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?