Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Smoking Stovetop: Peanut Sesame Noodles

One thing I discovered last year about living alone: it sucks. Especially when it comes to cooking. There are no good recipes for one, so you're knee-deep in leftovers every time you open the fridge.

I hate leftovers. I can never make myself eat them in time. So instead of fresh ingredients and healthy bag lunches, I was confronted by shelves upon shelves of old, moldy crap every time I went to the fridge

It was kind of cool, I guess. In a middle school science fair sort of way. It turns out that even onions grow mold if you leave them alone long enough!

One thing I'm excited about since moving in with two new roomies is cooking for them. Since I live with boys, I won't ever have to worry about leftovers again. The refrigerator is a magic box: you put something in, open the door a few hours later and *poof*! It's disappeared! Magic, I tell you!

For last night's meal, I did an adaptation of a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I'd have pictures, but I forgot to bring my cord to work. You'll have to take my word that these peanut sesame noodles tasted bomb and looked even better.

My recipe:

For the dressing:

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon black vinegar

1 tablespoon white wine

1 1/2 tablespoons Asian toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 heaping teaspoon Sriracha

For the noodles:

1 lb dried soba noodles
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
Half a seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 package firm tofu, pressed and crumbled
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Whisk dressing ingredients in a large bowl until smooth - ish.

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse well under cold water.

Add pasta, scallions, bell peppers, cucumber and tofu to dressing, tossing to combine. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

I've never cooked with tofu before and this was an easy introduction. Luckily I'd heard somewhere that tofu needed to be pressed before using to make sure it takes on the flavors of the marinade. Otherwise we would've been looking at one soggy dinner.