I enjoy cool noodle salads that are unashamedly seasoned. The “Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad,” from the May 2008 issue of Everyday Food, includes a fun collection of ingredients, which I managed to customize even further. I chose to mix in bean sprouts, peanuts, chocolate-mint, and garlic scapes into this salad. I marinated the chicken breast slices in the refrigerator for 3 1/2 hours.

The “Spicy Asian Dressing” was also fun to make. I used anchovy paste from a Crown Prince tube and more scapes instead of scallions. My noodle was Eden Bifun wheat-free pasta: made of 100% rice, with a nice, light texture. The flavors of mint, basil, and garlic combine to make a pleasant salad that is not too spicy.

I had to try the “Raw Snap Pea Salad,” also from the May 2008 issue of Everyday Food (recipe below), when I saw these beautiful peas available in my early Summer Food Coop, and realized that I could eat them raw. You should do the same when you find these beans available. This is the perfectly green side dish.

Raw Snap Pea Salad
Everyday Food, May 2008
Serves 4
In a large bowl, combine 1 lb. trimmed sugar snap peas (remove strings if needed), sliced 1/4-inch thick on the diagonal, 1 cup finely chopped red onion, 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, and 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Let stand, tossing occasionally, 10 minutes.
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The crunch of these beans will make you say, “Wow!” They are much crisper than string beans. Their taste exudes greenness. And this dressing -- simple lemon juice and olive oil -- is perfect. If you’ve already missed the season for these fantastic beans, write a note on your calendar for next year.

RECIPES: the noodle salad will bend to your seasoning whims; the snap peas need little to shine
PREP TIMES:
save a few hours to marinate your chicken, but cook your noodles in 2 minutes; snap peas need a few minutes to soak
TASTES:
light noodles benefit from bright herb flavors; snap peas give a green punch

Next time, let’s try another recipe from this same magazine: “Chicken-Sausage and Asparagus Sauté Over Cheese Grits,” (recipe below), from the May 2008 issue of Everyday Food. Return to my site on Saturday, July 26, to witness my results.

Chicken-Sausage and Asparagus Sauté Over Cheese Grits
Everyday Food, May 2008
Serves 4

4 Tbsp. olive oil
4 precooked chicken sausages, thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 bunches asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into 1-inch lengths
4 tsp. fresh thyme
4 tsp. lemon juice
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high. Cook sausage and onions until browned, tossing occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium. Cook onion until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add asparagus, thyme, and 1 1/3 cups water. Cover, and steam until asparagus is just tender and water has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Add sausage and lemon juice; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil; gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Stir in cheese; season with salt and pepper. Serve sausage and asparagus over grits.