Friday, February 3, 2012

Vegetable Chow Mein & My New Job

So I recently started a new job.  Very recently in fact.  On Wednesday to be precise.  I haven't wanted to say anything because everything was so overwhelming and stressful.  I'm still not going to say very much because it is still very stressful and overwhelming, but I'm going to start my 3rd day today.  Let me start first by saying that I lost my job at the beginning of the year as a private chef.  I had worked for the family for 6 months as their private chef and  had a good time doing it.  I loved the people in the family- they are all very nice.  It was just very far away - 1 1/2 hours each direction from Brooklyn to Queens.  I had to take the train from my house, transfer to another train at Times Square, take that train to the end of the line in Queens and then take a bus to get to their house.  I was only working there 4 hours a day, four days a week, which was great, but the commuting was atrocious, especially if the train was operating on a weekend schedule.  I had to wake up at 5 am to get there by about 7:00 am and by the time I got home, it was like putting in a full 8 hour day, but getting paid for 4.  It was nice to have a lot of free time when I did get home, but also very tiring.  We decided to temporarily stop the cheffing because the family was having too many outside commitments that would keep them out of the house for too long, and they consequently wouldn't be home enough to eat the food I prepared.  It was all very sudden and I panicked about not having a constant source of income and living in nyc.  It's damned expensive here!  So I started looking immediately. 

On the 5th I found an ad on Craigslist (where I've found most of my jobs since moving to ny), responded, and heard back within a couple days.  It took 1 1/2 weeks to actually fit our schedules together (I was of course starting on my dreaded jury duty at the time!), I heard back from them several days later and was offered the position!  Yay!  It's at a co-op in Brooklyn, is a 15 minute walk away (no $104 metro card per month!) and pays competitively.  I am of course managing the food departments.  There has never really been a supervisor there before, so there is a TON of stuff that has to be fixed and discussed as well as policies and procedures created and implemented.  It is also a salary position that requires long hours (Hubbs doesn't like that!).  So believe me, I have my work cut out for me. 

Also, during the next couple weeks, I have to familiarize myself with the department, which means I have to work all of the shifts, from opening at 6 am, to closing at midnight.  Once this is done, my schedule will stabilize and I can get back to some semblance of normality.  Tonight is closing.  And let me tell you, I have not worked so late in over 6 years, so we'll see how the walk back home through Brooklyn is at midnight (grimace).  It's a lot lot lot of work, but I'm sure it will all work out.

Anyway, my reason for saying all of this is that I likely will not be putting up complicated or involved recipes lately because this new job is exhausting.  So, I'll be putting up some simple recipes or other recipes, I've partially typed up and neglected lately.  So, this is a simple recipe I had the Hubby start (meaning bringing the water for the pasta to a boil) when I worked the mid shift yesterday (finishing at 8 pm).  So it came together very quickly, which was much appreciated by both of us!

Vegetable Chow Mein:

Tasty and Simple!

Serves 4

1/2 bunch chow mein noodles, cooked in salted water until al dente

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 bunch broccoli, separated into florets
1 celery stalk, julienned
1 carrot, julienned
1 medium onion, julienned
3 tablespoons tamari
1 1/2 tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 pinches cayenne pepper
sesame seeds, for garnish

1.  In a large wok over high heat, add the olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the broccoli and saute, stirring frequently for 2 minutes.  Add the celery, carrot and onion and saute for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. 
2.  Lower the heat to medium.  Add the cooked chow mein noodles and toss to coat with the veggies.  Add the tamari, mirin, toasted sesame oil, black pepper and cayenne pepper.  Toss very well to coat.  Season to taste with more tamari if desired.
3.  To serve, place a portion of the chow mein on a plate, top with the sesame seeds and more tamari if desired.



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