Some things just aren't worth fighting over. And some things just are.
Take, for example, that 80% off, last-in-stock, just-my-size dress. I'll arm wrestle you for it. And if I'm feeling particularly scrappy, I'll settle for nothing less than an all out tug of war over that last buttery sliver of almond tart.
My youngest sister, Anna, also chooses her battles wisely. What sets her on the warpath is sesame noodles.
Just a quiet mention of this unassuming dish sparks a wild gleam in her eyes. Though typically genteel, Anna will fight you to the death for the last slippery, noodly slurp. The woman is steadfast and true: Even when a newly topped-off serving bowl cradles silky tangles galore, she stands guard, an unflappable sentinel. Anna is one of the more even-tempered adolescents you will meet, but woe to the one who gets between this girl and her noodles.
A few days back, Anna was in the mood for "comfort food," but not just any old thing. She wanted something starchy, salty, and smooth. "Sesame noodles!" she proclaimed. I knew just what to do: call my friend Julia who, with one twirly forkful, single handedly squelched my loathing for sesame noodles. For years, I turned up my nose at the gloppy, peanut buttery mess that turns up at many a sorry potluck. Julia's noodles sing a different tune. Light and smooth, these sesame noodles slide lithely down the throat. They are blessedly free of peanut butter, and thus anything but pasty. Eat them plain, hot out of the pot or chilled, tossed with tofu, or topped with grilled chicken. If you are a sesame noodle skeptic, this is the recipe for you. I would offer you a taste of ours, but then we would both have to contend with Anna. It's probably safer for everyone involved if you just whip up your own batch.
from Julia Hoffman
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 T. sugar
6 T. rice vinegar
6 T. soy sauce
2 T. sesame oil
16 oz. of pasta; I use angel hair, Julia prefers linguine.
3 T. toasted sesame seeds (you can toast the seeds in a 350 degree oven while putting together the sauce)
1/2 c. chopped scallions
Place the first five ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Pour the sauce over the boiled and drained pasta, add the sesame seeds and chopped scallions, and mix thoroughly.