Oh man, I’m sorry these things take me so long, you must be sick of me making excuses, so you know what? I’m not going to anymore. To quote 50 Cent “my s(tuff)* coming out WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT.” (*He did not say “stuff.”) Fiddy’s my new guru of life. Did you know he’s writing a Young Adult novel about bullying? There are so many things wrong with that sentence, and yet, it’s totally true.
And since we’re talking about books, you guys, I am in the nerdiest pickle right now. Everything I am reading is SO FREAKIN GOOD that I can’t decide what to read at any given moment and I am pretty much paralyzed with the inability to choose and I am accomplishing nothing. Seriously. It’s a problem. I can’t get anything done (for instance, the bulk of this post is already written, by hand, in a notebook, can I type it up? No I cannot) because I have to spend so much time reading because I can’t just pick one thing. Nerd. Alert. The New Yorker is amazing, and I am reading “Blood Bones and Butter” by Gabrielle Hamilton and apparently she cooks better than she writes which is unreal and seems impossible because the book is crazy good, plus! I was in my friendly neighborhood Borders the other day (is anyone else a member of Borders rewards? I got an e-mail the other day saying I had $10 in Borders Bucks to spend before the end of the month, so I better get on in there. And it worked! I actually had $10 that I could use on anything! How did I get that?) and I saw THIS.
Oh my gosh you guys, David Chang, my chef/celebrity crush (does anyone know him? Can I meet him? Can I get a reservation to his restaurants? I have to go to NY obvs, but I will do that. I will go and spend an entire weekend eating at only his restaurants and I think I would be crazy happy with that. Anyone want to join me?) HAS A MAGAZINE. And it is published by McSweeney’s so it is awesome on top of awesome. It is apparently a going to be a quarterly (this is the first issue) and there are no advertisements and all sorts of great people contribute to it and OH MY GOD. Each issue is going to have a different theme and this one is Ramen and did you know you can write an entire amazing magazine with Ramen as your theme? There are a few diversions, but there are recipes! And so much Chang! And it was exactly $10 so it was also FREE! My head is going to explode.
OK, and one more thing, real quick, since we’re talking about books. I love my Kindle. Love. So psyched to be headed off to vacation with my little Kindle loaded with about six unread books and four back issues of the New Yorker, because you know I would have not been able to choose and would have brought all of those with me in book and magazine form if they weren’t on my Kindle, but books! Oh my gosh, please people, keep buying books so they don’t disappear. They’re so pretty and creative and I just love being around them. I am currently obsessed with finding all the books I read and loved when I was little and hoping they are still somewhere in my parents’ house. Because I would read the heck out of them again. My parents were not in to the television when we were little (for us, they totally watched) because it rots your brain and also because there were all sorts of inappropriate things on there that they wanted to avoid us seeing. But books, we could read as much as we wanted and we could read ANYTHING we wanted. The logic being, even if you are reading the words on the page your imagination and experiences filter what you are reading, which I think is totally true. Case in point. I read Clan of the Cave Bear the summer between 5th and 6th grade. I may be wrong but I am fairly certain that would be (or is?) totally a rated R movie and there was no way I would have been watching that. But, what I remember of it is sitting during swim period at the day camp that I went to with a friend who also read a ton and reading the sex parts to each other and laughing and laughing and laughing. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that first sex part? Forcible and NOT at all funny, but since I had no concept of that, I totally missed it. I forget where this was going, but anyway, books are awesome. And if you didn’t read Christopher Pike or VC Andrews or any of the Clan of the Cave Bear series you totally should. (I had some some intriguing taste in books. Like, A Wrinkle in time was not murder-y or warped love triangle-y enough for me or something? Geez. I wonder what a therapist would say. Also, I think I need to read all of these books again. They were so good! I really should get a therapist.) Another interesting note, I still can not watch scary movies. Scream? Never saw it. I mean, that was basically a Christopher Pike novel, of which I read every single one, but forget the movie. I’d still be terrified. Same with Silence of the Lambs. Read it in like seventh grade maybe? I read the mass market paperback that tied in with the movie, which came out in 1991, so seventh grade sounds right. Still have never seen the movie. I think I would like to? I’ve thought about it. But not by myself. Seriously, I have no idea where this is going. We’ll talk about food now?
Sorry. There is also a caveat before I actually get started with this recipe…I’m calling this a weeknight chicken recipe, but it’s probably not really a weeknight chicken recipe exactly, since I would say that noodles are the main event here, but! it is definitely for weeknights, and it definitely has chicken in it, so I’m counting it. It’s also too good not to share immediately.
This is a recipe courtesy of my mom…she didn’t make it up, but she used to make it all the time, and has no recollection of where it originally came from, so she wins by default. Cold Sesame Noodles is the name of this game. Tahini, sesame oil, soy sauce, sambal, garlic, scallions, red wine vinegar and oil, and then a bit of water to thin it out, and that’s it. There are a lot of recipes for Cold Sesame Noodles online, and many or most of them have peanut butter and sugar in them. The pb I sort of get, but these aren’t peanut noodles, they are sesame noodles, and this recipe relies solely on sesame paste. The sugar I don’t totally get, but like I said, very common, so maybe I’ll try one of those recipes at some point and compare.
I enjoyed this for dinner and several lunches as the main event, but it may be intended as a side dish, which is how my mom usually served it. But what it is really perfect for is a picnic, a potluck, a bar-b-q or whatever because you can make it ahead of time and it really is better cold. The first night I made it I couldn’t wait, so I had some that night when it was still warm, but they really, truly are better cold.
The process is easy. Poach some chicken and then use the very same water to boil some linguine. While those things are happening, chop some scallions and mix up a quick dressing, and that is it. Shred the chicken and mix it all together and voila, dinner or covered dish or side or on the go food (I packed these in containers for my sibs for our road trip last week. I was mocked for the chinese food containers I used, but they put a sock in it when they started eating.) This is great for the summer because it is minimal work and best enjoyed cold. I am probably going to make some more this week because it is stifling in my apartment. Cold food is good.
One more thing, I made a serious omission in my last post when I was mentioning blogs. I forgot to tell you about this one. Healthy Adventures with Adrienne Martin. Adrienne is a gorgeous funny awesome lady that I used to work with at the restaurant, and she has a cute husband and two cute girls and I want to be as cool as her when I grow up. She is very devoted to encouraging people to live their best life and doing the same herself and I suspect if anyone ever is going to convince me to put kale in a blender and drink it, it will be her. She has an exciting new project coming up that I can’t wait to see. Also, without her encouragement, I am not sure B&G would exist. Good luck Adrienne!
Also, really the last thing, listen to Vampire Weekend when you get a chance. I love them and they make me smile and they seem perfect for the summer.
Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chicken (serves 4ish…depending on size of appetite and how you are serving it. I got four dinner/lunches out of it for me. My brother might get one out of this amount. Maybe two if he was feeling generous.)
1 large boneless chicken breast
1/2 lb dried linguine
1 tsp plus 1 tbl sesame oil
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
3 tbls water (or to desired consistency)
2 tsp sambal oelek (or chile oil, sambal has a bit more heat-you will probably be able to find it in a grocery store with a decent ethnic food section, you will definitely be able to find it in an Asian grocery. If you can not. Use chile oil, which you will be able to find. Totally interchangeable here.)
3 tbl soy sauce
2 tbl red wine vinegar
1/4 cup peanut or canola oil
2 tbl minced garlic (mince pretty fine, it stays raw in the final dish)
3 scallions, chopped
Bring chicken breast to boil in a large pot of water over high heat. When water boils, turn the heat off and let the chicken sit for 10-15 minutes until cooked through and then remove from the water. Bring the water to boil again and salt it well. Cook pasta until al dente, and then drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Add the pasta back to the cooking pot, toss with 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, and set aside.
In the meantime, mix the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the scallions, together with enough of the water to make a runny, but still fairly thick, dressing and set aside. When the chicken is cool enough to touch, shred it and add it, with the chopped scallions, to the pasta pot. Pour the dressing over and toss to combine. Let the pasta cool and serve cold or at room temperature with a sprinkling of kosher salt. Leftovers improve.