I’m not feeling quite as Garfield-like as usual this Monday morning, which I suppose is good. Less negativity is a good thing.
We had a nice weekend; we accomplished quite a bit. Although we did have to make a trip to the vet on Saturday after I discovered that Sgt. Pepper has tapeworms. (I actually came to the surprisingly simple conclusion that whether or not you will check someone/something’s poop for things that shouldn’t be there is a good rubric for determining whether or not you love that person/thing.) After a ridiculous battle on Sunday morning, he took the de-worming pill and hopefully all will be well shortly. But this is a food post, so let’s move on to something not-disgusting.
As a segway from dog poop to food, let’s talk about something else for a minute. My food photography is really horrible. This bothers me. Mostly because I have formal training in both photography itself and the creation of lovely, meaningful images. I do know how to take a great picture. But let me tell you, photographing what you are doing as you are cooking is pretty hard. And while my iPhone camera is surprisingly good, it isn’t giving me the results I want. So I’m exploring ways to improve. Right now I am considering bringing my Nikon into the kitchen, but that still doesn’t solve all the issues I am having. Although the photos of the finished product would definitely be better. Because the photos I took for this post are terrible. I’m just letting you know in advance. Now on to the food!!
While that photo is terrible, I promise this was an amazing bowl of deliciousness. My love for Thai food began in college. The husband loves Thai food as well. One day last year, I decided that I was going to figure out how to make my own peanut sauce. After many trial batches and some research, I have a recipe that is not only easy, it is awesome. Husband actually said on Saturday that this sauce is one of the reasons he married me. So you should try it.
Here’s how to make it:
Here is what you need, except I forgot to put ginger and red pepper flakes in this photo. Sorry. Also, don’t judge my off-brand peanut butter. It was a fluke. I understand that Jif is the way to go. Let’s move on.
First, get your garlic diced up and sauté it in a tablespoon of sesame oil over medium/medium-high heat. You have to be careful here because it can burn pretty easily; sesame oil has a lower smoking point than other oils. Just keep stirring until the garlic is softened a little and it smells amazing. Then pour in about 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and a generous tablespoon of honey. Let that bubble away and dissolve the honey, but keep stirring.After that has worked for a little while, add 1/3 cup of peanut butter. (I have made this with both creamy and crunchy; this time I was using creamy, but most people love this more when made with crunchy. But it’s delicious either way.) Whisk the peanut butter in really well; it will make a paste. Quickly add in the chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you are going vegetarian) and stir to dissolve the base. Now we add more spices.A teaspoon of ground ginger goes in,as well as a teaspoon of crushed red pepper. A note here on heat: at our house, we find this to be the perfect level of heat – just enough to taste it and balance out the sweetness, but no burning sensation or glugging of water needed. Husband actually doesn’t like hot/spicy foods (which was almost a deal breaker for me because I love hot things. But he is hot, so I decided it was a good trade-off.), so only 1 teaspoon is perfect. If I were making this just for myself, I would kick it up to 2 teaspoons. So don’t skip it, but add more if you feel like it.
At this point, taste a bit of your sauce to see if the seasonings fit your preferences and add things as necessary. Let your sauce come to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer and let it work for about 15-20 minutes. You want it to thicken.
We usually eat this sauce on stir fry. I let some chicken breast chunks brown while I get the sauce put together, then add a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables. Those bags are definitely my favorite packaged food. They are cheap, healthy and super quick. If you want this to be a vegetarian meal or you don’t have any chicken or pork lying around, this sauce takes veggies to another level. Just add another bag of frozen veggie goodness.Once the veggies and chicken are ready to go, add a starch if you like. Our choice this time was some whole wheat thin spaghetti, which I may or may not have forgotten to make until everything else was almost ready…. Then pour every drop of your delicious sauce over everything in your skillet and toss to coat.Now your bowls are ready for some yummy Thai noodle-y goodness. Husband and I devoured this entire pan. I love this recipe because the bulk is actually veggies, and it is quick, healthy and really inexpensive. Plus I always have the ingredients on hand to whip it up. I made this for my parents a few times as well, and now my dad is a peanut sauce expert. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Thai-Inspired Peanut Sauce
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 Tb sesame oil
3 Tb soy sauce
1 heaping Tb honey
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 can chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Sauté garlic in sesame oil until slightly softened. Add soy sauce and honey and stir. Add peanut butter and stir to make a paste. Quickly add broth to prevent scorching, whisk to dissolve peanut butter base. Add ginger and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes to thicken.