Miss Em has made (i.e. opened three cans) black bean salad/dip for two pot lucks. The dish has been well-received, but she is feeling a bit guilty because it's so easy. Recently, I received an SOS asking for another idea.
Asian sesame noodles: this is one of those dishes that people can't believe you can make yourself. There are zillions of recipes for this dish on the internet and in cookbooks. They are all good. They call for a little of this and a little of that, as each recipe writer tries to come up with the BEST version of the dish.
Not so for the College Cook. For the College Cook, we seek to discover just how minimal you can make the dish and still have it be good for a pot luck. After all, the College Cook may have no stove, no car, no time. Plus, the College Cook does not want to amass all sorts of ingredients that will languish unused in limited storage space.
So, here is the minimal version. I wanted Miss Em to use her sesame paste (tahini) that she acquired to make hummus a while ago.
NOODLES: I used half of a 12 oz bag of angel hair. I cooked the pasta in the rice cooker, in minimal water. Then I forgot about it. OOPS! All the water was sucked up, so no draining, which is good, but a lot stuck to the bottom. It is now soaking. So, if you can do this on the stove, it is a lot easier. Use between 6 oz and a pound of pasta. Any shape is ok.
PASTE: I used about 6 TBS of tahini. This turns to glue in the jar, so I dug some out and heated with Asian flavorings in the microwave. Just a little! You want it to blend with the noodles.
ASIAN FLAVORINGS: Miss Em doesn't have soy sauce. She does have some hoisin sauce I packed in her back-to-school box. I used about 2 TBS and mixed with tahini.
VINEGAR: I used about 1 TBS.
Mix the Asian sauce with the noodles and you have a decent basic pasta salad--good warm, room temperature, or cold.
SUBSTITUTIONS: If you don't have TAHINI, you can use PEANUT BUTTER (or both). If you don't have HOISIN, use SOY SAUCE (or both).
How to jazz it up: add chopped scallion. Add frozen peas. Add shredded cooked chicken. Scallions alone make it pot luck worthy; the other two additions are purely optional.
I like to sprinkle with hot pepper flakes.