supper tonight – 4.18.12 – carrots & green beans with lo mein noodles

Today was one of those days.

The steady patter of pouring rain on our bedroom window’s metal awning at 6:00am made getting out of bed hard. A headache–not agonizing, but just enough to notice–made it a little harder.

(Even without rain or pains, our bed is much too comfy-cozy to tear away from, especially when it’s still dark out.)

Trudging to school through downpour and puddles didn’t help (though at least I had my umbrella and galoshes).

Forgetting to take Tylenol before I went to school kind of stunk, too. Especially when I discovered I didn’t have a travel-sized bottle of meds in my bag after all.

The 3:00-4:00 meeting after school that lasted until 5:10? Icing on the cake.

An hour-long trip to Best Buy (still in the rain) for a type of camcorder-to-computer adapter cable that apparently doesn’t exist? Sprinkles, I suppose.

So when I got home after 6:00 and we still had to cook dinner, what I really wanted to do was call in for pizza. Or Chinese takeout. Or pretty much anything that would require no effort.

But, of course, there were the green beans.

When I made all that Ethiopian food last week, I had one recipe that called for 3/4 of a cup of fresh green beans. The only packages at Earth Fare contained well over twice that. I was left with a bunch of leftover green beans, and fresh ones don’t keep for very long. These were really starting to get past their prime a day or two ago, but last night we decided to use the also-almost-too-far-gone mushrooms instead. And the green beans waited another day. So tonight…well, it was time.

Also in our refrigerator was a zip-top baggie of fresh lo mein noodles. No, we didn’t make these. We got them from a pretty damn awesome Asian Grocery called Fook’s Foods. Why does this place rock our socks off? Well, for starters, they sell delicious one-pound blocks of nice, firm bulk tofu for 89¢. Plus spicy, tangy kimchi by the pound. And really good ramen noodles (not an oxymoron). And sometimes, freshly caught shrimp or crabs from the Georgia coast. And, as evidenced by our supper tonight, deliciously fresh lo mein noodles that cook up in about 5 minutes.

Chopping a few veggies and whisking together a quick sauce yielded a pretty tasty noodle bowl that brightened our rainy day:

And in the background, chopsticks. Why not?

What’s in it:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • about 1/2 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 cups stock or broth, divided into 1-1/2 and 1/2 cup measures (we had beef in the fridge, but use your favorite)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • juice from one lime
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sriracha (spicy chili paste)
  • 1 pound fresh lo mein (or use your favorite packaged Asian noodles)
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

Step-by-step:

  • Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, and onion, and saute until translucent.
  • Add the carrots, green beans, and 1-1/2 cups of stock.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover for 10 minutes or until your carrots and green beans are nice and tender.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, sriracha, and remaining 1/2 cup of stock.
  • While the vegetables cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for your lo mein. Fresh will cook to in 4-5 minutes, but if you used packaged noodles, just follow the instructions on the box.
  • When the vegetables are finished, add the sauce mixture and stir to incorporate. If it seems thin, turn your heat back up to medium for a few minutes to reduce it a bit.
  • When the noodles are finished, drain them in a colander and run cool water over them to stop the cooking and keep them from sticking.
  • Add the noodles to your skillet of vegetables and sauce; then, toss it all together and cook for about one more minute to reheat the noodles.
  • Serve into four bowls. (In our case, two were portable containers with lids for lunch tomorrow.) Top with fresh cilantro.

We’ve made better stir-fry dishes before (usually involving cubes of Fook’s Foods tofu, pan-fried in the style of our local vegetarian mecca, The Grit). But for how easy this was to prepare, it was pretty darn tasty, and just the kind of warm, hearty comfort-food pick-me-up I needed after a long, soggy day.

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Categories: places, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “supper tonight – 4.18.12 – carrots & green beans with lo mein noodles

  1. Looks like you saved the green beans and made something really delicious!

    Cooking is like that. Even when you are tired and exhausted, there is something about cooking (at least for me) that decompresses me.

    Funny, I had a giant pile of green beans last night too (they were also about to go — a little rubbery). I wonder if we were channeling green beanery!

    • Whoa–crazy psychic green bean connection! 🙂

      And cooking does usually make me feel better. Unless I’m super tired, spend a bunch of time cooking something, and end up not liking whatever I made. (Which happens a fair amount when you wing it as much as I do!) I’m always glad when a seat-of-our-pants dish is a success.

      How did your rubbery green beans turn out? Delicious, I hope!

      • They turned out well! I ended up cutting them on the bias into thin slices like a slaw almost. And doing a quick as heck blanch. Tossed in olive oil and Parm. Managed to fool my mouth and my brain into thinking they were still fresh!

      • That sounds yummy! I think olive oil and parmesan cheese can turn almost anything into a delicious dinner.

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