Noodles will do just fine.

Sometimes, you just have to make do with what you have.

For weeks, months even, I’ve been dreaming of a digital SLR camera, the kind of purchase that takes thought and research and oh, roughly 700 to 1,200 dollars, depending on how snazzy I want to look and feel when shooting photos of vegetables on my porch on a Saturday morning. My current funds have been holding me back, and I’m considering begging for money around the holidays, when family and friends might be generous enough to throw some cash under the tree for me.

my dad's camera.

Until then, I’m making do with what I have: My dad gave me his old automatic Canon 35mm, and Murdo’s dad loaned me his old manual Minolta SR-T. So instead of upgrading from my digital point-and-shoot to a digital SLR, I’ve kind of gone back in time to play around with film. And I kind of really like it.

I even started another blog to share the photos I’ve been taking, photos of stuff other than food –- of my everyday life, and of simple things that make me stop and appreciate the inspiration that can radiate from things that are small, often overlooked, even routine. It’s a way for me to keep up with this new interest in taking pictures, much like I started this blog to start writing again and to cook new foods. We’ll see where it goes, if it goes anywhere, and I’d love for you to visit and tell me what you think.

long beans.

In the meantime, there are these peanut-citrus noodles. The recipe comes from Molly and Brandon of Orangette, and it is perfect for making do with what you have. Molly suggests adding ingredients such as asparagus, bok choy, and carrots, to name a few, but anything rolling around in the fridge will work. I used Chinese long beans from my dad’s garden, and radishes, and a wedge of cabbage that has been hiding out in my veggie drawer for weeks.

peanut-citrus noodles.

The recipe also calls for soba noodles, but soba and I just don’t work well together –- my noodles always end up gummy and ugly –- so I used thin spaghetti. I also didn’t have any soy sauce in my kitchen (which I’m pretty ashamed to admit and I can’t believe I lasted as long as I did without it), so I had to dig in our takeout condiments drawer to find four packets of soy sauce amidst piles of Taco Bell hot sauce. That’s right, I used packets of takeout soy sauce. Don’t judge. I was just making do with what I had.

Bound together with Brandon’s dressing of peanut butter, lime juice, and soy sauce, it has become a dish that I’m sure to make again and again, starting last week, and this week, and yes, probably the week after. It’s just too simple not to love.

For the recipe, visit Molly's lovely blog, Orangette.


  1. I look forward to seeing your photos on the new blog. Here's to making do with what you have!

  2. I really like your idea for the new blog. I've been thinking a lot about what to do with my random photos that I love taking but just end up lost on my hard drive. I think I will copy you!

    Ahem, and I am not judging you for using soy sauce packets. I am however judging you for not having soy sauce in your house! For shame, ading, for shame! Though, I do think it's funny that you had limes in the house and not soy sauce. I would never just have limes randomly in the fridge. I do, however have powdered buttermilk, and whole wheat flour is now a staple in my pantry--what else are you suppose to use for breakfast muffins, I ask you?

  3. Wha, no soy sauce?!? Although I blush to tell you that I bookmarked that recipe AGES ago and have yet to make it. I even bought soba for it, and it's been sitting neglected for months. Oops! I actually think I like the extremes in photography technology - film & dSLRs both have much more character than P&S cameras. I'll be poking around your other site as it gets going, I'm sure!

  4. We will have to talk about film sometime soon. I feel so lost with it! I even bought this crazy little vintage Brownie Bullet last weekend and ordered film and went as far as reading the directions for inserting film online, but I just got nervous and decided to think about it some more. How crazy is it that you don't know what the pictures will look like until you get them developed, right? And where do you get them developed?

    All that to say - your film shots are GORGEOUS and I totally see why you like film. I also totally see why you wanted to start the simple blog - such a great idea.

  5. kim - yay! i look forward to sharing my photos with you! be sure to drop me a line at the other blog every now and then so it doesn't get too jealous of this one. :)

    jenny - yes! copy me! and then you'll start taking pictures of everything and it'll be lots of fun. and about the soy sauce...i've been trying to get to the asian store but just haven't gotten around to it. i almost had to buy the la choy brand at jewel and felt really cheap and wrong doing so...luckily i found a kikkoman bottle hiding on a back shelf and didn't feel so bad anymore. ha!

    caitlin - have you ever made soba noodles? if so, i think i either make them all wrong or bought a crap brand or something. i've tried this recipe with soba and like the thin spaghetti way better.

    i totally agree point-and-shoots are missing a certain quality and depth that other cameras capture so well. but i do still love my trusty canon powershot.

    shanna - thank you! film is definitely a whole new world for me, and i'm slowly getting used to it. it is really exciting seeing the final images -- it's almost like receiving a package in the mail or something. but it's also scary -- i thought i unwound the film all wrong the other day and was afraid i ruined the roll (it turned out ok, whew!). it's also frustrating that i have to use up an entire roll before getting my images online, unlike digital, where i can take a couple pictures and upload them five minutes later. but i suppose i just have to learn to be patient, and that's not a bad thing.

    bring your brownie bullet (what a cute name!) next time we hang out, i'd love to see it! oh, and i get my pictures scanned right to cd at walgreens.

  6. Ha ha, one comment you made I SO identify with....

    "depending on how snazzy I want to look and feel when shooting photos of vegetables on my porch on a Saturday morning. "

    LOL...We foodies ARE strange creatures I believe.

  7. the merlin menu - for sure! my friends and family haven gotten used to me taking pictures of all things food. sometimes i still feel silly in restaurants, though, but oh well. :)

  8. I have that same bowl. I love it!

  9. Eli - Gotta love Pyrex bowls passed down from family. :)


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