Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sesame Noodles...mmmm....

We love Sesame Noodles. On the List of Things to Eat, they are one step below pizza.

Plain: they can be eaten, by the light of an open refrigerator door, with fingers, after getting home way too late with beer on one’s breath.

By degrees they can be made fancy, even healthy. They play well with any mild protein, from poached chicken breast to tofu (marinate extra-firm tofu, sliced in thin strips, in an equal mix of soy sauce and sesame oil for 30 minutes, pat dry, and sauté until golden brown on all sides).

While we would like you to think we are the happy-go-lucky types who are always stumbling in at the little hours, faces flushed from booze and romantic advances, shoveling down some soothing starch before falling – insensate – on the eiderdown, truth is: this makes a great pack-it-to work lunch. Tossing some veg into the pasta for the last minute (we’re partial to frozen bell peppers and spinach, but go crazy with your bad self) makes it feel like more of a meal. Topping it off with some thinly-sliced green onions adds a zowie-fresh kick.

If you are sensitive to heat: leave out the hot bits (hot sauce and pepper flakes). If you recoil in horror at the thought of fish sauce: free your mind. Yes: you do need it in your pantry. And yes: you do need to grow up. A pantry without fish sauce is like a living room with a stained futon from college. Adults have proper sofas. And fish sauce in their pantries.

You may be pondering: Martini, have you gone loco? Dehydrated onion and garlic? Like drinking on an empty stomach at a party with boring people, this is a dirty little secret. Tossing these in with the still-steaming, drained pasta does everything you could do by finely-mincing these ingredients. Consider this getting your pre-func on.

And finally: whole-wheat pasta? Yes. If you don’t have it: good on you. We’re trying – desperately – to be as healthy as we can, within reason.

Sesame Noodles with…whatever you please

1T Honey
2T Peanut Butter
1T Sesame Oil
1T Rice Vinegar
1t Louisiana Crystal Hot Sauce
1t Soy Sauce
½ Fish Sauce

2-4 oz. Whole Wheat Spaghetti
1 T Kosher Salt

½ t Garlic Granules
½ t Onion Granules
½ t Hot Pepper Flakes

2 C Veg of Choice

Protein of Choice

Garnish: Finely-Sliced Green Onions

- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the honey, peanut butter, sesame oil, rice vinegar, hot sauce, soy sauce, and fish sauce.

When you first start to mix this, it will seem gloppy and horrifying. Do not fear: in under a minute it will be smooth and painless.

- Boil water, add salt and pasta. Pasta should take about 10 minutes.
- Toss in veg, if necessary, and boil for another minute
- Drain pasta, add onion, garlic, and hot pepper flakes, toss the whole mess into the medium bowl, on top of peanut butter-sesame mixture
- Add chicken, tofu, ball-bearings (your choice) to noodles. Toss.
- Before serving: garnish with thinly-sliced green onions

To serve? Warm. Cold. Can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Monday, April 6, 2009

You know you want it

A few months ago, we were wandering aimlessly around the Internet and found a recipe for the Best Baked Potato, Ever. Well, to be specific: it was a picture and we clicked on it. Recipe was vague and all the comments were in Spanish. But the idea was so brilliant, and simple. We've been dreaming about it ever since.

1 Yukon Gold potato
2 slices bacon

Cut the potato in 1/4-inch slices, taking care not to cut all the way through (we laid the potato on a cutting board, and placed two wood spoons on either side). Cut the bacon into enough slices to fit into the cuts in the potato. Bake in a 400-degree oven for an hour to an hour and a half, until done. Next time we try this - and there will be a next time - we will base it with the bacon drippings halfway through. Cheddar cheese on top? Lips say no, but eyes say yes. Come to Butthead.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cheezy Orzo with Veg

Oh my: another flu? We're tired of getting sick here at Martini Central. We threw this together using some stuff in the pantry and found it rather soothing.

1/2 cup Orzo pasta

1 cup frozen, chopped Spinach
1/2 cup frozen Mixed Vegetables (we used a Bell Pepper Medley)

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
Dash of Granulated Garlic
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper

3/4 cup Milk (we had 1% on hand)
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

3/4 cup grated Cheese (we used Pepper Jack)

- Make the pasta: bring water to a boil, add salt, boil until it is done (when you bite it, it should be slightly firm in the center)
- When pasta is done: add Spinach and Vegetables and wait until water comes back to a boil. Drain.
- While pasta and veg are draining: wipe out the pot and, over medium-high heat, add butter - when it melts and has finished foaming, add flour, salt, ground pepper, and garlic. Stir until the flour becomes a very pale brown.
- Add Mustard and Milk - continue cooking until it thickens.

- Take pot off heat. Stir in grated cheese, mixture should be smooth and dreamy. Add salt and pepper, if needed.
- Mix in drained pasta and veg.

- BONUS: put everything into a small, oven-safe dish, sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top, and bake in a 350-degree oven until the top is brown.

- Best enjoyed on the sofa, watching TV.