One can not think well,
love well, sleep well, if
one has not dined well.
I find this time of year I do not think well. I do not sleep well. And I’m not sure if I love well. My good friend Eugenia likes to make her presence known and instead of reminding me of all the good surrounding my life Eugenia reminds me only of what I do not have nor have any future in having. Her presence is so large I often can not see anything else; she completely blocks my view of the sun sparkling on snowflakes. Of brightly lit Christmas trees. Of happy.
At times like this, I just want to stay at home and burrow under my softest blanket, turn on mindless tv, and indulge in a huge bowl of pasta and an even bigger plate of cookies. I want to forget the little, insensitive things said and done which have cut me to the bone. I want to forget crying in the baking isle of the grocery store (usually the lack of gourmet goods gives me a plausible excuse for a trip out to the big city ((read: hot yoga and Starbucks)) rendering a smile not tears). I want to forget this past year and I want to punch Eugenia in the gut.
At the same time, I also crave something to look forward to. Something to plan. Something to inspire me.
Well maybe I can start with that huge bowl of pasta. Something comforting (and who am I kidding: healthy) and maybe a little spicy to ward off the winter cold. As Mrs. Wolf advised: maybe if I dine well on that large bowl of pasta the rest will follow and holiday cheer will ensue?
Spicy Thai Inspired Peanuty Noodles
- 1/2 C low fat chicken broth
- 1/4 C light peanut butter
- 3 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
- 2 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 – 2 tsp sambal oelek (or crushed red chili peppers if you don’t have chili paste)
- 8 oz. uncooked long pasta
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips (works best if partly frozen)
- 1 red or yellow pepper cut into thin strips
- 1 cup snow peas
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- lime wedges and fresh cilantro for garnish
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and whirl until smooth. Set aside for later.
- Cook the noodles as per package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook chicken over medium high heat until no longer pink. If using a non stick pan try a scant teaspoon of sesame oil. Throw in the chopped veggies and cook a few more minutes until the veggies are tender-crisp. Add in the sauce you made earlier and heat until just bubbly and thickened (this will only take a minute or so).
- Remove from the heat and stir in the noodles. Let sit a few minutes to absorb the sauce then serve with slices of fresh lime, fresh chopped cilantro, and more sambal oelek if desired.
- This recipe serves two to three very generous portions. Generously double it if your a group of people.
- I often use Nature’s Pasta Coriander Vermicelli.
- Grab your chopsticks, maybe a Singha beer, and cozy up under that blanket while you dine and watch Christmas reruns. Enjoy!