Hot and Sour Soba Noodles

Source: recipe by Martha Rose Shulman, NY Times Recipes for Health
adapted by http://theresalwaysthyme.blogspot.com

2 tablespoons peanut butter (to taste, I used 3 of the Trader Joe's Creamy Peanut Butter)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons hot red pepper oil (to taste)
pinch of cayenne
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 pound Japanese buckwheat noodles
1 cup diced or julienne cucumber
1/4 cup shredded red cabbage
2 scallions, white part, sliced very thin rings
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional, I think peanuts would be nice, too!)
Lettuce, baby spinach, radicchio or arugula for serving (optional)

Heat the peanut butter for about 10 to 20 seconds in a microwave to make it easier to mix. Combine with the soy sauce, vinegar, hot red pepper oil, cayenne, garlic, ginger and salt and pepper. Whisk together. Whisk in the sesame oil, canola oil and broth. Set aside.

To cook the noodles, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add salt, if desired, and the noodles. When the water comes back to a boil and bubbles up, add a cup of cold water to the pot. Allow the water to come back to a boil, and add another cup of cold water. Allow the water to come to a boil one more time, and add a third cup of water. When the water comes to a boil again, the noodles should be cooked through. Drain and toss immediately with the dressing (whisk the dressing again first). Add the remaining ingredients, and toss together. Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve.
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