I’m finally back with a post, yay! I have finished all my testing and dr/hospital appts until mid August. Hooray. My lip is healing nicely, and it looks like, as of now, I do not have sjogren’s syndrome (thank God). But since I’m borderline on the test results for sjogren’s, I have to go see the rheumatologist every 6 months for blood work to make sure I don’t develop it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. There’s another autoimmune disease to check off on the list. I wonder what they’ll test for next.
After all of the tests and appointments, I’m slowly easing my way back into the kitchen, starting with simple, all-in-one meals. I have a whole list of delicious-sounding recipes that I want to make; hopefully I can get them knocked out soon.
This recipe originally comes from a Cook’s Illustrated cookbook from a recipe for pork lo mein. Mr. Surly and I love veggie lo mein noodles, but the local Chinese take out lo mein makes us both horribly sick. So for the past year I have been trying in vain to find a decent recipe for lo mein noodles. Some recipes call for oyster sauce or fish sauce. I don’t know why, but just the sound of those sauces grosses me out. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a big fan of sea food that tastes fishy. Yuk. It goes back to my childhood and a mini shark fish named Sharky, that my dad loved and us kids hated, who came back from the dead . *shiver* But that’s another story, perhaps for another day.
Back to the recipe. I liked the sound of this sauce, but it needed tweaked. After numerous attempts I have finally come up with a version both Mr.Surly and I love. We make it pretty spicy, so if your palate doesn’t like spice, go easy on the Thai chili paste and red pepper flakes.
A few notes on the recipe:
*Don’t substitute black pepper for the white pepper; trust me on this, it will change the taste. White pepper should be used in any asian dish.
*Any veggie could be added to this: carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. But veggies aggravate my gastroparesis so I try to keep it simple, using just peppers and water chestnuts.
*I have used both fresh and frozen peppers. When I use the frozen peppers I thaw them out a bit before using (I put them in a colander in the sink, then go about gathering ingredients and making the sauce) and rinse before I put them in the pan to sauté. Since they give off more liquid than fresh peppers I usually add cornstarch to the sauce at if it isn’t thickening.
*I use grapeseed oil because it’s tasteless.
*Do NOT use cooking sherry, it’s loaded with sodium. Instead use the real stuff; dry sherry. It’s not very expensive, I bought mine at Trader Joe’s for $3 and it doesn’t go bad. Plus, if you want, you can pour yourself a little bit of it and drink sherry as you cook.
Now, let’s talk about ginger. I don’t use it that often in the kitchen, only in asian dishes, but I prefer the taste of fresh grated ginger. What I do is buy a bulb/knot (not sure what the proper term is) of ginger, peel it, then cut it into thumb-sized pieces (~1 inch long) Then I wrap each piece in waxed paper or parchment paper, put in a ziplock bag and freeze.
It makes it so easy to just pull out a piece of ginger when you need it and grate it with my microplane. It’s actually easier for me to grate frozen ginger than fresh. I usually end up with a Tbl of ginger after I great the knot. If it’s too cold at first wrap a bit of the end in a paper towel and grate (I’ve had to do this a few times because I’ll have made the sauce and forgot the ginger, so I have to get it out of the freezer and grate right away).
Vegetable Lo Mein
2 bell peppers diced, (or a bag of frozen peppers)
1 Tbl grapeseed oil (canola or olive would be fine, too)
8 oz pkg lo mein noodles (or linguine)
2 c veggie broth (or ckn broth)
Water chestnuts, opt
Bamboo shoots, opt
Sesame seeds, opt garnish
Any other veggie you want to stir fry , opt
Cornstarch (to thicken sauce), opt
For the sauce:
5 Tbl low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbl rice vinegar
1 Tbl Hoisin sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ - 1 tsp roasted red chili paste
~1 Tbl freshly grated ginger (couple pinches of ground)
~1/4 c thinly sliced scallions (~4 individual)
3 cloves garlic
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of white pepper
2 Tbl dry sherry (NOT cooking sherry)
First make the sauce. Just add all the ingredients to a bowl, whisk and set aside.
Heat grapeseed oil in a deep sauté pan or wok. Add peppers and sauté ~3-5 minutes. Add water chestnuts and/or bamboo shoots, if using, and sauté a minute or two longer.
Pour in sauce, add lo mein noodles and veggie broth. Simmer, half covered, until noodles are soft. Uncover and simmer, stirring occasionally, til sauce thickens. If I use frozen peppers, I usually need to add ~ ½ -1 tsp cornstarch to help thicken the sauce.
Source: heavily adapted from America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two 2011