I try to have a reasonable pantry that is filled with requisite grains, flours, oils, pastas, beans. Tins of tuna. Boxes of tomatoes. You know, the stuff you need to whip up fabulous with ease.
In the packing frenzy before we moved, I jettisoned things that could have made, but werent' advised to, the cross-country move. To my friends, I gave walnut oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar. Beans, pasta, quinoa. Sad me. I've been rebuilding the pantry over the year, but you know how that goes. You get the sesame oil, but forget the rice vinegar. You pick up cumin but forget cardamon pods. Yesterday, I scored when I hit a natural food store yesterday that carries oat flour and barley flour. Other kinds are trickier to get, especially when you're in the company of two children. How many stores should I visit to properly stock up?
It isn't such a big deal except when I'm doing a quickie dinner, quickies whose advantages are speed and flavor. I can sub a few ingredients, but sometimes, I just want them all!
Tonight, after a rockin' morning of six friends (and mamas and nannies) visiting followed by an afternoon of working on Bama's baby carrier, I wanted to whip up something using the asparagus and tofu I picked up yesterday. On days like these, I often turn to 101cookbooks because Heidi Swanson is a fast, seasonal cook. It is always possible to make something delicious, balanced, and reasonably paced. I entered soba noodles, asparagus, tofu into her search. Voila! The Lazy Day Peanut Noodle Salad.
(The photo is Swanson's.)
I had soba noodles (now on the shopping list again), peanut butter (ditto), but no scallions (subbed with cucumber), I used white vinegar instead of rice vinegar (but, um, I did that after I mixed the sauce and thought, huh, no acid … even as the acid sat on the counter in front of me). I forgot I wiped out the scallions yesterday at lunch so I added cucumbers.
Even so, pretty good. Like most of her recipes, it's easily adapatable and forgiving (yep). Forgiving, but it would have been better with the proper components. On the shopping list for tomorrow: rice vinegar, soba noodles, udon (we're out), peanut butter, onions.