The Marinade:1/4 c. sesame oil 3 Tbsp. dark sesame oil 7 Tbsp. soy sauce 3 Tbsp. Chinese black or balsamic vinegar 3.5 Tbsp. dark brown sugar 2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. chili oil 1 Tbsp. minced ginger 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 1/4 c. chopped cilantro

The Noodles and Veggies: Salt 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed & thinly sliced on diagonal One bu. carrots, julienned 1 14-oz. package thin Chinese egg noodles 10 scallions, incl. firm greens, thinly sliced 1/4 c. sesame seeds, toasted until lightly browned

Mix together marinade ingredients, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring a lg. pot of water to boil. Add salt & asparagus. Cook until bright green & tender but still firm, just a few mins. Scoop out asparagus, rinse under cold water & set on towel to dry. Pull the noodles apart with your fingers, add to boiling water, & give a quick stir. Boil until tender but not overly soft, tasting them often as they cook. It should take only a few mins. Pour noodles into a colander & immediately rinse under cold water. Shake off excess water. Toss noodles with all the marinade & most of the scallions, sesame seeds, & asparagus. Mound them in a bowl or on a platter, then garnish with remaining asparagus, scallions, & sesame seeds.

adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.