Monday, February 23, 2009

Peanut Tofu Noodles: An Ode to My Favorite Form of Butter

My favorite Brad Pitt movie is not the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Nor is it Legends of the Fall, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Thema and Louise, or A River Runs Through It. There is nothing wrong with any of these films, but none of them do it for me in the same way that Meet Joe Black does. While I suspect that my affection for the nearly three hour film is more because Pitt looks exceedingly scrumptious than it is because I'm a super fan of the story, I do know that I quite enjoy watching Pitt's character discover peanut butter. He nearly chokes on his first taste, but is soon eating it by the spoonful. Later (as in two and a half hours later), it is the one thing he asks for when he is about to leave this world behind.

As a peanut butter lover who can also eat it without the assistance of even a piece of toast, I can understand why it would be so hard for poor Joe Black to give it up. I don't just enjoy peanut butter -- I consider it a vital part of my diet. My morning oatmeal would not be complete without a hefty spoonful stirred in, and I can't even imagine eating a bagel for breakfast without a big ole smear on top. I don't stop there. I put it on bananas, apples, pair it with chocolate, and even put it on my spaghetti, like in this recipe for peanut tofu noodles.

Of course, I can't take complete credit for this one. The inspiration for this dish came from Blind Faith Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant that my friends and I used to frequent in college. While I adored their corn and potato enchilidas verdes, my favorite thing to order was the Thai peanut noodles with thin rice noodles, broccoli, carrots, tofu and mung sprouts. After eating the dish an exorbitant number of times during my junior and senior years, I finally decided to try recreating it at home. I've tinkered with it a lot over the years, and the below recipe is the one that is currently most pleasurable to my palate. It can be made with a variety of different veggies (red cabbage works especially well) and chicken can be subbed for the tofu, but I think I enjoy it best with the tofu.

Plus, it makes me feel more virtuous and less like I am eating my way through the peanut butter jar. Again.

Diana's Peanut Tofu Noodles
Inspired by the dish at Blind Faith Cafe in Evanston, IL

Serves 1

1 piece Trader Joe's teriyaki flavored baked tofu
Assorted veggies - red onion, broccoli, red pepper, sugar snap peas
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons hot water (use more if sauce needs to be thinned out)
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
Trader Joe's whole wheat spaghetti

1. Combine ginger, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and hot water in small bowl. Whisk to combine.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. While it is cooking, heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in hot frying pan over medium heat. Stir fry garlic and onion together under onion becomes tender. Add the broccoli and sugar snap peas and cook for a couple minutes before adding the red pepper, tofu and peanut sauce.

3. When pasta is done, drain and add to the pan with the veggies, tofu and sauce. Stir till well coated and serve with peanuts sprinkled on top if desired.


The Blonde Duck said...

I think peanut butter should be required daily eating. It should have it's own box on the food pyramid. Let's start a protest.

Heather said...

i do love a good spoonful of peanut butter. you sound like you love it almost as much as roxie -- she's a huge fan ;)

the noodles sound DELICIOUS!

Ashley said...

Ahhhh!!!! I miss this meal so much! I'm going to have to find a way to take Elliott there when we go to Chicago in May. Remember the time with the waiter and the check....

DVZ said...

PB on ice cream! (or frozen yogurt)! I was passing through Norman OK in 1980 and discovered my passion at an off-campus student cafe. Add hot fudge....

Diana said...

Duckie - I agree! Screw apples -- I say a tablespoon (or more) of pb a day keeps the doctor away!

Heather - I think I could give up meat easier than I could peanut butter!

Ashley - Oh yes, I remember the waiter and the check...

DVZ - PB and ice cream are the best!

Esi said...

My favorite Brad Pitt movie is Ocean's 11. I just think he is so funny.

I do not have quite the same obsession with peanut butter as you, but I appreciate it and could definitely see myself consuming some of this soon!

The Duo Dishes said...

Mmmm, pb is always good. We'd be tempted to put even more than just a tablespoon in there.

H. C. said...

I'd throw in a very generous spoonful of PB as well ;) and would be curious to see if soba noodles have the same cling power (which I have way more of around the kitchen than spaghetti)

Reeni♥ said...

My favorite is right off the spoon or all melty on warm toast. These noodles follow close behind!! Delicious!!

Diana said...

Esi - I totally forgot about Ocean's 11! Good call...

Duo Dishes - Yeah, I definitely wind up using a bit (or a lot) more than a tablespoon when I make this! It's hard to stop at just a tablespoon when I'm dealing with pb.

HC - I bet soba noodles would be great with this! The only reason I started using the spagetti is because it's what I had on hand.

Reeni - When I was in college, my favorite late night snack was a piece of peanut butter toast. Best comfort food ever! :)