I’m wondering why my rice noodles don’t get as flavorful as the ones I get at a restaurant. My sauce is a mix of oil, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar and lime.

I soak my rice noodles for 45 minutes and then add to the pan with the sauce and vegetables, but my finished product is very pale, the noodles are too light and the sauce is too thin.

Have you tried adding cornstarch and water to your sauce? It will create a thicker sauce that will probably cling to the noodles better.

You would make a slurry with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch about 2 tablespoons of water, then mix that in with the other ingredients.

In terms of the noodle color, it probably has to do with the sauce the restaurant is using as well as the method of cooking.

Restaurants stir-fry noodles at a very high heat, which contributes to the lovely golden brown color.—Lisa Lin

I’m thinking of doing a meatball bar for a party—with a big batch of meatballs with rolls and cheese (for sliders), fried polenta, broccoli rabe and garlic bread. Any other sides/ideas that would work for this?

Maybe also some soft polenta for meatballs to go on top?

A red sauce and pesto or chile verde kind of sauce?

A big batch of sauteed greens (mix of leeks, chard and onions)? —Bonnie S. Benwick

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