Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Katie's Veggie Lo Mein

Happy hump day everyone. Can you believe tomorrow is January 1st already? I cannot believe how quick 2008 has gone by for me. In just a few short months I will be stumbling upon my second wedding anniversary with my wonderful Husband Daniel and after ending 2008 on a sour note, 2009 looks more promising for us. I am not sure how you and your significant other ring in the New Year but this year my goal is to actually still be up for it. Both Daniel and I had to work today and he promises that he is leaving work right at 10:30 so that he will definitely be home for the ball drop, we will see if that actually happens. My first thought for tonight was to get comfortable and order us a nice big pizza from La Rosa's, compliments of my wonderful Grandparents who gifted us with a gift card from the place for Christmas. Instead I am, for the first time ever, going to attempt to make Chinese food. My relationship with Chinese food is a rocky one. I will only eat a few things and usually I will take a few bites and regret having ordered anything at all. I do the same thing with Chipotle. I crave the stuff until I have to have it and then when I get it, my craving goes right out the window. Daniel on the other hand LOVES his Chinese. I think it depresses him that I don't love it more and I appreciate the fact his best buddy in the entire world loves it almost as much as he. So whenever Daniel gets the craving it's Mike to the rescue. I decided that maybe, just maybe, if I made Chinese myself at home, where I know what all is being put into it, that maybe my feelings for the stuff would change. So we picked up some nice looking vegetables and some Chinese hot sauce from Jungle Jim's on Saturday and I figured I would go for it tonight. The original plan called for the rice noodles that we also picked up but I am going to be honest with you, they scare me. The bag gives directions on how to cook them but it involves water and oil on the stove and it doesn't say how many to use and I am definitely not going to cook the entire bag because if I did I fear that we would be eating rice noodles from tonight until the end of January. So...I am cheating and not being authentic by any means and will be using angel hair pasta straight from the box. I promise though, once I gather the courage to make those rice noodles, or Daniel does it for me, I will post another recipe using them. So here we go hoping to change my feelings for Chinese food and hopefully making Daniel never want to order take out again.
4 tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 C. Chicken Stock
1 tbsp. Cornstarch
1/2 head of Napa Cabbage
1 15 oz. can of Baby Corn
1 bunch of Green Onions (Which did not make it into the ingredients picture...oops)
2 Carrots( 3 are pictured but after doing 2 I felt 3 would have been too much)
1 sm. bag of Sugar Snap Peas
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
Ground Ginger
Angel Hair Pasta

1.) Begin by prepping all of your vegetables. I shred the napa cabbage, julienne my carrots, and cut my green onions on the diagonal into about 1 inch pieces. Keep everything in separate piles.
2.) Bring water for pasta to a boil, add salt to your water, and then dump the box in.

3.)In a separate bowl add your soy sauce to chicken stock with cornstarch and about a dash of ground ginger. Mix until cornstarch and ginger has dissolved.
4.) Begin by sauteing your vegetables. I started with the carrots along with the garlic then the baby corn, sugar snap peas, green onions and lastly the cabbage. You do not want these vegetables to be soft, everything needs to have a nice crunch to it but still be cooked. I pretty much tossed them in the pan a couple of times and then added everything else. 5.) Once the vegetables are done being tossed around I added my cooked and drained pasta.

6.) To this mixture I add my chicken stock mixture that you created in step #3.

7.) Allow to heat through for about 5 minutes, on low heat.

Now you can easily swap out any of these vegetables for others. My original plans called for some fresh mushrooms and then I got to thinking about some fresh peppers and maybe even some broccoli. I asked Daniel what veggies he preferred and he nixed the mushrooms and was hesitant about the broccoli so I omitted them. I suggested the baby corn to him the other day and when I questioned him again what he wanted in this dish this morning while making up the grocery list, he reminded me of the baby corn with concern about them in his voice, when I forgot to mention to them. I am glad he remembered, because not mentioning them was no accident, I had completely forgotten about them. The man forgets to lay out chicken for dinner, but don't you dare forget about his baby corn. Speaking of chicken, this dish would be really great with a meat involved as well. Brown up some chicken chunks or even some shrimp. Can you imagine how pretty the dish would be with some pink shrimp mixed in :)?

Now for my verdict. As you can see in the ingredients picture, I include sesame seed oil and made the mistake of drizzling it over the dish. I tried it before I did this and after. I like how it tasted much better without the sesame seed oil and won't be doing that again, this is why it isn't listed on the ingredients list. This dish was good, but unfortunately I still wasn't thrilled with it. I am just not a big Chinese person and I can't even fully enjoy it when I make it myself. The true verdict will have to come from Daniel, but I just don't know about this one. Maybe you will be able to take my initial recipe work on it some and make it a really, really good. I warned everyone that these recipes could be good or bad, and my feelings are that this one is bad. I even bought a new wok for the occasion. It sure does look good though, I guess that's something.

Looks like I will be calling La Rosa's after all, thank God for generous Grandparents!!