Saturday, June 28, 2014

I do luv peanut butter, even if it's not exactly Greek!

Addictive Stragalia
Not that Greeks don't eat peanuts, they do. Salty things go particularly well with ouzo. So do most nuts and roasted chick peas called "stragalia."  Those little gems are totally addictive and can either be bought at your nearest Middle Eastern grocery store or roasted at home with various spices -- crunchy AND spicy!  If a Greek child is going to spread anything nutty on bread, it will be the hazelnut-chocolate spread "Nutella." 

But they mostly likely have not yet tried "Dark Chocolate Dreams" by Peanut Butter & Company.  I met PB&C reps at the recent BlogHerFood in Miami, and they were kind enough to share a few of their 10 natural peanut butters with me.  "Dark Chocolate Dreams" was awesome on strawberries and would probably be even better on bananas. "The Bees Knees" peanut butter w/honey is another version that might make many Greeks happy.  I do luv peanut butter, and no-stir "Crunch Time" fits right into my (unfortunate) eat-it-with-a-spoon mentality.

And along came something totally different -- "The Heat is On," an all-natural peanut butter "blended with fiery spices" and right up my alley. And fiery it is -- peanuts blended with chili powder, cayenne peppers, crushed red peppers, paprika, palm fruit oil, vinegar and salt (and also gluten free, vegan and kosher like their other peanut butters). Hot stuff!

Paula's Rojak Plate
So I immediately thought of "Rojak," a sauce/spread including crunchy peanut butter, chili sauce, and crushed red pepper that I have made for many years from a recipe taken originally from Sunset magazine and adjusted over time. It's also something totally different and not difficult to put together -- and people usually like it served with carrot sticks and other raw veggies. The dish Rojak is actually more complicated than just the spread or sauce that might be served on it. But when my version is put on vegetables and/or fruit, it does square with rojaks made in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia...

Here is my newly-readjusted version of "Rojak" using PB&C peanut butters: 1/3 c. "The Heat is On," 1/3 c. "Crunch Time," 3 T. firmly packed brown sugar, 1/4 c. lemon juice, 4 T. ketchup (catsup), and 1/2 t. soy sauce. You can adjust the amount of hot peanut butter accordingly or add the aforementioned spices to regular peanut butter...and I am wondering how 1-2 T. tamarind paste instead of lemon juice might taste. In any case, mix and enjoy with carrot sticks and apple slices.

NOTE: It's all Greek to me!

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