I had to iron a shirt in order to teach class. I can hear my mother’s voice in my head as I do it. She is not haranguing me, instead she is teaching me where to start and why you iron one part of a button-down before the other. As a cranky teenager, I don’t think I realized what a good teacher she was. Even with her words in my head I am a mediocre ironer of shirts. My only comfort was that my mother hated to iron too. But, unlike me, she did it anyway.
Teaching a class on writing is good for me if only because when I despair that I can’t write my fucking essay that I want to finish by September 15 for a submission window, I think about what I tell my students. Fuck. Follow your own goddamned advice, Indy Clause!
I had my second class and I was not nervous. I wrote my lecture notes up on index cards and put them on the table. And then I, Independent Clause, who cannot extemporaneously speak to save her life, lectured reasonably coherently on creative nonfiction. And those children (you know, the 20 year old children) listened to me! Then I made them write a bunch. They may be writing song lyrics into their notebooks, but I don’t care. They will get B minuses on their papers.
Back to school means I can’t just wander into the kitchen and eat whenever I want. I have to…plan. So it’s apple slices and cheese before class, hard-boiled eggs for when I get home and am so hungry I’m ready to fall over. And it’s peanut noodles for dinner. Because I love you, I’m going to share this recipe with you.
Rainbow Peanut Noodles (adapted from Nina Simond’s Asian Noodles)
She writes, “I’m invited to neighborhood parties not for my witty conversation but for my peanut noodles”
This version contains chicken, but it certainly does not need to.
Fill stockpot with water, add boneless chicken breasts, a quartered onion, a few unpeeled garlic cloves, a few unpeeled chunks of ginger, star anise, a few tablespoons of rice wine or sherry (I’m sure rice vinegar would be fine too). This is both a good way to cook chicken and a way to make stock to boil the noodles in. You do not need all of these things and I’m sure some dead carrots from the depths of your fridge would be great too.
Remove chicken when done (less than 5 min of boiling). Use two forks to shred it and put it in a bowl with a little sesame oil and sriracha sauce. Soy sauce probably would be good too, but DP doesn’t love it. Put aside.
Keep stockpot boiling as this is your noodle water. You can reduce the stock for a deeper flavor depending on when you started dinner. If you have hungry people eyeing your bowl of chicken, threaten them with a spoon, and pour the stock into a colander and into a bigger pot. (There might be a more graceful way to do this, but I wanted a clear stock.)
Bring stock back to a boil.
Now make the peanut sauce. Finely chop 8 cl of garlic (I halved this because this garlic is going to be raw, baby!) and one 1/2″ slice of ginger. Throw in a blender or food processor 2 ts hot chile paste or chiles, 1 c smooth peanut butter, 1/2 c soy sauce, 6 Tb sugar, 6 Tb Chinese black vinegar of Worcestershire sauce, 6 Tb sesame oil, 10 TB of the chicken broth (or water). Process until smooth.
Throw in a pound of noodles.
Grate 2 carrots and 1 cucumber (I do the latter with a vegetable peeler so it’s like noodles), 2 c bean sprouts (which I forgot to put in), 1 red bell pepper, and really anything that you think would be good in this recipe.
Once the noodles are ready, combine everything and be happy. This is good chilled or room temperature.