Peanut butter has always been a friend, either in sweets, on toast, bananas or apples, and used in my latest favorite implementation, a luscious, gingery peanut sauce. In the first month of the new year I’ve been making this simple and satisfying peanut sauce on average of 1.2 times a week. Today I’m pushing the envelope by eating peanut noodles for lunch whilst baking peanut butter cookies. Whoever said too much of a good thing is too much probably did not have a long-standing love affair with peanut butter.
Despite a lack of writing here there’s been a lot of activity taking place in my kitchen: casual dinners with friends that’ve called for spinach lasagnas and big salads, quick lunches of sauteed baby chard tossed with penne and parmesan and lots of freshly ground black pepper, pancakes for breakfast and loads of quick breads for play dates and visits. Fate has smiled upon us and our good friends from Morocco recently arrived in Riyadh; worlds collided this morning as we sipped coffee and ate mini blueberry muffins and the girls ate (peanut butter) sandwiches for lunch. The weather has been holding clear and cool and steady and we are taking advantage of it by taking long walks on the Wadi Trail and spending hours at the park. After a quick trip to California we’ll start settling into the warmer-then-very-hot months so we’re appreciating what we have while we have it.
Hard to believe we’ve lived in Saudi Arabia for almost a year now. Time slips by much faster when you have a small child; your days are filled with reading and talking and exploring and messily cooking and painting together. Hard to believe that two years ago I was sitting and sipping coffee with my friend while the Casablanca traffic bleated and beeped outside her windows talking about our new babies. Those babies are now walking and running and playing pretty well with each other, despite being separated since last March.
And with all that movement and doing – which, it must be noted, is really so much fun – there’s less time for leisurely cooking. Making a batch of peanut sauce that serves as a large part of a hearty and nutritious (and Sierra-approved) meal takes less than 10 minutes at a go thus leaving more minutes during nap time to do some work, have a read, do yoga … or think about what I’ll make the next night for dinner.
This peanut sauce comes by way of epicurious.com with a few small changes from me. It’s versatile: I like it best on noodles but it could also be incorporated into a curry or if you save a bit from your noodles, stirred into a tofu stir-fry. Most ingredients should be readily available if not in your pantry than at the local grocery store. Even more important, it’s a perfect blend of peanuts, salt, and kicky ginger. I do have to occasionally stop myself from spooning up half the jar as a snack. Make this recipe for tonight’s dinner or tuck it into the fridge for the night after next.
I mainly serve this on whole wheat spaghetti, almost if not the entire package, but udon noodles work nicely too. A side of baked salmon, fried tofu, and sauted broccoli fills out the plate.
Makes 4+ servings.
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Purée dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl. When pasta is cooked, toss immediately with the sauce and serve.