I survive on eating milk based products: grilled cheese sandwiches, ginger ice cream, butter, shrikhand, and substantial tablespoons of cream in my cups of morning coffee. It’s a delicious life, to eat so much comforting dairy; my parents say that when I was a baby, I would polish off eight bottles of milk a day. Now in my 20s, I feel wholesome, healthy and happily round when I’m sipping rich chocolate milk, sweet lassi, and panchamrat (a “5 nectar” concoction: milk, sugar, honey, ghee, and yogurt).
But lately, I’ve been missing vegetables. I (obviously) eat vegetables, but I think that they are usually pocketed in other foods: pumpkin (and goat cheese) ravioli, avocado slices (in a corn arepa filled with cheese), onions (in my grilled cheese sandwich). So I determined my dinner that night should be a meal that was more vegetables than cheese.
After debating options for a while, Anthony and I decided to make his father’s peanut-sesame noodles for dinner. Then we had fun, shopping at Union Market for fresh linguine, red bell peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, cilantro, and scallions. (I also bought a pint of Ciao Bella Pumpkin Ice Cream because I can never resist anything that says pumpkin. Next on the list: Ronnybrook Dairy Ginger Ice Cream.)
And then we made this:
We sliced and lightly sautéed the red bell pepper, mushrooms, and half the scallions. For the sauce, we combined peanut butter, crushed ginger, crushed garlic, sesame oil, sriracha, sugar, and salt, all quantities to taste. We chopped the cilantro and remaining scallions, and sliced cucumbers length wise as mix-in toppings (I love mix-in toppings).
Our dish was nutty and spicy, and sweet from the juicy red bell peppers. The mixed-in slivers of cucumbers provided a watery-fresh, crunchy relief (if only they were pickled!) and the cilantro added a fragrant lightness to the hearty noodles. The meal was simple but filling and fulfilling (it satisfied my perpetual craving for noodles) and integrating new vegetables for variety is also easy: sautéed zucchini, yellow squash, and carrot, or sliced baby broccoli and white onions would work well, the robust colors and flavors peeking out between the peanut-coated strands.