Thursday, March 29, 2007

Deep down,, I harbor a love of lo mein noodles. Chock full of veggies and tasting sweetly reminiscient of soy sauce and sesame oil, they remind me of my childhood when "take out" Chinese Food from the local Chinese restaurant was a real treat. But in this grown up world of trying to eat healthily, lo mein is an indulgence that I rarely treat myself to.

This recipe attracted me simply because it seemed to be the best of both worlds. Made with real lo mein noodles, it seemed closer then any "fettucine" fried noodle stand-in. And, because it came from Cooking Light, I knew it would be healthier. And these noodles were surprisingly tasty. The bath of sesame oil and soy sauce after the noodles cook gave them the authentic mouthfeel of the higher fat lo mein noodles I recall so fondly. And the addition of the edamame and the greens makes the dish both filling as well as good for you.

M. actually made this one. He reported that once the prep was finished, it came together quite quickly. We made a couple subs - dried shitaake for the wood ear mushrooms and lacinato kale for the mustard greens. But otherwise, the reecipe was executed as written. The bok choy dish on the side was M.'s creation. He prepared a stock of veggie broth, garlic, shallots, ginger, and a few other ingredients. After simmering the ingredients for about an hour, he used them to bathe and cook the bok choy (as well as season the salmon M. prepared for himself on the side).

Vegetable Lo Mein with Edamame and Mustard Greens

Mustard greens' peppery bite contrasts with tender, fresh Asian egg noodles. If you can't find them, substitute fresh pasta such as vermicelli or spaghetti. The leftovers are tasty served warm or cold.

1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup dried wood ear mushrooms
2 quarts water
3 cups chopped mustard greens
1 (14-ounce) package fresh Chinese egg noodles
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 1/4 cups (1/4-inch-thick) red bell pepper strips (about 1 medium)
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans), thawed
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Combine 1/2 cup boiling water and mushrooms in a bowl; cover and let stand 15 minutes. Drain mushrooms in a sieve over a bowl, reserving soaking liquid. Remove and discard stems. Chop mushroom caps; set aside.

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add greens, and cook for 1 minute or until greens wilt. Remove greens from water with a slotted spoon. Plunge the greens into ice water; drain and squeeze dry. Set greens aside.

Return water in pan to a boil. Add egg noodles, and cook for 2 minutes or until done. Drain and rinse with cold water, and drain well. Place noodles in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and sesame oil, tossing to coat, and set aside.

Heat canola oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger; stir-fry 5 seconds. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, onions, and garlic; stir-fry 2 minutes or until bell pepper is crisp-tender. Stir in greens and edamame; stir-fry 30 seconds. Stir in reserved mushroom soaking liquid, noodle mixture, remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and hoisin sauce; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)

CALORIES 339 (26% from fat); FAT 9.8g (sat 1g,mono 4.1g,poly 3.2g); PROTEIN 15.8g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 73mg; SODIUM 710mg; FIBER 4.9g; IRON 2.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 47g

Cooking Light, MARCH 2007

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