sesame takeout noodles
Yesterday evening I returned home to the City on a comically blustery August night. As the plane lowered down over the Bay it felt as if we were actually descending into winter, complete with thick black fog and whipping winds. Shout outs go to La Niña and the Game of Throne folks (though I’m not one). “Winter is Coming” or something like that? But winter isn’t coming to SF, its already here, right smack dab in the middle of summer when I’m usually bracing myself for the sweatiest of days. I can’t say I mind this quirky weather, though, since it allows me to avoid perspiring all the way through my shirt on the walk to work every morning. Wearing a light jacket and scarf seems like a fair trade.
That might be because I’m riding high off the week of summer I just had while visiting the Pacific Northwest to attend the wedding of a good friend and do some exploring. I got to see Seattle and Portland for the first time which was BAD ASSSSSS (Portland stole my freakin heart, gah!), and also stayed at a cute little resort in Blaine (as I mentioned) where they catch crab and oysters onsite. I had so much good food and wine that I’m tempted to write down every single place we went, but seeing as it was only my first time experiencing everything and I wouldn’t claim to be an expert, I’ll spare you what is essentially just me gushing over the amazing PNW food scene. My friend Steph, on the other hand, lives in Seattle and knows ALL the things about wining and dining in Seattle and Portland so check her feed out if you’re headed that way.
Meanwhile, I’m settling back into the ole routine at home, spending my days in the cubicle and my nights squeezing in everything else - chilling with Cos and the kitties, putzing around the kitchen, listening to the Call Your Girlfriend podcast, trying to ignore 90% of news related to the presidential election, yogging around Golden Gate Park. The usual. I love a good routine, what can I say. Cos and I wasted not one minute getting back into our dinner routine. We even dropped by Whole Foods on the way home from the airport last night to pick up a few things that ended up as sesame noodles tonight, a back pocket favorite of ours. In general, I probably make rice noodles with some manner of a sesame/soy sauce more than I make anything else (umami, for days), but I feel like I make them differently every time. This recipe is by far my favorite, and I’m always tweaking it in little ways. I use it as a template and adjust it to what I’m feeling on the day, and it’s delicious every time.
14 oz. thick rice noodles (aka stir-fry noodles if you’re Thai Kitchen)
2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a splash to loosen the noodles
3½ tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon brown or white sugar
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 large clove of garlic, grated
chili-garlic paste to taste
potential garnishes: toasted sesame seeds, cilantro, green onions, thinly sliced cucumbers or red pepper, matchstick carrots, mung bean sprouts
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, the soy sauce, rice vinegar, tahini, peanut butter, sugar, and chili-garlic paste. Grate the ginger and garlic into the bowl and whisk together. Taste and add a little more of something if you think it needs it (though it will be pretty salty eaten off of a spoon).
Meanwhile, boil water for the rice noodles and cook according to the package directions. [The noodles I buy have you bring the water to a boil, then take the boiling water off the heat before adding the noodles and setting a 9-minute timer, stirring occasionally.] Once the noodles have cooked, drain and rinse them, then splash in a little sesame oil to keep them from sticking.
Add the noodles to the bowl containing the sauce and mix. Choose your own adventure with garnish and dig in.