Noodles with Peanut-Lime Vinaigrette (and a Visit to Death Valley)

Death Valley 2013-3

 

We’ve just returned from a quick trip to Death Valley National Park.  At 282 feet below sea level, the park has the distinction of having the lowest elevation on the continent and is also widely known for its extreme weather conditions, scorching in the summer with temperatures in the 120′s (F).  Most Americans stay clear of the area past May but the two main establishments in Furnace Creek are open all year.  The Furnace Creek Ranch and the Furnace Creek Inn are busy with international visitors even in the brutal heat of summer.  The Ranch offers more casual lodging with an old-California mining town feel.  Just up the road, above sea level is the Inn, a bit more refined with a spacious dining room and more luxurious rooms (recognized as a Historic Hotel of America).  We’ve been comfortable during our stay at the Ranch and the Inn and both have very nice hot-spring-fed swimming pools.

I’ve been lucky enough to see the beauty of this area in springtime.  Wild flowers in full bloom cover the desert landscape in a kaleidoscope of colors; at this time of the year Death Valley teems with life.  Sadly, I think our old pictures that captured all the colors are long gone but here are just a few snapshots of the weekend from my phone camera.

 

Death Valley 2013-5

Death Valley 2013-4

 

Getting to Death Valley is part of the fun.  My husband flies a small, single engine aircraft that makes getting there an adventure in itself.  We are able to see vistas like the ones above.  To get there we had to cross the Sierras, cruising at 17,500 feet on the outbound flight for a straight shot to our destination.  On the way back we stopped for fuel at Bishop near the Mammoth ski area, and flew over the mountain ranges you see above.  If you look closely at the picture with the snow you will see Mono Lake in the distance.

 

Death Valley 2013-2

Death Valley 2013-6

We stayed at the Furnace Creek Inn, a beautiful oasis in the desert.  Surrounded by palm trees in the middle of nowhere is the way most would describe this place but we like it.  I am very attracted to the desert landscape; have been since my husband introduced me to desert camping a dozen years ago.  When the light hits the mountains just right there really is nothing more beautiful.  We rode our bikes after breakfast and after a 25 mile ride took a break for lunch and lounged on the hot spring fed swimming pool all afternoon.  Overall, it was a wonderful, quick getaway.

****

This bowl of noodles was what I served for dinner two nights in a row before departing for our weekend trip.  I had been craving noodles with a peanut vinaigrette.  This version from the archives is my favorite but I wanted something a bit different with the noodles.  Here, I threw in some of the same ingredients–peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, chili paste–but I added a healthy dose of lime juice and zest to perk up the peanut butter.  I tend to use multi-grain pasta whenever I prepare Asian noodle dishes because the heavier pasta seems to pair well with the peanut butter and sesame oil.  Feel free to use your favorite pasta/noodles but I think you’ll like this vinaigrette as much as I did.  Bright and fresh tasting, it’s exactly what my taste buds craved last week.

** Besides boiling the noodles, there’s no cooking involved here.  Toss the pasta in the vinaigrette and garnish with lots of scallions. I tossed my pasta with a bit more olive oil and lime juice but that is my preference.  On the second night I added chopped cabbage and Tuscan kale to the mix–it’s great this way, too.

Noodles with Peanut-Lime Vinaigrette-3

Noodles with Peanut-Lime Vinaigrette-2

 

5.0 from 5 reviews
Noodles with Peanut-Lime Vinaigrette
 
Satisfy your noodle cravings without a lot of work. The peanut-lime vinaigrette tastes bright and refreshing on the palate.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ½ pound noodles or spaghetti (I used multi grain thin spaghetti)
  • Juice of 1 lime and zest of half (or a little more depending on your limes)
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter (I use Adam's Unsalted Creamy PB)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (or your favorite chili paste)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 2-3 stalks scallions, chopped
  • olive oil, optional
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare noodles or pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette by combining whisking together all the ingredients above from the lime to the ginger. Use the proportions as a guide and adjust to taste.
  3. The vinaigrette recipe makes just under 1 cup and you may not need it all for the ½ pound of pasta. Add as little or as much as you like. I found that I liked this with a bit more oil and lime juice so I tossed the freshly-cooked pasta in a bit of olive oil and another half a lime; this also keeps the pasta from sticking together while you prepare the vinaigrette. Garnish with chopped scallions.

 

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Comments

  1. I’ve never been to Death Valley but the scenery looks incredible! Love these noodles, you can never go wrong with a peanut dressing!

  2. Beautiful, beautful photos Jean! Looks like a heavenly location to spend a few days at. Loving this noodle dish – might just have to make this very soon! Hope you are having a great holiday today.

  3. Sigh, what sights! It was lovely to live vicariously through you. I’m so glad you had a great weekend. These peanut noodles sound so good! Love the fiery kick!

  4. Jean you both are so adventurous and active! That oasis looks just like the ones I have only seen in old Hollywood movies :) Love noodles of any kind, great to see them made in such a quick and delicious way !

  5. what beautiful scenery! And this pasta sauce sounds amazing. I love lime and peanut butter together!

  6. OMG!!! So pretty there…pretty in a desert-landscape kind of way :) I am attracted to desert landscapes, too! That is why, I dream of going to places like this – Death Valley. Or if I dream harder, somewhere like Namibia!!! I’ve seen photos of the Namib Desert and the landscape is pretty much like this, but on a larger scale. It almost looks like you are on the moon (or in Mars)! Just beautiful!

    And after a short getaway like this, a rewarding bowl of delicious chili noodles is just enough to gain back some energy! I hope you took a dip in that hot-spring-fed pool after the bike ride!

  7. I’ve never been to Death Valley. The sceneries are incredible, Jean! This is the type of food I like — simple and beautiful. :)

  8. I have plans to visit Death Valley this year, let’s see how it goes! :)

  9. Can I be you (just for a week?) XOGREG

  10. What a gorgeous place! I’d love to go there and relax…

    Your noodle dish looks wonderful and must be really delicious!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  11. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    Incredible shots of Death Valley, Jean. Ready for a book. You’re so talented. Love this simple pasta dish.xx

  12. What a splendid way to pass a few February days! I really need to head west sometime soon…

    There is something stark and beautiful about Death Valley – it reminds me of what it must look like on Mars? (Although I’ve never set foot on either!). :D Jean, I didn’t know that your husband was a pilot! How exciting! Getting a pilot’s license has been on my bucket list since the show “Northern Exposure.” Also, I just Love the sensation of flying!

    This noodle dish would definitely satisfy my tempestuous pasta cravings that hit me from out of the blue…delicious!

  13. What a trip! Your photos have me itching to plan my own trip now!

    Pasta looks fabulous, too! I’ll be dreaming of that vinaigrette.

  14. What a lovely adventure, especially with your husband flying. My mother is a pilot and I love flying in small planes. The photos are gorgeous.

  15. I’ve been to Death Valley once and I remember it was hot. It was my first time seeing “dessert” and it was really interesting!!! Thank you for sharing the pictures from your trip. I always look forward to your photos after your trip. You take amazing travel photos! I love this noodle recipe. SO easy and sounds delicious. I can eat this tomorrow’s lunch with my daughter. I’m tired of eating leftover everyday! ;)

  16. When I grow up I want to travel as much as you, then I want to come home to a bowl of these ah-mazing noodles. :-D

  17. Yum, yum, yum! Both your weekend and your pasta look just wonderful. I never tire of Asian and this looks so fresh and delicious.

  18. Death Valley is beautiful! Love your photos! Also, your peanut lime noodles look delicious!

  19. What gorgeous photos! Looks like a really pretty place!

  20. Love this light and fresh Asian dish! It looks so delicious and easy!

  21. I have never actually been to Death Valley, but I’ve known of it since I was little. I remember being scared when we were driving along some road and went the “Death Valley” direction, not a direction I wanted to head. Luckily our destination took us away from the scary name!
    Your photos though are so beautiful and actually have me adding the destination to my list of places to visit.
    That pasta though, that has stayed with me since you posted the first photo on facebook about a week ago. The descripion has my my name all over it!

  22. Looks great!

  23. Another spot I want to make it to. I can’t believe those photos are from your phone. I love the desert landscape too. Thanks for your weigh in on my trip planning. I should have know to go to our resident expert traveler. Gonna try and get out to the Asian market tomorrow and stock up, I’m out of all the goodies to make this. Hope you have a great day.
    -Gina-

  24. Gorgeous photos – what a fun weekend getaway.
    These noodles sound wonderful. Wish I hadn’t just finished lunch, or these would have been perfect!

  25. I have to add Death Valley to the list of National parks I have to visit., beautiful. I thought I was the only one who craved noodles with peanut sauce. I had some today, made haphazardly with instant ramen noodles and a dollop of pb and hot sauce.

    Your bowl of noodles looks a lot more appetising :) Beautiful photos too.

    Nazneen

  26. These look soooo good! I love the flavors and the lime keeps it fresh and light!

  27. I’ve really wanted to visit Death Valley when I was in US for summer years ago, but never got to it. Seeing your breathtaking photos, I see I’ve missed a lot!

  28. I made this vinaigrette using almond butter and it was delicious! Thank you so much for this recipe! :)

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