June and July have been busy months, capped with a boules league party at my house early this month. This year it was a little easier for Norma Galehouse and Gloria Zimmerman, who have been co-hosting with me for the past few years.
When my husband was alive, he did all the grunt work (and the entertainment, since he was such a fun person to be around). After he died, Norma and Zimmy and I had to find people to help bring the tables and chairs and stuff around the yard. But this year we asked “Our Jared” (his title) and his Katherine to co-host and their youth, strong backs and charm made the party terrific.
Of course, the food was incredible. Zimmy found a terrific recipe for Asian pulled pork which we served on Bibb lettuce, she and Norma did her Asian noodles, I made coleslaw and dessert. Snacks as we played boules (gazpacho, gravlax on cucumber slices, an anchovy salad and tomato tarts made by my friend Debby Tyler that disappeared in a nanosecond) went perfectly with lots of wine, beer, water and soda.
Not only does Zimmy promise to send me the recipe so I can give it to you, but “My John” (his title, but he does my veggie, herb, flower gardens and everything else outside) gave me a recipe for shrimp and Swiss chard. I will make it and if it is as good as he says it is (and it sounds fabulous), I will send that to you, too. In the meantime, here is the recipe for Asian noodles.
Sesame Noodle and Chicken Salad
From a recipe created by Gloria Zimmerman of Guilford
Yield: 8 servings
1 pound fresh noodles (preferably Chinese) or 1 pound of angel hair pasta
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Asian toasted sesame oil
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded
1 tablespoon Asian sesame seed paste
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon hot oil
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons scallions, sliced very thin
one-half tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
one-half tablespoon garlic, minced
one-half teaspoon Szechwan peppercorns, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon Asian toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts or 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
Drop noodles into boiling water. Cook for about 2 minutes or until tender; if using angel hair, cook for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Combine with vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil and set aside to cool.
Blanch bean sprouts for about 10 seconds. Shock in cold water and squeeze dry. Place on platter and put noodles over them. Then place the shredded chicken on the noodles.
Put the sesame seed paste, soy sauce, vinegar, hot oil and sugar into a blender and blend until well combined, about half a minute. Pour into a bowl and stir in scallion, ginger, garlic, Szechwan peppercorn powder and remaining sesame oil. Add this to noodles and mix. Sprinkle peanuts on noodle mixture.
Serve at room temperature.
Note: Asian sesame paste is now labeled Chinese salad dressing; or you could try saying it in Chinese — Chih-ma-Chiang. It’s not interchangeable with tahini that you get in the supermarket. Tahini is not toasted; also the sesame seed oil has to be the toasted variety that you get in Asian stores and now in the Asian section of supermarkets.
You can get Szechwan peppercorns only in a Chinese market. They are not really peppercorns and if you can’t get them don’t worry.
After friends and I watched the Navy boat churn the water and land at Hole-in-the-Wall Beach in Niantic, which began the stupendous weekend of OpSail in New London, Linnea was hungry and she insisted we go to Milagro in Stonington. I am really glad she and her husband suggested this divine cantina. Owned by the young couple who had Zavala in New London, we had ceviche and fish tacos (in soft tortillas) and chiles rellenos which was plenty of food for the four of us. Along with margaritas and Mexican beer, the bill came to just around $88.
But there is a catch: we arrived around 5:30 p.m. By 6:30, there was a long line, because the restaurant is pretty tiny (this is where the first Water Street Café was; now it is across the street). So, go early.
142 Water St.
Stonington, CT 06378