Sunday, August 23, 2009

Walnut miso noodles


I am so grateful to be living where I am in these (temporarily at least, for me personally) amazingly wonderful times. God bless the Internet! With me, it was love at first sight. Since I am fairly aged, first sight was an article in Time magazine, probably around 1990. I was already an adult, stuck in what I was experiencing as a dead end job. DOS ruled. I could (self taught) program in DOS, though I was working as a secretary (this was fairly common at the time). WordPerfect 5.1 had just come out and that was the acme, the pinnacle of word processing. Man, I knew everything there was to know about WordPerfect 5.1! Mice? Non-existent. Windows? They were developing it, but I didn't even really have a grasp of what it was all about. The Internet? Archie, Gopher, WAIS, Pine, Mosaic, remember those? Daisy wheel printers so noisy you had to have a hard plastic cover over them while they ran so you could hear yourself think, but it was pure heaven after carbons and the IBM Selectrics we had also considered a marvel of perfection in their time (actually, they still are—we have several in the office I work in now; those machines never quit). I am fortunate to have been a member of the generation that bridged the manual typewriter-digital world transition, more or less conscious the whole time.

I bought my first real computer inspired by that Time article. Before that I'd had an IBM 86 or some such thing where you had to load your program first with a special floppy disk, then save your data on another. Now, though, I had a separate modem and could connect with other users via the telephone lines. So cool. Now it's hard to imagine living without the Internet; it's like a collective external memory. Even the recipes I blog I don't bother writing down, saving, or, in general, remembering. They're online now: I can always look them up. Could veganism and so many other movements and ways of being really have come into existence without the Internet? Sometimes I wonder.

Heidi Swanson, you of 101 Cookbooks, have inspired this reverie, with your recipe for walnut-miso-noodles. The minute I read it, I knew I would absolutely love it, and so I do! Walnut and miso, what a fantastic combination…that I could never have thought up on my own in a hundred years. Isn't it great that cooks of every level of expertise can go online and explore each other's methods, recipes, ingredients? So thank you, Heidi, for a really lovely meal; I am positively pre-disposed towards any recipe that includes the words "you can make the dressing as you're waiting for the pasta water to come to a boil," but this dressing, though easy to make, really was something special.

The picture at the top of my post was also inspired by you—I'd fried chickpeas before, but mostly with other vegetables, and as it were inadvertently, never really considering frying them separately, on purpose, to make them taste better. But they do.


[Ah, on edit, I see this dish looks suspiciously like yesterday's Shanghai noodles. That's partly because I had some of the blanched vegetables left over, which I used today, but otherwise, I assure you, despite appearances, totally different flavours!]

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