HALLIE EPHRON: Another thing I'm picky about is food. The reason my husband doesn't cook is that for the last 40-plus years I've kept him out of the kitchen. I like to eat my own cooking. Fortunately he's a brilliant, not-picky eater -- a world-class appreciator of other people's cooking.
Some of my favorite dinners seem to spring from nowhere -- pulled together from whatever's in the fridge. Usually I have the ingredients for some version of peanut noodles, riffing on a recipe that in Epicurious for Sweet and Spicy Peanut Noodles.
In my version I prepare piles of raw vegetables. And I add chicken or shrimp or chopped peanuts, though you don't need to. It can be served hot or warm or cold, and it makes great leftovers. (This picture shows this morning's leftovers. We picked out all the shrimp.)
Here's the prep:
There's got to be:
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- About 1 inch of peeled fresh(!) ginger (the juicier and more fragrant the better), finely chopped
And veggies, whatever you might have... for instance:
- 1/2 of a red pepper, chopped
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- A handful of sugar snap peas or peapods
- A 4-inch chunk of cucumber, peeled seeded and sliced thin
- A stalk of celery, sliced thin
- A generous handful of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
Some kind of protein:
- 8 raw, peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1/3 lb of thin slices of chicken (1/2" x 3" or thereabouts) or leftover chicken that's already cooked
- 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts
For the sauce, mix together in a little bowl:
- 1/4 cup of your favorite peanut butter
- 2 T soy sauce
- 1 T hoisin sauc
- 1 T brown sugar
- 1 T rice vingar
- A few squirts of hot sauce, to taste
- 3 T water
1. Sautée or boil the chicken or shrimp until just done. (If you have leftover chicken just take a few hunks and shred them.) Set aside.
2. Cook the pasta according to package direction.(If you do this in advance, add some oil to the water so the pasta doesn't congeal into a mass while it's cooling, and reserve some of the pasta water.) Drain.
3. While the pasta is cooking, sautée the garlic and ginger for a few minutes in a small saucepan. Add all the ingredients for the sauce and cook for about 4 minutes until it's thickened. Add some pasta water if it seems too thick.
4. Throw it all together - noodles, sauce, most of the veggies (hold aside cilantro and scallions). MIX.
5. Top with the shrimp or chicken or peanuts and cilantro and scallions.
What are your favorite what's-in-the-fridge meal?