Friday, September 14, 2012

Cold Soba with Peanut Sauce and Facing Mirrors

Oh you're back for more? Well good, 'cus we've got some.

So Lorena's computer crashed and we lost a lot of our witty banter and cooking instruction, but don't worry, we filled the vlog time with something equally entertaining:

There was a lot more to the 5 am sing-a-long, but you'd have to get drunk and kick it with us to really get the full experience. A working knowledge of 90s hits or Tegan and Sara is a must.

It has been hot hot hot in L.A. so I was really not interested in eating a particularly hot meal, luckily I thought of cold soba noodles! The peanut sauce is of the spicy variety and not of the creamy, made-with-coconut-milk variety. This recipe is from Vegan With A Vengeance, my first cookbook from my angry high school days. Cookbooks are good for browsing in a way that looking at internet recipes is frequently not, and as long as you are not a crazy carnivore I definitely recommend it.

For the sauce you will need:
2 tsp peanut oil (I used sesame oil, you could probably get away with vegetable oil)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tb minced ginger
1 cup water
2 tb soy sauce
1 tsp coriander*
⅔ cup peanut butter
2 tb maple syrup
3 tb rice vinegar
2 tsp Asian chile sauce (or hot sauce of some form)

Sauté the garlic and ginger in the oil. Add everything up to the peanut butter and bring to a boil. Add the peanut butter and everything else, mix, then turn off heat and set aside.

This sauce works well for a 10 oz. package of noodles, but that is about 4 servings so you could make less and save some sauce. The recipe actually calls for udon, but I was feeling more soba-y. Cook the noodles, then drain and run cold water over them. Or you could have made the noodles previously and put them in the fridge. When serving you want them quite cold, the sauce to be at room temperature, and the seitan still warm. Remember to put a little oil on them before draining since when they get cold they will want to form a solid lump.

Slice up your seitan (or meat thing) and sauté it in peanut sauce with garlic and ginger, maybe some soy sauce. I threw in a little pepper too, you do you. Put it on your noodles and add the sauce. It is recommended that you sprinkle something on top like julienned cucumber or mung beans. We did chives and red pepper. Eat!

*Spices are perhaps another one of my personal causes: buy them, learn to use them, they are worth it. I was not stoked to only find $4 coriander, but it'll last and that means it's good. Why do things taste so good when you go out to eat? Spices man. If you ever see me just throw together breakfast potatoes I'll use at least three, not including salt if I'm doing savory.

Facing Mirrors (2011)
Directed by Negar Azarbayjani

So we went to see this movie at the Downtown Independent, where we were told a neat story of how the DVD copy of the film was secretly transported all over the place before making it to Outfest, since the movie has been banned in Iran. Very cool.

This is an Iranian film, following two assigned female people, Rana and Adineh (prefereably known as Eddie). Both characters have to transgress gender norms put in place by society and their families in order to survive in their own ways.

Rana's husband is currently in jail, so to make ends meet she is secretly driving around his car as a taxi service (although she only takes women). Eddie is planning to escape from Iran to avoid being forced to marry a man (his father's way of "fixing" his trans problems) and to continue his transition in Germany. The two meet by chance when Rana picks him up after he was almost assaulted by two men on the side of the road. She initially reads him as a woman and becomes very uncomfortable and surprised when Eddie tells her about being trans. Although Rana reacts very negatively towards Eddie at first, we see how the two characters progress throughout the movie in getting to truly know and understand each other. Eddie also seems to have a lot of disposable income and a backpack that fits lots of changes of clothes.

It was really cool to see this issue discussed in a setting different than what we know in our day to day. Different cultures have such different history and language regarding queer issues and people, that even having a conversation about sex and gender can become so different whether you're in the US, or Iran, or South America... etc. It's interesting and can spark a lot of conversation. Ahem... if you'd like to have that conversation.

Queer Rating:
Syd: 3/4th bowl of soba. (Maybe more, not sure.)
Lorena: 5/6th bowl
Audrey: 4/5ths of a bowl

Overall Rating:
Syd: 3/4ths of a bowl
Lorena & Audrey: 7/10ths

Thanks for joining!
Love, Lorena.

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