I spent the majority of New Year’s Day cleaning out my “junk room/cat litter room/throw as many random boxes in a room and kinda sorta shut the door so I don’t see how incredibly disgusting it is” room. Which meant breaking down close to 50-60 cardboard boxes that I had conveniently stuffed into one another over the course of the previous year, making at least three trips down to the cardboard-designated dumpster in the parking garage (which also meant a series of acrobatic-style maneuvers to unlock my apartment door, open it, press the “down” button for the elevator, and then take as many large steps as possible to get to the bin itself) holding an awkward pile of large fragments of cardboard. I remembered why I had procrastinated doing this for an entire year. I vaccummed and scrubbed the floor. Clogged the vaccumm cleaner in the process and then fixed it (sort of). I was sweaty and gross and kept thinking I had cat litter in my hair.
After a long (very long) hot shower and a change into forgiving sweat pants and a comfortable hoodie sweater, I returned to the room and just stood there, feeling accomplished and completely satisfied.
There are a lot of really amazing feelings in this world, but one that tops my personal list of favorites is the one that I feel when I finally finish something like this.
Now, I want to get a small bookshelf and a comfy chair and make it a quiet reading room. I also had the momentum going and started the consuming process of organizing my closet. I’m purging. It’s all good.
This Vegetable Lo Mein is another kind of purging kind of dish. Yes, it’s mostly clean eating. There’s lots of fresh vegetables in here, and you can modify this recipe as you see fit. But it’s warm and comforting and totally good for you (P.S. the leftovers are even better, in my opinion.) Perfect after a lot of really hard work.
Vegetable Lo Mein
Servings: about 4
1/2 lb. fresh Chinese egg noodles (**I used these, from Annie Chun. In my opinion, they are way easier and more convenient to use than trying to hunt down freshly made noodles. I found them in the refrigerated meat alternative section of my grocery store, next to all the tofu. And I used an entire bag-which was two packets of noodles.) If you choose to use fresh egg noodles, visit the recipe source at the bottom of this page for further instructions.
4 tablespoons peanut oil
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced lengthwise
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise thinly
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar. Set aside.
2. Heat a large sauté pan or wok until very hot (over high heat) and add 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil.
3. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook just until tender, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add the mushrooms and zucchini and continue to stir-fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
5. Carefully transfer the vegetables to a separate plate.
6. Return the pan to high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of peanut oil.
7. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 5 seconds.
8. Add the noodles and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
9. Return the vegetables to the pan, add the sauce, and continue to stir and toss until all the ingredients are heated through, about 1 minute.
Source: Barely adapted from Williams-Sonoma.