Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They usually bring a selection of some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them, and cook up a feast fit for kings ... or at least patrons of Marczyk.
Every week, we'll be sharing their recipes on the Cafe Society blog. This week, an Asian-style sesame noodle salad. See Pete's recipe below, and video of Pete making the salad above. (Video by Alexis Johnson)
Asian Sesame Noodle Salad Great cold! 1/2 C peanut butter, chunky or smooth. Stay away from Skippy or Jiff, too sweet. 2 T. Good soy sauce 2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated 2 cloves garlic, grated 1 T rice vinegar 1 T Honey 2 T dark sesame oil 1/2 t hot chili sauce 1 T sugar 1 T Toasted sesame seeds 1/4 C grapeseed oil Handful of sliced green onion, and some green tops for garnish 1/2 C sweet mixed peppers, julienned 1 lb spaghetti (we used rice noodles for this one). Combine all ingredients except grapeseed oil, green onions, and peppers. Stir to combine. Cook spaghetti until just done. Remove from hot water and drain and rinse. Add peanut sauce, oil, green onions, and peppers. Add remaining ingredients, mix either with spoons or by hand. Do not turn it into mush!
I discovered these after leaving the confines of my family home and headed north to Alaska. I went to a party, and a guest brought these noodles, and it was one of those times that you discover a taste so different than the world you grew up in.
For something fun, we are using a gluten-free noodle, but of course you can't be gluten free with soy sauce. Oops.
When cooking with soy sauce, I use sauce from Japan, which has a depth that regular does not have. It's the mythical umami!
Hint #1: Peanut butter, warm water so the peanut butter dissolves more easily. What I love about Asian flavors is that all the sweet and salty and umami go together like no other culture.
Hint # 2: Oil your spoon for the honey to slide right off.
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Hint #3: When cooking with nuts and/or seeds, toast them first, it brings out the nuttiness. An easy thing to do for this recipe, instead of mincing the garlic and ginger: We shred it first.
I like to resist the Ron Popeiling of America. You need a garlic press, an apple corer, a special tomato chopper. No! You need a couple knives, a grater, and maybe a few other things.
Use bright peppers both for flavor and texture. Julienne them, which is a nice matchstick shape. This is key to not making these noodles look too blobby. You could use green, or red or yellow bell.
Back to the salt issue: make sure you salt the water when you cook noodles, or they will taste flat.