Sesame Noodles… guidelines

To say this is a recipe is pushing it. It’s mostly just a bunch of guidelines…

Sauté a bunch of finely sliced onions in sesame oil. Add a few cloves of crushed garlic and a hunk of grated ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Toast some sesame seeds and throw those in. Add a bunch of soy sauce and see how that tastes. If it doesn’t taste exciting yet or isn’t enough sauce, add some or all of the following: Rice wine vinegar, more garlic/ginger, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, sautéed scallions, etc. This last time, I even heated some brown sugar up with the rice wine vinegar and added that, too. The flavors you’re going for are a little sweet (onions and sugar and fish sauce), a little sour (garlic and ginger and fish sauce and rice wine vinegar), and a little salty (soy sauce and fish sauce). I also like a little kick (red pepper flakes). Once you get a good sauce, toss it with cooked noodles of your choice (rice works fine, I’ve also used regular spaghetti noodles and that’s been good too). If you’re being fancy, garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions. You could probably also add in some green veggies to this and it would taste good, but I’ve never gone that far!

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Easy Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 cucumbers
  • 1/2 or 1 whole white or sweet onion
  • 1.5 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill (or more, to taste)
  • kosher salt

1. Prep the cucumbers and onion: Wash and peel the cucumbers (I like to be lazy and leave strips of cucumber skin, also because I think it’s prettier at the end). Slice thinly, using a mandolin if you want to be a perfectionist about it (just watch your fingers!). Ditto the onion. Set the cucumbers and onion in a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt, toss, add more salt, toss, etc. Put the colander in a bowl and set that in the fridge for about an hour to take some of the water out of the cucumbers and reduce the bite of the onion.

Wait one hour.

2. Prep the pickling. In a pot on the stove, combine the white vinegar, water, and sugar. Bring to a bowl and stir to ensure all the sugar has dissolved. Dump the cucumber and onions into a pyrex bowl (or similar — I like to discard the cucumber water run off and just use that same bowl for this next step) and pour the boiling pickling mixture on top of it. Add dill and stir to combine.

3. Let sit at least 3 (and up to 24 hours). Serve.

In summary: Easy, plus very refreshing and light — a nice thing to bring to a potluck or party where there will be a lot of heavy food. Theoretically you could even quarter the cucumber slices to make it even easier to eat, but that doesn’t bother me!