Friday, 17 October 2008

a simple summer meal

Posted by Heather
Beauty That Moves
Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are about to head into winter, which means as I write about simple, home cooked food over the next several months, it will likely be of the warm and comforting variety. This post is pulled from my summer archives and I offer it to all of you below the equator as you are entering your warmer months.

If you are visiting here as a regular reader of my blog, thanks for hanging in there for a few re-run posts. There will be brand new content from me next week, which I'm really excited about! It has been too hot around here to cook much lately. A family can survive on dinner of cheese, crackers, fresh veggies and ice cream for only so long. After a few days the veggies run out, and the body revolts, demanding to be nourished in a way that only a home cooked meal can offer. I'll graciously succumb and turn on the stove, but please don't make me go to the market, deal with the car, the asphalt, the crowds, the heat. As desperately as we need to go shopping, I just don't want to. I must have some ingredients of interest and quality around here.

The above is what I came up with. Inspired by the Spiced Peanut Sauce recipe from The Kripalu Cookbook, to which I tossed cooked (rinsed under cold water), udon noodles (or spaghetti), finely diced baby carrots (because we all have baby carrots kicking around no matter how low we are on groceries), and chopped fresh herbs from the garden. The herbs I used were parsley, chive, basil and lemon verbena which added a lovely, fresh Thai quality. Take the above list of ingredients for inspiration, change it to make it your own, and try the sauce recipe below, adapted from The Kripalu Cookbook.

Spiced Peanut Sauce/Dressing
3 Tbls. sesame oil
1 Tbls. ground cumin
1/2 Tbls. crushed mild chili peppers (optional)
1 tsp. ground coriander
tiny pinch cayenne pepper, or more for your taste
1 1/2 cups natural peanut butter
3 Tbs. tamari or soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp, cracked black pepper
2 cups water
In a small skillet, heat the oil and saute the cumin, chili, coriander, and cayenne for 1-2 minutes.
In a blender, slowly blend together the spice/oil mixture, peanut butter, tamari, salt, pepper, adding water while blending to desired thickness. Toss with other ingredients, chill for a bit before serving, the salad and you.

There are a couple of things that I'd like to mention about this recipe. First, I know it seems to be a long list of ingredients for a "simple meal," but what I discovered as I roamed around my seriously understocked pantry on that hot summer day, is that most of us have the assorted spices listed on hand. This is not a recipe that is intended to get you to head to the market. There will be many other recipes to come on this blog, please don't add ingredients to your kitchen that you wouldn't otherwise use just to make this meal.

The second thing is that since I wrote this recipe we have begun growing a modestly sized vegetable garden, so it is unlikely I would be caught with such a slim veggie selection in the summertime again which is so great! This little realization made me smile. Isn't that why we are here? To deepen our understanding that the more we do for ourselves the better equipped we are to provide for our own needs? Yes, indeed. I enjoyed revisiting this post and sharing this recipe with you, but the fresh perspective for me was an added bonus, thank you.