Peanut Soba Noodles and a Confession

Well, make that two confessions.

The first: I’m not a great cook. I like food, but I don’t always know what to put together, or have the patience or skill to use the right techniques. I certainly don’t know how to make it look pretty in photographs. But I’m working on it. I’ve made some wonderful foodie friends recently who inspire me to be a better cook, and a better blogger.

But the real confession is this – I’ve been in a rut. I love to write, and I just… haven’t been. I love to work out, and I haven’t been making the time. I’ve been eating weird concoctions of snacks from the market downstairs for dinner, instead of trying new recipes or making old favorites. I live, literally, on top of a wine bar, and I haven’t even been to it. What is that about? I just haven’t felt like me. I have no real good reason for this rut I’ve been in. I have a good job, with people I like, one that sends me to London and allows me to work from home or charming coffee shops quite regularly. I’ve got good friends, really terrific ones. My family is great, cool and quirky, and they live nearby enough that I get to see them a lot. I have a cute apartment in an adorable neighborhood, albeit one that might be just a little too yuppie for me, after all. I live in a fantastic city, and have access to the most amazing food and fresh produce. I have a machine to make my own fizzy water (more on that soon) for Pete’s sake. Life is good, really good.

I think what it comes down to is change. Way too much change. In a very short period of time, I changed jobs, got my own apartment for the first time, moved across the city, and sold my car. For someone who’s never been great with change, it was a lot, all at once. My routine has been thrown off, and I can’t quite get it back. Oh, and did I mention I have a pretty big birthday coming up? Yup, it’s been a lot to take. I like my life, but sometimes don’t know how to process it all.

But, I’m trying to shake it. I’m tired of being in a rut, or using the excuse of being in a rut to stay in a rut. The weather’s getting better, and I have a lot to look forward to – yes, even that big birthday. I had a wonderful weekend, filled with friends and fresh produce and family and yeasted waffles, and it reminded me of how good life is. And how fun it is, when you’re open to it.

I may still not be a great cook, but I’m starting to figure out what I like. Like these peanut soba noodles I threw together tonight. I made Orangette’s recipe a few months back, and loved it, but decided to mix it up (literally!) tonight, not follow a recipe, and see what happened. What happened was good. I was inspired to add asparagus and tofu from this 101 Cookbooks recipe. So, tonight, I threw together:

1/2 cup chunky natural peanut butter
A few splashes of organic soy sauce
The juice of one small lime
The juice of 1/2 a Meyer lemon
A dash of white wine vinegar
A glug or two of olive oil
A generous dash of Sriracha

And whisked them together. Then, I cooked up half an 8 oz package of soba noodles for about 6 minutes, and added some chopped asparagus into the boiling water for another minute or two. I rinsed and drained the noodles and asparagus, added them to the peanut sauce, and threw in some thinly sliced carrots and radishes, strips of yellow and red bell pepper, and Super Firm Wildwood tofu, pan-fried in sesame oil.

It was really tasty, and so easy. Next time, I’d add some whole or chopped peanuts on top, like the 101 Cookbooks recipe suggests. But all in all I was pleased with how it turned out. I’m really thinking of going back for seconds. But I’m wondering if that feeling, like the rut I’ve been in, will pass if I just let it.



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5 responses to “Peanut Soba Noodles and a Confession

  1. This looks very easy and delicious — I’m putting it on the list to try. šŸ™‚

  2. Janet! Lovely post….hard to put that all out there! You know, ever since we talked at dinner I’ve been meaning to write you a little note. Ruts, I find, are like seasons. They come and go and you can’t really fight them. They’re natural. You shouldn’t fight them b/c usually you get nowhere. I think you’re probably right about change being a factor. Don’t over think it too much. And about the blog? Just do what feels right with the blog when it feels right. When I was starting out, I remember I wrote something about how I was struggling with whether I should include restaurant reviews, travel stuff etc. Didn’t know how to define my blog or where to draw the line or what I was really doing…Allison actually commented to just do what felt right to me. Do what I wanted and the rest would fall into place. I love your blog–do with it what excites you and write what you’re excited to write about. The rest will follow šŸ™‚

    Unrelated note: so bummed about our lack of fro yo this week. I am slowly crawling out from my death bed, but I’m afraid probably not soon enough for us to have a mid-day rendevous (sp?!). In other news: especially since your dad is in Marin, I KNOW I will see you often this summer!

  3. Janet,

    Don’t worry, just remember this too shall pass. You’ll get out of your rut and embrace life again. I think we all go through those stages. Change is hard, however always remember change can be good as well!

  4. Esi

    Great post! I definitely feel that same rut you’re talking about, but hopefully things are on the upswing soon. I’m sooo going to look into that fizzy water maker too!

  5. Janet, we totally ALL get in ruts. And I have to admit that when Matt is out of town, I’m sometimes barely inspired to poach an egg and throw it over a bowl of steamed chard. Or just settle for lots of cheese and bread. I’m with you on the change, too–I’ve gone through a lot of change in the last year and it’s definitely been a struggle to keep my head up when I know that life is great. Sometimes I think to myself that when you get really overwhelmed, the best thing to do is to remind yourself that it’s just a job, an apartment, one dinner, etc. The family and friends are what matter most šŸ™‚

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