Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Food that is not "Norwegian spicy"

When I served at a congregation in Hudson, South Dakota, I often ate with some of the local senior citizens at their local cafe. One day, one of the folks inquired about my favorite meal. I had become accustomed to the bland food in the Northern Great Plains, even though I avoided the local favorite--Scalloped Ham and Potatoes. My favorite was lasagna, to which one person replied, "exotic!"

I knew that bland was the norm--I didn't know that basil was an exotic spice.

Urban legend in Sioux Falls holds that ethnic restaurants that would normally serve spicy food do not do good business until they tone down the spice. One Chinese restaurant in town, Peking, has gone the way of non-spice that confirms urban legend. I had never known Chinese to be bland...until Sioux Falls.

One member of another congregation--a proud Norwegian once said that if the food I served was not brown and/or white, that he would make in brown or white by adding potatoes or by adding gravy.

Over this holiday season I have served this side dish (could be a main course) frequently. Some in this area have called it "interesting," while transplants have marvelled and found it to be a culinary oasis of spice. I pass it on from the book "Vegetarian Entertaining" by Diane Shaw.

My mother in law (another proud Norwegian) is not against spicy food, but doesn't quite have the spice thing down. I usually ask her about a particular dish--is it spicy (like a hot curry) or Norwegian spicy (like basil).

This dish is not Norwegian spicy. It has a good kick. Enjoy!

Cold Sesame Noodles (aka Spicy Thai Noodles)
6-8 servings

1 cup chunky peanut butter (no added sugar, salt or shortening works best)
1/2 c. soy sauce
6 tbsp. dark sesame oil
1/4 c. rice vinegar
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp chili paste w/garlic ( I have used Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste, and that works well)
1/4 c. hot water
1 lb. linguine, cooked and drained
1/2 c. minced scallions (white part only)
1/4 c. chopped peanuts

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, vneagar, sugar and chili paste. Add hot water 1 tbsp at a time, whisking until well-blended and smooth. Add the drained linguine to the sauce along with half the scallions. Toss until noodles are coated with the sauce. If the mixture is too sticky, add more hot water and toss again.

Turn out onto a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining scallions and chopped peanuts. Can be served cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Peaceful Advent...


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