Holy lazy blogger Batman! Many apologies for taking too long between posts. I’ve had an exhausting two weeks and every time I try to sit down to blog my sleepiness takes over and next thing I know I’m crawling into bed. Let’s hope I get over that and get back into a routine of blogging. Ok-let’s go!
Last Saturday (not this past weekend, the weekend before) was my friend Hanne’s batchelorette party. It was a wild one, to say the least, ending the night in a private room at a Karaoke Bar in Koreatown with a bottle of vodka, 5 beers and a fruit plate (not all for me-I feel like it came across as I drank all that. I didn’t). That, along with a few drinks at dinner and crawling into bed at 4am, I was feeling less than perfect Sunday morning. And my wallet was feeling mighty empty. But not that it wasn’t worth it, cause it was a blast and fun to party with Hanne and Co. (Congrats, you crazy kids, by the way.) Waking up Sunday was not very much fun. All I wanted to do was stay in bed all day and not spend a penny. Pull down the shades, curl up in a ball, watch a America’s Next Top Model marathon-you know what I’m talking about. I was hungover, to say the least. But, unfortunately, I had things to do, people to see, laundry to be washed. Lying in bed, wallowing in my less than steller state was not an option. I met a friend for brunch (at 10am mind you-remember that I got home at 4am the night before), got three loads of laundry done, had an awesome workout, did some studying for the GREs, and did some grocery shopping. However, when I got home from all that jazz at 5:30 or so, I was still tired, still nauseous and still broke. Normally, on evenings like these, I would change into my pjs, make some tea and soup and go to bed early. But, that was not a possibility that night.
One of my best friends, Barbara, was in town and we were having dinner that night. I was so excited to see her and catch up but not excited to eat restaurant food and pay inflated prices for that restaurant food. Oh, and I was not in the mood look presentable for being in a restaurant. I wasn’t looking my best and might be rejected based on appearance from any neighborhood fine-dining establishment, like Dunkin’ Donuts. So, I came up with a plan-I texted her midway through the day offering to cook her dinner at my apartment and we could enjoy a leisurely dinner on the couch, me still in my workout clothes and still not showered. She was totally up for it (I knew she would be) and I got cracking. I had 4 sets of criteria that needed to be met with this meal: cheap, yummy, fast, sensitive to my iffy stomach. I had had an idea for a peanut noodle salad floating around in my head for quite some time, since I spotted really cheap packages of soba and udon noodles at Whole Foods. It was hot-this would be cold-it was a recipe to tackle that day.
I had no real recipe in mind, but I had some ideas. While doing my grocery shopping, I picked up whatever I thought would make a nice dressing and which veggies would work well in the dish. I had some delicious and fresh carrots from the farmers market I had bought the day before and purchased a cucumber and scallions to round out the veggie quota. Looking back, I think sugar snap peas would have worked great too but didn’t think about it at the time. For the dressing, I bought some tamari and rice wine vinager and was good to go. I had other stuff that I could use in my pantry at home so I was keeping new purchases to a minimum. Those, along with my package of dried soba noodles, off to the kitchen I was!
While the noodles were boiling (I used about half the package which ended up giving me 3 servings), I threw together the dressing using whatever my tried and cloudy brain felt like. I started with about 2 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter (super key-if you don’t have crunchy, add in chopped peanuts) which I mixed with equal part hot water to get it all melted. I then added some of the vinager and tamari along with a generous squeeze of Sriacha. After adding some salt and pepper, I tasted it and added a little more of all the ingredients, as well as some crushed red pepper flakes, until it was the balance I wanted, not to vinagery, not too spicy and not so peanuty that it overwhelmed the other flavors. I also kept it pretty watery because I knew the peanut butter in the sauce would thicken significantly once I put it in the fridge. Once the noodles were done, I threw them in the sauce along with some chopped scallions, yummy market carrots and an entire seedless cucumber mixed it all together and stuck it in the fridge while I waited for Barbara to come/slept my hangover off.
Once she arrived, we settled on the couch with our bowls and chopsticks and dug in. I can’t speak for Barbara, but I surely enjoyed this meal. It was pretty delicious and I thought the flavors in the dressing worked really well. We both agreed it was a little too spicy, but it was a nice balance with the cool veggies. We had a lovely evening on that couch chit-chatting about this and that for a long time as my hangover faded (although my wallet didn’t magically refill). After snagging some delicious coconut gelato, I had to kick her out so I could get my much needed beauty sleep, and was it ever more needed than that night, I don’t think so. I went to bed that night with a happy tummy and filled with a fun weekend full of friends. Cheesy. Sorry.
Peanut Noodle Salad
1/2 package of soba noodles
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 seedless cucumber, sliced into thin half moons
2-3 green onions, sliced
2-3 tablespoons crunchy natural peanut butter
2-3 tablespoons hot water
3 tablespoons rice wine vinager
1 tablespoon tamari
drizzle of Sriacha
salt & pepper to taste
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Cook the noodles according to the package (about 8 minutes-DO NOT OVERCOOK). Combine the peanut butter and hot water in a large bowl to melt the peanut butter. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the vegetables and noodles in the bowl. Taste the balance of the dressing to make sure it is to your liking-you should taste all the ingredients seperately but neither the peanut butter nor the vinager should overwhelm. Also, the dressing should be in the watery side. Once the dressing is to your liking, add the noodles and veggies, stir well to coat the noodles and veggies with the dressing. Store the salad in the fridge and enjoy cold. Tastes best while nursing a hangover
This would also taste really good topped with fresh cilantro, which I also forgot about. Whoops.