Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Spicy sesame noodles with chicken

My wedding was planned around little memories and sentimentalities, that most people in attendance wouldn't even have noticed. The yellow roses in my bouquet? Those were a memorial to my Grandma Kratoska, who just adored yellow roses. The handkerchief I had wrapped around my bouquet? That was given to me by Justin's Aunt Cheryl and was owned by his Grandma Jamison, who has passed. The wedding box at the alter where we locked letters to each other and a bottle of wine to share on our anniversary? My father made it for us by hand. The beginning of my wedding speech? Honored and congratulated my parents on 31 years of marriage and my Grandma and Grandpa Bingaman on 57 years of marriage. I had planned on cutting a heart out of one of my Grandpa Kratoska's blazers to sew into my wedding dress and using one of my Great Grandma Bing's broaches for my necklace, but neither of those ideas ever ended up working out.
Remember when I told you about my wedding shower thrown by my lovely cousin Betsy for the Kratoska side? I received so many sentimental gifts that day, I get a tear in my eye just thinking about it. Just one tear though, don't go making fun of my emotional status today! The teacup that is pictured in that post was given to me by Betsy, and was originally our Great Grandma Maude's (my Grandpa Kratoska's mother) which she received as a wedding gift. The bowl that is pictured was given to my mother in a set when her and my father were married. These pieces of china made me. My Great Grandmother sipped from that cup before my Grandfather was a twinkle in her eye. And now it's mine. I get to sit and imagine her life then and her excitement about getting married and starting a family, except I know the future that she didn't have a glimpse of yet. I know she ends up having a boy named Jim, who has twins with his wife Mary. One of those twins is my father Dan, who married Shari and had their first child, a daughter named Abby (dat's me!). He gave his daughter away to be married to her husband, Main Man, this past October. It's mind-blowing when you think about the generations behind each of us. The twists in fate that put us right where we're supposed to be in order for life to continue how it should. And I sit with the hope that someday after I'm long gone, my great grand-daughter will be sitting in awe of the china teacup that I've passed down to her from my great grandmother. Oh, how neat would it be to see that moment!?
The other irreplaceable gift I received at that shower was the cookbook full of Kratoska favorites, in everyone's own handwriting. To be able to open that up and get the warm fuzzy I do when I decide to make a family recipe (like the tomato basil soup from my Aunt Kris) is indescribable. It's almost as if it brings me closer to my roots just by reading the words written by my loved ones. These cookbooks will be my favorite hand-me-down to my children know, when I get good enough that I don't need recipes to cook anymore, and can just throw things together like my Grandma Theda can. Nothin' beats Grandma food, I don't care who you are. It's the ultimate comfort cooking.
This recipe was my cousin Emma's contribution to that book. Emma is the one that made our save the dates and our programs for the big day, and she recently got engaged herself!! Another Kratoska wedding in the works, yippeeeee!! Emma also knows her cousin very well, and included a pasta recipe with some kick in the pants for me to try after leaving the Kratoska name I did. And I loved it! Very simple, very slurpworthy, and very taste-tacular! I'm a little upset that I waited so long to make this...
8 oz dry wheat spaghetti
1 garlic clove (I used 4...shoot me!)
1 cup fresh snow peas (I used spinach instead, no snow peas on hand)
1 T grated fresh ginger
3 T rice wine vinegar
3 T soy sauce (I used low sodium)
1 T canola oil (I used olive oil)
1 T water
1 T sesame oil
3 t Sriracha (I used 3 times that amount, I like me some heat)
2 t honey
1 cup chopped, cooked chicken breast (I just cooked and seasoned 2 breasts and diced them up)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Boil salted water in a large pot and cook the spaghetti al dente according to package directions. When the spaghetti goes in, mist a skillet with cooking spray and add the garlic and snow peas (or spinach). Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until garlic is fragrant. Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, oils, water, sriracha, and honey in a small bowl and stir to combine. When the spaghetti is cooked, transfer to a colander to drain and pour the spaghetti back into the pot. Add the chopped chicken and snow peas/garlic mixture. Pour the prepared sauce over the mixture and stir until coated. Top with cilantro. I added sesame seeds on top for good measure.
Yields: 6 one cup servings

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