Happy National Peanut Day!
It should be known that before making tonight’s meal, there was a *completely necessary* debate about whether or not we should just order deep dish pizza instead of making dinner…. One of us was hangry. The other had an irrelevant holiday to celebrate. There could be only one champion.
All the arguing gave me a new level of determination – this was going to be THE BEST peanut day anyone had ever had. I was going to cook the crap out of some peanut sauce and everyone would learn to never question my cooking choices…..
Turns out I have a LOT of feelings about this…
In preparing for today, I looked up some peanut related recipes and decided that it might be best to steer clear of desserts for awhile. I searched Pinterest, aka the time-suck of all time sucks, for “vegan peanut dinner” and found this recipe from Ceara’s Kitchen for Vegan Spicy Noodles that sounded awesome and only mildly difficult.
I can hear you shouting at me right now. “But you said you’re not a vegan! LIAR!”
Seriously, I’m not. I eat meat. Lots of meat. (Feel free to make a dirty joke now.)
I have found that the recipes that show up when I search “dairy-free” are often gross sounding and contain weird ingredients that I refuse to buy. I don’t mind substituting good cashew or almond cheese for real cheese or using lactose free milk when needed, but you cannot convince me that substituting applesauce for yogurt or avocado for cheese doesn’t alter the taste of something. Yogurt and applesauce do not taste the same. They are two fucking different items. One tastes like apples. There’s no apples in yogurt. (I didn’t make up these swaps. This picture claims it’s true but we all know it’s a lie.)
So that’s why I typically search for vegan recipes. They don’t have dairy in them and I can easily add chicken instead of whatever made up meat product it suggests. Or real cheese if needed – it’s just easier to un-veganize something than it is to try and pretend that avocados taste like cheddar.
I gathered all the ingredients for the recipe and immediately began doubting its simplicity. That’s a lot of ingredients Ceara. I’m not a professional Ceara, this may not go well.
The first instruction of the recipe stated:
“In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients (soy sauce, maple syrup, miso paste, lemon juice, peanut butter, ginger, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and basil) until smooth and well combined.”
That sounds simple, right?
For all normal human beings it’s probably way easy to whisk together ingredients, but when you are cooking challenged like I am… it just doesn’t work that way. For starters, this is what miso paste looks like:
Yep. Looks like poop on a spoon. Like something I find daily in a toddlers diaper. The particular brand of miso that I purchased came in a bag inside of a resealable bag. I’m not sure why, but I took the inside bag out of the resealable bag to squeeze it out. This seemed like an innocent choice. It’s just a bag right? The miso makers wouldn’t package it in a way that creates chaos and mess right? Lies. The miso makers are laughing somewhere at all of us trying to get the inside bag back into the resealable bag without shooting miso all over their kitchen! The more I tried to maneuver the stupid bags back together the more the miso paste oozed out! And miso does NOT smell that great.
Eventually I pulled myself together and moved on to the next step – whisking kind of hard natural peanut butter into this mixture. Mostly solid peanut butter does not want to be whisked into soy sauce, it just doesn’t. It’s happy being a solid and the more someone tries to make it smooth, the more it clumps together and creates little peanut butter balls.
Approximately 20 minutes later I had what could be considered a “smooth” sauce and moved on to the final steps: pouring boiling water over the rice noodles and eventually combing all the ingredients into one dish.
Maggie REALLY wanted to help make dinner so I gave her the taste of crushing peanuts to use as garnish. Much like Emily Gilmore, I hate garnish, but in this case it seemed like a good idea to have the meal be more than just saucy noodles.
This actually turned out really delicious! Even with the addition of chicken and the omission of all the vegetables that I thought Ryan wouldn’t eat – it was awesome! Ryan loved it and seemed satisfied with the fact that we didn’t order Green Mill deep dish!