noodle salad with kale 
and chili-scallion oil

Can we just hit delete on this week and start over? What started as an irritating cough dovetailed, quickly, into a full-blown fever. It took collapsing on my couch — body ravaged with sweat — to realize that I might be under the weather. For two days, I couldn’t stop shivering; I couldn’t stop coughing. And the idea of eating a bite of food was unimaginable. I slept most of the day and into the night.

Of course when I’m alone and my mind wanders, I start to catalog all the things wrong with my life. The friends who have disappointed me, the projects that didn’t happen, the tax bill that hovers like some gruesome spector, and my violent, crippling indecision, my sheer inability to decide what it is that I want to do with my life — all of this haunts my waking hours.

I opened my laptop to work on my novel, and then immediately closed it because the act of writing felt like surgery. I ordered pancakes that I didn’t eat and cancelled a party because the amount of schedule juggling was just too much to manage while simultaneously coughing up my insides.

People who know me well know that I don’t like being immobile; I don’t like a rest I can’t control. So while I understand that these days are about getting healthy again, I can’t help but think they’re a waste. This was a week where I saw nominal progress on the novel. This was a week when I wasn’t vigilant about going after projects. This was a week when I watched movies and indulged in a modicum of self-pity.

At least I’m aware.

Believe me when I say that I made this noodle salad because I had to do something. Something had to mark the passage of today. Something.

{Apologies in advance for any typos or run-ons — I’m possibly still delirious from all the flu medication}

INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit, with a slight modification.
For the chili-scallion oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 star anise pods
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
½ cup vegetable oil

For the noodles and assembly
6 oz. Japanese wheat noodles (such as ramen, somen, or udon)
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cups kale, finely chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves or any sprout

For the chili-scallion oil
Cook all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until scallions and garlic are just golden brown, about 3 minutes. Let cool; transfer oil to a jar.

DO AHEAD: Chile oil can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill.

For the noodles and assembly
Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions; drain. Rinse noodles under cold water, then shake off as much water as possible. Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Add noodles, kale, cilantro, and scallions; toss to coat. Drizzle a tsp of chili oil over the noodles.


5 thoughts on “noodle salad with kale 
and chili-scallion oil

  1. feel better! hopefully this spring weather will help banish your fever. your salad looks delicious. beautiful pictures as always. what camera+lens do you use?


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