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Monday, March 18, 2013
green Chinese food for St Pat's....
Well, the broccoli and peppers in there were green!
I am talking with the wife Sunday am and she is like
"I don't think they have tomatos in China" and I am like
"they may not have but I have had Chinese food with tomatos" and she is like
"right, people adapt to where they are and what food is there!" and I am like
"In 1984-85 I was living in SOHO NYC for a bit, working for an artist. I had no money and a friend of a friend came along one Saturday to hang out. She was like 'We are right by Chinatown. I know the best place. You can get an enormous DELICIOUS bowl of noodles for 95 cents! Well, 1.25 with tax and tip.' Even then, 95 cents was CHEAP. So we walk over the few blocks. Chinatown in NY was and is a crazy fun maze of streets, a million shops and restaurants and people, impossible to figure out where you are going. My friend for the day takes me down one little street and another, and we finally come to a small storefront the size of my current kitchen with no sign, but big windows, so you can see it is a tiny restaurant with 3 small tables and a small kitchen. We go in, and it looks like grandpa and grandma and a 2 and 3 year old have table 3, making a huge platter of wantons, or dumplings, or something. We take the middle table but there are no other customers at 2 on a Saturday so one table remains empty. There is a man in the small kitchen and a woman comes out to wait on us. It is a typical little place, she has some English, the kids chatter in English and (Mandarin maybe?) and it is simply 3 generations of a little family working together. The waitress is pleasant but not effusive or much more than matter of fact and polite. My guide points to the card on the wall, which shows a drawing of a bowl of noodles for 95 cents with Chinese characters, red balls and dark strips. There are a maybe 2 dozen cards on the wall with drawings. My friend for the day explains 'they give you tea for free. The noodles are fantastic, and there are beef strips and tomatos on top', and sure enough, a pot of tea arrives with 2 cups. It is super cold out, and I am so poor that I might have Reese's peanut butter cups for lunch (don't knock it--a few of those = wicked tasty and filling and cheap!), so the free tea is quite welcome. Then OUT COME these double sized bowls of noodles with a ton of tomato and beef strips. The noodles are in a simple and divine sauce...and I remember it clearly now: tasted like a little sesame oil, soy sauce, beef juice and spice (I was not veg all the time back then). So, we each ate our huuuge bowl of food which was the Chinese equivalent of cheap and nourishing comfort food, each counted out our nickels and dimes to pay $1.25 each and then my WONDERFUL guide of the day (I remember the FOOD but not who she was!) says to me 'c'mon, I know a bakery where you can get a big gooey honey noodle for dessert, just a few cents....' and we did. I went back to BOTH places at least twice a week the rest of my time living in NYC. The wife and I later went searching for the restaurant in 1993 and 1995 and I could no longer remember where it was...but we found the honey noodles"
This morning it came to me, how to make these, based upon my memory, almost 30 years ago! Sure, it could be made veg! I wrote down my idea and we just made it (with cashew coconut curry too, which was full of green veggies like broccoli and bell pepper for St Pat's!)
It turned out EXACTLY as I remembered :)
Gary's 4 + ingredient Chinese noodles, the easiest and tastiest dish on EARTH
you will need:
1- 6-8 oz long noodles
2- 1-2 TBS sesame or other oil
3- 1-2 TBS soy sauce
4- 1/2 cup or more veggie broth
5- 4-8 oz soy beef
6- about a cup halved grape or cherry tomato
--spice! what have ya got? what do ya like????
-boil 6-8 oz long noodles, like udon or spaghetti or fettucini per directions
-mix up some veggie (or beef if you INSIST) broth--you need half a cup (plus a little more held aside, depending on your taste)
-add to the broth 1-2 TBS sesame oil (or what oil you have) and 1-2 TBS soy sauce each depending on your taste, and whatever spice you like for something like this, such as I added ground ginger and garlic, oregano, black pepper and hot pepper flakes----stir and whisk!
-saute 4-8 oz soy "beef" (or BEEF if you must) several minutes, add about one cup halved grape or cherry tomatos for the last minute or 2 of heating
-Drain the noodles and return to their pan or into a large serving bowl, stir in the whisked liquid broth etc...this is where you can decide to stir in a little more broth if you wish. For 6 oz noodles, the 1/2 cup broth and the rest worked perfectly, but you may desire more liquid on your noodles and if you add enough you would have SOUP!
-top noodles with beef and tomato mix, DONE!
I am going into a review today...well, this week a number of my pots are being reviewed. We will see what happens. I needed a sampling of representative work--in my case, the usual items with the wee animal on it, second is sculpture, third is unadorned pottery. I spent a few days building a big pile of possibilities, needing 12, and ended up as you see getting that down to 13....wish me luck!