Spicy Vegetable Platter

1/3 cup sesame seeds

Toasted Sesame and Angel Hair Pasta Pancakes (see related recipe)

4 tablespoons clarified butter (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon sesame oil

4 stalks celery, julienned

4 to 5 medium carrots (about 1 pound), peeled and julienned

1/2 cup chopped cilantro (about 1/3 bunch)

1 large sweet green bell pepper, cored, seeded and julienned

1 large sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded and julienned

1 large sweet yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and julienned

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and julienned

1/4 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 to 2 teaspoons dried red-pepper flakes

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Place the sesame seeds in a heavy, ungreased skillet over medium-high heat. Shake pan occasionally to keep seeds from scorching. Heat until seeds begin to pop; immediately scrape seeds from pan into a bowl. This makes more than needed for remainder of recipe. Toasted sesame seeds may be poured into a jar and stored at room temperature for about a week, or frozen for several months.

Proceed with preparing 6 Toasted Sesame and Angel Hair Pasta Pancakes as described in accompanying recipe; set aside on a cookie sheet in a 250-degree oven to keep warm.

In large skillet or wok, heat the clarified butter and the sesame oil. Add the celery, carrots, cilantro, sweet peppers, onion, mushrooms, garlic and red-pepper flakes. Stir-fry over high heat, until all vegetables are tender but still slightly crisp. Add the soy sauce and 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds; toss well to evenly coat vegetables.

To serve, place a noodle pancake in center of each of 6 dinner plates. Evenly divide stir-fried vegetables among plates, arranging them on top of noodles. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

CLARIFIED BUTTER: Place 1 cup butter (2 sticks) in a small saucepan and gently melt over low heat. Skim off foam that forms on top, then slowly pour clear liquid into another container, leaving milky solids in bottom of pot. Store unused portion in refrigerator. Makes about 3/4 cup.

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