There are finished walls in our kitchen. Ones that just need to be primed and painted (which I’m tackling this weekend), and then it’s all systems go. The main living area is no longer filled with tools and plastic sheeting, and everything we own is no longer covered in a thin layer of drywall dust and diatomaceous Earth (that 20 pound powder keg of DE is still worthy of all the weary-faced emoji). We’re getting close to the good stuff – the tile and cabinetry and countertops (you know, all the things that will make our kitchen look like a kitchen) – and I’m, surprisingly, less excited than I should be. Partly because I’ve gotten used to being crammed into 192 square feet of living space that serves as a bedroom and living room and kitchen (and I kinda like it). But mostly because it’s time to make decisions that I’ve been putting off since the start of the renovation (which was seven weeks ago) (seven weeks!) and, as you know, I overthink the small stuff so trying to decide on grout colors and shelving brackets* is making me a little.. crazy.
But the good news is, the hard part is behind us and there’s a blinding light at the end of the tunnel. And sometime in the not so distant future I’ll be baking out of my 20-months-in-the-making dream kitchen and you’ll have recipes that are far more exciting than noodle bowls and no-bake desserts. Which are totally ok, in moderation. But for seven weeks? And probably seven more weeks? AYE YI YI. I’m going to owe you guys big time when we’re finished. For sticking around and being troopers, and tolerating the mess that is my house and my life and this blog. Also? I love you. And I appreciate the hell out of your readership. And, for what it’s worth, it still boggles my mind that people aside from my close friends and family actually visit this space. Without you, OLC wouldn’t be even a fraction of what it is today. So thanks for that.
Anyway (before I go getting all soft at 7AM), the rest of our week is filled with trips to Lowe’s and IKEA (does anyone else hate going to IKEA as much as I do?). And painting. And refinishing the closet in the spare room and hanging shelves in the pantry. So I’m going to leave you with the recipe that is the direct result of my inability to roll a proper spring roll (Thom says the simple solution is to not stuff them with so much shit) (heh), but I’ll be back next week with three breakfast recipes in celebration of some new Califia Farms beverages (spoiler: one of them turned this matcha hater into a matcha lover). Oh, and while I have you: The Love and Lemons Cookbook just came out and is the most beautiful cookbook I’ve ever held with my own two hands. So do yourself a favor and snag a copy (or two). And then make the carrot cake waffles. Which, FYI, make for totally acceptable dinner fare.
*Currently: white grout and metal brackets. But tomorrow it’ll probably be gray grout and wood brackets.
Notes: If you don’t want to use peanut butter, you can use your go-to nut/seed butter (almond butter is delicious) (Sara’s amazing tahini dressing would be good, too). I prefer to serve the sauce straight from the refrigerator, but if you’d rather heat it up, knock yourself out. Feel free to use your favorite vegetables in this bowl – cabbage, beets, etc. – or throw in a little tofu or tempeh for some extra oomph. If you don’t have rice vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar or lime juice in its place. If you’re not a fan of rice noodles, soba noodles make for a delicious (and hearty) replacement.
More bowl-food goodness: Brown rice penne with creamy hemp seed-avocado sauce, spicy black bean burrito bowls with cashew + hemp seed chipotle sauce, and spicy peanut stew with butternut squash + chickpeas.
DECONSTRUCTED SPRING ROLL BOWLS
Easy peanut sauce
1/2 cup (142g) creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons (10g) chili garlic sauce
1/4 cup (64g) tamari
1 tablespoon (12g) rice vinegar
6 tablespoons (75g) filtered water
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
You’ll also need
8 ounces brown rice noodles
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon roasted peanut oil
2 carrots, julienned (I use this julienne peeler)
1-2 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado, pitted and quartered
Fresh mint leaves, chopped
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Sea salt flakes
1 lime, quartered
In a small mixing bow, whisk together the peanut butter, chili garlic sauce, tamari, and rice vinegar. Once combined, whisk in the water, 2 tablespoons at a time, until smooth and creamy. Stir in red pepper flakes then transfer to a small jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Sauce will keep for up to one week.
To prepare the bowls, cook the rice noodles according to the directions on the package. Once cooked, strain water and cover noodles with cold water to stop them from cooking; strain water again. Add the rice vinegar and peanut oil to the saucepan (the heat should be off) and toss to coat noodles. Divide noodles between four bowls and toss with carrots and cucumber slices, then drizzle with peanut sauce. Top with avocado, mint, cilantro, peanuts, sea salt flakes, and a heavy squeeze of lime juice. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 bowls