Monday, June 18, 2007

Epic Noodles

Welcome to the first post of… well, technically but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it (or the marketability ;)). Nevertheless, welcome to Blackberry Pockets, the food blog the critics (my beta audience) are already saying “needs some posts” and “the grapes look good” about.

As the masthead implies, I hope to include some recipes using the delightful, black, berries my forbears imported from Germany/Russia during their immigration. And what would be more fitting than highlighting the swartzenberren maultaschen in my initial posting? Well, probably nothing. However, it’s not quite blackberry season so I will have to go with the next best thing: The BEST Cold Sesame Noodle Salad.

Cold sesame noodles are one of the first things I learned to cook and although there are quite a few recipes for this item floating around, I can say quite objectively that these are the best! I have picked up quite a few tantalizing recipes over the years and this simple dish has remained the consistent crowd favorite. Even when served alongside cedar-plank salmon, lobster tail or filet mignon, presenting this dish never fails to prompt exclamations such as “Ooh, are those noodles? Yay!” or “I didn’t know you were making the noodles!”

Trust me, master this recipe and you will be in demand at potlucks for years!

cold sesame noodles

Mom’s Sesame Noodles (serves 4)
6 oz (1 Package) of Chuca Soba lo-mein noodles or 8 oz (half a package) of spaghetti

For the sauce
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of rice-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 dried, ground tepin-chilies

¼ cup juliened carrots
2 tablespoons sliced chived
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

*For a larger recipe, the ingredients can be doubled.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a medium-sized stock pot.

While waiting for the water to boil, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice-wine vinegar, brown sugar and tepin-chilies in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until combined and the sugar has dissolved.

Boil noodles according to the specifications on the package or until al dente.

Thoroughly drain the noodles and transfer them to the bowl containing the sauce mixture. Toss the noodles with the sauce until they are evenly coated. Cover the bowl with platic wrap (or transfer to a ziplock bag) and chill in the refridgerator for at least an hour or up to 24. These noodles are even more fantastic the second day, so feel free to make them a day in advance!

When you are ready to serve, prepare the carrots and chives and combine them, along with the sesame seeds, with the noodles. Enjoy!

Additional Notes
One of the best aspects of this recipe is that it is incredibly versatile. It can easily be manipulated to suit your specific tastes or just a fleeting whim. A few of the alterations I have tried include adding a tablespoon of spicy mustard, replacing the brown sugar with honey, trying different types of chilies, adding a tablespoon of peanut butter, and replacing the vinegar with Sake.

Although the noodles as assembled in the recipe above will invariably provide you with a delectable treat, feel free to mix up some of the ingredients. And be sure to let me know what you come up with!