There are some things you learn about your partner, only when traveling together. For instance, what each other likes to pack for a weekend away.
“Why are there bicycle shorts in here?”
“Why are you snooping in my luggage?” I asked.
“I needed toothpaste.”
“Here,” I said, as I pulled out a tube.
Roo took the toothpaste from my hand, “I still don’t understand why you need bicycle shorts for a wedding.”
“Ok!” I said, turning my back to Roo and shoving the shorts further down the bag, “Ok, you got me….I wear them under my dress.”
“Because Roo, some girls’ thighs rub together and god forbid it’s 100 out and you have sweaty thighs rubbing together. It’s the worst.”
“Oh. Isn’t it supposed to be 97 this weekend?”
Sometimes you discover that your partner cannot be trusted to drink any fluids while traveling. At all.
“I need to pee.”
“We just stopped ten minutes ago. There is no way you have to go right now.”
“It was the iced coffee.”
“That you drank two hours ago?”
“Lys, we can’t stop. We have five more hours of driving. If we keep stopping every ten minutes we’ll never get there.”
I crossed my legs, “I read there’s a service area in ten miles.”
“We are not stopping.”
“This is ridiculous!” I said, uncrossing and recrossing my legs again.
“Are you really saying that by not stopping at a rest area, because we just stopped at one ten minutes ago, is ridiculous?”
“I really need to pee.”
And sometimes, you learn that your partner does not have the same opinion as for what counts as snacks for a road trip.
“So what did you bring for food?”
“I packed a super yummy udon noodle salad.”
“Don’t worry. I packed real forks.”
“How am I supposed to eat that? While driving.”
“I see you drive with one hand all the time!” I replied, taking the tupperware container out of the cooler.
“It’s a noodle salad. A salad you once described as super slurpy.”
“That’s what makes it so good!”
“Lys, how am I supposed to eat a super slurpy noodle salad while driving?”
I stopped shaking the ziploc bag filled with dressing and looked at Roo, “More for me I guess.”
“Why do I feel like this was your plan all along?”
While Roo doesn’t recommend eating this salad while driving, he does love it for lunch on hot summer days. The cold, thick noodles are a perfect vehicle for the spicy, peanut lime dressing. Twirl them around crisp chunks of cold cucumber or sweet yellow and red peppers for a refreshing bite. The salad comes together in practically no time which makes it a perfect meal for those days you’d rather spend on the porch than your kitchen.
A sharp knife
A large pot
A blender (you could use a small mixing bowl and whisk, I just like to blend the dressing together so it’s smooth)
A small pan
Tongs, two forks, or you can toss with your hands
For the dressing
*this makes a lot of dressing but I feel it’s better to make more so people can add to their veg as they like
1 tablespoon miso paste (I used white miso as it’s the most mild in flavor)
6 tablespoons lime juice (about 3 – 4 limes)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
Half tablespoon – 1 tablespoon of sesame oil (it’s a bit strong so use half a tablespoon first)
2 – 3 tablespoons peanut butter (depending on desired thickness and nuttiness; Roo likes 3, I like 2)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 – 2 serrano chiles, sliced thin (these are quite hot, if you’re heat sensitive, start with half a chile)
For the salad
1 bundle of dried udon noodles
2 handfuls of your favorite salad green, torn into easily edible pieces (I grabbed from our CSA bag)
1 smallish cucumber, cut into chunks (I like pickling cukes as they’re super crunchy and I don’t have to peel them)
A handful of cherry tomatoes, cut into half
2 colored peppers, cut into chunks (I used 1 yellow and 1 orange)
2 scallions (each with two branches), green and white parts sliced thin
2 tablespoons of cashews, chopped and toasted
Quarter cup of cilantro, chopped (optional)
Fill your large pot three quarters of the way with water. Place over a burner on high heat. While waiting for your water to boil, make the dressing.
Add the ingredients for the dressing to your blender. Blend everything together till the dressing is smooth. Set aside.
Pour the chopped cashews into your small pan. Place over a burner on medium heat. Occasionally, give the pan a quick flick of the wrist, to toss the ingredients. If that makes you nervous, you can swish them around with a side to side motion of the wrist. Toast the cashews until they’re light brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
By now hopefully the water has come to a boil. Add the udon noodles and cook. When done (I like the noodles al dente as they’ll be absorbing some of the dressing), drain the noodles into your colander. Rinse the noodles in cold water until the noodles are cold. Drain again and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add the ingredients for the salad. Pour half the dressing in. Toss to combine until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and coated with dressing. Taste. Add more dressing to your liking. Garnish with cilantro, if using. Serve immediately.