ketching up

>> April 19, 2009

ha. i'm witty.

i'm making up for the lack of posts last week and doing 2 in one weekend! oye!

yesterday was positively gorgeous. it's amazing what happens to campus when the weather suddenly turns nice. all 40,000 students magically wake up from their dazed existence and decide to join the living. the hub lawn, old main, the pollock quad, the tiny little patch of grass next to a garbage can... EVERYWHERE is covered with students, mostly wearing too little clothing for central PA in april. i can't complain about shirtless boys, though.

i decided to take baby ike (yes, i named my camera) for a little spin. across the sidewalk from my apartment is this lovely tree with bright pink flowers. it was dormant all fall and winter, so i didn't realize it's potential to be such a beautiful plant.

the wonderful outside actually managed to seep through the grime on our windows and turn my living room into something remotely livable! roommates bought some mint (probably for mojitos; we're predictable college girls) and placed it on the windowsill in hopes that it wouldn't die like everything else we try to keep growing. our apartment is NOT conducive to plant life (unless it's mold in the shower, but i won't get into that).

the nice weather made me crave something fresh and cold for dinner. i bought another pack of those wonderful tofu noodles at wegmans last week, and they were begging for some peanut sauce. i immediately turned to my trusty bible of basics and enjoyed a cold noodle salad with tofu in under 15 minutes.

cold tofu noodle salad with peanut dressing
(adapted from how to cook everything by mark bittman)

1 package shiratake or 2-oz other noodles of choice 
1/4 package extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 medium carrot
1/2 small zucchini

peanut sauce:
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon thai chili paste
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

sprinkling of scallions
drizzle of sesame oil

drain and rinse the shiratake noodles in cold water. soak in a bowl of cold water while you prepare the sauce. if you're using regular noodles, prepare them according to their instructions and rinse them in cold water. you want them to be cold for the salad.

after pressing and draining the tofu for about 20 minutes, slice it into cubes and then triangles. in a dry pan on medium heat, cook the tofu, flipping each tiny piece when it has turned slightly brown and almost crispy. remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

combine the peanut butter, sugar, rice wine vinegar, chili paste, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce in a small bowl. using a fork or a whisk, stir vigorously until the peanut butter dissolves completely in the liquid. i used the back end of a spoon to smush the peanut butter against the bowl until it was fully incorporated. you can add up to another 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce if you want a thinner dressing. toss a spoonful  or two in with the tofu in the fridge, and keep the rest aside until you're ready to serve.

using a julienne peeler or a mandolin, shred the carrots and zucchini into little ribbons. drain your soaking pasta and add the veggies. pour on half of the dressing and toss to coat. add the tofu on top and pour on the remaining dressing. if you have such luxuries, sprinkle on some chopped scallions and a drizzle of sesame oil (the original peanut sauce recipe calls for both of these to be mixed in, but i had neither).

serves 1 very hungry me.

next weekend is blue&white, which means i'm baking and making cute little appetizers for the tailgate. this week is also a barefoot week, so get pumped for fun photos and recipes.

enjoy what's left of the weekend, and don't let monday get you down!



Alisa April 19, 2009 at 12:18 PM  

Those flowers look beautiful ... and I love any recipe with peanut sauce! Sounds yummy.

JessieK April 20, 2009 at 12:42 PM  

the flowers are hardy magnolias... they're a wonderful spring flower.

jenny April 20, 2009 at 3:36 PM  

thanks! i had no idea what they are. we have a beautiful white magnolia tree at home, but i love this pink one =)

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