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Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Cook Everything Project: Tabbouleh & Cold Sesame Noodles

Sometimes I wonder if anyone is paying attention to my little project. I know I've put it aside, but I have my reasons. And if I were like my classmates, I would go on some joyous spiel about how there are three weeks left before we're done.

Sorry guys, but I am not feeling like them at all. Because yes, in three weeks the 11.25 months of "hell" will be over... only to be replaced with ~3 months of anxiety and self-imposed states of insanity. Should anxiety and insanity be used in the same sentence? Whatever, but for three months I'll be experiencing a different kind of "hell" than the one I find myself in right now.

And I will keep using the quotation marks because in all honesty, right now isn't very "hellish." I'm in my last class and I'm not feeling at all stressed like my previous ones. Yes, I do have my presentation to work on and my paper to finish and somehow convince myself not to freak out when I present in front of my class, school, and clinical site.

Ack. I'm starting to feel a little freaked out. Let's move on to other things.

This week I have been feeling like crap. Mostly due to the fact that I could not hear for a good portion of the week. Let me tell you, trying to hide the fact that I couldn't hear in one ear while slyly turning my head so my good ear could catch the conversation and trying to read lips is tiring. Which might explain why I was falling asleep early all week.

By Wednesday I was going nuts. The pain was wasn't killer, but more annoying. So as a distraction, I decided to cook out of the Bittman book. Some things I've been wanting to make for a while now- tabbouleh and cold sesame noodles.

Tabbouleh isn't new to me. In fact, I've made it plenty of times. Both from a mix and from scratch. And to be honest, I was never pleased with the results. It never tasted right, and when presented to my "expert" uncle, he told me I make it wrong.

I changed it up a little bit, substituting cucumbers for the red onion. Both the cukes and tomatoes were de-seeded and diced small. I went ballistic on the parsley and mint, and whisked the olive oil and lemon juice like a madwoman.

The end results? Not too bad. I think the mint is what really makes it. I was worried that the 1/2 cup of bulgur was not enough for the dish, but why would I doubt Bittman? He would not lead me astray. At least I hope not.

The first time I came across cold sesame noodles I liked was back when Zen Palate was still around in Union Square. Since then, I've been disappointed in what restaurants were serving up as cold sesame noodles. So I can do better... right?


The sauce is easy enough- mix up sesame oil, soy sauce, tahini or peanut butter and rice wine vinegar. Add a little bit of hot water to thin it out, but not too much or you'll have something too watery.

The sauce was good. It was good enough to top some grilled chicken and make a nice Asian style salad. But this was for noodles, and this is where I went wrong.

The recipe calls for an egg noodle, but I figured an Asian noodle would be more appropriate. I just happened to have some whole wheat udon noodles in the pantry and thought this would hit the spot. I cooked the noodles, drained and rinsed under cold water. Poured the sauce and tossed to evenly coat.

Well... I tried to toss. They kinda clumped into this big, noodley, peanuty blob.

But it was still good. Perhaps next time I'll follow the directions and use spaghetti.

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