Don't judge "The Ultimate Peanut Butter Book: Savory & Sweet, Breakfast to Dessert, Hundreds of Ways to Use America's Favorite Spread" by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough (William Morrow, $16.95) by its cover. If you're older than 5, you might see the photo of a good old peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich and pass it by. But you'd be missing the many inventive ideas the writers have come up with for this ubiquitous spread, from curries to satays to creme brulee.
One of their winners was an addictive lamb curry that came together quickly and disappeared even faster. The peanut butter brought together cayenne pepper, golden raisins, ginger, coriander and cinnamon with chunks of lamb in this spicy stew.
Cucumber Noodles With a Vinegary Peanut Sauce also tasted great, and using strips of cucumber was a fun alternative to sesame noodles. This would have been a nice picnic dish if it hadn't fallen down in the presentation department; the watery cucumbers turned gloppy when mixed with the sauce. Next time, we'll add the step of draining and perhaps squeezing the moisture out of the "noodles" first.
You'll find plenty of dessert options here, including peanut-butter rugelach, peanut-butter bread pudding, peanut-butter bundt cake and a peanut-butter dessert burrito.
Whole-wheat pastry flour gave the peanut-butter chocolate chip cookies we tried an interesting texture. And if the peanut-butter sandwich is something you still crave, you can do that up big with the Ultimate PB & Marshmallow Cream Sandwich, complete with a recipe for homemade Ultimate White Bread.