Sunday, July 05, 2009

Happy Fourth!

Here's hoping all my American friends had a great weekend celebrating our country's freedom!

My friend Anthony organizes the Seattle Area Vegans Meetup group, and I've been meaning to attend one of his events for, oh, several YEARS now... Somehow Seattle can be so close, yet so far away; and intimidating too - I'm not the world's most social butterfly (amazing, but true, I know...).

At any rate, I'd been whining that my kids might be abandoning me for the Holiday weekend, (only two of 'em did) and Anthony reminded me of the group's 4th of July Potluck/BBQ. A perfect way to spend the afternoon.

The Potluck was a lot of fun of course. I discovered I did know several other people there, including Bethany of the awesome blog, and Doh, the manager of Sidecar, my favorite vegan grocery store (OK, the ONLY vegan grocery store I know of, but still my favorite!).
Several super-cute vegan bebbehs too. I just want to carry them around and smooch their little cheeks. OK, I did that...

The weather was BEAUTIFUL, and the food? It was amazing! Potluck plates are never that photogenic but I tired to give you an idea...
Loads of grilled awesomeness, dogs, burgers, asparagus, pineapple, peppers, tofu; some lovely and patriotic star-shaped cookies; a lentil salad; oh goodness, much, MUCH other yumminess I can't even remember!

Naturally I couldn't decide what to bring, and overachiever that I am about these things, decided to "narrow it down" to only three salads. My Classic Macaroni Salad, Pesto Pasta Salad, and Spicy Ginger-Peanut Noodles. The containers were literally almost licked clean, apparently someone liked them! Inevitably, when asked for the recipes, I discovered I didn't have them all on my blog.

So....... I'm posting my Ginger Peanut Noodles in hopes of appeasing people. I get asked for this recipe a lot, and I hesitate to share it ONLY because the ingredient list seems seems horribly long.

(I know I usually look at long recipes like this and say... "Meh, I don't THINK so!".) But this is different. I promise you don't "have" to use every ingredient, I just happen to like LOTS of different veggies here.

. (My photo, by the way, has far less dressing than I prefer when I actually EAT it - when I add more dressing, the salad looks like non-photo-worthy brown-green glop. So there, now you know my secret...).

Spicy Ginger-Peanut Noodles


Blend the following in a food processor until smooth:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (any kind works here)
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • Juice from 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. honey or agave (not to worry, I used agave for the potluck)
  • 1/4 cup Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • One 3+-inch piece fresh ginger or more to taste (I used a LOT more, but taste as you go, younger, fresher ginger will be much hotter)
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded (or to taste)
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 5 or 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 5 or 6 fresh Thai (or regular) basil leaves
Blend like crazy. It will be thick and greenish brown and entirely unpleasant looking, but it will taste AWESOME! If it's too thick to blend, add more peanut oil but not much! It will "thin out" when mixed with the salad.

Taste and adjust to your liking: hot, sweet, sour, salty. I admit I "play" with this basic dressing, usually adding more of something. It's pretty intense, rest assured, the noodles and veggies dilute it a good deal.

  • 1 16-oz. package ANY type noodle you like: spaghetti, udon, cellophane, ramen, soba... anything works.
Prepare noodles as directed (soak, or cook or whatever they require) and rinse in cold water to chill.
Add any or all of the following veggies as you prefer:

  • shredded cabbage
  • julienned strips of carrot
  • julienned strips of red pepper
  • cucumber strips
  • scallions
  • pea pods
  • radishes
  • baby corns
  • bean sprouts
  • lightly blanched broccoli flowers
  • seriously - ANYTHING you like!!
Add dressing to your preference, (I tend to like a lot). Mix well, and chill.
Garnish with chopped peanuts (these really do "make" the salad)..

And <<-- here's the Thai Sweet-Hot Chilli Sauce I use.
Just in case you aren't familiar with it.
DEEELISH stuff, and most large supermarkets carry a version of it.


T said...

That plate looks packed with amazingness! Y'all outdid yourselves!

And those ginger noodles look very special... I'm a big ginger person myself, I think its worth a shot!

Bianca said...

Oooh, I love vegan potlucks! It's always so wonderful to know that you can stuff your plate with a little bit of everything...and it's all safe to eat.

Erin said...

Your noodles sound delicious! I don't think the ingredient list is too long at all, I think it looks great.

Bethany said...

I can attest to the thai peanut salad, it was really good! the ingredient list isn't that long & it's worth it :)