Pardon the hasty photo – it was taken as the boys were in the car, waiting for me to go to Banff.
About forty seconds after this shot was taken, I poured it into a recycled plastic container with no structural integrity, pouring the peanut sauce down my leg and all over the lemon-blueberry tarts I was also packing to take along. Insert expletives. No photos please.
I cleaned up and made it to Banff, and am now all stretched out on clean, dog hair-free sheets and perfect pillows while the boys are at the pool working up an appetite. I have such a soft spot for this place, partly because we grew up coming here on ski weekends, and partly because it’s a castle in the mountains. Also: Marilyn Monroe stayed here!
At 27, after twisting her ankle on the set of River of No Return, she came to the Banff Springs to recuperate. (It’s hard to tell, but she has a cast on one ankle in the photo above. There’s a great series of photographs taken of her over the course of her week here and around the Banff townsite at the Daily Mail.)
It occurred to me that this weekend, while Marilyn isn’t here, half the Moms from Calgary and surrounding areas may be – not just to stay, but for their famous Sunday brunch or high tea. It further occurred to me that Mothers’ Day is the busiest day of the year for most restaurants, and those people who forgot to reserve (or have multiple mothers to celebrate) may overflow into the night before. Which is to say the restaurants in Banff on this beautiful Saturday evening may be a little full. And so I made sesame peanut noodles to bring along and stash in the hotel room fridge.
It’s also a great fridge cleaner, if you like me have half a red pepper, a roasted chicken breast and the stumpy end of a cucumber in your fridge. You could toss in broccoli or pea pods, or shrimp or tofu. You could throw in the entire contents of your fridge, chopped into bite-sized pieces, and call it cathartic. Quantities matter not at all, as is the case with most salads.
Cold sesame noodles travel well. They’re tasty cold, make kids and grown-ups happy, and anywhere you find yourself with a Tupperware full of them you have yourself a picnic.
Happy Mothers’ Day! To all moms, those who have moms, and those who mother others.
Cold Sesame Peanut Noodles
adapted from this one, although there are a bazillion similar versions out there
1/2 lb fresh thin Chinese egg noodles
a few stalks of asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
a few broccoli florets
half a bell pepper, thinly sliced
a chunk of cucumber, cut into sticks
a few pea pods
chopped leftover cooked chicken (optional)
sesame seeds or chopped peanuts or cilantro, for garnish (optional)
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. peanut butter or sesame paste
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
a small squirt of sriracha or garlic-chili paste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the noodles and cook according to the package directions – they should only take about 5 minutes. As they cook, chop your veg, and throw any green ones (asparagus, broccoli) into the pot with the noodles for the last minute or two, which will brighten them up and tenderize them a bit.
Drain the noodles (along with any veg you added) in a colander, then rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking. Drain well and put in a large bowl. Add any other veggies and meat you want to add, or none at all.
In a small jar, shake up the dressing ingredients and pour overtop. Toss with tongs. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, peanuts or cilantro and serve immediately or refrigerate until needed. Serves 4.