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Kicking out the takeout

 Always on the go and rely on take out for a good meal? I know, you’ve heard this question before. You’re probably thinking I’m going to lecture you on how bad take out can be. Wrong! I’m just as guilty.

Last minute meals can be a bust. Fast food and take out might seem like the only reliable source to get a decent meal on the table. I’m here to tell you it’s not.

Summer is coming and for my family that means things become more of a hustle and bustle around the house. Meals become last minute and unless we all have the same day off (which seems to be never) we don’t always get to eat together like we have the luxury of doing all winter.

Then there is the other side of the spectrum. Cravings. I call myself a foodie. Not just because I enjoy cooking or eating well but because I know I crave a good meal. Trying to avoid all those temptations like pizza, fried chicken and Chinese food can be hard. Trust me, I hear you.

I would have to say I myself and my family as a whole have been pretty good at steering away from the take out world ( I’m trusting the fact that I am not with every family member on every lunch break. Hint, hint.). But sometimes it happens. Someone, like me, is craving some good Asian cuisine and convinces everyone else that it’d be a great night for take out. It seems as though I always find myself disappointed. Craving not fulfilled. It was too easy to be good.

So I’m here to tell you to throw out all of your take out menus. It’s time to put the stock pot to work for you. Throw it in, stir it up and voila you’ve got yourself your very own bowl of Asian take out. Craving fulfilled and extra dollars in your pocket. What more could you ask for?

Yes. It’s that easy. In fact so simple even I amazed myself. And on top of that I wasn’t even home to see if it satisfied everyone’s bellies. It was great. I threw it together, left it on the stove and rushed out the door. Everyone could eat at their own leisure and I knew that they were all going to have a good hot meal. My mother said she enjoyed it and that was enough approval for me.

Now I’m going to provide you with my very own recipe for an Asian beef noodle soup. It hit every food group and taste bud right on the head. I think this is a great way to get creative too, throw in whatever veggies you have on hand or kick it up a notch with some added heat. You really can take this in any direction. I even picked up a package of chopsticks and some fortune cookies to make it feel more like a take out experience. Plus its fun watching others eat soup with chopsticks.

In the recipe I have provided I did use white wine, please feel free to omit the wine, it doesn’t make or break the recipe or replace it with some sake if you’re going all out. Also I found pre cooked Asian wheat noodles in my local grocery store, if you prefer a rice or udon noodle or already have something on hand feel free to substitute (you could even use good old spaghetti too, works just as good!).

Asian Beef Noodle Soup By Kayleigh Baig

Serves 6
1lb of beef chuck, steak or sirloin, sliced thin
2 32oz.containers beef stock
1 cup White wine or Sake
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots peeled and grated, large hole
4 heads baby bok choy, cleaned and chopped
1 lb of oyster mushrooms, chopped
4 scallions, chopped small
1 tablespoon grated ginger
3 tablespoons Sesame Oil, divided
4 Tablespoons Hoisin sauce, divided
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 14oz. package of pre cooked noodles or if using dried pre cook noodles before serving
A few leaves of basil, chopped fine for garnish
Salt to taste
• Place your thinly sliced meat in a bowl along with 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of the Hoisin sauce and the 3 tablespoons of soy sauce. Mix well and set aside.
• In a large soup or stock pot heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame oil on medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened. Then add the garlic and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add the meat. Allow to cook until all of the meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and bok choy. Sautee for about 5 more minutes. Add the tablespoon of grated ginger, stir well.
• Add the cup of white wine. Let cook for about 3 minutes or until most of the wine is evaporated. Add in the beef stock, carrots and scallions. Stir. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce and the ½ cup of soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add salt or more soy sauce to taste. To kick the heat up a notch add in Sriraca or your favorite Asian hot sauce.
• Add cooked noodles to the bottom of a soup bowl. Ladle beef soup on top and garnish with the chopped basil and a drizzle of sesame oil

Kayleigh Van Vliet Baig
Kayleigh is a sous chef at the Meadow Club in Southampton. A Riverhead native, she is married and the mother of a daughter born in December 2016. Email Kayleigh