Mittens, Baloney, and Peanut Butter

According to a 60 MInutes/Vanity Fair poll, when asked Mitt Romney’s real first name, 2% of people surveyed thought it was Mittens. That’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. (Thanks Linnea).

Following the latest Republican debates, I was tempted to give a baloney recipe. (I never thought I’d say this, but shout out to Newt Gingrich for calling out Romney on his pious baloney.)

Ann Romney says her husband likes peanut butter on everything so here’s a spicy Singaporean recipe for Garlic-Peanut Sauce from Steve Raichlen’s cool book, Planet Barbecue!: 309 Recipes, 60 Countries. Obama 2012!

Fried Garlic Peanut Sauce
2 T. vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, 3 cloves thinly sliced crosswise and 2 cloves minced
1 shallot, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and minced, or 2 strips (each 1/2 by 2 inches) lemon zest
1 to 3 small hot chiles, such as Thai chiles or serrano or jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced (for a hotter peanut sauce, leave the seeds in)
1 T. dried shrimp, minced, or 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
3/4 c. peanut butter
1 c. unsweetened coconut milk, or as needed
2 T. sugar, or more to taste
2 T. soy sauce
1 t. fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1 T. finely chopped cilantro
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, 2 minutes. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add the 2 cloves of minced garlic, the shallot, lemongrass, chile(s), and dried shrimp, if using, to the wok and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 minutes.

Stir in the peanut butter, coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, if using (instead of the dried shrimp), lime juice, and 3/4 cup water. Reduce the heat and gently simmer the sauce until it is thick but pourable, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cilantro during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Just before serving, stir in the fried garlic slices. If the sauce has gotten too thick and pasty, add a tablespoon or so of water. Taste and correct the seasoning, adding salt and pepper, and more sugar and lime juice if needed. The sauce should be richly flavored.


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