Judging by the lengthy title of this recipe -- “Honey-Teriyaki Chicken Fingers with Sesame Seeds with Sesame Cellophane Noodles and Snap Peas,” from Food Network -- there’s a lot going on here. I was dazzled by the thought of combining the kid-friendly elements of chicken and noodles, while sneaking in a bit of something green. The exciting mix of sauce ingredients did not produce enough sauce for my taste. And the strong soy and ginger flavors were unapproved by my young child. The texture of the cellophane noodles, however, was fabulous and the simple snap peas were addictively tasty.

Rather than tracking down a teaspoon of liquid smoke seasoning for this recipe, I substituted a bit of chipotle in adobe sauce, which I had on hand, figuring that would add the necessary “smoky” characteristic. I toasted my sesame seeds by shaking them briefly in a hot, dry frying pan. The snap peas needed to be steamed quickly, only until I could just smell their wonderful greenness. After removing my snap peas from that hot water, I soaked my cellophane noodles in it for 10 minutes. The potency of toasted sesame oil always amazes me; its intensity and flavor and scent are so unlike any other oil. The cilantro and the sesame oil on the cooked noodles was dressing enough.

PRICES
Chicken Breasts (1.27 lbs.) = $6.32
Cellophane Noodles (8 oz.) = $1.57
Snap Peas (.90 lb.) = $2.45

RECIPE: the chicken needs more sauce (and needs to be sweeter), while the simple snap peas and noodles are perfect
PREP TIME: quick meal, less than 30 minutes (really!)
TASTE: soy sauce, ginger, and sesame sauce overpower the chicken; cilantro and sesame oil luxuriate the noodles

Next time, I want to pull together a vegetarian meal. I’ll make “Stewed Tofu with Corn and Tomatoes,” from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook, by Nava Atlas (recipe below), along with “Spanish Quinoa with Figs & Pimientos,” from the June 2009 issue of Cuisine at Home. Witness my meal when you come back to my site on Sunday, February 21.

Stewed Tofu with Corn and Tomatoes
Serves 6

1 16oz. tub firm tofu
2 Tbsp. light olive oil
4 large or 6 medium diced ripe tomatoes
3 cups cooked fresh corn (from about 4 medium ears)
4 scallions, sliced
1 tsp. sweet paprika
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
lots of fresh parsley or cilantro for topping, optional

Cut the tofu into 3/4-inch-thick slices and blot well between layers of paper towel or clean tea towels, then cut into dice.

Heat the oil in a wide skillet. Sauté the tofu over medium-high heat until golden on most sides. Add the tomatoes, corn, scallions, and paprika. Heat gently, just until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with parsley or cilantro sprinkled over individual servings.