Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Noodling around

In answer to Anon.'s question about cleaning chantrelles: I can't take all the credit for how spiffy and clean those mushrooms look. My friends who gifted me with them did a bit of cleaning before handing them over. I find a mushroom brush and any cleaning brush with stiff tooth brush is all you need. Chantrelles get waterlogged very easily so a dry approach is the best bet. If they are really dirty, a quick splash under running cold water should be all you need. Part of the solution is in the picking itself. Pick chantrelles that are already clean. I'm still seeing them out there on grocery shelves. Get them while you can!

Yesterday was a Novocain infused haze after an emergency dentist visit. Thanks to everyone at Dover View dental for making my ordeal as pleasant as possible. Dentist’s offices have really come a long way. They had a TV imbedded into the ceiling like my old dentist in Vancouver which was pretty much what sold me. Pretty cool except that when I first was lowered to start the session, there was some horribly, traumatic hospital soap opera scene that didn’t help much to calm me. They also had a pretty sweet LCD computer screen in front of the chair that flashed a slide show of postcard perfect scenes including some gorgeous shots of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, my new mountain crush. They even brought up my x-ray on it so I could check it out. I hope my maxillary molars never have to get yanked because those roots look pretty gnarly.

DH got washed up across the border and back home the night before. He insisted on driving me to the dentist and I’m glad he did. I got two shots of Novocain and that left me tired and wanting to simply curl up and hide from the world. Well, part of that was because I was doing a really drooly Jean Chr├ętien and just didn’t want to face the world ;)

Needless to say, I wasn’t in the mood of doing much except for knitting and zoning out with my DH. Knitting in itself was a bit of adventure. I’m coming close to the homestretch with my kimono-shrug-wrap and would be done expect for all the frogging I had to do thanks to my inability to count. Oh well.

Dinner was a chicken & roasted veggies in black bean sauce and pan-fried udon noodles. A pretty simply, peasant meal. Thank goodness I had the vat of roasted veggies to draw from. It certainly made things a whole lot easier. The chicken and all the the vegetables are all locally grown. Here’s the fast-& dirty recipe for that meal (recipe for 2)

½ chicken breast – in 2cm cubes (can substitute with firm tofu)

1-2 cups cabbage shredded – I used red but you can use any cabbage from green to any of the asian cabbages

2 cups roasted veggies

1-2 tsp grated ginger

1 tablespoon fermented black bean sauce – you can make your own, I just used stuff out of a jar

1 package udon noodles

½ cup liquid for deglazing – water or stock

peanut or veg. oil

In frying pan (I’m using a Teflon), add a teaspoon of oil, coat the bottom of the pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the noodles, arranging them in a single layer. You want as much of the noodle in contact with the bottom of the pan. Let cook for 3-4 mins. Do not move it around. You want the noodles to get crunchy and brown. Once they’re done you can just take the pan off the heat and put aside.

In a wok, heat up 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat. Place chicken in a single layer, uncrowded onto the bottom of the pan. Again, don’t be messing with it, you want it to brown. Let cook for 2-3 mins before turning the chicken pieces until their nice and golden brown and then turn over and brown the other side. Once cooked, removed to a bowl and keep covered.

Add a touch more oil if needed, return wok to heat and add ginger. Stir fry for a few seconds and then add the cabbage. Stir-fry for a minute, then add the roasted veggies and the chicken back in and cook for another 2-3 mins. Move the chicken & veggies to a side of the wok and dump in the black bean sauce. Let the sauce heat up for a minute before mixing with the veggies. This allows the sauce to cook and caramelize a bit and that helps bring out the fermented black bean yumminess. Deglazed with liquid and thicken with a cornstarch slurry if you want.

I like the serve the noodles and the veggies beside each other so that pan-fried noodles maintain their crunchiness. Even in a doped-up state, I made this in less than 20 mins.


Even though I could only chew and taste on one side of my mouth, it was so good. DH loved it. He loves anything in black bean sauce. I could serve cardboard in black bean sauce and he’d probably eat it.

This is a total yin-yang dish. The sweetness of the roasted veggies helped balance the saltiness of the fermented black beans. You had the different crunch factors of the cabbage and the pan-fried noodles play up nicely against the soft texture of the roasted vegetables and the meaty chicken. And of course, the darkly-sauced veggies and chicken visually play up nicely against the white udon noodles.

Now, if you wanted to, you could make a double batch of this and have some for a soup version of this dish the next day. When I say soup I mean nothing more than heating up a couple of cups of chicken stock, dumping in the leftovers and simmering for a few minutes. That's my idea of fast food ;)



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