XOXO Noodles You’ll Love Long Time.

As I type this post, I am in my room with a glass of red wine, hiding from the terror that lurks in my living room. Christmas Classics is playing on tv. Along with my fear of miniatures, I also can’t take claymation. (or dark libraries, the eighth floor of Macy’s, people with Dutch accents, or people who don’t believe in Bloody Mary.) Or, I just really wanted to lay in bed, blog, work on my wino status, and tweet. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

I may actually be hiding from the cookies I just baked, though. They smell like the sweet, sweet, breath of Willy Wonka right after he made out with Sara Lee. The more distance I put between me and the cookies, the better. I have a hard time holding back. This is true in so many areas of my life, just ask my therapist. Oh wait, she won’t tell you. SCORE. Now you’ll never know about how I sometimes like to run around major sporting events wearing fake nipples just to see what the overgrown boymen do. I sometimes eat too many cookies.

When I’m not showing off the headlights-er, eating cookies, I DO manage to make a savory meal or two. The cop had requested noodles with XO sauce some time ago, but I am fairly good at putting off recipes that require days of prep and lots of ingredient sourcing. Which is to say, I just make other stuff and ignore his request.

I finally gave in last week and started sourcing the ingredients for the XO sauce. They are expensive. They are hard to find. They smell and look peculiar to people who aren’t Asian. But the sauce is utterly worth it. I have written this recipe to have less expensive and easier to find options.

Chinese Buckwheat Noodles with Arugula, Cilantro, Green Beans, and XO

noodles serves 4-6, sauce 12-18

XO sauce

  • 4oz dried shrimp (these are readily available and not that pricey
  • 4 oz dried scallops or 2 oz dried octopus and 2 oz dried abalone (the scallops are way expensive, if you don’t want to splurge, or source them, use the alternatives)
  • 4 oz chopped chinese sausage
  • 4 oz chopped raw bacon (I use Chinese bacon–also hard to source)
  • 1.5 Cups of oil (canola or grapeseed)
  • 3 oz minced ginger
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 2T  red pepper flake
  • 1T Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 3T soy sauce
  • half of a large onion

place scallops and shrimp in separate bowls and fill with water to 1″ above the seafood, let stand overnight and drain and refrigerate in the morning. In your food processor, pulse the sausage, shrimp, scallops, and bacon until nearly minced. Set aside. After you empty your food pro, add the ginger and the garlic and onion and mince. In a  REALLY BIG, heavy bottomed pan, bring 1 cup of oil to ripple on medium high. Add in the garlic, ginger, and onion and saute until translucent. Add in the 5 spice and red pepper flake, saute 1 more minute. Add in the 5 spice powder and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to high and add the meat mixture. Add the soy sauce and remaining oil and bring to a simmer. Back the heat down to med-low and cook for 45 minutes stirring every 3 minutes.

For the Noodles

  • 1 pack of buckwheat lo mein
  • 1 lb of green beans, topped and tailed.
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro
  • 1 C of chicken stock
  • 1T soy sauce

Cook noodles to package directions adding in the green beans for the last three minutes of cooking. Remove, drain, and rinse with ice cold water. In the empty stock pot, add back the noodles and green beans and add the stock and soy sauce, bring to a simmer turn off the heat. Add in the arugula (or watercress) and cilantro. Toss. Add in about 3/4 -1 C of the XO sauce and toss. Serve with lime wedges, crushed peanuts, black vinegar, chili garlic oil, or whatever you fancy.

The XO sauce can be kept in the fridge for 1 month or the freezer for 1 year. Store left over dried shrimp and scallops in an airtight container. Remaining Chinese sausage can be frozen or boiled and then chopped with scrambled eggs and scallions with oyster sauce over rice.

This recipe is a bitch. I’m not going to lie to youMarti, but it’s worth it. Coincidentally, this is the same thing I tell myself at minute 40 of spin class when I am sure I no longer have calves and that my ass is ACTUALLY on fire, and not from hemorrhoids or my penchant for leaning on radiators.

Sometimes cooking, like working out, is as much or more about the high you get from completion as it is about the actual act. A lot like childbirth, but with less blood, less pain, fewer nurses and crappier drugs. So maybe nothing like childbirth. More like spin class.


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