Sesame Noodles

IMG_3548Oh, hello there. It's been a while. And a lot has happened since my last post–I'm officially a California resident (not used to it yet), we moved into an apartment and bought a car (my first!) All very exciting, but one of the things I was most excited about when we found our place (which was a process, as anyone who's looked for housing in the Bay Area recently knows) was the fact that I could cook again. After staying with very generous family and friends for more than six weeks, you can bet that I was anxious to get back in the kitchen, and the first thing I made when we were moved in were these sesame noodles. IMG_3549

Sesame noodles were my go-to order from our local Chinese takeout in Brooklyn, and I haven't found a place in Oakland (yet) that makes the same kind–so when I found this recipe from the New York Times, it seemed to perfect to pass up.

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These noodles come together in minutes and satisfied my craving for takeout Chinese exactly–now I just have to learn how to make scallion pancakes and I'll be all set.

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Sesame Noodles (modified from The New York Times)

1 pound Chinese egg noodles (1/8-inch-thick), frozen or (preferably) fresh, available in Asian markets

2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a splash

3 ½ tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar

tablespoons tahini

tablespoons smooth peanut butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons chili-garlic paste, or to taste

Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch by 2-inch sticks

¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until barely tender, about 5 minutes; they should retain a hint of chewiness. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and toss with a splash of sesame oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, the soy sauce, rice vinegar, tahini, peanut butter, sugar, ginger, garlic and chili-garlic paste.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with cucumber and peanuts.

Sesame Noodles with Tofu

I have to be honest. If I were to write down everything I ate, it would be kind of embarrassing. I would love to say that I eat a salad a day and eat my full 6 servings of fruit, but to be honest, sesame noodles would take up an unproportional amount of space. And living in New York, where amazing noodles of every kind are to be had at pretty much any hour of the day or night, doesn't really help this addiction. But usually I make my own, and this recipe, adapted from Tyler Florence's Ultimate cookbook (it REALLY is the ultimate -- I swear, everything I have ever made from this cookbook has been outstanding) is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. I added tofu for some protein, but you could easily substitute that for chicken or shrimp.The sauce would also make a great accompaniment to chicken satay...or raw vegetables. Or just eaten by the spoonful. (But then again, I can never have enough peanut sauce so you probably shouldn't trust me on this one.) Sesame Noodles with Tofu

8 oz. rice noodles

3 tablespoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, separated

4 green onions, very thinly sliced

2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (less if you aren't a fan of spicy food)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

6 tablespoons hot water

1/4 cup crushed peanuts, to garnish

1 block tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

6 oz mixed vegetables, such as sliced carrots and sugar snap peas

Prepare rice noodles as directed on box. When ready, coat with sesame oil and set aside. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large sauté pan. Add tofu, and sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add vegetables and cook until crisp, 5-7 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat remaining vegetable oil over medium heat. Add green onions, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and sauté until beginning to soften, 1-2 minutes. Add brown sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, and hot water and whisk to combine. Add sauce to tofu and vegetables, then add noodles and mix well. Garnish with peanuts, and serve immediately or cold.