Friday, August 22, 2008

Closing Exercise Dinner: Peanut Ginger Slaw and Spicy Asian Style Pasta Salad

It's hard to swallow the idea that the Olympics will be over on Sunday. What did I do with myself before they began? I know I wasn't twiddling my thumbs, so what was it? What inspired me to exercise? How can I possibly stay motivated to get rid of my love handles without seeing Michael Phelps in his Speedo, or the women volleyball players in their itty bitty bathing suits or Nastia Lukin in her sassy pink leotard? The only possible advantage to the ending of the summer games is the return to my normal sleep pattern.

I've created an Olympic "closing exercise" dinner, loosely Asian themed, with lots of bold flavors and fresh vegetables. There's a noodle salad (one of my recipes that was published in Bon Appetit), with crisp fresh veggies flavored with sesame and honey and a peanut ginger slaw with a zingy peanut butter dressing. I suggest that you also make my soy and lime tri tip. I'm convinced that tri tip is the frugal fillet mignon. It has a little more bite, but the flavor and juiciness belie its reasonable price. For dessert, ginger cookies (try this recipe from the fabulous Del sisters) and sorbet would hit the spot.

Money Saving Tips: Use vegetables and herbs that you can find for a reasonable price. You can swap cilantro for mint or basil in either of these dishes with excellent results. Sesame oil is pricey, so if you don't have some on hand, you can use vegetable oil. Chop your own cabbage if the bagged mixes are overpriced. Don't pay extra for special Asian noodles; plain dried pasta works well here. The pasta salad is delicious cold, warm, or room temp, so plan on packing leftovers in your lunch this week.

Spicy Asian-Style Pasta Salad
Estimated Cost: $5.00
Notes: My original calls for honey roasted peanuts to be scattered on top. I swapped them for sesame seeds, since it would be nutty overkill with the slaw. You can easily make this a main dish by adding cooked shrimp, chicken, or beef.
1/2 lb. linguini or other pasta,
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 and 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 and 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
generous pinch of cayenne
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup edamame, or snow peas (frozen and thawed is fine here)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1 tablespoons sesame seeds

Cook pasta according to package directions. (Don't wash the pot yet.) Drain and toss with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Meanwhile, combine 1 tablespoon sesame oil, honey, vinegar, soy and cayenne in a small bowl. Add remaining sesame oil (about 2 teaspoons) to pasta pot and heat over medium heat. Add pepper, carrot, onion, and edamame and cook for one minute. Mix with pasta and dressing. Toss with basil or cilantro and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds.

Peanut Ginger Slaw
Estimated Cost: $5.00
Notes: This slaw is best about 10 minutes after you mix the ingredients together. Only make as much as you will eat in one sitting.
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, very finely chopped (Use 1/2 teaspoon dried, in a pinch)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (10 ounce) bag angel hair cabbage (you could also buy cole slaw bag)
1 cucumber, peeled, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts

In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, sugar, ginger, garlic, and oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste the dressing. You may need to adjust the sugar a bit, depending on the peanut butter you use. You want the dressing a little on the sweet side. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, cucumber, cilantro,scallions, and peanuts. Serve within 10-30 minutes.
Coming this weekend:
Blueberry-Buttermilk-Cornmeal Pancakes

37 comments:

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I know! They just started and now they're finishing! 4 years is too long, they should be at least every 2 years! I love the asian inspired dinner idea!

Lisa said...

I am all over this! Great idea for the closing ceremony. Sad, but I will finally be able to get my usual sleep. Unlike you my excercisinging has been suffering. (Too tired to get up real early to excercise :(

Katherine Aucoin said...

I'm not too sad about the Olympics being over, I haven't had too much time to watch. I'm glad I had the time to stop by and see your salad and slaw. I am anxious to try your pasta.

sliceofsueshe said...

yum yum yum! can i have some of that pasta salad for breakfast?

Megan said...

These recipes sound delicious. I like how you gave us main course, salad, and dessert. Cheep and easy, right up my alley! :)

The DeL Sisters said...

We love Asian! Great looking recipes!

Hey thanks for the little mention about our AWESOME ginger cookies:-) They ARE the BEST!


Tomorrow's recipe sounds really good. We just got some blueberries, so Hmmmmm might be making those pancakes soon!
The Del sisters

Marie said...

Everything looks so delicious Erin! I can't believe the olympics is already finishing! It does seem like they just got started!!! It will be here next time around. I have a spare bed if you want to kip out on it and see them in person!

noble pig said...

Wow, what a meal! I love food like this and it has been fun to see all these Olympic inspired dishes all over the blogosphere. Thanks for sharing this one.

Leah said...

Your noodle recipe was in BA?! Where the heck was I? Anyway, great job on that, the salad is right up my alley with all those Asian flavors.

I've been inspired to run more lately too...but I think it's cause my shorts don't fit, and not cause of the Olympics. ;-)

Dr. Mom said...

This looks great! My husband recently returned from China and now wants to have more Asian dishes and I think this one would be perfect! Thanks!

Catherine said...

Everything looks delicious. I love the idea of having an Asian Themed dinner for closing ceremonies. I can't wait to try it all.

1freshstart said...

Prudy, darling. I made that uh, utterly delish corn chowder and wheat rolls last night. We didn't eat until 9:00 because my counters were covered in cookies, but seriously.... The Husband and I packed away that chowder like nothing else. You may have converted me to like cooked bell peppers. The only reason I used the bell pepper was because it would go bad soon. Unbelievable! I can't wait to have it for dinner again tonight!
~Cat

The Blonde Duck said...

I can't wait to see those pancakes. I've been craving pancakes too, so I may chew out of my cubicle before you post and go running to the grocery store screaming for tasty pancakes!

I've got to find the tri-tip steak. We've got a grocery monopoly here so I've heard you can only get it at Costco. I'll have to wait until my sister comes back to start college and bum off or her account...

Steph said...

I agree, I can't believe that the olympics will be all over.. no more staying up until the early morning to catch live coverage and rewatching the events during the afternoon.

Both of your dishes look refreshing and delicious!

Jenny said...

I know, it's hard to believe it's all coming to an end. Your closing Exercise dinner looks like the perfect meal to end a great experience! I love Asian cuisine!

Aggie said...

I didn't realize they were ending on Sunday! I am so tired from staying up late, I keep saying I'm going to go to bed early but then I get sucked in! It has been a great Olympics.

This is the perfect meal Prudy. I love Asian flavors, look at all the yummy vegetables! I am making this for sure. It goes perfect with that steak.

jenjen said...

This looks wonderful! I am sad to see the Olympics go but excited to try out your recipe! Thanks!!!

Mary Ann said...

Yummy yummy yummy. That sounds great! I am going to have to try them both out. My sis is visiting from the east coast with her two boys and so it has been a busy week! We might kick off the weekend with a high school football game and this delicious meal! Thanks Prudy!

Leslie said...

What a lovely idea! Now I can get back to my 9 hours of sleep a night!Thanks for your comment on my little ones eye

Debinhawaii said...

I don't think i ever watched as much of the Olympics as i did this year--but it will be nice to sleep again! Your closing dinner looks and sounds delicious!

gigi said...

This sounds and looks wonderful but I couldn't sneak that in on the old southern boy I live with! No, no he wouldn't have this not one bit :(

MK and Co. said...

Your dinner looks beautiful and I know it was delicious. It's so obvious. Well thanks to DVR I can watch the olympics for a little while longer. Thanks for the great recipes.

Leslie said...

Oh Prudy,
For one brief moment I thought your Closing Exercise title meant you were closing your blog for the school year.
I'm glad it's just an Olympic Closing ceremony.

Emiline said...

I love sesame oil. I guess it's a little pricey, but it's not too bad. A little goes a long way, so it's worth it.

I'll be so sad when the Olympics are over! :(
I can't picture myself in a leotard that those gymnasts wear.

RecipeGirl said...

Oh this definitely looks like it would make a terrific main dish salad. I'd add a little chicken! I'll miss the olympics too...

Dawn said...

I eat so much of the peanut noodle salad as I call it. Delish isn't it? I agree that it's cheap to make too. Add some sliced grilled chicken and you've got a meal.
Keep up with the exercising--so good for you.

Amy said...

Looks great!! I have tried your soy & lime tri tip and it is SO yummy!!

Maria said...

Looks like a tasty salad I am sad the olympics are over

Lore said...

"Hard to swallow the idea that the Olympics will be over on Sunday"-you're right but let's look at it this way: I'd have no problem swallowing you pasta salad, on the contrary, I'll be asking for more!

Beth said...

Im going to miss them to. Roll on 2012! I'll definitely be in Weymouth watching the sailing - only a few hours drive from me! What a great feast!!

Darius T. Williams said...

Sooo - I'm' totally down with both of these. I love making great dishes for less too!!!

Natashya said...

Great dinner. I love peanut sauces. Maybe this is what I should make my mother tomorrow.

Sara said...

What a fun closing olympics dinner. I've never attempted to make oriental food, but I may just have to step out of my bubble on this one. It looks great! I'm with you on the teeny weeny bathings suits. I need to work on my figure!

Jeena said...

Why is it everytime I click onto your food blog I see food that I could truly see myself eating at my table? This is so delicious, I love this kind of food!

Kevin said...

That looks tasty!

Sophie said...

Gosh, ya know, I always have trouble coming up with Asian inspired dishes from scratch, but you've done a great job capturing all the tasty flavors! I like the different textures, too :).

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