---------- Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.04
       Title: Chinese Noodle Salad W/ Roasted Eggplant
  Categories: Appetizers, Chinese, Ethnic, Healthy and, Salads
       Yield: 6 servings
   :          The Noodles & The Marinade
         7 TB low sodium soy sauce
         3 TB balsamic vinegar
         3 TB sugar -- or more to taste
     2 1/2 ts red pepper oil
         8 ea scallions -- mostly white
   :          part,
   :          thinly sliced
         3 TB cilantro -- chopped
        14 oz Chinese noodles
   :          The Eggplant & The Vegetable
   :          Garnish
         1 lb Japenese eggplant
         1 TB ginger root -- 1 1/2 oz.
   :          peeled &
   :          minced
         1    clove garlic -- finely
   :          chopped
   :          Reserved Marinade, from
   :          above
         4 oz snow peas -- strings removed
   :          cut
   :          in narrow strips
       1/2 lb mung bean sprouts
         3 TB sesame seeds
         1 ea carrot -- medium size, cut
   :          in
   :          jullienne
   :          Cilantro leaves -- for
   :          garnish
   Begin by making the marinade. Combine all the
   ingredients (except the noodles) in a bowl, stir them
   together until the sugar is dissolved. Next, bring a
   large pot of water to a boil for the noodles. While it
   is heating, gentl y pull apart the strands of noodles
   with your fingers, loosening and fluffing them as you
   do so. Add the noodles to the boiling water without
   any salt, and give them a quick stir with a fork or a
   pair of chopsticks. Cook briefly until they are done
   but no t overly soft, a few minutes at most.
   Immediately pour them into a colander and rinse them
   in cold water to stop the cooking. Shake the colander
   vigorously to get rid of as much water as possible,
   and put the noodles into a bowl. Stir the marinade
   again; then pour half of it over the noodles and toss
   the m with your hands to distribute the marinade. Set
   the remaining marinade aside. If the noodles aren't
   to be used for a while, cover them with plastic and
   refrigerate them. The flavors, as well as the heat in
   the red pepper oil, will develop as the noodles sit.
   Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pierce the eggplants in
   several places and bake them until they are soft and
   their skins have shriveled, about 20 minutes,
   depending on their size. Turn them over after 10
   minutes so they will bake evenly. When the eggplants
   are done, remove them to a cutting board and slice
   them in half lengthwise. When they are cool enough to
   handle, peel the skin away from the flesh. Don't worry
   about any small pieces of skin that are difficult to
   remove - the flecks of dark purple - brown are
   pretty. Shred the eggplants, gently tearing them into
   1/4 - inch strips.  Add the ginger and garlic to the
   reserved marinade, then the eggplant strips. Turn the
   pieces over several times to make sure all the
   surfaces are well coated, and set them aside. Bring a
   quart of water to a boil with a teaspoon of salt.
   Blanch the snow peas until they are bright green;
   then remove them with a strainer and rinse them in
   cool water. Cut them into long, narrow strips and set
   them aside. Next, put the sprouts in the water and
   cook them for about 30 seconds. Pour them into a
   colander, rinse them with cold water, and lay them on
   a clean kitchen towel to dry. Roast the sesame seeds
   in a pan until they are lightly colored and smell
   toasty. If the noodles have been refrigerated, allow
   them to come to room temperatu re; then toss them with
   the eggplant strips and half the sesame seeds. Mound
   them on a platter, distribute the carrots, snow peas,
   and mung bean sprouts over the noodles, and garnish
   with the remaining sesame seeds and the leafy branches
   of cilantro. Present the salad like this, layered and
   laced with the colorful garnishes, either on a single
   large platter or on individual plates. Once served,
   guests can toss the noodles and vegetables together
   to thoroughly mingle the different colors, textures,
   and tastes. This salad is a combination of recipes
   that were suggested to us by the China scholar and
   cook, Barbara Tropp, author of The Modern Art of
   Chinese Cooking. She thought they would be
   particularly well suited to our vegetarian menu, and
   they are.
   Variations: Instead of sesame seeds, use roasted
   peanuts or cashew nuts. Black sesame seeds can also
   be mixed with the white. In spring, blanched asparagus
   tips can be used in place of the eggplants, and long
   red or white radishes, thinly sliced, then slivered,
   can be included among the garnishes.
   Serves 4 to six.
   Recipe By     : Greens Cookbook/Eric Rose