Any of my close friends who have talked with me recently know what an unbalanced person I am these days. The state of education in California constantly causes me moments of complete outrage and I've even thrown something at a wall out of sheer frustration after a conversation with a friend led me down a path to study some statistics which gave me pause. The statistics made me mad and so I threw a box of paper clips at the wall, and left a dent. This is not the act of a balanced person. I know this. The ranting and raving I've been caught doing in recent weeks are also not the actions of a balanced person.
In the quiet moments of the day, I wrestle with myself to find my inner balance and to make peace with the life that God has so richly blessed me with. My beautiful Girls, my handsome Son, my loving Husband, my wonderful Friends - all blessings from God and that is what helps me swing my pendulum back under control. And in those quiet moments, sometimes I remember that the statistics, the numbers, the education out there is less important, and my own life, my own reactions, my own behavior and actions are far more powerful in impacting Daughters and Son's lives. If I can find my own balance, so can Son and Daughters.
I thought that this noodle dish represented my search for balance. It is not hot or cold but warm. It is spicy and sweet, sour and salty. It is crispy and tender. It is satisfying and yet leaves you wanting more. It is, in essence , a series of sensations trying to come into balance. And it is good. It is probably a little too spicy for the average child, but spice loving Son loved it and ate more than his portion. It is wonderful made ahead as it sits at room temperature for a couple of hours and is really delicious and satisfying.
Spicy Sesame Noodles
adapted from Williams Sonoma New American Cooking: California
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 large cloves of garlic, minced or pushed through a press
2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons sesame oil (the real Japanese or Korean toasted sesame oil - I like Kadoya brand)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use Kikkoman low sodium for all my cooking)
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 lb spaghetti noodles, or angel hair noodles
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm vegetable oil. Add red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the oil becomes slightly red and the pepper is fragrant. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant and soft, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt. Whisk in the garlic-ginger mixture. Set aside.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a bowl. Add sauce and coat the noodles. Add scallions and coat the noodles. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Just before serving add sesame seeds and cilantro. Toss to coat.
Balance on chopsticks.