Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ladies that Lunch

Guess what? I'm thisclose to finishing all the fresh produce and veggies in my fridge! I thought it would be a challenge to do so while my hubby is away, but is hasn't been hard at all. I am now down to two heads of Romaine lettuce (lunch today), a large bag of kale (to be sautéed as a side dish for dinner tonight paired with one sliced apple), three medium sweet potatoes (to be made baked into fries for Super Bowl Sunday), two scallions, carrots, and two lemons. Thank you to my friend who left a comment recently suggesting I squeeze and freeze (the citrus fruit, of course). That was a brilliant idea! Oh, and guess what else I'm finally out of? Extra virgin olive oil! I really can't believe it, but I am. When I did my fall inventory, I had six partially used bottles. And now I'm almost out completely.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to cook for two wonderful ladies. One enjoyed what I served, and the other preferred to just sip on her bottle of formula. She's still just a wee one. I decided to make homemade takeout: veggie fried rice and whole wheat linguine in a peanut-lime sauce. I've already posted the fried rice recipe, so here's the noodles:

Aromatic Noodles with Lime Peanut Sauce by - who else - Ellie Krieger

3/4 pound spinach linguine or whole-wheat spaghetti

2 cups (about 9 ounces) broccoli florets

2 cups (about 6 ounces) snow peas, trimmed

2 cups (about 6 ounces) sugar snap peas, trimmed

1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 scallion, cut into pieces

3/4 inch fresh ginger, finely grated

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup shelled unsalted peanuts

Cook the pasta in a large pot of water according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water. While the pasta is cooking put the broccoli in a steamer basket over a large pot of boiling water and steam it for 3 minutes. Add the snow peas and sugar snap peas and steam for 2 minutes more.

Toast the peanuts in a dry pan over a medium heat until they become fragrant, about 3 minutes. Set them aside to cool. Make the sauce by pureeing the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, vinegar, lime juice, scallion, ginger, sugar and red pepper flakes in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Right before serving, toss the pasta with 3/4 cup of the peanut sauce. Divide into 6 serving bowls and top each serving with the vegetables. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the vegetables. Coarsely chop the peanuts, sprinkle them on top and serve.

First of all, what's better than peanut butter and noodles? With the exception of peanut butter and chocolate, I think this is my favorite way to enjoy it. I recently traded in my Jiff for the Whole Foods nonsweetened version of PB. My hubby was resistant at first, and now he loves it.
  • If you have kids, I really think this is a winner. You can throw in any vegetables you want because they will gobble it up with this sauce. If they do try it, let me know what they think.
  • This is perhaps the fastest of all of Ellie's recipes I've tried. The pasta is easy because it's one step. For the steamed veggies, I'm using Glad's Simply Cooking microwave steaming bags. So basically, I'm just cutting them up and placing them in the bag. The most work-intensive part of this recipe is reaching in your pantry for the ingredients and getting out your measuring cups and spoons. I guess what I'm trying to say is this is the ultimate "go-to" dinner. Fifteen minutes tops.
  • My only suggestion is if there are leftovers (with a family of four, there shouldn't be), don't mix the noodles with the sauce when you're putting it away. I've made this recipe twice now and put it away mixed together. It just doesn't look or taste the same (texture-wise) after being refrigerated and heated up again. It turns out gritty and not at all smooth. Definitely not as beautiful as the first presentation. Oh, and I heard somewhere that if you want to save pasta without sauce and not have it stick together, you should just add a little olive oil to it. I've tried this method successfully.
  • I think the ginger in the sauce really gives it an extra kick. Even though I'm a recent convert to ginger, as a kid, gingerale was a permanent fixture in our house. I found some interesting information about ginger on Eating Well magazine's website:
  • Chinese sailors noshed on it to stop seasickness. Ancient Greeks ate it wrapped
    in bread to quell nausea after a feast. Now, an increasing number of studies
    back ginger’s role in easing queasiness—particularly in pregnant women with
    morning sickness. Researchers are also investigating whether ginger may help
    relieve nausea caused by chemotherapy. Scientists believe that compounds in
    ginger, called gingerols, inhibit serotonin receptors in the digestive and
    nervous systems. (Increased serotonin levels in the brain have been associated
    with nausea.) Ginger also is known to stimulate appetite. Makes sense: if it
    makes you feel better, you may be up for eating again.

    1 comment:

    Patsyk said...

    I just found your blog today, and I will have to come back to read even more of your older posts.

    This recipe sounds so good, I may have to give it a try soon... I do love Ellie Krieger's recipes!