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.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

buttermilk pancakes with apple-pear tops

If you come visit us over a weekend, we will probably make you buttermilk pancakes for breakfast.

Or maybe buttermilk waffles. They're both from the same master recipe and equally good but completely different.

If I'm feeling fancy, I will find some fruit and carefully cut it into paper-thin slices.

When the pancakes are crisping and bubbling on the griddle, I'll lay that paper-thin slice of fruit right onto the pancake. It gets a little caramelized when the pancake is flipped and the whole shebang ends up feeling and tasting like a proper weekend breakfast.

These are slices of apple-pear that someone has been keeping in cold storage just for me to put on pancakes. (Also to add to fennel salad.)

The pancake recipe comes from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham and the idea for adding sliced fruit (like peaches! and nectarines!) comes from Smitten Kitchen.

Buttermilk pancakes with apple-pear tops for the weekend. Only three more days . . .

These buttermilk pancakes with apple-pear tops are served with a
dollop of yogurt and saskatoon-currant preserves.

one year ago: gluten-free crêpes and salted butter break-ups
two years ago: spiced red lentil stew with greens and lemon
three years ago: cheddar corn chowder
four years ago: grand forks borscht (the most popular recipe on this blog!)
five years ago: dahl for dinner, dahling and canadian boterkoek

buttermilk pancakes with apple-pear tops
adapted from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham
griddles up about 24 pancakes, serving 4 – 6

2 eggs, separated
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. thick plain yogurt
2 c. (280 g.) wheat flour
     or gluten-free:
     92 g. tapioca starch
     92 g. potato starch
     96 g. brown rice flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, melted plus more for frying the pancakes
1 - 2 apple-pears, pears, apples, peaches, nectarines, sliced thinly

Heat your griddle to medium-high.

Beat the egg yolks. Whisk them into the buttermilk and plain yogurt. Set aside.

Mix the flour(s), sugar, salt and baking soda together well. Add to the yolk mixture and mix well. Stir the melted butter in. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites until stiff but still moist. Fold them into the batter.

Lightly grease your griddle with butter. Dollop batter onto the griddle to make pancakes that are about 3 inches in diameter. Carefully place thinly-sliced fruit right on the batter. Look for little bubbles to show the pancakes have set and flip them over for another minute or so. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.