14 July 2009

Peanut Noodle Salad

No one has posted for a while, I know—sorry! George and I just bought a house and because our lives have been hectic we haven't been cooking anything particularly new or interesting for a while. Tonight, however, was our Farewell Dinner so we pulled out all the stops. I started planning last night (to George's disbelief), but at that time I didn't realize that today we would harvest some of our garden crops! We pulled up four shallots and picked three hot Hungarian wax peppers. The vegetables tasted so fresh that my whole body felt uplifted.

The meal deeply satisfied us all. My peanut noodle salad paired serenely with the grilled tuna steaks, grilled Hungarian and cubanelle peppers, and shallot butter. I didn't even eat any tuna steaks and my gullet couldn't take any more gorging, so I don't know how the others managed.

Would you believe that I invented the peanut noodle salad all by myself? Well, I didn't. I used Mollie Katzen's peanut sauce from the New Moosewood Cookbook. It contains a cup of peanut butter, a few tablespoons soy sauce, raw garlic, raw grated ginger, a few tablespoons brown sugar, a few tablespoons apple cider vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes, and a cup and a half of boiling water. Ambrosial.

I poured the peanut sauce over lotsa lettuce and chopped endive, boiled white asparagus, sauteed firm tofu, sliced shallot greens, and toasted chopped almonds plus noodles: wide flat rice noodles soaked in hot water until soft, then drained and thoroughly rinsed in cold water. It took me about an hour to make the whole thing at a lazy pace.

Meanwhile, people grilled the tuna steaks and the peppers. When the peppers were blackened, George sealed them in a plastic bag for 10 minutes or so, then peeled off the black outer layer. He doused them in olive oil and kosher salt and served them hot and delicious.

Lizzie made the shallot butter by melting 1/3 Cup butter with 4 finely chopped garden-fresh young shallots and 2 large minced cloves of garlic. She cooked it real slow until the shallots turned translucent. She spooned the shallot butter onto the tuna steak and for me, onto homemade whole wheat bread. De-lovely!

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