Friday, June 1, 2012

Stir-Fried Broccoli with Peanut Sauce

Peanut sauce makes so many things taste better.  I like it slathered on almost any meat:  chicken, pork, lamb and beef.  It's great on noodles.  It's a terrific base for a salad dressing, just thin is down with a little more oil and vinegar.  And of course, it's wonderful on vegetables, especially broccoli.  Best of all, peanut sauce is easy to make and keeps in the fridge for weeks.  So, you can make it ahead of time and mix up some extra for future use.

The recipe below makes about a cup of peanut sauce.  Feel free to double it.  I like to start with chunky peanut butter, but if you prefer plain, be sure to chop up extra peanuts for garnish.  If you use a natural peanut butter with no sugar or salt added, you might want to add a bit of salt and agave syrup or other sweetener.  But if you start with one of the more processed national brands, you may want to taste it before adding any salt or sweetener, as these products tend to already have both.

Because peanut butter usually sticks to whatever measuring device you use, I like to mix my peanut sauce in a 2-cup measuring cup.  You can measure out 1/3 C peanut butter, then pour the rice vinegar over the peanut butter to bring the total amount in the measuring cup to 2/3 C.  Add the other ingredients right into the measuring cup and stir until well combined.

For the peanut sauce:

1/3 C peanut butter
1/3 C rice vinegar
1 clove young garlic, minced
2 T minced fresh ginger (or more to taste)
2 T sesame oil
2-3 T canola oil
2-3 T soy sauce (or more to taste)
1-2 t agave syrup, optional
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes, optional
2-3 T crushed peanuts (or more to taste)
salt to taste

1.  Measure the peanut butter, rice vinegar, young garlic, ginger, sesame oil, canola oil, and soy sauce into a 2-cup measuring cup or bowl.  Stir until well combined.

2.  Taste peanut sauce and add agave syrup, salt, red pepper flakes, and crushed peanuts, if desired.  If the sauce is too thick, you can thin it by stirring in a little water, rice vinegar, or even pineapple juice.

3.  Set aside while you prepare the broccoli, or refrigerate for later use.

Prepare the broccoli:

1 T canola oil
2 C chopped broccoli florets
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips, optional
peanut sauce, as prepared above
1-2 T crushed peanuts for garnish

1.  Heat oil in a wok or a skillet over medium-high heat.

2.  Add the broccoli and the pepper strips.  Stir-fry until crisp-tender.

3.  Turn down the heat and add 1/2 C peanut sauce.  Stir to coat.

4.  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Sprinkle with crushed peanuts.  Serve.

Stir-fried broccoli with peanut sauce makes an excellent side dish all by itself.  It can also be a delicious main course served over rice or some other grain.

Today's bounty included:

From Sage Mountain Farm:  Patty pan squash, ruby red grapefruit, garlic, purple scallions, red Russian kale, arugula, chioggia beets, and bull's blood beets;

From JR Organics:  romaine and strawberries;

From Jaime Farms:  broccoli, orange carrots, radishes, and mustard greens;

From Sweet Tree Farms:  pluots and white donut peaches;

From Silver Lake Farms:  rosemary, mint, and thyme.



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