Recipe: Cold sesame noodles

Cold sesame noodles
Serves 4-6

With the possible exception of pan-fried dumplings, cold sesame noodles are probably the Chinese takeout item most frequently ordered by kids. This dish can be as quick a meal as spaghetti. A well-stocked pantry contains all the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Chinese egg noodles, or spaghetti or linguine
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons sesame paste (tahini)
  • ¾ cup water, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 scallion (both white and green parts), thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ inches of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (1 tablespoon)
    Chinese chili oil (optional)
Preparation:
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the noodles, and cook until just barely tender, 5 to 6 minutes, or according to the package instructions. Drain well. Toss them with the sesame oil to coat. Cover and refrigerate.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, thin the sesame paste by stirring enough water into the paste to achieve the consistency of thick cream. Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. Add the mixture to the sesame paste. Stir in the garlic, three quarters of the scallion, and then ginger.

  3. Just before serving, toss the chilled noodles with the sauce. Garnish with the remaining scallion and drizzle with the chili oil, if using.

Spinach oshitashi style:

This recipe is a home-style rendition of the Japanese cold Spinach appetizer, and it's a good place to start if you're trying to entice a picky kid to eat spinach . Steam the spinach, squeeze out the moisture, dress up with friendly flavors, and chill.

It's great as an accompaniment to any Asian dish, as a quick lunch or snack, or make sure to thoroughly wash it to remove all the grit.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Bunch of Spinach, ends trimmed, washed, with water still clinging to leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Dash of white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Preparation:
  1. Place the spinach in a large pot with a pot with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Watching it carefully, steam it until the spinach has fully wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and press out the excess moisture.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, sesame oil, sugar, and vinegar. Toss with the spinach until fully coated. Press the spinach into a shallow serving dish. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, if desired. Cover and chill.
About the book:

Lucinda Scala Quinn has spent much of her life feeding the men and boys in her life and teaching them how to feed themselves. Now this chef and television personality shares winning strategies for how to sate the seemingly insatiable and get men to manage in the kitchen.

>> Buy this book on Amazon: Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys

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About Lucinda Scala Quinn

Raised in a family of "foodies," it came as no surprise that Lucinda Scala Quinn began cooking professionally at the age of 16. Lucinda has worked as chef, caterer, cooking teacher and food writer.

Lucinda presently oversees the food group, which contributes to MSLO's media and merchandising business segments. Formerly the food editor of Martha Stewart Living Television, she is now a co-host of the "Everyday Food" cooking series on PBS.

Her recent cookbook, Rustic Italian Cooking, was released earlier this year. Lucinda's Authentic Jamaican Cooking, written prior to her joining Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, was re-released in April 2006. Her latest book is called Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys.

Lucinda lives in New York City with her husband and three sons.

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