The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

Sorry, I know I've been a bit absent. We finally moved completely into our new little house and the old one is history! Unfortunately, the computer was one of the last things to go because we didn't yet have internet at our new place and thus, no posts. You have my sincerest of apologies. But now I'm back!  Onto today's post. The first post and photos done in our new place! Anyway, one day, in the big city Anchorage while shopping for our new couch I stopped to get some quick dinner . Shopping really takes it out of me and I needed something totally delicious to take my mind off the task at hand and refresh my decision making skills. I decided to stop at New Sagaya (a local health food/ethnic grocer) to see what they had available. 

What I found was a vegetable chow mein. Not my usual lunch fare, but I thought what the heck. Sweet sassy molassy! Upon tasting these mind-blowing noodles I asked myself, "Why haven't I been eating chow mein every damn day of my life?" 

Since that very fateful day (we did find a couch too, afterall) I couldn't stop thinking about the chow mein. I knew I needed to make it myself. So, I lowered my standards. Like, super low. So, sooo low. I'd never made it before! Well, when my chow mein was done and I tasted it...it was exactly like the one I had bought at New Sagaya, albeit less greasy, which I was very pleased about. It was uncommonly delicious.

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

There are a few tips and tricks regarding this recipe that will indeed gift you with the best chow mein you've ever made.

- First, I did a little research on chow mein noodles by consulting America's Test Kitchen to find the best type to use. They recommend the tangled chow mein noodles as opposed to the straight kind and be sure they are not fried! You'll want dried noodles as well, not fresh. I read that if you're not blessed with finding said noodles, to substitute regular dried linguine instead. I know, sounds crazy but ATK has never let me down. 

- Second, undercook those little chow mein mofos. Trust me. Not normal ol' al dente, they should be even more underdone. There is a lot of sauce in my recipe (I admit, this was 90% by complete accident) but the undercooked noodles will soak it all right up and they will be the perfect texture and have the perfect taste. I know, genius. Even if a little by accident...

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

So, prepare to amaze your friends, family, and yes, even yourself with your awesome ability to create the most perfect vegetable chow mein. These perfectly textured noodles are infused with a homemade Asian sauce and tangled with sauteed Napa cabbage, carrots, and rich Shiitake mushrooms. 

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein
Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein
Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein
Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

Serves 6-8

  • Sustenance:
  • 1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted (or 8 oz. fresh)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or canola oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large carrots, matchsticked 
  • 1 medium Napa cabbage, chopped
  • 2 6 oz. packages of tangled chow mein noodles, dry (not the fried kind!)
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced on the diagonal 
  • Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. vegan sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
  • dash of crushed red pepper
  • sesame seeds (for garnish)

Notes & Tips: It's important to use the right noodles! Find the non-fried chow mein noodles that are tangled, as opposed to straight. The noodles should be undercooked. There will seem to be an excess of sauce, but the undercooked  noodles will soak it all up!

In a medium bowl, add the dried mushrooms and cover with a substantial amount of boiling water. Allow to rest until ready to use, at least 20 minutes. 

In a very large rimmed frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-low. Add the garlic and saute for a couple minutes, until fragrant. Now, add the carrots and saute about 3-5 minutes, while preparing the cabbage. 

Add the cabbage and saute until almost tender and wilted. This can be done in batches if the pan won't accommodate all the cabbage at once. 

Meanwhile, bring a very large pot of water to boil. While the water is coming to a boil, whisk together the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl or measuring cup.

When ready, remove the mushrooms from the water with a slotted spoon. Slice and add to the veggies.

Add the noodles when the pasta water comes to a boil and cook only 3 minutes. They need to be undercooked. Drain and add to the veggies along with the green onions. Stir well to combine. 

Pour the sauce into the noodle/veggie mixture and continuously stir over medium-low until the liquid is almost completely gone. It'll be ready when the noodles start to stick to the bottom of the pan a bit.

Remove from heat and serve hot, garnished with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

OoooOooooOooooo....

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein
Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

German Word of The Day: Absent --> abwesend (ahp-veeis-nt)

Good Deed of The Day: Help Free the "Sentosa 25" from Resort World in Sentosa SingaporeTwenty-five bottlenose dolphins that once roamed free and wild are now facing a life of captivity and sadness as permanent residents of Resorts World - Sentosa, Singapore. These dolphins were captured in the waters of the Solomon Islands and are now being kept in the Philippines while the new facility at Resorts World Sentosa is being built. Two of them have already tragically died.

 

Creamy Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup

If I ever get to death row...what? It could definitely happen, that's all I'm saying. I'm a pretty irritable person. Anyways, this is the meal I would ask for. No joke.  Try as I might, I can't figure out why it's taken me this long to share my all-time favorite, favorite, favorite recipe! I've even made it several times since I started this blog in April. I've also made it for Todd's family, who lives in Ohio, twice. While visiting, all us kids had to go on a grandadventure for ground cardamom. One of my favorite spices ever, I guess it's just not that hot in Ohio. Instead of buying a bottle for $13 we ended up getting only the amount needed for the soup, from Whole Foods in the bulk section for a quarter. Man, I wish we had a Whole Foods up here in Alaska. Sad face.

In August, coconut milk, spices, and even lemongrass paste were trucked all the way to Turks and Caicos (I still haven't posted any pics! Sorry!) That's 22 hours of flight time from Alaska! Just to make this soup. It's that good. I'd do anything for this soup. Okay? That's the the reality of it. 

I can't say whatexactly it is that I love so much about it. Just all of it. The combination of such aromatic spices, creamy coconut milk and hearty lentils is just...the best damn thing ever. Throw in a little sweet (sugar), a little sour (lemon juice) and some greens of course (kale) and there you have it. The best meal eva.

It might not look like much, but it's the best thing I've ever eaten. 

Creamy Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup

Serves 6

  • 1 1/2 cup dry red lentils
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3/4 tsp. ground turmeric 
  • 3/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • sprinkle of crushed red pepper
  • pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemongrass paste (or 2 stalks)
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger paste (or minced ginger)
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 15 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 small bunch of kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • juice from 1 small lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. vegan sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 
  • coconut flakes, for garnish (optional)

--Note--Using a different lentil, like green or brown will increase the cooking time. It's time to get onboard with red lentils.

In a large soup pot, combine the lentils and vegetable broth and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil over medium-low in a large saute pan. Add in the turmeric, curry, cardamom, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, and nutmeg.

Saute for about one minute, then add in the diced onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are limp. Add in the lemongrass, ginger, thyme, and garlic. Continue to saute for another few minutes, then remove from heat.

Add the coconut milk as well as the cooked onions to the lentil mixture and stir. Now, stir in the chopped kale, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, over low heat, or until the kale is tender.

Serve hot and topped with a liberal amount of chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of coconut flakes!

Maybe this will be your new favorite dish, too?

Swaying to Vampire Weekend – Step

[yumprint-recipe id='52']This recipe has been adapted many times over. I adapted my verison from Sprouted Kitchen, who adapted it from someone else, who adapted it from a cookbook!

The Best Vegan Eggnog

Todd (in the loft): "What's that cacklin' down there?"Me (in the kitchen): "Heh heh...heee heeeee!" Todd: "You're suuuper excited about something...you remind me of Jacob the Bat Mitzvah Boy,  from SNL." Me: *massive grin and laboured breathing from over-excitement* "You'll see!"

  Meet Jacob here. Especially frames at 1:08, 1:37, 2:08 and 2:40.

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegan Eggnog

You'll never drink eggnog from a carton again. This is so easy to throw together and is totally incomparable to the store bought variety. Quick, simple, no risk for salmonella poisoning, whole foods and no sugar added, you really can't go wrong. Plus, it's incredibly delicious! Why have anything else!? You really have to make this, I cannot get over it!

It's shocking, disturbing and downright upsetting that I haven't been making this my entire life. I can't wait to bring this homemade, vegan eggnog to our upcoming holiday parties!

The Best Vegan Eggnog

Makes about 14 (1/2 cup) servings

  • 3/4-1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes 
  • 2 cups fresh water
  • 1 15 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp. Kahlua or vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. spiced rum (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (optional)

--Notes--   Don't you dare use pre-ground nutmeg. It's a complete travesty! Ill be watching! Just like Santa... For a thicker eggnog, use 1 cup of cashews. For a thinner version use 3/4 cup.  The spiced rum is optional. Three tablespoons is barely, barely noticeable. Adjust to your preference.  The xanthan gum will give the eggnog a super duper thick, smooth and creamy texture. Omit if you prefer your eggnog thinner. 

Place the cashews in medium bowl. Cover completely with boiling water and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes. When the time is up, drain and rinse the cashews then place in a high-speed blender. 

Add in the fresh water and blend with the cashews on high for about 2 minutes or until very well blended and smooth. 

Now, add in the remaining ingredients and blend on high again  for another two minutes or until the dates are completely blended.

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegan Eggnog Produce On Parade - The Best Vegan EggnogI have no preference as to the temperature of my eggnog, but Todd likes his chilled. Serve at whatever temperature you fancy. Be sure to consume within a few days. Because of the whole food quality, this will not keep like cartoned eggnog.

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegan Eggnog

Stir before serving if being chilled. Garnish with additional freshly grated nutmeg.

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegan EggnogMiddle child. Only girl. Listening to Gin Wigmore – Black Sheep

[yumprint-recipe id='50']Adapted from The Chalkboard