Cold Peanut Noodles and The Lazy Chef?

Hi everyone. A great topic came up from a reader regarding whether or not it is O.K. to cook from a kit:

“Now that you mentioned Park Slope Brooklyn, I must bring up an issue that’s been nagging me lately. Restaurants are closing down like crazy in this hood (can you say “recession”?), but there is a newcomer called “get fresh” that has piqued my interest. It’s not a restaurant though… It’s a store that sells “fresh” prepared meals that you can throw together in minutes at home. I bought the peanutbutter noodles mix for $9-something. Although I felt rather guilty bypassing the food co-op and heading to “get fresh” to overpay for my meal, the results were tasty and PAINLESS. So, what do you say to this concept? Is it sooooooooooo wrong to take major shortcuts in the kitchen and pay a bit more? or even a lot more? (I wish I could even have my act together enough to make “get fresh” pit stops once a week instead of relying on frozen meals or take-out…)

lazy in brooklyn”

Thank you for posting this comment. I am a firm believer in not taking on more than we can handle in the kitchen, as it might overwhelm us and serve as a deterrent to cooking. Start small, with small goals. By all means, buy the chopped, peeled, more expensive vegetables if it means you will have quick, healthy, satisfying results. The more we do this, the more comfortable we may get in the kitchen. One day, we might even pick out our own ingredients and make a dish from scratch instead of relying on an expensive “kit”.
For those of you interested in “get fresh”:

Speaking of peanut noodles, I feel the time has come to introduce you to my fabulous homemade recipe. Peanut noodles have always been one of my favorite dishes, so much so, that in H.S., I kept a piece of paper in my bag and kept a record of all the peanut noodles I had tried in restaurants. I put stars next to them, with the intention of writing an article in the school newspaper about which restaurant had the best noodles. I never did write that article but here is the recipe that I now recommend most-mine!

Cold Sesame Peanut Noodles:

3 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
4 TBS packed brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 TBS sesame oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
3/4-1 lb linguine or lo mein noodles
chopped scallions and chopped , peeled cucumber for garnish

In a med. sized saucepan, combine all ingredients up to and including the chicken broth. Cook on medium heat, stirring until it is thickened and smooth. Let cool.

Cook noodles, drain and rinse in cold water. Transfer noodles to a big bowl and toss with the sauce. Serve at room temp. and garnish with the scallions and cukes.
IMPORTANT NOTE! If you make the sauce beforehand, DO NOT toss with the noodles until you are ready to serve. If they sit for a while already mixed, the noodles will soak up all the sauce and it will get dried out. You can make the pasta before and the sauce before but just keep them in separate bowls. You can prep the garnish before also and leave it in the fridge in a small covered bowl or tupperware. Enjoy!


2 Responses

  1. Alma, I made these noodles. They came up so yummy but quite spicey. I’m wondering whether that’s because I substituted 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper for 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes. What do you think? And do you think that was a good substitution?

  2. One thing to remember in taking short-cuts (like precut veggies, etc) is to keep an eye an additional, wasteful packaging. Those carrots that have no packaging when purchased as a fresh bunch, suddenly grow a styrofoam tray and plastic wrap when purchased precut.

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