Ah, peanut butter. Our old lunchbox staple and snacktime favorite, beloved companion to celery sticks and jelly sandwiches everywhere. When we were kids, it was a jar of Skippy or nothing else. What about now?
I can't stop thinking about that recipe for roasting coffee beans at home from Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It by Karen Solomon. I always assumed home-roasting would require elaborate equipment or a quest for raw beans, but Solomon's instructions make it sound, dare I say...simple? I'm very curious how well homemade beans stack up.
What would summer be without ice cream? It's not even worth considering. What is worth considering are the merits of making it yourself or getting your creamy frozen custard fix from the store. What say you?
A jar of Hellman's, or similar squat blue-topped jar, is requisite for all summer picnic tables. Mayonnaise gets slathered on hamburger buns, stirred into potato salad, or made into a quick dip right there on the spot. Do you ever think about setting the jar aside and making mayo yourself?
A few weeks ago, a very interesting discussion came up in the comment thread to one of our Make or Buy? posts. A few of you pointed out that, sure, making our own pantry staples like pasta, crackers, and granola bars is almost always going to win out over store-bought in taste, healthfulness, and even cost. But it's just not always practical. What do you think? When is homemade worth it and when is it too much?
I've been making my own bread following the no-knead recipe for coming up on...gosh, five years now. I love the process of it and I really love having fresh bread all week long. But every so often, on a weekend when time gets away from me and I'd rather be lingering over a book than reaching for flour, I wonder, "Is it worth it?"
Granola bars are quite possibly the perfect snack. Compact, portable, satisfying: exactly what we need when we're stuck in traffic or off to the gym. Given the fact that entire aisles of grocery stores are dedicated to this snack food, is it even worth making granola bars yourself?
Kimchi is just about the hottest thing, both literally and figuratively, to hit American cuisine since Sriracha. Or maybe sauerkraut. You can buy jars of it in Korean markets for all your spicy fermented cabbage needs, but we've heard that Korean grandmothers would shake their heads in shame to see us doing so. Maybe they have a point.
Beans are absolutely and without a doubt one of the cornerstones of our cooking. Light summery pastas, hearty soups, potluck salads: you name it and we'll put beans in it. With so many bean dishes coming through our kitchens, do we make our own or rely on canned?