My husband left me.
Yup, you heard that right. Last Friday he packed his bags and walked out the door. I begged him stay, pleaded with him to reconsider, professed my love, graveled, cried, whined. Nothing worked. He still left. There may or may not have been tears. The horror! The heartbreak!
Oh, three days later, he came back, of course. You didn’t think I meant he left for good, did you? Like LEFT me, left me. No, no, no, of course not. He went to see family and friends for the long weekend and I stayed behind. I could have gone with him, of course, but all my summer travels had left me tired and craving a little bit of me time. Just because I decided to stay home doesn’t mean I didn’t pout a little bit when he left. I just tend to be a little…overdramatic when he leaves. Why? Because I’m needy like that.
Just call me a Stage Five Clinger very loving wife.
The only plus side of my husband leaving town with out me is the opportunity to cook up something I know he wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. I love him and I miss him terribly when he’s away but it’s nice to cook for me. I have a tendency to put his tastes before mine in my cooking because, well, it’s just easier that way. All that goes right out the window when he’s gone.
The first thing I did when he left was run down to the farmer’s market and stock up on fresh veggies to eat over the weekend. Tomatoes, zucchini, red peppers, oh my! And let’s not forget eggplant – cute and purpley eggplant! Yum! I love to enjoy a nice meatless meal loaded with veggies when he’s away. I’m STILL waiting for him to get just a TINY bit better about eating his vegetables. He’s gotten a million times better in the last year but there is room for improvement (sorry, babe, it’s true. but I still love you!)
When I saw this recipe for Spicy Sesame Noodles over at Joelen’s blog What’s Cooking, Chicago, I immediately thought Mmmmm! Then I thought, boo, Eric won’t like that. Bummer. It immediately got pushed into the never ending Recipes to Try when Eric’s Not Home file.
With the abundance of late summer veggies available, I thought this would be a great recipe to load up with freshness and turn into a main dish instead of a side. Turns out, I was right! I added a chopped red bell pepper, a zucchini sliced thinly into long ribbons and planks of delicious grilled eggplant. Mmmmm…
For the noodles, I was going to scope out the Asian foods aisle at the store to see what kind of noodle offerings they had. I forgot. I do this a lot. I don’t think I have once in my life ever been to store without forgetting SOMETHING. Even with my list I can’t seem to remember everything. So, needless to say, I had to go with my usual store-brand 100% whole wheat penne that I always have on hand. In the end, I think the nuttiness of the whole grain pasta paired well with the sauce.
Speaking of the sauce – I really enjoyed it! I did end up adding about of a cup of the starchy pasta water to thin it out a bit before tossing with the noodles, but that’s just my personal preference. I don’t care for really thick, goopy sauces. Since this sauce has a peanut butter base, it was pretty thick. The pasta water was the perfect addition. In the past with similar recipes I have used a dark toasted sesame oil and I think that it really provides an intense sesame flavor. I didn’t have that on hand this time and used a regular light sesame oil. While still good, I did miss the really intense sesame flavor. I also knocked back the cayenne at bit because I didn’t use quite a whole pound of pasta. Next time, I’ll go ahead and do the entire 1/2 teaspoon. I’m not afraid of little kick! Overall, this meal totally hit the spot. Perfect comfort food when I’m missing my hubby. And tasty cold for lunch all week!
- 1/2 box whole wheat pasta
- 2/3 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- juice from one lime
- 1/2 tsp. canola oil
- 1 medium bell pepper, diced
- 1 smallish zucchini, cut into thin ribbons
- 1 smallish eggplant, cut into diagonal slices 1/2 inch thick
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- Cook pasta, reserve one cup of cooking water, drain and set aside
- Heat canola oil in small saute pan. Cook red pepper until tender. Set aside.
- Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, green onions, sesame oil, ginger, cayenne, and lime juice in a sauce pan, stirring until smooth.
- Brush a tablespoon or two of sauce on eggplant slices. Prepare outdoor grill or grill pan to medium heat.
- Add red pepper, zucchini ribbons, and cooking water to sauce mixture. Stir to combine.
- Grill eggplant for about a minute per side until just tender.
- Toss pasta with sauce, add eggplant and garnish with sesame seeds
One year ago: A MANLY meal – Bacon Cheeseburger Calzones with Spicy Cajun Ketchup