noodles

Matthew's amazing Koren noodles, gluten-free!

I have that old song Dr. Demento used to play stuck in my head: “Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads. Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up, yum.” Except, in my head, it sounds like: “Noodles, noodles, soft and slippery noodles. Noodles, noodles, slurp them up, yum.”

My brain, you see, is nearly as wet and useless as an overcooked noodle. Our editor (lovely, meticulous man) sent back the first edits of our cookbook manuscript only three days after we sent it in. Wonderful that he’s paying attention, but my goodness. We wouldn’t have minded some time off. For the past nearly two weeks, I’ve been back at the computer, tapping away, hunched over, wanting it to be over. Just a few moments ago, I sent it away. I’m free.

For a few days, or weeks, perhaps.

So the post I planned on noodles will have to exist in my imagination. I can tell you that we have been in a noodle mood here lately, from last week’s spontaneous “ramen” to the buffalo and wild mushroom noodle soup we ate today at lunch with Anita and Cam of Married with Dinner and our dear friend Tea. So much joy in the sunlight.

And yesterday, our good friends Matthew, Laurie, Judy, and Iris came through the door bearing gifts for Little Bean (Iris’s kid-size kitchen, made of sturdy wood!) and a plate full of these Korean noodles. Japchae, a stir fry with beef and “a riot of vegetables,” to quote Matthew, are made with dangmyeon noodles, which are made from sweet potato starch. That makes them gluten-free! Matthew was kind enough to make the dish entirely gluten-free, so I could dig in. We wound the slithery noodles around our forks and sighed. What a day.

(And if you want to make Matthew’s recipe, and you do if you look at that photograph at the top of this post, see it right here.)

Noodles make me happy. It’s hard to take ourselves too seriously with noodles in our mouths.

So tell us — what are your favorite ways to eat noodles? What do you to emphasize their silliness, and their satisfaction?

43 comments on “noodles

  1. Gina

    That looks lovely! I really dig the potato starch noodles. They can be tricky to fry up if they get too sticky, but they’re delicious. I also like glass noodles (mung bean noodles, bean thread noodles) in a good Asian soup. It’s a challenging way to perfect my chopstick technique!

  2. beyond

    i’m not sure i have ever had sweet potato noodles, this looks great. i like noodles made any way, and every day.

  3. Angela@SpinachTiger

    My favorite unusual way to eat noodles is with nuts and pecorino cheese, walnut oil. But, let me give you a good idea for Little Bean. I made this for little twin toddlers, (loves of my life that live across teh street) yesterday. Drained Noodles put back in pot, chopped spinach, cheese, and then scramble some eggs in it. A complete delicious kid meal that adults love.

  4. sweetpea

    I love asian food, especially Thai. I have tried to make Pad Thai noodles a few times, still need to work on that. While not in the same spirit as the noodles in the post, my favorite are Tagliatelle from Glutano. I can’t find a better standard noodle for chicken or beef noodle soup. Oh, and for those of you who use Orrington Farms Beef flavored soup base (I need that video Chef!) NO LONGER GLUTEN FREE. They have reformulated their beef and ham bases and taken the gluten free label off all of their bases, even though the chicken is still gluten free. I did make my own shrimp stock for a shrimp bisque I made yesterday so I am getting some confidence. But seriously, a video on making stocks would be great! Yes, I am way off topic here, sorry!

  5. jbeach

    Funny, I didn’t like Japchae as a kid, but now I can’t imagine why!
    As you noted, the noodles themselves are so much fun! Sticky, clear, and rubbery — I love them.

    The photo on your post looks scrumptious, and very authentic. Now I just need my mom — who lives in Korea :( I’ll try Matthew’s recipe, thanks!

  6. tamara

    We like rice sticks or tinkyada fettucini with a simple peanut sauce that I make with all natural chunky peanut butter, broth, tamari, ginger, and a bit of lime juice and veggies and tofu. One of my favorite dinners!

  7. Anonymous

    That’s so awesome that you incorporate so many different foods in your diet! I saw the picture and instantly recognized it ^^ And I think a lot of Korean foods are easy to make gluten-free.

  8. Barrie

    Not only do I love Japchae, I love the NYC plate they are displayed on! I got them for my friend who was moving out of New York.

    Is there a good place to find these noodles? All of the ones that I find seem to also have wheat in them. Boo hiss.

  9. Anna Lee

    I love noodles almost any way. I love them in a good beef stroganoff and have found the wide rice noodles work well for that. I also love Thai green curry over rice noodles. I think my favorite childhood song was “On top of Spaghetti”. So glad to have an Uwajimaya here, too, that I can play at and find many gluten free noodle options.

  10. La Niña

    Noodles to doodle. When I was in art school I used to do the ads for a restaurant in Syracuse called Pastabilities. I love to draw noodles.

    To cook: I make kick butt Pad Thai. I also used to make tons of spicy peanut noodles. Of course pesto is a standard. Pesto with smoked salmon and fresh ikura– salmon eggs– if you can get some. Uwajimaya sells them. Make sure you get the ikura without the soy marinade.

  11. mamster

    Thanks for featuring my noodles, Shauna! Or rather, Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee’s noodles, since the recipe is from her upcoming book Quick & Easy Korean which I know is going to be great.

    The noodles are easy to find at any Japanese or Korean grocery but hard to find otherwise. You can order online here. These are the correct (and gluten-free) noodles, but I can’t personally vouch for this vendor since I haven’t tried them.

  12. StuffCooksWant

    Love me some noodles…all kinds.

    Used to eat the heck out of the lo mein, but no more. Love noodles and veggies with a little olive oil and some grated parmesan, Mmmmmm.

  13. Memory Lane

    Hey I’m following you on twitter: gotime.com seattle, my sister does a gluten free blog as well http://allergiesshmallergies.blogspot.com/ I know she’d love your input, she’s new to the gluten free world! Also, if you know of any restaurants in Seattle that are Gluten-Free Friendly let me know!! I’d love to update gotime.com accordingly. Now that my niece and nephew are allergic I am always looking out for good gluten free ideas as well! Thanks for doing what you do!

  14. Cathy

    Shauna, I enjoy your blog and now am inspired to make some Asian-style noodles soon.

    One thing, though. I read this new post this morning and have been thinking all day about your comments about wanting more than three days off before having to get back to work on your book.

    Many people right now would be ecstatic to be in your shoes right now. You’re very lucky to have work to do. Many others work two or three jobs just to pay the rent and feed their kids and they haven’t had a day off in weeks or months.

    Now is not a good time to complain about having to work. I know you probably won’t publish this but I had to get it off my chest.

  15. Matt & Lynsey Evans

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and just purchased your book yesterday. I stayed up late reading and am excited for the possibilites. I have always enjoyed cooking but cooking gluten-free has seemed like an overwhelming task. I guess there is no better time to jump in and try! I’ve got a lifetime of gluten-free eating to look forward to. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Matt & Lynsey Evans

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and just purchased your book yesterday. I stayed up late reading and am excited for the possibilites. I have always enjoyed cooking but cooking gluten-free has seemed like an overwhelming task. I guess there is no better time to jump in and try! I’ve got a lifetime of gluten-free eating to look forward to. Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Matt & Lynsey Evans

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and just purchased your book yesterday. I stayed up late reading and am excited for the possibilites. I have always enjoyed cooking but cooking gluten-free has seemed like an overwhelming task. I guess there is no better time to jump in and try! I’ve got a lifetime of gluten-free eating to look forward to. Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. smallbluebird

    Mmm, noodles are so soothing! Love the 212 ware. I hand carried too many pieces back on the plane. So this dish looks like I just cooked it in my own kitchen.

  19. kitschen

    I love homemade mac and cheese with bacon and peas. I’m not sure if that’s unusual or not, but it sure is delicious!

  20. Gina

    I’d like to respond to the sentiment that Cathy expressed and to provide a different perspective. I appreciate her position on Shauna’s rigorous work schedule: too much work is one of those problems that is a good problem to have in these lean times. However, I’m not sure that anyone is qualified to say whether Shauna is financially luckier than the rest of us. My sister is a writer and I know that the advance that she got for publishing an upcoming book does not cover the cost of maintaining the website that she created to market the book. While I admire and envy Shauna and my sister for being able to do something that they love and to get published, I have seen up close that most of the work that they do is for the benefit of their readers rather than for fame, fortune, and glory. I really appreciate the time that Shauna puts into this blog to help bring the gluten-free community together. If she sees some gain from her efforts I’m happier still.

  21. Annie Speicher

    My mother grew up in Germany and she is the only person I have ever heard of doing this, so I don’t know if it’s unique to her or unique to Germany. I used to think it was gross, but then, I actually tried and and YUM! what great comfort food!

    Just use leftover pasta or spaghetti and fry it in a couple Tablespoons of butter for several minutes (until crispy). Then, pour eggs, pepper, salt over and scramble until the egg is cooked. My husband likes it with hot sauce.

  22. Cheryl A

    I’ve got meatballs in the oven for some spaghetti and meatballs. Old fashioned comfort when the baby is feverish and I’m trying not to eat my body weight in chocolate.

  23. Cheryl A

    I’ve got meatballs in the oven for some spaghetti and meatballs. Old fashioned comfort when the baby is feverish and I’m trying not to eat my body weight in chocolate.

  24. Cheryl A

    I’ve got meatballs in the oven for some spaghetti and meatballs. Old fashioned comfort when the baby is feverish and I’m trying not to eat my body weight in chocolate.

  25. Debbie

    Hey Shauna– Just curious. have you ever had Shirataki noodles? They are made from tofu and yam. Not sure if they are the same as dangmyeon noodles. Shirataki are sold at Whole Foods and even Metropolitan market. They come in a liquid in a plastic bag and smell quite strong when you first open the bag. They need to be rinsed a few times. But they have a wonderful slurpy quality to them.

  26. Kathy

    I like crispy rice noodles in salads — a lot. I also make Pad Thai fairly often with ribbon rice noodles and it’s yummy. I do not make noodles, just as I don’t make pasta — we have plenty of great Asian and Italian food suppliers around here that means I can buy excellent quality products for my lazy kitchen ;-)

  27. Anonymous

    As much as I love you and your blog, Shauna, I have to agree wtih Cathy here. Many people would be more than thrilled to have the paycheck (first and foremost!) and on-off-on-off work schedule that allows you so much free time with your family and your passions. Work is work, whether done for “fame, fortune, and glory” or not, as I am sure you remember from your teaching days! So just keep us regular working folk in mind when you complain about having to work hard– at least you’ve got a guaranteed gig! The rest of us, whether we have 40 hours of steady work, two or more day jobs (can you imagine working 14+ hour days for literally years on end, with maybe one weekend day off here and there?!), or a laid-off family member, might not be so lucky.

  28. Heather

    I have just discovered those very noodles. Prodigious.

    Anyhow, the only way to eat noodles when they are long and slithery is fast and furious. There is nothing like a wet noodle smacking you in the forehead, cheeks, and neck to make you forget any stuck-uppy-ness you may have come to the table with. You are so right. They are so self-effacing, aren’t they?

    Lovely, lovely noodles. Now I must have some.

  29. alison@surefoodsliving

    Shauna,
    First of all, I want to say that I think that people are being awfully critical of you! The fact that you open up and are honest are what draws readers to you. Writing IS hard work. Yes, in a different way than some other jobs might be, but you are working so hard to follow your dream and your passion (which I can relate to!), and you are actually making it happen for yourself. That is admirable. This IS your work and I think you can blow off steam just like everyone else does — yours just happens to be on this public forum where you share a lot of your life. Most of the time you are so incredibly happy and appreciative of your life and your readers — you deserve a break now and then!

    Second thing is (switching back to the main topic!), have you or any readers tried kelp noodles? I have a bag in my frig but for some reason can’t bring myself to open it!

  30. mina

    oh i love japchae! sadly when i lived with my parents in california i never really got attached to it. but now that i’m living in denmark i want it but i can’t find those damned noodles anywhere. ):

    another way i like noodles is in those vietnamese/chinese dishes where a long, flat rice noodle is wrapped around with small shrimps and fish sauce. ^^

  31. Nova

    Lately I’ve been loving Tinkyada fussili noodles with goat cheese, basil and zucchini. I feel bad eating zucchini whenever I don’t grow it myself and it’s not in season but my whole family loves this dish so much, I can’t resist.

    I was watching Alton Brown make Pad Thai last night and I’ve decided I seriously need to branch out and explore some Asian markets and their noodle selection.

  32. Shauna

    As always, I love all the comments about what you eat. You’ve inspired me again!

    I feel I have to address what has become a barrage of comments — some of them too ugly to publish — from what was intended as a whew! aside.

    Certainly, I feel blessed. And I know how many people are suffering out there. Almost everyone reading here is probably better off than those who are hardest hit by this economic crisis.

    My comment about hoping for more than three days off really came from two places. If you have ever worked hard and long on a project, you know that you need a little distance from it before you can see it clearly. I was hoping for more than three days away before I had to dive into the manuscript again, because I want to be able to see it clearly, to make it the best piece of writing I can. That was the main impetus for the comment.

    Finally, the comment about wanting three days off was also a wish to move away from the computer. To complete the manuscript, I had to be here 9 hours a day those last four weeks. And my body was aching from it.

    That’s all. I love my life, and I have chosen it, deliberately. But everyone deserves a little time off.

  33. butzeballchen

    With butter and a fried egg on top with the center kind of runny still.

    That is the best plate I have ever seen!

  34. Janel

    I made a version of this recipe by using rice noodles, since that kind happened to be in my cupboard. I altered it a bit by changing the beef to tofu and adding extra veggies — celery and bean sprouts. Yummy!

  35. Yum Yucky

    I love noodles with butter and salt.

    The noodles in the pic look like plastic but I still want to eat them!

  36. cathy

    OMG–three day weekends are the best! Isn’t it a great feeling when you get to day 2 and u realize there is another day?? always makes me want to get in the kitchen and make something like coq au vin or something else that takes awhile. Or make noodles with tatsoi and then go spend that extra day outside!!

  37. Anonymous

    I adore noodles of all kinds. My favorite is Chow Fun Noodles at the chinese. The thick-ish chinese noodles and they stir-fry them with all kinds of stuff. Just like Lo Mein but with thicker noodles. Mmmm…

    Or Linguine with Alfredo Sauce OR even better Carbonara Sauce. OMG!

    Your dish looks great too. I have to find those sweet potato flour noodles. I have the actual flour. I bought it ages ago with no use for it. I am thinking of using it for sprinkling on stuff that needs to be sauteed and see if it works or if it just gunks up the pan.