Working in a library has its perks. There’s the rule about quiet, which I love, and it forces people to sit still and get to the point. Not everyone sticks to the rules, but in general, about 70% of the time, I don’t feel myself reaching for a calming pill (any more!). On the downside, however, it’s infested with people. Lots of them. Germ-y, coughing, sneezing people who invade my personal space, touch my things, and then leave me sick. I try and eat so that my immune system is spanking and fresh, but it can only resist the powerful ooze of human contact or proximity for so long before it succumbs. At the moment my body is in limbo; sore throat, blah mind, and achy body. It did stop me from going to class yesterday, but not to the voting station today; for some things one just needs to put on two layers of socks and hit the streets in outdoor-pajama garb with a belly full of waffle.
In such moments of sadness and soreness one needs to fuel up to bring about a sense of cheer in lieu of physical well-being. Sloppy, tasty, and back-to-basics food that just smacks of healthful indulgence. I’ve been nursing a pack of udon noodles in the pantry for the past two weeks, and the breaking point has been reached! The fact that a voting day = day off from work is but a bonus in my evil plans. This dish therefore marks my return to the mini weekday, easy dinner meals series – my dismay about a still broken oven got the better of me for the past few days, but I’ve decided that most people probably don’t have my obsession with oven-baking during the week anyway 😉
Ingredients (feeds 1 person):
- 100g Udon Noodles, prepared according to packet (mine is a microwave monstrosity)
- 1 cup steamed cauliflower
- 1 cup steamed pumpkin
- 40g chargrilled artichokes (I got mine from Woolworths, otherwise just 2 TBSP of chopped prepared artichokes + 1 tsp EVOO)
- 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 TBSP barbecue sauce
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- smoked paprika, tumeric
- Optional: 1 TBSP tahini
Scrambled tofu filling:
- 1 cup tofu, cut into blocks
- 1 TBSP mustard
- white pepper
- 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 pickle/gherkin, sliced thinly
- 4 or so pieces sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 TBSP dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup mung bean sprouts
- Drain your tofu block and wrap a tea-towel & paper towels around it with books weighing it down for 1/2 hour at least.
- Once drained, follow the instructions to make a basic tofu scramble as found here on an earlier post (with waffles!). You’ll only need 1 cup of tofu though, but feel free to make an entire tub’s worth and then set aside the rest for later.
- Meanwhile, steam your cauliflower and pumpkin til soft – once done let it cool with the lid of your steamer off halfway.
- Add your veggies to a blender or food processor along with the mylk, artichokes, barbecue sauce and spices and blend til smooth. It comes out to a nice thick sauce (all the easier to eat your noodles with), but you can thin it out somewhat with more mylk, chai tea, or even some vegan wine.
- Prepare your noodles according to the instructions (we have to micro them for 90 seconds and voila!). Be sure to take care when removing from package as it may be steamy, but then split the 200g portion into single-serving portion of 100g and set the other aside for later.
- Mix all your ingredients and serve warm!
Of course, there’s only one way to eat a steaming bowl of noodles: on the couch. Man-thing and I usually set up a laptop downstairs to watch a show for dinner and it has become the best ritual ever, apart from the fact that it’s pretty icy downstairs in the winter. Nevertheless, noodles = winter warm & nomsomeness.
This was SO much fun to eat! I enjoyed myself so thoroughly with the chopsticks, splashing everywhere and grinning like a fool. The best part was that I have been dreaming of these noodles for weeks now, and to finally spoil myself was worth the wait – sometimes something so simple as getting what you want after a while has its own satisfaction. The day noodles become as frequent to ingest as air I’m in big trouble, but this meal certainly doesn’t help not to try do just that!
But, you’re probably wondering why my noodle bowl looks so clean and nicely packed, because noodles don’t stay well-groomed for long (part of their charm, like food gone wild!).
*glee skip* This is DELISH! As I said, this is a rather thick mush, so feel free to water it down in one way or another. I often see these divine noodle bowls with the noodles floating in some sort of clear soup, but stuff like that boggles me because I assume one needs at least two sets of utensils (can you tell I’m a barbarian?), and that is not conducive to dinner-time relaxation in one’s fluffiest outfit.
Anyhow, this is something quick and easy that lets you feel like a happy fat cat afterwards. I was so sated and sunny in my belly that I’ve decided to abandon my plans to start a political party for the next election: the Pakslae Party (the Party of Spanks). It’s motto would have been “Pakslae vir Amal!” (spankings for everyone!), and I’m sure it would have done very well with the older generation that enjoy the firm lash of a wooden spoon on misbehaved bottoms as much as I do. Crime? Paksla! Plagiarism? Paksla! It may not come across when I’m writing dreamily about food but I generally try to approach life with a no-nonsense attitude, because humans can fool around, procrastinate, and generally dig their heels in with serious passion when they want to (myself included!). Unfortunately that does not always mesh well with aspects of life such as following rules, stocking tofu in the supermarket so as to not agitate me, and politics. Ah well! It’s a good thing Man-thing and I do not have or plan to have children: children need to apparently live a little, scrape knees, and get messy – all of which sends my nerves on a spin. Luckily the world is full of cats that need love! 😀 😉