Spicy Peanut Udon Noodles with Kale.

There's this pretty awesome, amazing, incredible, unfathomable thing. We have all heard of it. None of us fully understand it. Some are intrigued and fascinated by it. Others are terrified by it.

It's called The Universe.

I am lucky enough to receive a note from The Universe every morning. Here is today's note:

The baby steps in the beginning of a journey, Tommy, always seem inadequate compared to the brilliance of the dream that inspired them. This is natural. If the dream wasn't so far "out there" and dazzling, it wouldn't be worth dreaming! Just don't be led to think that the physical ground you cover with your baby steps is all that they accomplish. Because for every mortal step you take, another cog in a giant wheel behind the curtains of time and space advances, and with it 10,000 new possibilities. 

Better than Star Trek, 
The Universe

It's unfortunately easy for me to get caught up in the little things, the baby steps. Making a new recipe. Meeting new people. Taking an action that pushes me outside my comfort zone. These are all great in their own right, but it is the culmination of these things that are truly the accomplishment, both literally and figuratively speaking. I look at myself over the past five years, from the time I first began Smak to the day that I photographed this article, and I am amazed at how far I have come. I am more confident. I am proud of who I am, the places I've been and the challenges that I've faced. So whether or not I've fully accomplished my dreams, I'm making steps that put me that much further.

If you were to ask me today, "Tommy, if you could have one person over for dinner tonight, who would it be and why?" This would be my answer: "The Universe and I would make The Universe this spicy peanut udon noodle with kale dish. I would thank The Universe for everything that happens - the good, the bad, and the ugly - because whether we know it in the moment or not, all the things we go through build the beautiful thing call life. And for that, I am forever grateful."


Spicy Peanut Udon Noodles with Kale


1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoon Sriracha
1/8 teaspoon fish sauce, plus an extra dash at the end
2 tablespoons peanut butter
3 ounces udon or soba noodles
1/2 bunch kale, deribbed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (1 packed cup)
chopped scallions, for serving
chili flakes, for serving
chopped peanuts, for serving


  1. Heat 1 quart of water in a saucepan to boil.
  2. In a sauté pan over low or medium-low heat, add sesame oil, soy sauce, Sriracha, and fish sauce. Stir ingredients or rotate pan to combine and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add peanut butter, stir to combine, then turn off heat.
  3. When water is boiling, blanch kale for about 15 seconds. Drain the kale and add it to the sauce in the sauté pan and stir to coat.
  4. Bring clean water to boil. When the water is boiling, add the noodles and cook until al dente. Fresh noodles will cook very quickly; dry noodles will cook in 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Use tongs to add the noodles straight from the water to the sauté pan with the peanut sauce and the kale. The unstrained noodles will carry enough water to dilute the peanut sauce; if you decide to strain the noodles and then add them to the sauce, add 1 tablespoon water, as well. Add a dash of fish sauce to finish.
  6. Garnish with chopped scallions, chili flakes, and chopped peanuts.