Summer break starts next week at school, so Kyle and I are going to be taking a trip to visit my family in Kansas. This means that food-wise, we're in pre-vacation mode, meaning no new groceries- everything has to come out of the fridge or the pantry. Even if we weren't going on a vacation, it'd be a good idea, as I have a tendency to be a little... ahem... over-enthusiastic at the grocery store. It's a very zen experience for me- the soft music, the smell of bread wafting from the bakery, row after row of glorious edibles... Some people go to yoga, I go to Publix. Couple that with my mother's waste-not-want-not influence on my formative years, and the end result is a full pantry in which I rarely make a dent.
This meal is one that uses several of my pantry staples- pasta, peanut butter and tofu. It has a nice, spicy Thai-inspired flavor, thanks to the cilantro, pepper flakes and peanuts. We had plenty for our dinner, plus some leftovers. Kyle liked it so much, he took the leftovers to lunch at work-- not so notable, except that there was also leftover mexican in the fridge. I can rarely compete with chimichangas.
The noodles are super filling, cheap and pretty quick to throw together once your tofu is drained and pressed. If you didn't want to use tofu, it would be equally yummy with shrimp. Of course, if you don't have fresh herbs, you can use dried. I just happened to have fresh leftover that needed to get used.
We enjoyed our noodles with a bottle of HRM Rex Goliath Pinot Grigio (2006). I usually get wine at a local wine shop, but I saw the bottle at the grocery store, and the label was so weird... it called to me. It was nicely priced (less than $10), and quite good. I thought it was crisp, with a bright tart apple flavor. (The website says "Bright, juicy flavors of citrus and apples that lead to a sweet mineral core"- So I was close on my tasting notes!) I also bought the merlot, but haven't tried it yet.
Thai Inspired Peanut Noodles
1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/2 medium onion, cut in thin half-rings
6oz spaghetti or angel hair pasta, cooked according to directions (I used whole wheat)
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
1/3c creamy peanut butter
2T soy sauce
1/4c fresh chopped cilantro
1/4c chopped green onion
Salt (to taste)
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet on medium heat. Sautee onions and garlic until the onions just start to caramelize. Cut the tofu into strips and sprinkle lightly with salt. Add the tofu to the pan, and allow to cook undisturbed until it becomes golden on one side, then stir to allow other sides to cook.
While tofu cooks, heat the peanut butter in a microwave safe dish. Once the peanut butter is slightly melted, whisk in soy sauce, honey, a pinch or two pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like your noodles) and ginger.
When the tofu is golden and hot, add the peanuts and toss with the pasta, sauce and cilantro and green onions. Garnish with extra cilantro, if like me, you can't get enough of the stuff!