Remember when I used to have a dishwasher?
I don’t. Five months of washing dishes by hand means I’ve completely forgotten what life was like back when I had a appliance friend to help me out with my least favorite domestic chore of all the chores, ever. Although laundry is a close second on the list. I think the last time I ironed something was when my mom first taught me how to use an iron. Just kidding Mom! I did iron, like, three times. In 2008. Maybe.
The dishwasher thing was totally on accident, because when we bought this house we were so in love with its charm that we sort of, um, forgot to check for a dishwasher.
And suddenly we found ourselves moving in and there I stood, looking around the little kitchen, imagining all the yums that would be created and how cute it would be after a little sprucing up to the cabinets, and suddenly calling in my Emergency Voice to Bjork in the other room if he knew all along there was no dishwasher here?!?! Oh, dear. Not our most responsible house-buying moment.
Lately my workflow has evolved to meet the demands of this no-dishwasher + limited-counter-space thing, so that means lots of pauses during my cooking, during which I’m always really patient and calm and never splashing water all over like a crazy person. Never. I stir, simmer, pause and do dishes. Whisk, chop, pause to put away dishes. Bake, chill, pause to eat the rest of the cookie dough in order to wash out the last lunch container in order to store the completed recipe. And then do the rest of the dishes.
We didn’t have a dishwasher in the Philippines and we had even less counter space, so I guess that was good training for this accidental dishwasher scenario.
Come to think of it, we didn’t have a microwave or a freezer or a consistently functioning fridge, none of which has anything to do with the Philippines and everything to do with our scrappy nature when it comes to setting up a living space for one year. I mean, simplicity is good, right? There has to be something good about that, in its own inconvenient way.
At least we are balancing the inconvenience of our dishwasherless lifestyle with the convenience of this Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad, since our fridge is stocked to the brim with grab-and-go soba noodle lunch containers for the rest of the year. HAPPY. There’s just a lot of good packed into this one zingy recipe. It’s called a salad, but look at it: no lettuce, no spinach, no greens of any kind. Add greens if you like greens. Or don’t, because it’s really really good with just the crunchy rainbow bell peppers, the shredded chicken, the chewy soba noodles, and the knock your socks off Spicy Peanut Sauce.
I don’t mean that it’s so spicy that it will knock your socks off – I just mean that it’s that life-changingly creamy, spicy, nutty darn good. In my perfect world, I would have a container of this in my fridge at all times. Sesame oil, garlic, peanut butter, honey, and jalapeño for bite. Goes with everything —> including this salad.
Hm? Oh, that. Just a little leftover sauce on my face.
I live for food like dis.
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 each red, green, and yellow bell pepper
- 8.8 (250 grams) soba noodles
- fresh cilantro or basil to taste
- 5 tablespoons peanut butter
- 5 tablespoons water
- 5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- half of a jalapeño pepper
- ½ cup peanuts
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place the chicken in the water and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred with your hands or with two forks. Set aside. Meanwhile, cut the bell peppers into very thin strips - it makes the salad extra awesome if they are thin and easy to wrap your fork around, almost like a little noodle.
- Puree all the ingredients for the Spicy Peanut Sauce in a food processor, adding the peanuts last so you can control how smooth the sauce will be (I like to leave some pieces of crushed peanut in the sauce).
- Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with the chicken, veggies, fresh cilantro, and Spicy Peanut Sauce. Serve hot or cold - but I recommend cold! Yummay.