example, they list -

Buy vs. Bake:
  • Buy: Beretti’s Italian Restaurant, Coos Bay, Oregon. Your choice of meat and spinach filled crêpe or a ricotta & Parmesan cheese spinach filled crêpe, covered with a creamy white sauce, $13.99
  • Buy: Jacks Grill, Housatonic, Massachusetts. Grilled Eggplant Cannelloni Appetizer, $7.00
  • Bake at home: Eggplant and Four Cheese Cannelloni, $1.46 per cannelloni
I thought I'd do a little comparison of my own. Cost of the ingredients I used to make a pan of cannelloni (6):
Parmigiano Reggiano3.50
Tomato Sauce1.00
Okay, it's an approximation based only on my memory of the price I paid for all that stuff, but my memory is pretty good. Remember how long I can hang onto those cravings! And I probably used more cheese than the recipe called for.

Eggplant and Four-Cheese CannelloniBuy vs. Bake:
  • Buy: Café J, Lubbock, Texas. Any one crêpe, $5.75, but you aren't going to be getting anything like the cannelloni.
  • Bake at home: Eggplant and Four Cheese Cannelloni, over $3.00 per cannelloni
Bake at home! How much would you pay for this? Is there a place in Lubbock where you can actually buy something like this? Carino's?

SundaeTried to quell the peanut butter cravings with a chocolate ice cream sundae with chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce and whipped cream. Mix half a can of sweetened condensed milk, 4 oz. chopped dark chocolate, and 1/2 cup of peanut butter in a heat-proof bowl and melt mixture in microwave or over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Thin sauce with water to make it pourable. Thank you, Nigella, for the recipe. Thank you, Katie, for contributing the ice cream. And thank you, Mom, for contributing the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, peanut butter, and Reddi-Whip. Not bad for a quick sweet fix, but this is my favorite hot fudge recipe.

From America's Test Kitchen:

Hot Fudge Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup water
Pinch table salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Microwave chocolate, whisking often, until melted and smooth, 1 to 3 minutes. Whisk in cocoa until dissolved.

2. Meanwhile, simmer corn syrup, sugar, cream, water, and salt in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 4 minutes.

3. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla. Cool mixture slightly, about 2 minutes, before whisking in melted chocolate until smooth. Serve warm.

*The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 10 days. Reheat in a small saucepan over low heat or microwave, stirring often, until warm and smooth, 1 to 3 minutes.


wendy v. said...

Sunday we had the Utah Toffee Cake at my roommate's house. No condensed milk though. I've discovered what a difference that makes.

Kimberly said...

Wendy, this comment isn't even related to this post. You should make your comments anonymous. You're just embarrassing yourself.