Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Boyfriend Likes Noodles and Romantic Comedies

Why is it, I wonder, that as media-consuming humans we watch thousands of films and yet, when we sit down on a city bus and try to name them before arriving at home, we cannot remember a single one?

Deep philosophy going on over here in my neck of Iowa City, guys.

But, really. What is this strange (and oh-my-god-frustrating) phenomenon? Last night Robert and I wanted to watch a movie--because not everyone can survive on watching several episodes of Doctor Who every night. At first we were going to watch something I had never seen before, or that both of us had never seen before. We caught the bus from the mall in Coralville (after being uninspired by The Gap, but getting work done at Panera's) and on that ride, and the ride from downtown Iowa City to my neighborhood on the free shuttle, we tried to name potential films for our viewing pleasure that evening. We did not come up with anything.

But, luckily, there is such a thing as a Netflix queue, and so we decided to look at mine. Unfortunately, all the films available for Instant Watch are dramatic foreign films that appear in my dad's 1000 Movies to See Before You Die book. And while I am sure they are quite good films, and while I am sure that I do want to watch them at some point, they just didn't have the feel for an evening spent on the IKEA futon before bedtime with one's significant other. I feel like they might be more like the kind of films one watches on purpose on a weekend afternoon between homework assignments. I have fairly specific categories for films.

Because I know you are all in suspense, I will tell you what happened next. Robert began to list off various films and then look them up to see if we could watch them "instantly" if I responded favorably.

"What about You've Got Mail?"

I blinked. I grinned.

"Okay. So... I've seen it. BUT. BUT. I LOVE that movie. LOVE it. Can we watch that one? Please? I love that movie!"

When he seemed surprised at my boundless enthusiasm, I sighed. "Come on. It has a dog and bookstores. How could I not love it?"

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is essentially Lauren in a Nutshell.

If that amuses you, you are in good company. Robert laughed, and, long story short, we determined to do whatever was necessary to procure the film for the evening. (Which ended up being quite an adventure, actually, as we ran out to the library before it closed and checked it out very quickly, only to return home and realize that the magnetic strip was still on, and so R had to valiantly run out again--this time in pjs--to get them to pry the strip off five minutes before closing time). Please join me in my utter delight that as we watched the film, it became clear to me that not only has Robert seen the movie a few times and enjoyed it enough to purchase it (he has a copy out in Coralville), but he seems to have it memorized. This is not an exaggeration. And no, lady-friends, you may not have him. Hands off.

In other news, I (we? is it absurd if I start using "we" too often on my own blog?) have decided to eat more at home in order to save money and lose weight (the latter is obviously just me, by the way). On Tuesday night R and I made a delicious meal (at his enthusiastic insistence, and with a bountiful supply of leftovers) of peanut noodles from this recipe which we adapted as follows:

Peanut Noodles
* 16 oz. thick sobe wheat noodles
* 1 recipe peanut sauce
* 1 cucumber, cut into thin 1” strips
* 1 handful cilantro
* 1 package beef stew meat
* 3 generous shakes of red pepper flakes
* ginger to taste

Boil noodles according to package directions. Rinse, drain and return to the pot.
Meanwhile, stir-fry the beef with the red pepper flakes and the ginger. When done, toss with the peanut sauce and the noodles until all noodles are evenly coated.
Serve, garnished with cucumber strips and cilantro.

Peanut Sauce

* 1/4 cup peanut butter
* 6 oz. coconut milk
* 1 small bunch cilantro, cleaned, stems intact
* 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
* 1 small piece ginger, peeled and chopped roughly
* 2 tbsp soy sauce
* juice of one lime
* 1 tbsp rice vinegar
* 2.5 tsp Asian chili sauce
* 1 1/2 tbsps honey


Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Adjust spiciness to taste by adding more or less chili sauce. If the sauce is too thick and needs to be thinned out, add a little hot water.


Robert recommends that anyone who makes this recipe in the future enjoy it with one to three bottles of Heinekin: