Since my last post, I’ve moved 2/3 of my belongings back into my condo while discarding/recycling 1/3. If I can do 8 weeks in Europe with 2 pairs of jeans and 3 pairs of black slacks, I can do 6 months in Aspen without 10 spatulas, 42 Bic pens and 7 pairs of scissors.
In my toss-with-abandon enthusiasm I now own no measuring spoons (I had 5 sets) or bedroom slippers (two pair.) My bad. However I did pull together a great throwback recipe from the now-defunct Gourmet Magazine, 1941-2009.
The problem with this recipe, Liu Shaokun’s Spicy Buckwheat Noodles with Chicken, is that Soba noodles are brown. While they are tasty, they photograph very badly. That’s why, thankfully, I could share instead my opening photo, compliments of my talented friend.
My friend, Karen, asked me to supper, sorta last minute. Nothing fancy schmancy, she said. Last night I showed up in my too-casual yoga gear glory for her lovely meal which definitely merited a prime location in my blog.
SOBA is JAPANESE for BUCKWHEAT which is NOT WHEAT
Ruth Reichl, remember her? Food editor of The Los Angeles Times. Restaurant critic-in-disguise at The New York Times. Best-selling author. Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet magazine from 1999 to its last gasp in 2009.
Until forced by space limitations to abandon my collection, I had several years of those magazines carefully organized by month, bookmarked and sitting on my basement shelves. Do those of you with stacks of mildewed National Geographic’s or dusty New Yorker’s understand the malady?
Now, a decade later, Reichl has written Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir about her editorial reign. While I’ve yet to read it, I did spot an Epicurious blog article in which Reichl dishes on her favorite ten Gourmet back-pocket recipes she still pulls out often.
As for me, I still bake a classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon-Walnut Swirl from a 37-year old Gourmet. My catering friend, Judy, asked for my meatloaf recipe from a 90’s Gourmet issue. She updated it. It’s still in her repertoire. I wondered how Reichl’s favorites, spanning years 2000-2009 would stand up to the test of time.
Reichl chose 4 pasta recipes.The Spaghetti with Ramps (2000) most intrigued me. For sweets lovers, there is Raspberry Crumble Tart (2006) and Apple and Calvados Galette (2003.) Yes, please! Although Ian’s Meatloaf recipe (2008) was reminiscent of mine, please hold the 1/2 cup of pitted and chopped prunes. (Link to article and recipes above.)
Next month, I intend to try her Bacon and Cheddar Toasts (2004) which according to Reichl are killer and also Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Scallion/Miso Butter (2007) . Thanks to cookbook author Dorie Greenspan, I’ll be incorporating miso, a salty/savory fermented soybean paste, into several recipes from her new cookbook this summer.
What I made this week is Liu Shaokun’s Spicy Buckwheat Noodles with Chicken (2003). This is a simple, authentic Sichuan dish which Reichl claims is her favorite lunchtime treat.
I found it not only delicious in its simplicity, it also begs to be dressed up and shown off. Build color by adding vegetables, steamed, blanched or stir-fried. Try other spices (ginger), condiments (sambal oelek, for example) or ingredients (Asian greens, Smoked Tofu, red or orange bell peppers.) Do ahead. Poach the chicken. Blend together the mixture. Set aside. When ready to eat, cook the noodles.
Liu Shaokun’s SPICY BUCKWHEAT NOODLES with CHICKEN
GOURMET April 2003
YIELD 4 ample lunch main courses or 8-10 side-dish servings
3 cups chicken broth or water
2 lbs skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 lb dried buckwheat noodles such as soba noodles
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon chile oil containing sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 scallions (green parts only), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons roasted soy nuts or peanuts
- Bring broth to a simmer in a 3-quart saucepan, then add chicken and simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and cover. Let stand until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Transfer chicken to a plate and cool at least 10 minutes, reserving broth for another use.
- While chicken is poaching, bring 4 quarts salted cold water to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart saucepan over moderately high heat. Stir in noodles and cook according to package directions until noodles are just tender but still firm and chewy throughout.
- Drain noodles in a colander and rinse well under cold water to cool, then drain well. Toss noodles with peanut oil in a large bowl.
- Stir together vinegar, soy sauce, chile oil, garlic, sugar, and salt in another bowl until sugar is dissolved. Then add to noodles and toss until coated.
- Shred chicken with your fingers into 1/4-inch-wide strips and add to noodles, tossing to combine.
- Sprinkle with sliced scallions and nuts. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature. Sorry to note that it will not be as tasty the next day.