Orange-Scented Cold Peanut Noodles

Jennifer here!  I know . . . like all of us, it’s been a long time, but I didn’t want to lose this recipe.  It’s been hot out here – you know, when San Francisco is 93F, it’s hot everywhere.  We usually don’t get hot, because SF and it’s fog serve as our natural air conditioning, and when SF doesn’t cool off, we don’t.  It’s not fun – and usually gets us out driving and shopping – going somewhere with air conditioning.  But, we still had to cook, and I hadn’t been to the grocery store, so I looked around for a simple summer dish, and found this one in a Wondertime magazine.  Wondertime was the highly enjoyable, toddler/preschooler-focused younger sibling of Family Fun (another wonderful resource), but they didn’t stick around for very long.  I still have some old issues floating around, and pulled out the summer ones recently to get ideas (I’m going to be watching some extra, older (5, 10) kids this summer, along with my own 3.5 and 8 year-olds, and a 2-year old for one week as well, so I need all the help ideas I can get).

Anyway – I had the basic ingredients on hand, and with a few adjustments, made a lovely meal that only the adults ate, despite coming from a “preschooler friendly” magazine.  Basic review is that I loved it, my husband thought it was okay, and the kids only wanted the plain noodles.  My changes include:  omitting the garlic and using frozen veggies (peas, corn and edamame) instead of the cucumber and cilantro (I’m the only who likes it, so I never have any on hand).  I also sliced up some thin deli-ham (you know, your basic lunch meat) for a bit of added protein.  I actually see a lot of flexibility with this recipe – variety in the noodles, vegetables and proteins.  For adults, you could add a pinch of something spicy too, like red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper or something like that.  I also thought that nuts would be good too.

Orange-Scented Cold Peanut Noodles

Written By Catherine Newman

Okay, I don’t know that you can really smell the orange, but my kids though this sounded fancy. Boost the main-dish status here with some shredded grilled chicken breast or rotisserie chicken.

Serves 4 generously

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
1/4 cup hot water
1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed
2 scallions, very thinly sliced (optional)
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced into long, narrow strips, then cut crosswise
2 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)

Whisk together first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Add pasta, scallions, cucumber, and cilantro, and use your fingers to toss and coat the noodles. Add salt or more vinegar if it isn’t as vibrant as you like. Let sit at room temperature if you’re going to eat fairly soon — otherwise refrigerate.

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