Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tour de Noodles

It has come to my attention that I eat a lot of noodles. Nobody really went out of their way to point this out to me, but in reviewing my diet this past week, I've noticed an abundance of pasta. I love me some carbs. I like bread, straight up. Rice is okay, too. I also live in fear that I will one day wake up and weigh 300 lbs.

This is my version of Chinese Dan Dan noodles, which is basically an Asian version of spaghetti bolognese. Mine was mouth-inceratingly spicy, so tread lightly with hot bean sauce.

The finished product: goes well with beer.

1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
2-3 tbsp hot bean sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 cup chopped scallions

1 lb fresh egg noodles
1 tsp sesame oil

Chop the pork into an even finer mince.
In a wok or heavy pan over high heat, heat peanut oil. Add ginger and garlic and stir briefly, about 20 seconds. Add the pork and stir 2-3 min to separate the grains, but do not brown.

Meanwhile, boil (unsalted) water for the pasta.

When the pork has separated and changed color, add the bean sauce, sugar, soy sauce and vinegar. Cook, stirring often, 3-4 min. When the pork has cooked through, turn off heat and stir in scallions.

Boil noodles 3 1/2- 5 min. Drain and toss with sesame oil. Serve with meat sauce.

It's your call on keeping the meat separate from the noodles. Whatever floats your boat. Also works well with peanuts, cucumbers, and/ or cilantro thrown in at the end.

Next up: Something a little lighter, perhaps, after all that pork. But I clearly have an Asian fixation. This is a Japanese dish called Otsu. It's ridiculously good, and one of the few things I actually follow a recipe for, unlike my ungodly Dan Dan concoction above. The recipe calls for tofu as the protein of choice, but I also like to use sliced avocado.

Tofu: My roommate likes it. I prefer avocado, aka "The Bacon of Fruit"

For the dressing:
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1-inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned brown rice vinegar
1/3 cup shoyu (soy) sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

For the rest:
1 package soba noodles
1 package extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, roughly chopped
toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Recipe adapted from Heidi Swanson,

The dressing for otsu is really what makes it. It's perfect for summertime, and I use the leftovers on top of salads, rice, and other bland things.

The final leg: Something not Asian. Remember my first post, about garlic scapes? Yeah, I'm still pretty into them. Despite my initial hesitation, I ended up making scape pesto last week. It was actually too strong by itself (a shock, given my abrasive-taste tendencies), so I blended in a can of cannellini beans to make a sort of pesto/hummus/pasta sauce/ spread thing. I then put this multi-hyphenated spread on top of fettucini, along with a nice healthy handful (or two) of grated Parm, and fried up some sweet onions for texture on top. That's it. No recipe. You should be able to figure this one out.

The cannellini beans give these noodles a great creamy feel without actually using any cream (don't get me wrong--the cheese didn't hurt, but I'd like to think the healthful properties of beans made up for some of that dairy goodness).

And that is all in my Tour de Noodles--for this week, anyway.

1 comment:

Michael Natkin said...

That's some serious noodle action. I'm all about the otsu noodles too... here's my version.