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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Stir-Fried String Beans and Noodles

Because it's all about trial and error...

And so, my new journey begins.  I'm back in my hometown, living with my sister and her family until I figure out what I'm doing with my life (this may take a while...).  But it's great to be home, and I'm having a blast spending tons of quality time with my niece and nephew.  I was warned ahead of time that they were "picky eaters," but that didn't stop me from daring to implement Meatless Mondays in this house.  My sister thought it was a fabulous idea, in fact, and was more than willing to allow me to cook dinner on Monday.  I was not prepared for quite the tough audience, though...

I know that the fam totally digs Asian food, and I tried to go with veggies that the kids might actually eat.  My nephew promised me that he likes green beans, but upon tasting these (which I had purchased at the farmer's market two days before), admitted to me that he likes "those vegetables" when they're soft, not crunchy (am I going to have to switch to canned veggies???).  He does, however, like mushrooms (WIN!!!) and he liked the noodles.  My niece refused to eat any of it, but luckily, I had planned ahead for these shenanigans and prepared a back-up: Gardein chick'n strips and rice pilaf.  Hey, it was still meatless, so I've got that going for me. 

 My bro-in-law ate it with no complaints, but my sister, who had to work late that night, pointed out that the noodles don't re-heat very well (which is too bad because I made a ton.  Needless to say, I didn't have to cook again for myself for the rest of the week).  

I'm gonna go ahead and say that this recipe was a complete failure.  Not in that it tasted bad- on the contrary, it was absolutely delicious!- but it was not "kid-friendly" or even "adult-friendly."  I'm going to have to stick with more basic, simple meals for a bit, until their taste buds are ready for the full awesomeness of my recipes.  Until then, here's the recipe for the dinner I made.  You can take it or leave it.

3 cups vegetable broth
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (I used a garlic-infused vinegar which I really liked) 
1 tsp molasses
2 tsp chili garlic paste
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice
15 oz. package stir-fry rice noodles
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 oz. baby corn

In a medium bowl, whisk together veg broth, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, molasses, chili garlic paste, cornstarch, and Chinese 5 spice, until well blended.  Set aside.
Bring water to boil in a large sauce pan.  Cook noodles according to directions on the package.
In a large wok, saute onions and garlic over medium-high heat for 3 min, adding a Tbsp water if veggies begin to stick.  Add beans and cook for 5 min.  Add mushrooms and baby corn and continue to cook over medium-high heat for 5 more min.  Give the sauce a quick whisk and add to the wok.  Allow sauce to bubble, then turn heat down to medium-low until noodles are done.
When the noodles have finished cooking, drain and add to the wok.  Stir well to completely coat the noodles with the sauce.  Serve hot.