Thursday, September 8, 2011

Herbed Skillet PBJ: AKA Why I'm Not Great at Math

I'm not great at math, but I recently discovered the following equation:

Lavender + marjoram + peanut butter jelly sandwich + cast iron cookware = a whole lot of goodness
I could wax poetic on the wonders of the peanut, a good-fat-filled, antioxidant-rich, protein-packing, heart disease-fighting legume which is curiously neither pea nor nut...
or I could extol the virtues of Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Tuscan Pane, a dense but great-tasting bread with only seven (yes, SEVEN) ingredients...
or I could mathematically prove how the nutritional summation of the two aforementioned ingredients outweigh the not-so-greatness of the strawberry jelly lightly slathered on one side of the bread...
but instead, suffice it to say: 

this PBJ is really f'in' good. 

I told you. Not great at math. 
It's a grown up version of a kids' classic, with more sophisticated and complex flavors and textures. The herbs give if a refreshing hint of savory, while the luscious PB and J keep it on the sweet site. Olive oil-seared bread give the sandwich a nice, crispy bite. Here's how:

You start with some herbs. I found the flavors of lavender and marjoram complement this sandwich well. Chop 'em.

Smear a coat of olive oil on a cast iron skillet. Bring to medium heat. Throw in the chopped herbs. Toast. 

Make a PBJ. Leave it open.
And for the love of goodness please don't use that Skippy stuff with the hydrogenated soybean what-not -- your peanut butter should have one, MAYBE two ingredients: peanuts, salt. Everything else is extraneous.

Transfer herbs from pan to sandwich. Sprinkle. 

Close it up and toast the PBJ. I weighted it for even brown-age.

Then you eat it. 
My BFF Anj also suggested using an almond or cashew butter for extra decadence, and obviously you can substitute whatever jam, jelly or other "j" you want!

Bon apetit!


  1. I really loved this post! Esp. in terms of the writing.

  2. Say it with me:

    Peanut butter and jelly. That's all I put in my belly.

    Speaking of stuff you spread on bread (and put in your belly), a new spot called Jam 'N Honey just opened in the DePaul neighborhood (Sheffield & Webster). Have not been there yet, but a friend says it's good.

    And really, how could it not be?

  3. wow. that looks incredible! can you tell me those 7 ingredients of the bread? inquiring healthy minds want to know! : )

  4. @anj -- thank you, dear! Notice the shout out in the last paragraph.

    @Boomer -- Thanks for the heads up! Urban Daddy had this to say: "Jam ’n Honey, a new DePaul neighborhood corner spot with a very laissez-faire attitude when it comes to things you spread on your toast, is now open." Thrillist Chicago also gave big ups to the oatmeal pancakes w/ lemon-blueberry compote & vanilla honey butter. Ugh.

    @Tiffe (aka rebelgrrrl) -- 100% stone ground whole wheat flour, water, wheat gluten, honey, salt, distilled vinegar, yeast.

    Is yeast considered vegan?

  5. I think yeast is considered vegan. Yeast bacteria aren't technically animals, somewhere in between. Honey may not be though, depends on the person. This looks DELICIOUS! I wonder what other amazingness you can put on a pbj.....

    I loved the writing on this post too, especially the intro. Made me laugh.