Happy Friday. We made it.
My week got off to a bit of a rough start with a Monday that included the following:
1. Walking out the door for work dressed in slacks and a blouse and, only upon slipping a shoulder bag over my chest, realizing I had missed a crucial part of my normal work wardrobe: a bra.
2. Composting my car keys. Yes, this really happened. I came to this rather horrible realization when, already late for an offsite meeting, my car keys were nowhere to be found. I ransacked my office, the bathroom, the kitchen, my colleagues’ offices: nothing. 30 minutes of panicked searching later, it dawned on me that I had emptied the office compost earlier that morning into the outside receptacle. I missed my meeting. Enough said.
3. Returning home to find that I had left a gas burner on full blast. All day. 9 + hours.
Fast forward five days and I’m feeling grateful that I have not yet blown up my life this week. Instead, I made peanut dressing. Ridiculously delicious peanut dressing. Spoon licking peanut dressing. Peanut dressing I have eaten happily for dinner and lunch 3 days running. When was the last time you said that about a salad dressing?
Salty, creamy, rich and toasty with the zip of rice vinegar and none of the heaviness of traditional peanut sauce, the dressing here adapted from a recipe from Food 52 for a kale salad with walnuts and mint. Round one, I made the salad almost exactly as it was written, substituting honey for the pomegranate molasses (because that’s what I had on hand) and skipping the mint (because that’s what I didn’t.) Round two, I started playing: spooning the dressing over a delicious tangle of soba noodles, deeply roasted sweet eggplant, a few small sliced japanese cucumbers and a handful of fresh herbs. More serving suggestions are listed under the recipe below.
Spicy Peanut Dressing
Makes a generous cup of dressing – about enough for 2 medium-large salads; keeps well up to one week refrigerated.
Adapted from Food 52
- 2 tsp finely minced garlic (really crush it with the back of a knife or use a mortar and pestle)
- 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 tsp dried chili flakes
- 6 tbsp creamy natural peanut butter (preferably salted)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp runny honey or agave
- 6 tbsp warm water
- 6 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, chili, and peanut butter. Add the soy sauce and honey and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in the water, whisking to incorporate, then stir in the vinegar and sesame oil.
Ideas for Serving (Each uses 1/2 recipe of dressing):
1 bag soba noodles cooked al dente and cooled + 2 medium eggplant chopped and well roasted + 1 small cucumber + torn basil and mint leaves
1 bunch Tuscan kale stemmed and finely shredded + handful chopped toasted peanuts + 1 diced avocado
1/2 green cabbage finely shredded + 3 scallions finely chopped + 2 shredded carrots + 4 finely sliced radishes + torn basil and mint leaves
Grilled chicken or tofu + 2 cups steamed jasmine rice + torn butter lettuce leaves + 1 finely sliced sweet pepper + half a small cucumber finely sliced + cilantro leaves
1 pound sugar snap peas trimmed and sliced + 1 bunch baby turnips or radishes finely sliced + 1 diced avocado + torn basil and mint leaves