Eating Peanut Butter Pasta

This past weekend, Sidney made me a unique dish I had wanted to try for a few months. Back in January, I briefly wrote about peanut butter pasta in a Thursday Rundown. This delicacy became known to me when I watched an episode of Trisha Yearwood’s Southern Kitchen cooking show in which she used peanut butter as her main ingredient in all the dishes she prepared. While the peanut butter cookies, cake, and pretzel rods all looked delicious, it was the pasta that really stood out to me.

On Saturday evening after church, our little family stopped by the grocery store. As we discussed what we wanted to have for dinner, I made the suggestion that perhaps it was a good night to try peanut butter pasta. Sidney agreed! We started cruising through the aisles picking up the ingredients we needed: ramen noodles, chicken, frozen stir-fry vegetables, chili sauce, a lime, soy sauce, and PEANUT BUTTER.

Back at home, it only took Sidney about 30 minutes to prepare our special meal. Before I knew it, we were sitting at the dinner table with a bowl of peanut butter pasta in front of each of us. It was time to dig in!

My first bowl of peanut butter pasta that Sidney prepared for me.

Our initial reaction? We both liked it! However, as we continued to eat, Sidney changed her opinion. Although I was still loving the pasta as I finished off my first bowl, Sid wasn’t too crazy about it anymore. I served myself a second helping while Sidney didn’t quite finish her first.

I enjoyed the peanut butter pasta because it was spicy, nutty, and hearty. It also had incredible texture as peanut butter is an ingredient that settles well on pasta and brings other ingredients together. However, there is one dynamic with this dish that might separate those who like it from those who don’t. Even though peanut butter goes great on celery, some might not like it on other vegetables. The veggie medley we purchased had carrots, broccoli, and peppers in it. Some might believe that those items don’t go as well with peanut butter as perhaps jelly does. But it definitely didn’t deter me.

A couple final notes – I added a topping to my pasta that the recipe didn’t call for. At the grocery store, I had thrown a small can of peanuts into the cart. Before I started eating Sidney’s cooking, I sprinkled some on top. Last night when I ate leftovers I once again added peanuts along with some crushed red pepper and extra soy sauce to make up for the flavor that was potentially lost after sitting in the refrigerator.

Also, peanut butter pasta is much more of an Asian-inspired dish as opposed to an Italian one. Unfortunately, garlic bread or parmesan cheese won’t go well with it. The word “pasta” is a bit deceptive. Whatever you call it, however, I believe the combination of ramen noodles, peanut butter, and spices is a winning one! Thanks to Sid for making me a wonderful dinner. Don’t Blink.

Salivating In Front of the TV

It is safe to say that Sidney has led me to watch several television shows I never would have watched without her influence. The Mindy Project, Big Brother, and The People’s Couch are all such examples. Because of my exposure to these shows, I have actually gone on to like a couple of them. Besides those programs though, did you know there is a whole genre on television that Sidney has completely opened my eyes to? No, it is not reality TV.

I have come to like cooking shows! Yes, this statement is coming from a guy who doesn’t cook (usually). Full transparency here, I have a tough enough time boiling water. But despite my ineptness in the kitchen and my lack of desire to ever watch a cooking show before I met Sidney, I have started to come around.

Quite frequently, Sidney and I will watch The Pioneer Woman and Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. These shows have grown to make up a large part of our weekend television schedule.

Of course I didn’t like these programs right away. I constantly wondered aloud to Sidney on why they always had to incorporate some cheesy story to go along with whatever meal Ree Drummond or Trisha Yearwood cooked up. The scripted nature of whipping together a feast for the kids as they built a tree house or making a power lunch for Garth and his buddies turned me off a little bit. I also drove Sidney crazy questioning why the Pioneer Woman needed to wear that mile wide smile for the entire show. She could have burnt herself on the stove or accidentally cut off her finger and she still would have that grin spread across her face.

But these shows started to win me over.

There is just something about watching fresh food ingredients transformed into mouth watering dishes right before your eyes. As one might expect, the end product never turn out bad. The best part about the cooking shows Sidney and I watch is that we are observing the development of meals that we would actually want to eat! Ree and Trisha don’t make gourmet, hoity-toity plates. Rather, they make comfort food! Instead of watching them make caviar or exotic salads with herbs/stems, we watch them make pastas, sandwiches, casseroles, and desserts!

It just isn’t watching the making of these meals either. One of the best parts is listening to the sounds. It seems like the cutting of bread or the breaking of fresh lettuce or the grating of a block of cheese is amplified. I could close my eyes and still be entertained throughout the program.

Even though I couldn’t cook myself out of a paper bag, when Sidney and I watch these shows we discuss what looks especially good. We might offer a suggestion here and there. It is an open dialogue throughout the program that is actually really enjoyable. As I have mentioned more than once in this blog, Sid is a terrific cook, and she learns from the best. Besides her mom, Sidney has also taken inspiration from Ree and Trisha to make masterpieces in the kitchen.

If you start to watch these shows because you read this blog post, let me give you one big tip: watch them when you are hungry! It will make your time in front of the TV even more enjoyable. My fiancé and I will continue to watch and maybe one of these days you might see Sid herself on the Food Network with her own show. Expect to learn about her famous chicken bog, mac & cheese, and buttered noodles. Don’t Blink.