spicy summer sesame noodles

We’ve been eating a lot of Asian food lately. Chinese. Thai. Vietnamese. A mixture of all of the above. Summer has set in on Denver, and the hot days make way to comfortable evenings perfect for eating al fresco. We set up Willa’s bumbo by the patio table, and eat our noodles or tofu or stir-fry as the sun lowers in the sky.

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The increase in Asian food chez nous is largely a result of receiving Every Grain of Rice from Rachel when she was visiting. That book, let me tell you. So good! Every single recipe. (Ok that’s a lie. There have been a couple duds. But still. Most of them.) The recipes are so easy but so delicious. It’s the Chinese food that families make for dinner on weeknights. Not the Chinese food American businessmen are served at banquets when they go to China on business.

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Because I’ve been making so much Chinese lately, my pantry is well-stocked with Asian cooking ingredients. For example, I have a jar of chili oil. Many recipes call for just a teaspoon or two, so I have no clue how I’m going to get through that jar. So, the other night when I had a hankering for some spicy noodles, I grabbed the jar of chili oil, threw a few tablespoons into a bowl, and went from there. The result wasn’t half bad. In fact, it was pretty darn tasty. And Willa thought so too. She devoured noodles by the handful. I thought the spice would be too much for her, but she reemphasized the fact that babies can really eat anything. Spicy sesame noodles included.

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Spicy Summer Sesame Noodles
2-3T chili oil (depending on desired spiciness)
2t black vinegar
2t sesame oil
1/4c tahini paste
3 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
8 ounces noodles (I used gluten-free rice fettuccine, but anything would work!)
1c frozen peas

1. In small saucepan, heat a dash of chili oil. When hot, add white scallions and cook until softened. Scoop cooked scallions into a large serving bowl and let cool.
2. Add water to saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook noodles to desired softness. (I overcook noodles a bit these days for Willa. Gasp!)
3. Meanwhile, make the sauce in the serving bowl. To the scallions, add the remaining chili oil, black vinegar, tahini, and sesame oil. Stir until combined.
4. Once the noodles are almost done, add the peas to the hot water, and then drain.
5. Mix noodles and peas with sauce. Garnish with scallion greens.

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