I have a special section in my bookshelf called “Inspiration and Eye-Candy” and only a handful of lucky titles get a coveted spot on that shelf. These are books that I reach for when I’m feeling hungry-but-not-hungry-but-hungry, which really means I want to eat but I can’t muster up the energy to be creative and whip up something in the kitchen on the fly. Currently on the shelf is Nobu, The Cookbook (recipe next week), Things Cooks Love from Sur La Table (recipe soon) and delicious days by Nicole Stich.
Nicky was kind enough to send me one of her books…she’s an an award-winning food blogger www.deliciousdays.com, amazing cook, detailed photographer, creative designer and naturally gifted writer. Oh, and she’s married to handsome Oliver, have beautiful friends and they live in Germany. Sounds so exotic, doesn’t it? Well friends, wait til you see this book, you will love it.
The cookbook contains hundreds of photographs so vivid and sharp that you can totally pretend that you’re there. Instead of traditional cookbook chapters, Nicky and Oliver bring you on a food journey and divide the book into mini sections like, “Boat Trip in Greece” and “Bella Italia.” Recipes that accompany these journeys are fabulous, many of them with only a handful of ingredients. A simple “Greek Yogurt with Honey and Roasted Nuts” is so much more special when Nicky and her friends are savoring it aboard a yacht sailing the Aegean.
Asian Sesame Chicken Noodle Salad Recipe
Adapted from delicious days by Nicole Stich. Instead of the usual heavy peanut sauce, this recipe uses a sesame seeds. Kecap Manis is a sweet Indonesian soy sauce you can find in any Asian market.
3 tablespoons cooking oil (peanut, vegetable or canola)
1/2 large red chili pepper, sliced
1 cucumber, washed and thinly sliced
1-2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
5 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, divided
1 garlic clove, peeled
4 tablespoons kejap manis
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
3.5 ounces thin, dried Japanese or Chinese noodles (such as somen or soba)
Place the chicken breasts in a pot with lightly salted water (enough water to cover the chicken.) Bring to a boil, immediately reduce heat and cook in the barely simmering water for 10-15 minutes until done. Test for doneness. Remove chicken and let cool. Return water back to boil and cook the noodles according to package instructions and drain.
Heat a wok or frying pan with the cooking oil, Sichuan peppercorns and red chili pepper until the peppercorns unfolds its aroma. Add the cucumber and fry for 30 seconds. Let cool.
In a mortar, crush the garlic and just 4 tablespoons of the sesame seeds until it forms a rough paste. You can also do this in a blender. Add the remaining tablespoon of sesame seeds, kejap manis, sesame oil and about 5 tablespoons of water. Stir the sesame sauce.
Shred the cooked chicken meat, toss with the sesame sauce along with the oil/peppercorn/pepper mixture and drained noodles.