Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alex Runs, Joh Cooks p. 2

Posted: September 3, 2009 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Alex Runs Joh Cooks, Johanna, pasta, quick, spicy, vegetarian | 17 Comments »

I return, with another runner-centric post to help my dear dear friend Alex raise funds for her half-marathon to help fund cancer research!!! Once again, or if you’re new to the game, here are the rules:

I’m making a pledge to donate to this race, and in an effort to get as many people involved as possible, here’s the plan: I’m creating a category of recipes and posts called “Alex Runs, Joh Cooks” — for every comment I get on one of these posts, I’m donating money to Alex’s cause. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell runners, or any other athletes you know. Tell people – I would rather not be able to afford my donation goal, than not be able to give my friend support.

The Rules: Each individual comment counts, up to 2 per person per post. You don’t have to give insight – you just have to leave your name (although I welcome your insights!!!) Check Alex’s site, check the blog, leave your name here, and Alex will get money!!

Tonight, we also give a shout-out to my amazing friend Laura, as well, because Laura is in training for the NYC Marathon and has mentioned to me that one of her perpetual cravings has been peanut butter.
Peanut Butter Sesame Soba Noodles of JOY!!!!!As you may know, Peanut butter is fabulous. There are restaurants devoted solely to its advancement. It can be used in various ways, as a sauce, as a binder, as a protein. As long as you get the sugar-free kind, you’re not wasting your calories or carbohydrates. In the spirit of peanut butter being long used in Asian cuisine, I made Peanut Butter-Sesame Soba Noodles! You may not know this, but soba noodles are buckwheat noodles that usually also contain whole wheat flour. They contain tons of amino acids, including lysine, as well as many anti-oxidants. 100grams of soba noodles produces more energy and more amino acids than either traditional pasta or bread, while still giving you some carb energy. In general, soba noodles plus peanut butter is a great way to bump up your proteins in the days leading up to a big run, especially if you are a vegetarian, like my girl Alex.
Peanut Butter-Sesame Soba Noodles
4oz./half a package Soba noodles
2 tbs sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tbs olive oil
1/4-1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tbs cumin
1-2 tsp soy sauce (optional, depending on your sodium levels/preferences)
3-4 tbs sesame oil
Optional: Sriracha, other hot sauce, red chili flake, cayenne pepper to taste.
Soba Noodles in Boiling WaterDry-toasted Sesame SeedsThe Usual Suspects

1. Bring a pot of water to the boil, and drop the soba noodles in. You don’t need to rinse the noodles before you cook them, although you WILL need to rinse them after, because buckwheat is gummy/sticky occasionally. 6-8 minutes should do it. When they’re done, drain them, rinse them with warm water, drain, and rinse a second time.
2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (to taste) in a dry skillet until they start to smell nice, then remove them to a bowl.
3. In the skillet that you toasted the sesame seeds in, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the 2 crushed garlic cloves. If using, this is the time to drop in some crushed red pepper flake, and stir a lot. This should be about medium heat, you don’t want to burn anything. You’re trying to infuse the flavor of the garlic into the oil, as well as the spice of the red pepper flake. When you pull the Soba out of the water, take the garlic out of the skillet, add the peanut butter, and drop the heat.
4. As the peanut butter melts and begins to thin, whisk in the soy sauce if you’re using it, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, and the cumin. If you’re using hot sauce, now’s the time as well. Let this get warm, and if it starts to get too thick, add some warm water. If you use cold water, the peanut butter will seize up, get grainy, and just generally refuse to play anymore.

5.When the sauce is heated through, creamy and pretty thin, pull it off the heat, and add the noodles to a big bowl. Drizzle another tablespoon of sesame oil onto the noodles, then pour on the sauce. Turn turn turn the noodles in the sauce, taste, adjust the seasonings, and sprinkle on the sesame seeds.

While this meal is delicious and amazing, we did not eat it alone. In fact, we paired it with gazpacho. While it was a little weird in the sense that we were eating a cold soup, and lukewarm noodles, it’s a good pairing from a nutrition standpoint. To make the simplest gazpacho, take any vegetables you like, (we used cucumber, a quarter of a red onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 bell pepper, 1 fryer pepper, and 6-7 tomatoes) chop them into chunks, and put them in your blender. Dash in some red wine vinegar, some salt and pepper, and if you have it, some tomato juice. If you don’t, that’s totally fine – it’ll work. Blend it until you like the texture, and eat immediately, after an hour, a few days later, whenever. Gazpacho loves you back.

Now remember!! Comment Comment Comment so I can give Alex money!! She deserves it, and she’s working hard!!!


17 Comments on “Alex Runs, Joh Cooks p. 2”

  1. 1 marla said at 9:58 pm on September 3, 2009:

    gonna give u 10 dollars towards alexs cause

  2. 2 marla said at 9:59 pm on September 3, 2009:

    i didnt

  3. 3 Jesse said at 10:23 pm on September 3, 2009:

    You know another way to get lots or protein before a race? Meat.

  4. 4 Jesse said at 10:24 pm on September 3, 2009:

    (I know, I know, Alex is a vegetarian. I like her anyway.)

  5. 5 Vallentine said at 12:43 am on September 4, 2009:

    I’m hella broke, what with my job ending tomorrow!, but still want to support Al so this is me supporting Al.

    Also, the noodles sound tasty. My favorite thing before a race was a grilled cheese sandwich on rye. Mmmm

  6. 6 adele said at 8:50 am on September 4, 2009:

    I am torn. I love soba noodles, but I have a horror of peanut butter sauces. Could I substitute tahini?

  7. 7 Jess said at 8:57 am on September 4, 2009:

    Sounds Yummy!!

  8. 8 death_by_sharpie said at 9:52 am on September 4, 2009:

    Natural PB is for the win. This sauce sounds fab!

  9. 9 johanna said at 1:44 pm on September 4, 2009:

    Adele — you could Absolutely substitute tahini. It would make a nice change, since typically PB is used as a sub when tahini is called for. Tell me how it works out! :)

  10. 10 Tweets that mention The Improviser » Blog Archive » Alex Runs, Joh Cooks p. 2 -- Topsy.com said at 4:23 pm on September 4, 2009:

    [...] this page was mentioned by Johanna Johnson (@josielynne), Johanna Johnson (@josielynne) and others. [...]

  11. 11 Alyssa said at 6:10 pm on September 4, 2009:

    Thats what I love about soba noodles…you can pretty much put anything with them. When I want to be quick I use some teriyaki sauce, but you can also you a broth, or anything else you can think of….its awesome :)

  12. 12 Adi said at 11:11 am on September 5, 2009:

    Oh god, peanut butter. NEED =)

    Look at all these comments!! AWESOME!! =)

  13. 13 Mom J said at 11:25 am on September 5, 2009:

    Trev doesn’t know what Soba noodles are. Maybe we’ll try this to find out!!!

  14. 14 Mom J. said at 11:27 am on September 5, 2009:

    Dad might like these as we know he loves peanutbutter. Chloe too!

  15. 15 Jess Z said at 10:32 am on September 6, 2009:

    I will be making this for lunch, it sounds so damn good.

  16. 16 jess Z said at 10:33 am on September 6, 2009:

    Also, adding fried tofu or chicken. Ah, I’m hungry now.

  17. 17 Auntie Beth said at 7:19 pm on September 6, 2009:

    Looks like another delicious dish!!!! Just wish that we could taste test via the internet too…. :)

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Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.