The first time I made dinner for NH in college, I didn't think. Not considering other's potential preferences, I made him a beautiful vegetable stir fry- crisp vegetables, homemade sauce, fluffy white rice. No meat. A plate full of vegetables.
He loves to say that he wanted to impress me, so he forced the dish down. Since that day we've both adapted- he eats a lot more vegetables, and I've learned what foods make him happy.
If there is a staple dish in our house, this is it.
It's the dish I make most often for NH; it's his favorite. I love the smile on his face when he walks in the door and discovers it in the works. So no question what to make for NH on his 27th birthday!
I've tested a few peanut sauce recipes, and NH has tasted his share of packaged noodle kits. We both think this is the best version hands down.
He likes his sauce with extra heat, so I add extra Sriracha. My heat tolerance is lower so when we are both eating the dish, I use the amount in the recipe. It can easily be made vegetarian- leave out the chicken and add more veggies. This is the version I make for NH.
Asian-Style Peanut Sesame Noodles
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup peanut butter, chunky or creamy
2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon hot sauce (like it hot? go for up to 3/4 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons lightly packed brown sugar
12 oz linguini
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds
a handful of chopped scallions
Boil a large pot of water and add salt and linguini pasta. Cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Before draining, take a large spoonful of pasta water and add it to the peanut sauce. The sauce should be the consistency of heavy cream. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl of peanut sauce. Add the chicken if desired and toss with tongs until the noodles are well-coated with the sauce. It will cling nicely and have good texture.
Transfer a serving to a plate, sprinkle with more toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions. Serve.
More optional garnishes:
shredded carrots, blanched sugar snap peas, chopped roasted peanuts
Looking for the best packaged peanut noodles? We've tried lots of brands, and recommend Annie Chun's Chow Mein Noodles with Peanut Sesame Sauce. They are easy to prepare and taste the closest to homemade.
More Birthday Food Highlights
Rainbow Chip Cupcakes
Containers for NH to share at work-
Special lunch delivered by the wife: In-N-Out Burger!
For West Coasters, In-N-Out needs no explanation. It's the best drive-through burger place- fresh, quality ingredients, actually delicious fast food. So an indulgence for both of us!
He loves his cheeseburgers and Neapolitan shake (chocolate-strawberry-vanilla swirled)
Best of all, they make me a grilled cheese! No burger for me, it's a toasted bun with cheese and extra lettuce and tomato (see secret menu).
With a few fries on the side and a diet Coke. What a splurge, soo good!