I have a kid who has developed a smallish obsession with iced coffee and alterna-milk. If she goes to the fridge on any particular morning and finds that there is only milk from a cow, she questions me, in a way that only a 14 year old can, “why do you hate me?” And, honestly, I am mostly happy to make it for her, because I am a mom, and caring for my people with food is what I do. The thing that gets me, though, is I really hate waste. I am a big fan of nose to tail, leaf to root, bark to pulp, and whatever other neat phrase you can think of to convey “use it all”. As such, I am sometimes reluctant to make the nut milk, because I know I will need a second plan to utilize the left over meat. Sometimes this is easy to do but sometimes, well, I just don’t feel like it.
Faced with a morning where we had run out of the last batch and neither of us thought ahead to soak some almonds the night before, I turned to our good friend, Cashew. Cashews don’t need the big soak that almonds do so they are great for the last minute whirr through the Ninja. She went running, I got to milking. A couple of cups of nuts (or, I guess, technically, seeds) went into the blender along with two dates, a splash of vanilla and then water about double the amount of cashews. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. At this point, you seasoned nut milk makers and drinkers might be thinking, “but you can totally drink un-strained cashew milk.” Sure, you can. We don’t. Too, um, cashew-y? So I got this kind of thing going on.
Milk went into the fridge next to the cold brew and I was left staring at this.
That spoon, by the way is the one that comes with our Ice Cream Sundae Delivery service. You heard that right: ice cream sundae. Delivered to your door. With cute reusable spoon. We live in a magical place.
But, back to the task at hand, staring at this soggy cashew meat, I decided to turn it into some little chocolate snacks, so I squeezed it through some cheese cloth, mixed in cocoa powder, honey, a bit of nut butter and oats that I toasted (just takes a few minutes).
On the first go it didn’t quite have the right consistency so I added a bit more nut butter to go from this
And yes, that is a lego man in the background, because small people.
Roll’em up. pop ’em in the fridge for a few minutes and then this one, in from her run
could sit down to this
Want to try these for yourself? As you could see, I didn’t have a recipe and you can do the same. I believe in you! My rough amounts were 2 cups of cashew paste, 2 tbsp honey, 2-3 tbsp nut butter, 1/4 cup cocoa powder and half-ish cup oats. But just mix and try, taste and squeeze. When it tastes and feels right, it’s right. I wish you a very good day of running and rolling.
For a year after high school and before I trucked off to college, I had a glorious break hanging with family and their new little dude. It was the late eighties and the food trends were things like California rolls, blooming onions, 7 layer dip, dips in bread bowls (haha this is still a staple of our Thanksgiving weekend), and blackened anything. And there were also yuppies. And yuppies who ate things like cold sesame noodles. And so this is where I first knew of this dish’s existence – in a yuppie house (said with love) in NJ with a baby after high school. Sounds vaguely like a twisted children’s book – but I digress.
Cold sesame noodles, sometimes called cold peanut noodles, sometimes with sesame paste (aka tahini), sometimes peanut butter, sometimes both. Often with cucumber, sometimes carrots, sometimes spicy, sometimes not, now just as likely with zoodles or squoodles or sprouted things. Sometimes udon, sometimes, soba, sometimes regular old linguini. No matter, though, because it is all about the sauce. Unctious, umami-rich, a little salt, a little tang, a lotta yum, the sauce is the dish. That makes it expansively adaptable, as long as you’ve got that tasty sauce. I actually hadn’t had or thought of these cold noodles in quite a while and I am not sure what brought them back to me these last weeks – perhaps the recent visit from that baby who is now (yikes, what?!) 30, a stellar chef and star creator of all things smoked, or perhaps the constant search for non-hot things to serve in these dog days – but I am sure glad to have gotten reacquainted. What follows is my current version. Enjoy with or without neon jellies and a Tab.
8 oz package of udon noodles (can sub any other long pasta)
8 oz vegetable noodles – zucchini, carrot, squash, etc
½ cup peanut butter
2 tbsps tahini (ok to omit)
4 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps rice vinegar
2 tbsps sesame oil
2 tbsps brown sugar
5-6 tbsps hot water
1 tsp sriracha or hot sauce of choice
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Boil water for the noodles. While the pasta noodles cook (don’t put the veg noodles in the water yet), prepare the sauce by placing the peanut butter, tahini, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, water, and hot sauce in a blender. Blend on high until well incorporated. If it seems too thick add more water. When the noodles are close to done, after 8-10 minutes, depending on your noodles, add the vegetable noodles to the same boiling water. Cook these for 1-2 minutes, until they just soften a bit but don’t get mushy. Drain all into a colander. In a large bowl, toss the noodles and sauce together until all the noodles are well covered with sauce. Top with sesame seeds before serving.