The challenge: Shop for and cook a tasty, healthy dish that is filling but easy to digest in 60 minutes or less. Oh, and get home in that time too, cuz you’re still at work when the challenge presents itself.
The strategy: Check epicurious, hope for an attractive and quick noodle dish- with vegetables, please, but without ingredients that will mean a visit to more than two stores (luckily, work is in the middle of Amsterdam’s tiny China town and there’s a well-assorted Chinese grocer just around the corner).
The intermediate result: A recipe for Chinese chicken noodle soup with green onions, all necessary ingredients and arrival at home within 40 minutes.
The next stage: Slice chicken, mix marinade, put chicken in marinade (almost tipping the bowl of soy sauce-sesame oil- Shaoxing wine goodness into the sink in the process, but preventing mishap by lightening quick reflexes- or, you know, sheer luck). Kiss man when he gets in.
Panic, because man is home, but food is not ready. Relax when man trots of to do some repair work on his bicycle.
Slice cabbage, ignoring suspicious black spots on leaves (probably some sort of secret Chinese remedy for health). Slice scallions (are green onions the same as scallions? I assumed). Crush garlic, peel ginger, fall in love all over again with microplane grater when it reduces ginger to a pulp with the teeniest bit of effort). Mix garlic and ginger with yummy stuff.
Help man look for important bicycle part. Fail to locate it. Tell him to go look in the tool shed, four floors down, mostly to get him out of your hair.
Read recipe again, discover you’ve put too much sesame oil in marinade. Shrug shoulders and add more of it to pan to fry scallions and cabbage. Add stock, chop cilantro while waiting for stock to come to a boil. Add chicken. Attempt to take noodles out of package in neat bundles, dump them all over counter instead. Gather up noodles, add to pan. Stir.
Sigh a little sigh of happy relief- it is 65 minutes after the start of the challenge and soup is ready.
Hear man come in. Tell him “perfect timing!”. Scowl at man when he says ever-so-slightly pungent mixture in pan “smells”. Forgive him when he kisses neck.
The result: Lovely, warming, tingle-inducing soup, slurped up companionably with man (who eats three bowls, in spite of smell.)
The recipe is here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/106192
My modifications: Far less tahini (I think I have superstrength tahini, because I always use way less than recipes tell me to and I still get quite a pronounced flavor), a little less chili-garlic paste (the man’s a wuss), less ginger (didn’t feel like peeling more), Shaoxing rice wine instead of sherry, unseasoned rice vinegar (that’s what I had).
Ah, yes. Soup, you’ve gotten to me. Big time.