My family’s diet is evolving towards more cultural, salubrious and responsible one. It has been a monumental past few months for me. A series of events in my life culminated in my decisions to feed my children Kosher food that is responsibly raised and/or harvested food. This has greatly expanded our diet, allowing us to explore new types of cuisines and an array of new foods.
I cannot face the thought of chicken or any meat after “The Incident.”My diet has become what I describe as occasionally “ovo (eggs)-lacto (dairy) -pescaterian (fish)” – but mostly vegetarian. Tofu, legumes and lentils are my bestfriends. Do not fear: (dark) Chocolate, (Spanish) Red Wine and (aged sheep or goat) Cheese and I are still very, very (did I mention “very”?) good friends, as well.
We have moved many times over the past decade and currently live in area that does not have many Jewish people. I want my kids to be open-minded, integrated citizens of the world. I also want them to know who they are: Jewish. This year, Snu Magoo participated in her school holiday play; she attends an Episcopal Montessori school. We gave Christmas gifts to friends and teachers. All of these things are fine. The other day, Snu Magoo said “Christmas is about giving. Hanukkah is about getting lots of gifts.” Something had to give.
As I grow older (another birthday on Sunday – they just keep coming!), I realize the importance of cultural traditions, such as keeping Kosher and observing Shabbat and other holidays. Warm memories from such practices in the home shape and impact our children’s religious choices for years, decades – life. Jews are a very small percent of the national and international population, and I hope that my children choose to pass on their values and beliefs to their own children.
This week, we ventured into new culinary territory, including a trip to Asia. Healthy, happy peanut sauce is sugar, spice and everything nice. It tastes spicy, sweet and rich and has lovely depth of flavor. Introduction of elements of Thai and Japanese cuisine give pizzaz to the original recipe from Self magazine.
“Sugar and Spice Peanut Sauce” is scrumptious when:
- Tossed with Japanese soba buckwheat vermicelli noodles or short grain Japanese brown rice, cooked according to package directions.
- Drizzled over sautéed vegetables of your choice. Last night, I chose organic red bell pepper, onion, carrot – and local “graffiti” cauliflower and broccoli rabe.
- Paired with grilled, Kosher chicken breast or teriyaki tofu – and garnished with black sesame seeds, sliced scallions or chopped peanuts.
- Served as an (ideal) dipping sauce for spring rolls.
Sugar and Spice Peanut Sauce
The sauce is adapted from a recipe at Self Magazine.
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons vegetarian fish sauce* (optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
- 4 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
- 1/2 cup all natural, smooth peanut butter
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetarian hoisin sauce*
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoons cracked black pepper or six turns on a pepper mill
- 1 teaspoon Asian chile paste (or more, to taste)
- Combine the sesame oil, garlic, ginger, cilantro, peanut butter, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, chile paste, water and lime juice in a food processor. Process for five minutes. Place the sauce in a (covered) mason jar or container of your choice.
- Meal Idea: Drizzle the sauce over the cooked soba noodles or short grain brown rice, sautéed vegetables and sliced, grilled chicken. Serve additional sauce alongside. Garnish with sesame seeds, sliced scallions and chopped peanuts.
*Use the recipes in the links to make your own vegetarian fish sauce or vegetarian hoisin sauce. Or, purchase either at any Asian market.
©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013-2014), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.