Moving is a funny thing. We packed up all of our stuff in a bunch of boxes and bags (we have a lot of stuff!), put it in a truck, drove across town, and took all of the same stuff out of the truck and eventually out of the boxes. Why did we move again?
Friday was a long night. On the plus side we got to put our crazy Tetris-style truck-packing skills to the test (high points for the close fit, low points for speed) and let me just say it took serious strategy to load it all so that everything fit. Luckily we made it out of our old apartment just in time for the eight-man cleaning crew to cover up all the holes we’d poked in the walls and hide the cats’ wall scratches.
I won’t bore you with the details of moving, but with the help of a few strong friends, we moved into our new apartment much quicker than we moved out of the old one. To temporarily quiet our sore moving muscles, we took ourselves out to dinner Saturday night followed by ice cream, using the last of our waning energy to explore our new neighborhood on foot. When the Sunday sun came through our windows, we finally got down to the business of unpacking and settling in.
I, of course, started with the kitchen. Though not everything found an immediate home, I found some ways to decorate and store some of my odd appliances thanks to Sam’s creativity, and I soon had things in working order in time to cook some tasty food for dinner.
For the first meal cooked at our new home, we wanted something cool and refreshing because it had been a wicked hot weekend. This noodle salad is exactly that, though if it is too hot, you may not be excited about chopping. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to find some pre-chopped veggies. If not, you should probably just grab a cold beer and think through your best options. It’ll help you cool off.
This recipe comes from Whole Foods, though I tweak it a little. While their recipe calls for packaged baked tofu, I prefer to save money and bake my own tofu following this recipe. Just be careful to keep an eye on it as the sugar in the marinade tends to burn. If you make your own tofu and use extra veggies this makes a very large salad that would work well for a picnic, a potluck, or just dinner for a few nights.
Sesame Tofu Noodles
Adapted from Whole Foods
1/2 cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
4 T. toasted sesame seeds (really good, but optional. I forgot them for this round)
2 T. honey or brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 + 1/2 T. sesame oil
sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. soba or rice noodles
1 bunch thinly sliced green onions
2 small carrots, thinly sliced or shredded (I sliced mine thin and cooked them briefly for less crunch)
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 6-oz package baked tofu cut in 1-inch cubes or baked tofu (see above)
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
Whisk together soy sauce, sesame seeds, honey, garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes in a small glass. Prepare the tofu marinade if baking your own and follow the directions for the recipe.
While the tofu bakes, put a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Slice and chop all of your veggies. When water boils, cook noodles according to package directions – about 6-8 minutes for soba. Drain and rinse with cold water. Toss noodles with veggies, soy sauce mixture, and tofu. Serve immediately or refrigerate for another time.