Tuesday, March 31, 2015

peanut sesame noodles

This is the kind of food that satisfies all my cravings, and doesn't even have a speck of butter or cheese. What it does have is peanut butter, which seems to make everything  sweet or savoury  much better.

Deb with Smitten Kitchen calls this "Single Girl's Dinner." I could imagine it would be good eaten alone, since it tastes much like take out (but about a zillion times better). But I can't call it that because Scott likes it just as much as I do.

That's a good thing, because we served it for his birthday last year and it was great party food that stretched and stretched (along with some Mexican meatballs in tomato-chipotle sauce) for seconds and thirds and even leftovers.

The peanut dressing alone, with ginger and soy and rice vinegar and honey, is the kind of thing where you feel compelled to either lick the mixing bowl or get out a spatula to get every last drop.

And that's before you've mixed it with stretchy buckwheat soba noodles, peppers, carrots and sesame baked tofu . . . and showered sesame seeds on top.

It all comes together into the most pleasing peanut butter noodle dish. I could eat it again right now.

one year ago: brigadeiros
two years ago: night circus mice
three years ago: lemon gumdrops
four years ago: up island
five years ago: sophisticated marshmallow squares and a soup among friends

peanut sesame noodles
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
serves 4

peanut dressing
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1/4 c. soy sauce*
1/3 c. warm water
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp. Asian toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. Korean red pepper flakes or a splash of your favourite hot sauce

noodles and veg
340 g. (3/4 lb.) soba noodles*
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 carrots, julienned or thickly grated
1 batch sesame baked tofu (recipe follows)
3 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted

Get the sesame baked tofu going (see below).

Blend the dressing ingredients together until smooth, ideally with an immersion blender. Set aside.

Bring a big pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the soba noodles 6  8 minutes, until tender with a hint of a bite. Strain them and rinse well with cold water.

Stir the dressing, noodles, green onions, peppers, carrots and sesame-soy tofu together. Mix well. Serve and top each with a liberal coating of sesame seeds.

sesame baked tofu
via Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook

2 tbsp. soy sauce*
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 block firm tofu, chopped into cubes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Whisk the soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper together in a medium bowl. Toss the tofu in the dressing. Spread the tofu cubes onto the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes.

*If you are making this meal gluten-free, make sure the soba is 100% buckwheat with no wheat and that your soy sauce doesn't contain wheat.

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