I won’t keep you long. You’re probably busy burning burgers and fighting off smoke inhalation due to an overly aggressive use of charcoal briquets. The beer is warm and the potato salad has been sitting out far longer than recommended by food hygeine experts. You’re surrounded by guests and you wonder who invited them over and then remember that you did.
Congratulations: it’s the Fourth of July. The good news is that tomorrow is the Fifth of July and things go back to normal. In the meantime, smile and wave, as we say. Your guests will leave (eventually) and you can slink back to your lair and watch a boxed set.
And if you’re feeling a bit hungry later today (ever notice how you’re the only one who never gets anything to eat at these shindigs?), then might I suggest a bowl of habanero peanut noodles? It’s spicy, crunchy, and addictive. Heck, you could even serve some at your Fourth of July party. On second thought, forget that. No reason to encourage folks to stay longer than necessary.
Habanero Peanut Noodles
1 package — about 7 oz. — udon noodles (or use another noodle)
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 Tbsp white miso (if you can’t be bothered, you could add another tablespoon of peanut butter and I won’t tell)
1 tsp coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1 small clove of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 dried habanero chile
To garnish: Your choice of chopped green onions, julienned carrots and cucumber, sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, lime wedges, bean sprouts and cilantro.
Snap off the stem of the chile, remove the seeds and place in a small bowl. I strongly encourage you to wear gloves when you do this so you don’t do what I do and rub your eye. Pour boiling water over the chile and allow to rehydrate for 5-10 minutes.
Place the peanut butter, miso (if using it), chopped ginger and garlic, lime juice, soy sauce and the habanero chile (ditch the water it was soaking in) in the small bowl of a food processor. Blitz. You’ll probably need to add a tablespoon or two of hot water if it’s too thick.
Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Scoop the noodles out of the pan, place into a serving bowl and add several spoonfuls of the sauce. If it’s a bit claggy, add a bit of the noodle cooking water. Serve in bowls with your choice of garnishes.
Slurp the noodles up making an unwarranted amount of noise. Sigh and repeat.