I'm the first to admit my weakness when it comes to spending money on food. In the past couple months, my reckless expenditures have included $12 artisanal chocolate truffles from Compartes, a $7 medium pomegranate Pinkberry yogurt, $6 organic eggs from New Zealand (an accident, I swear!), and $30 doughnuts/a glass of wine at Grace Restaurant.
The tallies are disgusting even to me, a girl who grew up in Newport Beach and was a first-hand witness to the car show that was my high school's parking lot. Given my considerably less glamourous upbringing on the side of town that is not two seconds from the beach (and a private yacht), I was appalled by my Coach-toting, Chanel-sunglass wearing peers' indulgent use of their parents' credit cards.
Today, as a full-fledged "adult" with my own bank account and credit card, I have become slightly less discriminating about my card swipes when it comes to feeding the beast that is my stomach. When I'm hungry, the beast does not understand the meaning of the word "no." Nor does it understand the phrase "fiscal responsibility."
This past weekend, even though I gawked at the price of the $17 Chinese Chicken Salad at Cafe R+D, I still decided to order it anyway. While I don't eat out enough for this to be a major problem (I limit myself to 2-3 times a week), it still requires some pausation on my part. Habits are really easy to form, and really hard to break.
In order to counter balance the slutty behavior of my credit card when it is in the proximity of food (or an Anthropologie), I've developed the good habit of recreating my favorite restaurant dishes at home. This past Saturday, I endeavored to recreate a version of the $17 R+D salad by using edamame instead of chicken for a less costly and more hip-friendly protein.
While the taste was not quite as crack-like as the salad my mom and I enjoyed the previous day (I suspect the drug-like properties are responsible for the inflated price tag), it was still delicious. My homemade peanut sesame dressing, fresh cilantro, and crunchy cashews and slivered almonds livened up the humble veggies and chow mein noodles to a level that even my dad found enjoyable. It's the perfect light summer lunch for a "cleanse" day. Or, in my case, for a day when there will be BBQ chicken and shrimp, orzo salad, curry rice salad, corn on the cob, and two pieces of blueberry pie (with ice cream) for dinner.
Chinese Chop Salad w/ Edamame and Peanut Sesame Dressing
Inspired by Chinese Chicken Chopped Salad at Cafe R+D
2 ounces chow mein noodles (I used Annie Chun's)
1/2 cup red pepper, sliced
1/3 cup carrots, sliced thin
2 green onions, sliced diagonally
1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup shelled edamame, cooked
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons whole cashews
1 cup green cabbage, chopped (reserve outside shells for serving)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
Sesame seeds, optional
Peanut Sesame Dressing
1 heaping tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
Juice from 1/4 a lime
Pinch of red pepper flakes (to taste)
Whisk together dressing ingredients. Set aside to allow flavors to blend.
Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain and cool immediately by running under cold water (to speed up the cooling process toss a few ice cubes into the collender).
Combine salad ingredients, noodles together in a bowl. Toss with dressing and then serve in reserved cabbage leaves. Garnish with optional sesame seeds.