Monday, March 22, 2010

Bichos Raros

Awhile go I walked into work with a sandwich for lunch, which is not very typical for me. My co-worker looked at it in its bag and said, "What did you bring, a peanut butter sandwich?" Yep, I replied, not really paying attention, at which point she stopped to stare at me. "I was kidding...because it´s the most typical Yanqui thing, like in the seriously brought a peanut butter sandwich for your lunch?"

Uh, yeah, I did. We are, by the way, "Yanquis" in Argentina. That would be "Yankees"...

And they find our consumption of peanut butter incomprehensible. They find the texture strange, and the concept of it as a sandwich, for lunch (as opposed to dessert- they consider it to be sweet), even stranger. I had to laugh at the difference when I went home to my parent's house in Minnesota to find an empty jar of peanut butter in the coffee-cup holder of my mom's car. "I've been meaning to fill it up at the co-op..." she said, explaining that she prefers the co-op peanut butter if she's going to eat it on its own to the Trader Joe's kind that she uses to mix into soups and sauces.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Brian invited me to an asado out in Escobar, outside of the city of Buenos Aires. A group of skateboarders from the states had come down here to shoot a skate video, and whoever was in charge of the trip wanted to give them the Argentine asado (barbeque, minus the sweet sauce) experience. So they rented a house with a quincho and a pool, and brought in a crew to make the food. We were served huge amounts of grilled beef, chorizo, and morcilla (blood sausage). Then they brought out more red meat, which they explained was ñandu. What´s ñandu? It´s like the road runner, they told us. It is, more precisely, this:

Then they brought out another meat, a white one, that tasted like chicken (what doesn´t) but more flavorful, more juicy. Yacaré, they explained. That would be:

So yeah, peanut butter. We hardly have the monopoly on weird foods, though as always what is considered strange is mostly dependent on where you are at the time. I brought peanut butter chocolate chip cookies one time to a dinner with the people from my master´s program, and they ended up loving them, even though at first they did concept very strange. This is the recipe, belatedly delivered.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour

¾ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

½ c. unsalted butter, softened

1 c. chunky peanut butter at room temperature (I used natural, which makes for a less-sweet, less traditional-tasting cookie...Jif and the like will give you that typical sweet peanut butter cookie, which I love as well...or you could add honey to your natural peanut butter until you get a sweetness similar to Jif, though the texture will be denser)

¾ c. granulated sugar

½ c. firmly packed light brown sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 Tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ c. chocolate chips

For sprinkling: 1 Tbsp. sugar, regular or superfine

Preheat oven to 350º F . In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Sift the flour along with the baking soda, baking powder, and salt directly into the bowl (I put half the flour and the soda, powder, and salt in the sifter first, and then the rest of the flour, so that the soda and powder are evenly distributed throughout), and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Place sprinkling sugar ― the remaining tablespoon ― on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern, but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Galletas de Mantequilla de Mani con Chips de Chocolate

adaptado de Smitten Kitchen

1¼ taza de harina (tipo 000)

¾ cucharita de bicarbonato de soda

½ cucharita de polvo de hornear

¼ cucharita de sal

½ taza de mantequilla, a temperatura ambiente

1 taza de mantequilla de maní "crunchy" (es decir, la mantequilla de maní que viene con los trocitos), a temperatura ambiente (yo usé mantequilla tipo natural, que hace que las galletas queden menos dulces. La típica que uno encuentra en los supermercados lleva azúcar y aceite -tipo chatarra- que es con la que se hacen la típicas galletas de mantequilla de maní. Me gustan ambas, es una cuestión de gusto. Si quieres, podrías echar miel a la mantequilla de maní natural hasta que tengas el nivel de dulce parecido a la típica, esto va hacer que la textura de las galletas sea más pesada que si lo hicieras con la mantequilla de maní típica. Y si no tenés mantequilla de maní con pedacitos, puedes picar un par de puñados de maní y echárselo.)

¾ taza de azúcar blanco

½ taza de azúcar rubio, bien compacta, o ½ taza de azúcar blanco mezclado con una cucharita de melao

un huevo grande, a temperatura ambiente

una cucharada de leche

una cucharita de extracto de vanilla natural

½ taza de chips de chocolate o chocolate picado en trocitos

Para salpicar: una cucharada de azúcar

Precalienta el horno a 180º C. En un bol grande, bate las dos mantequillas hasta que las dos se incorporen y la textura se vuelva más liviana. Añade los dos azúcar y bate hasta que este muy suave la mezcla. Échale el huevo y mezcla bien. Echa la leche y la vanilla. Sobre el bol, tamiza la harina, el bicarbonato de soda, el polvo de hornear y la sal. Bate la mezcla bien. Añade los chips de chocolate y revuelve. Coloca el azucar para salpicar en un plato y deja caer una bolita de masa, del tamaño de una cucharada, al plato y voltéala para que se cubra por todos lados con el azúcar. Coloca las bolitas en una bandeja de hornear, dejando un espacio de 5 cm. entre las bolitas para cuando crezcan. Con un tenedor, aplastalas un poquito, dejando una marca como de la del jueguito del triki. Hornéalas durante 10-12 minutos. No las dejes por mucho tiempo más, de pronto se ven un poco crudas pero ya estan listas.

Dejálas enfriar en la bandeja un minuto, y después ponlas en un plato para que se terminen de enfriar. Sigue horneando el resto de las bolitas de la misma manera.

1 comment:

  1. omigod, I have not made Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies in years !! Anyone who has not had them has been deprived of such a taste treat ! it is difficult to describe .
    Living here and trying to cook things that are familiar some days and then giving in and just cooking whatever I find that makes sense.. leads a person to finally throw themselves into a recipe like this .. peanut butter makes a good cookie, chocolate makes everyone happy... what can be wrong with this ?
    Welcome to BA :)