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If you’re wondering how the French cooking class turned out, see the post before this one; I added a few pics from the class so you could be part of it all.  Cook that meal!! It was such a fun day. Many thanks to a great group of students.   Come back soon.

A tip-top Asian cook, I’m not. Dave has always been the wokker in our kitchen. (Is “wokker” a word? I fear not. Maybe it’s “wok man?”)  But in recent years, as his work load keeps increasing, he often defers to me for a little blast from China, Viet Nam, Thailand, etc., or a reasonable melange from a couple different lovely Eastern cuisines.  He and daughter Emily always insist they must go out for a Chinese lunch alone because “Mom doesn’t like Chinese food.”  (Whatever the reason, daughters and dads should have lunch alone.)  There’s nothing farther from the truth.  I just don’t like greasy Chinese food or huge bowlfuls of deep-fried whatever the nugget it is covered in slimy-sweet orange sauce.  Now I’ve really got your tastebuds going, right? I’d just rather make it in my own kitchen unless I’m near a fabulous restaurant I’m sure of.  (In Colorado Springs, I’ve been to really few, but am partial to Saigon Cafe downtown or Bhan Thai on Centennial.)

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If I have to say what my favorite Asian dishes are, I’d have to go with noodles or soup… or soup with noodles even.  The comforting heat and fresh herby fragrance wafting up from the plate make me swoon.  This combo noodle-chicken-vegetable dish arrived on our table after I’d seen a very popular, though couple-year old BON APPÉTIT recipe for Sesame Noodles with Chili Oil and Scallions and was dreaming about something scrumptious for Chinese New Year Dinner.  At first I didn’t pay close attention to the amounts of Szechuan pepper plus crushed red pepper, nor did I (silly girl) read the COMMENTS, which indicated a “too much vinegar” feeling. (Not at all for us.)  No tears here, I loved the idea, knew we couldn’t stomach all that heat once I read the recipe thoroughly, and wanted a much more rounded dish at any rate.  Here’s what I came up with…  We ate it warm for dinner, and then ate off it for a couple of days cold. You could have very happy lunches. Heaven.  (above: Rosie and Tucker hoping  for a piece of chicken)

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SESAME NOODLES WITH CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES–HOT OR COLD

6 servings

While this recipe appears long, it’s very quick. Read through it and do it in the order that makes the most sense to you.  Here is the gist of it:    While a pot of water for boiling noodles heats, you cook a half-cup oil in a small pot with green onions, sesame seeds, and peppers.  While that sizzles, you stir fry some vegetables and then some chicken.  Stir up a tahini-sesame oil mixture in the bottom of a big bowl and mix it all together.  This would be a fine, cold dish for a pot luck or a buffet.

Ingredients:  1# angel hair pasta, 6 scallions, canola or peanut oil, crushed red pepper, bell pepper, sesame seeds, 1#boneless chicken breasts or thighs sliced thinly or cut into 1-inch pieces, 1/2 cup each of 4 different chopped vegetables such as onions, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, red bell pepper, bok choy, etc. (for a total of two cups fresh vegetables), 2 teaspoons each minced  garlic, and ginger, salt, pepper, salt, tahini, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil.  1/3 cup each finely chopped peanuts and cilantro,  along with soy sauce for garnish.

Cook’s Note:  Make sure your sesame seeds are fresh as they’re prone to rancidity.

1. Bring a large pot  (8-10 quarts)of salted and peppered water to boil and cook 1 # angel hair pasta for two minutes.  Drain, rinse, reserve.

2. While the water is coming to a boil, make a chili oil: Cook the whites of 6 chopped scallions (reserve the chopped greens for garnish) in 1/2 cup canola oil with 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 tablespoon minced green bell pepper, and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds for 12 minutes or so over low heat  OR until scallions are golden. Be careful not to burn them.  Set aside to cool. (You’ll only use a couple of teaspoons –more or less–the rest can be stored in a jar in the fridge to use later for cooking, use as a condiment or in a salad dressing.)

3.  In a large deep skillet or wok, cook the 2 cups chopped vegetables in a tablespoon or two of oil seasoned with a teaspoon each minced garlic and ginger over high heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened–4-5 minutes– but not cooked through.  Remove to a bowl.

4.  In the same skillet, add another tablespoon of oil, heat over medium-high heat with another teaspoon each minced garlic and ginger, and add chopped or sliced chicken.  Season with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, until chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken to the bowl with the vegetables.

6.  In the meantime, stir together in the bottom of a very large bowl 1/3 cup tahini, 1/4 cup rice vinegar (unseasoned) 3 teaspoons sesame oil,  1 teaspoon sugar, and 2 teaspoons of the chili oil from #2.

7.  To the large bowl with the tahini mixture, add the noodles, vegetables, and the cooked chicken.  Toss well.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more chili oil if you’d like more heat.

8.  Serve in bowls garnished with reserved chopped scallion greens,  peanuts, chopped cilantro, and soy sauce.

DRINKS:  Chinese beer or green tea.

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They don’t say, “Bon appetit” in China, but here are some things they DO say.

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IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MIGHT LIKE MY SHRIMP FRIED RICE AND SESAME GINGER CHICKEN MEATBALL LETTUCE WRAPS POST:

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CHICKEN MEATBALL RECIPE BY JUSTIN CHAPPLE AT FOOD & WINE. Check him out!!

快乐中国新年     Kuàilè zhōngguó xīnnián

(Happy Chinese New Year),

Alyce