If you’re like me, chances are it’s 15 minutes until dinner and you are scouring the Internet hoping to find inspiration. And like me, your probably getting distracted with things like Pinterest, Twitter, and three little children who are on the verge of a complete and total breakdown caused by hanger (pronounced: hane-ger – It’s what happens when you mix hunger with anger and it’s a common occurrence around here, although not just relegated to the children).


Stop your surfing and cook with me, dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes.

First things first. You’ll need spaghetti, peanut butter (or sesame paste – Tahini – if you have it), soy sauce, rice wine (or a dry white will do), rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and shallot if you have it.

Put a large pot of water over the stove and crank up the heat. Make the water taste of the sea. Seriously, taste it.

While the water is working on a boil add 4 cloves of garlic and a bit of shallot to a food processor. Pulse until well chopped. To this add 3 tbl peanut butter (or Tahini), ⅓ cup soy sauce, 2 tbl rice wine, 1 ½ tbl rice wine vinegar, and 1 ½ tbl sesame oil. Blend this all together.


As soon as your water is boiling add enough spaghetti to feed four.

Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain then stir in the sauce.

Dinner is ready.


If you have carrots, use a vegetable peeler to create fancy carrot ribbons. I tossed my ribbons with a splash or rice wine vinegar and toasted sesame seeds. I also happened to have a few sad looking scallions so I added those as well. Bean sprouts would also be a nice addition as would steamed or roasted broccoli or napa cabbage perhaps. So many choices.

Fifteen minutes and we’ve created a dinner that is sweet, salty with a bit of a bright bite. Serve the kids first then top your portion with a touch of Sriracha(or your favorite hot sauce).

While there is little I love more than to spend hours on one meal, taking care to plan through every detail. Setting the table to a multi-coursed meal that concludes with something sweet and most likely chocolatey. The truth is more often than not dinner goes from in my head to on the table in under thirty minutes. But that doesn’t mean our dinners have to suffer from my lack of planning. We eat well, if just happens quickly.

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Quick Garlicky Pasta

inspired by Nigel Slater, Real Fast Food

3 Tbl peanut butter (or Tahini)

⅓ cup soy sauce

2 Tbl rice wine (or dry white wine)

1 Tbl rice wine vinegar

1 ½ Tbl Sesame oil

4 garlic cloves

1 Tbl chopped shallot

Combine the garlic and shallot in the bowl of a food processor. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then stir in the remaining ingredients. Process until well blended.

Toss this sauce with enough pasta for four.

Top with sesame seeds, carrot, bean sprouts, or whatever strikes your fancy.


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