You boil about 1/2 pound soba noodles (I just use spaghetti noodles) in a medium pot. While the noodles are boiling, chop 3 big stalks of fresh broccoli (keep them long; it's easier!).
If you love onion, you could also chop an onion into long, thin pieces, but personally, if my kids see onion in dinner the next thing they want to see is PB&J. In a separate bowl, whisk 2 cups beef broth with 2 tbsp Black Bean sauce and 2 tbsp cornstarch (no cornstarch? Use flour).
You get this stuff at Safeway or whatever regular old store you shop at. It's in the aisle with the teriaki sauce and stuff. It's, like, $2 and keep forever. Anyway, whisk it all and set it aside.
The noodles should be done by now, 6-9 minutes later. You want them almost but not totally chewy. Drain and rinse them fast with a little bit of hot water. Don't rinse them too much or you'll wash all the starch off, and that's what's going to make the sauce stick. Put the pan right back on the burner.
As you can see, there's still a little broccoli in there from rinsing that. It's totally ok; it's all going to end up together in a minute anyway.
Add about 1 tbsp olive oil to the bottom of the pan and throw in between 1/2 and 1 lb. stir fry beef (you buy it that way right next to the ground beef). Cook that on hot heat for a minute, add the onion if you're going that route, and cook it for another minute.
Dump the broccoli right on top of the beef and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and let cook for about 2 minutes, until the broccoli is bright green.
Re-whisk the sauce you'd set aside and then pour that on top. Stir it well and bring it to a boil. Add the noodles to that, stir it up and let it cook for about a minute. You might want to add a little soy sauce, or you could just let everyone add it as they want to.
Spoon the whole thing into your pretty little Asian bowls, brew some green tea, and you, my dears, have dinner.
I got these bowls for my 23rd birthday. I have had them longer than I have had my husband or my children. I LOVE these bowls.
If you're really feeling it (or if your children had arts & crafts day all over your dining room table),
you could do what we did and sit on our knees in front of the coffee table. You know, teppanyaki style. We keep it real.
Notes: You could also use chicken broth and sliced chicken instead of beef. I just like beef. You could also throw in water chestnuts or those little mutant corn things that my kids still think you can't eat the middle of. Or you could put rice on it and have for reals beef and broccoli. That's the beauty of it; it's versatile.
The question is: Do you think they ate it? Or, to make it easier, on a scale of 1-10, how much do you think they hated it? 1 being Best. Dinner. Ever. and 10 being We're Called Child Services and the Food Network to tell on you, you horrible, horrible woman.