The fact that today is a startling 78 degrees with low humidity and the sun is streaming in wide ribbons through every windowed wall is leaving me as torn as I have ever been between my simultaneous urges to Take Walk! Frolic Outside! Drinks Beers on a Terrace, Somewhere! And come home late tonight with my skin smelling like summer and my forehead re-freckled and fall into a deep sleep, my legs twitching like a puppy who dreams about catching frisbees… and, you know, bake some things for tomorrow’s Seder. Hrm, is it actually any question what will win?
Nevertheless, I haven’t even told you about my Single Girl’s Dinner from Monday night. No, calm down, Alex did not finally tire of me, the dishes I create and my incessant complaining about the wrinkles on my forehead (and the IfYouLovedMeYou’dBuyMeBotox!), etc. He just had some clients taking him out to dinner and I was in no mood for take-out. Well, that’s not true, I was in the mood for takeout-like food, but I wanted it to be the way I like it which pretty much left me with the option of making it myself. Such is the life of the Too Picky For Their Own Good.
I had cold peanut sesame noodles for the first time when I was 13 and had recently decided to go vegetarian. A friend who was also eschewing meat wanted to go to a Chinese restaurant and I was certain there would be nothing for us eat, but she ordered them for us and I was instantly, head-over-heels in love. If this was vegetarian food, I was in it for the long haul (or about until the age of 28, you know, whichever came first). However, it was many more years before I found a formula — this one –for it that allowed me to make it at home, any time I pleased.
Monday night was a perfect excuse to dust off my old favorite. Since my resident tofu-skeptic was out, I added that too. And now the sun is out, too — squee! — I hope you all have a great weekend.
Peanut Sesame Noodles
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced or finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced or grated
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes or a hot sauce or chili paste of your choice, to taste
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 3/4 pound dried buckwheat soba noodles or another noodle of your choice
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
- 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
- Half a large or two small seedless cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
- 1 cup firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into thicker matchsticks
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (white, black, or a mix thereof)
Noodles and Vegetables
Make the noodles: Boil in salted water as directed on the package then drain and rinse under cold water until fully cool.
Assemble: Place noodles and vegetables in a large bowl and toss with sauce to evenly coat. Transfer to serving bowl, if you’re fancy, and scatter with tofu, drizzling a little extra sauce over it. Garnish with sesame seeds and eat immediately.
Note: I usually keep the noodles in one container, the vegetables and tofu in another, and the sauce in a jar and assemble it one bowl at a time. The sauce keeps for two weeks in the fridge.