The mere mention of savory uses for peanut butter instantly makes me think about chicken satay, and the lovely peanut sauce that is eaten with it. Stay is a marinated chicken tender on a skewer that's usually grilled.
The first time I had satay was when I was 14 or so, and on vacation with my friend's family in Cape May, NJ. The vacation was a vacay-slash-wedding trip. My friend's aunt was getting married, so we were threw a bridal shower at our awesome rental house.
That was one of the first times that I helped with the food prep for a big event ... and I savored every second.
My friend's mother handed me the recipe and quickly explained what to do. In my mind, it seemed impossible. How could that jar of peanut butter in my hand possibly whisk together with soy sauce and other ingredients to make an edible -- and smooth -- sauce?
That was one of those days where my notions of cooking and ingredients was shaken so deeply that I never looked back. I started that day with a rigid idea of what textures and ingredients could and could not do. But, by the time I was done whisking and mixing, I had a whole new appreciation for cooking.
When the party was over, there were leftover satays in the fridge and I could barely contain myself -- I wanted to eat them all.
Beyond discovering my fondness for chicken satay, I found that peanut butter wasn't just good in sandwiches and in cookies -- it could be fabulous in savory applications too.
Peanut butter can be used in delicious salads like Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw with Peanut Sauce (pictured above), which is fabulous with grilled chicken. Or try it in Shrimp with Thai Noodles and Peanut Sauce. Another delicious idea? Green Beans with Peanut-Ginger Dressing.
Of course, peanut butter is fabulous in sweet recipes too. Here are a few that have caught my eye recently:
Sarah W. Caron (aka scaron) is a food writer, editor and blogger who writes about family-friendly foods and raising a healthy family at Sarah's Cucina Bella.