Thursday, August 16, 2007

Let's hear it for peanut butter!


College, as I imagine it is for most, was not easy on the wallet for me. Especially once I transfered to an art college in the Bay Area... Oakland, California to be exact. So, aside of having to buy tons of art supplies weekly for various projects on a full 15 unit schedule, I had to eat.

Peanut butter became my best friend. I'd have it on corn tortillas (yes, I still do!) sometimes with strawberry jam, on toast in the mornings with a cuppa joe, used to thin out a can of chili beans and tossed with spaghetti... and in peanut sauces over whatever pasta was on sale that week.

The latter is what I was in the mood for a few days ago. Of course, I'm not on such tight budget constraints these 22 years later but I still find ways to work in peanut butter to many a meal.

Peanut sauce recipes vary from culture to culture and chef to chef. I don't have a hard and set recipe myself. I use what's on hand and whatever I'm in the mood for.

This particular night, the sauce started with organic creamy peanut butter, a little coconut milk, tamari, Asian chili oil and a couple dashes of chicken stock to thin it out a bit. Because I have to limit the amount of soy I eat, I also added some kosher salt to taste in place of adding lots of tamari (I use soy sauce and tamari sparringly -- mostly for color and a hint of taste as soy and I aren't friends). I tossed it with spaghetti and left over rotisserie chicken that I chopped and topped it with crushed salted roasted peanuts and chopped scallions. (Tip: I put a handful of peanuts into a snack or sandwich sized ziplock bag and give the bag a couple of good whacks with my rolling pin or kitchen mallet -- whichever I find first. Less trouble than pulling out a food processor for such a small amount of chopping.)

What's great about this dish is that it tastes equally delicious as a cold or room temperature pasta "salad" so it's perfect for packing for lunch for work or a lazy Sunday afternon at the park with a good book. Which is what I did with the leftovers.

YOUR TURN: Do you have food "obsessions" from your youth that still make appearances at your dinner table?

4 comments:

KleoPatra said...

Terrific idea about the smashing of the peanuts in a Ziploc baggie. Sounds like a good stress reliever, too. Hahaha. Not that we know from stress! (So writes she who was boppin' in backshop until almost 1 a.m. today, but i digress.)

This post is terrific... yes, let's hear it for peanut butter!! i think i've written before about how i love peanut butter, tho i'm a creamy fan, much to my father's chagrin.

Would you believe i have six different kinds of peanut butters in my pantry now?! - including a soy mixture, an insane combo of chocolate and PB made by KRAFT that i got in Canada, two different organic kinds, Peter Pan Plus and a huge jar of Skippy. i usually have a box or two of Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs and/or Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch on hand but i'm currently out. i think i have a problem. :o)

i love having PB spread on tortillas; i've made many a snack of pan-warmed flour tortillas (haven't tried it on corn yet) with PB and chopped up bananas.

Your peanut sauce sounds so exotic, i love the cocunut milk and chili oil workin' together. i didn't try peanut sauce - or Thai food!! - until about 10 years ago when i had a pal who was way into Thai food and we ventured to Hillcrest for my first taste of Thai. Wow, what an ephiphany after the initial proverbial dive into a dish made with peanut sauce. For me, it was love at first bite.

What you made here sounds great, tho i'd of course make a couple of veg changes. The photos are, as always, drool-worthy!

Aren't salads super terrific when you can enjoy them cold OR room temp? i definitely appreciate a meal that has no need for heat.

Food "obsessions" (more like cravings i think) from my childhood ranged from the need to down a big, cold glass of milk and a couple of Twinkies to the habit of munching on a stack of Ritz crackers (usually with peanut butter and jelly on 'em!) and a few cups of Hawaiian Punch.

My family has always had tons of cereal in the pantry. My friends used to beg to sleep over at my house just for the opportunity to have a breakfast that included Apple Jacks, Honeycomb, Frosted Flakes and/or Super Sugar Crisp, among myriad others. Did you eat sugar cereals as a kid? My dentist loved me, let me tell you.

And so yeah, i think enjoying a couple of bowls of cereal (now enjoyed with rice, oat, soy or almond milk) is something i'll never give up, and probably is an obsession with me. And while i still have the sweet tooth for Cocoa Puffs, i have also grown to dig Cheerios, Total and even puffed rice!

But hooray for peanut butter... and Peanut Butter Crunch!

Anh said...

This is a fantastic noodle dish. I know I would love it...

The Chinese also has a version of noodle where sesame paste is used. I love it a lot since it comes with a very deep spicy flavours. :D

photogirl said...

KP~
Thanks! I came home and pulled out the last couple of magazines that arrived in the last month and lo! and behold! What is on the cover of my Cooking Light but a luscious Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie! I thought of you... I'm going to a BBQ next weekend and I'm thinking it's what I'm gonna take. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Ahn~
I've not tried it was sesame paste. That sounds interesting... I'll have to see if I can find a recipe...

:)

ilingc said...

This sounds a lot like satay noodles photogirl. Yumm. Pity we haven't got any peanut butter at home at the moment. :(

My childhood/youth food obsessions would have to be coconut layered jelly and honey joys. Honey joys are cornflakes folded in melted butter and honey that are super irresistable and scoffed by the dozens. Coconut layered jelly is something my mum used to make a lot when I was a kid. I have lots of sweet memories of peeling off the coconut layer, gobbling it up and tossing away the other layer. :)