Wednesday, February 20, 2013
I have some moments of extreme panic when I think of leaving all of this behind (despite the fact that we have no plans to leave anytime soon) and feel myself drawn to the kitchen to hopefully recreate a dish or two to be able to always carry this cuisine with me, no matter where I go.
With the cold temps and even colder wind blowing through these parts lately my biggest craving has been huge bowls of ramen. We are lucky to live very near an excellent joint in our neighborhood called Chuko that I find myself drawn to over and over again (if you make it there yourself don't miss out on the kale salad as well as the ramen--probably my all-time favorite salad ever). Last night, however, I decided it was time to try a version of my own.
Shoyu ramen tends to be my favorite--I love the salty, unami filled broth, but I also love anything involving pork so decided to do a blend of styles based on a recipe from David Chang in the first issue of Lucky Peach (the tare recipe is basically his). It also involves mostly ingredients I could find at my local grocery store (where we don't have a huge spread of Asian ingredients). My favorite thing about this recipe is that it is really very easy to play around with and change based on your own taste preferences. The ingredient list looks large and intimidating, but it really isn't much hard work--just a bit of waiting time.
Pork and Soy Ramen
(serves 3-5 depending on add-ins)
For the broth:
1.5 lb. pork necks
1 TB oil
2 carrots, peeled and cut into a couple of pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
1 onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
white and light green parts from 1 bundle of green onions
1/4 c. dried mushrooms
2 large sheets nori*
10 c. water
*many ramen recipes I found called for konbu, which is an edible kelp. Since I couldn't find any in my local grocer I decided to add a bit of "sea" flavor with sushi wraps. These broke apart a lot during the cooking but were mostly strained out through a fine mesh sieve after the broth was finished. The tare for this soup is so dark that I didn't mind the darker color of the broth.
Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot add the pork neck pieces. Sear these on all sides until they have a nice brown color all over. Then add the remaining ingredients to the pan. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat to low and allow the mixture to barely simmer for 3 hours. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and skim off any fat/scum from the top.
For the tare:
(recipe adapted from David Chang's Lucky Peach)
.25 lb (1 medium piece) of pork neck
1 TB oil
1/2 c. sake
1/2 c. mirin
1 c. soy sauce
2 slices thick cut bacon, cut into thirds
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Add the pork neck and sear until it is nice and caramelized and dark brown all over. Remove the pork neck from the pan briefly and turn the heat off momentarily. Add the sake to the pan (careful as it will pop and splatter a lot) and stir to deglaze the pan and pick up the porky bits stuck to the bottom. Turn the heat back on and add the pork neck back to the pan along with the remaining ingredients. Bring the liquid to the barest of simmers and then turn the burner to the lowest heat possible and cook for 1 1/2 hours. You don't want the mixture to really reduce--you are just infusing the flavor into the liquid. Then strain, allow to sit for a little bit of time and then skim the fat layer off the top.
Once both the broth and the tare are finished you are now ready to mix them together. I like an extra strong, salty broth so I used all of the tare. I would suggest adding a bit at a time and tasting to make sure you have a soup base to your liking. If you want it even stronger you could add even more soy sauce, fish sauce, mirin, etc. to the liquid for flavoring.
Now you are ready to build the ramen:
noodles (I used these, which are about 3 cups and are fresh/mostly cooked. If you can't find anything similar you can just use the noodles from a couple of packages of instant ramen without the seasoning packages)
bok choy, shredded
green tops of green onions, sliced
meat (perhaps braised pork, cooked ground pork, chicken? I used thinly sliced smoked duck breast that I get at my farmer's market)
poached or soft-boiled eggs
Cook the noodles: I cooked mine for a couple of minutes in the broth, but you could cook them separately, drain, and then assemble.
Take a large, deep bowl and place a pile of the cooked noodles at the bottom. Top with any of the ingredients you would like and then spoon over a good portion of the broth. If using, top with a poached or soft boiled egg. Add some heat with chili garlic oil (recipe below). Serve with chopsticks and a large spoon. Feel comforted and warm and happy as you lean over the bowl to devour and the broth facial invades all of your senses.
Garlic Chili Oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 t.+ red chili flakes
1/3 c. olive oil
Place all of the ingredients into a small saucepan. Place over low heat and slowly cook, stirring frequently, until the oil is infused and the garlic has become very slightly browned and crispy. Remove from heat and use to stir into your ramen.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
April Bloomfield's Oyster Pan Roast (from John Dory Oyster Bar)--if I died today, I would be happy that at least I had gotten the chance to eat this. One of the best dishes I've had, perhaps ever. This recipe from the NYT gets you pretty close to the actual dish served at the restaurant. I'd add a bit of butter at the end to finish it off.
Honestly, though? Just buy A Girl and Her Pig already. There's not a bad thing I've tried from this one and it is all simple, lovely fare that you can't get enough of (yes, even the veal kidneys. No lie.).
While we are on the subject of cookbooks--please also pick up a copy of Plenty from London's Ottonlenghi. You won't ever struggle with eating vegetables ever again. One of the best cookbook purchases I've ever made.
Corn with Miso Butter and Bacon from Savour Fare. She takes a slightly complex David Chang recipe and simplifies it so it is a breeze to prepare and let me tell you--you will be buying every ear of corn you see from here on out to make this again and again.
So, so easy refrigerator pickles from A Way to Garden. For some reason the husband and I have been on a pickle binge and these may be the best ones yet.
Brown Butter Tomatoes from food52. Can you even call this a recipe? Somehow, though, the caramel notes of the cooked butter coating the fresh tomatoes will make this one of the greatest simple treats you've tasted all summer long.
What have you been loving lately?
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Despite the sun beating down today, I had a wonderful walk over to Bklyn Larder, Fermented Grapes, and the grocery store for ingredients for tonight's dinner. I love knowing the neighborhood so well that I know where to stop for which particular products, and love knowing that many of the shop workers recognize me as well. The sense of community is strong and it feels great to belong to that. Between the gorgeous weather, the friendly neighbors, and the sense of opportunity on the horizon, it is a damn fine day (plus I get to finally have dinner with the husband again after a couple of crazy busy weeks).
These ribs are an excellent way to pass a perfect summer evening--lots of flavor from the soy and fish sauces, wonderfully tender with just enough bite, and the low oven temps help keep your home cool. Enjoy them with friends to make the experience complete.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
In Kansas I remember many an evening perfumed by burning charcoal, the char of meat, a warm breeze on the air and the sound of laughter and conversation mingling together. It was never fancy or fussy and often was the result of a last minute phone call as an invite. You would be asked to maybe bring some meat and a side. Often it was as easy as swinging by Dillons to the deli department for some prepared potato salad or baked beans, or for a bag of chips, packet of hot dogs, and beer. As amazing as the grilled burgers and hot dogs tasted, the meal wouldn't be quite the same without the sides: some coleslaw, deviled eggs, etc. They made the event complete.
This is my attempt to recreate one of those summer evenings inside my NYC apartment. The meat isn't grilled, but it is deeply flavored and served on a toasted bun--just the sort of thing you'd crave at a barbecue. And served alongside (or right on top of that pulled pork if you are doing it right) is a crisp, easy coleslaw flavored with the warm notes of Chinese 5-Spice. Paired with a super cold beer and a few friends, and you can almost feel the grass under your toes and hear the locusts buzzing in the trees. Summer on a plate.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
From Serious Eats: Quick Poached Asian Pears
From Baked Perfection: S'more Cookie Bars
From Vanilla Sugar (and maybe one of my favorite things I've eaten this winter): Mushroom Bisque with Crispy Shallots
From Saveur: Sauteed Ramps and Bacon
From Jaime Oliver via The Kitchn: Milk Braised Chicken
From Furey and the Feast (seriously, wow): Gorgonzola and Leek Creme Brulee
From Giada de Laurentiis: Chicken Piccata
Monday, July 27, 2009
Thankfully these zucchini are still all over the place at the markets. Paired up with earthy shitake mushrooms and tart sherry vinegar they make an uncomplicated tasty dumpling.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
As I wandered around the Union Square market on Wednesday, I decided I would make a simple stir fry from the veggies I collected. From the market I purchased onion, green peppers, sugar snap peas, zucchini, and garlic scapes. I decided to buy some red peppers and mushrooms from my supermarket since I love them and couldn't find them at the market and add them to the mix as well. I sauteed them all in a pan with a little oil over high heat and added some already cooked, chopped chicken (leftover from the night before's quesadillas), and a simple sauce. I served it over some white rice and dinner was ready.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Thai Chicken Pizza
1 pizza dough, any brand
1/2 cup duck sauce or plum sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 package (2 cups) shredded provolone or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 rounded tablespoonful peanut butter
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning) eyeball it
4 chicken breast cutlets, 1/2 pound
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1/4 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 scallions, chopped
1 cup bean spouts, a couple of handfuls
Palm full cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, 2 ounces
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Form pizza crust on pizza pan or cookie sheet. Top with duck or plum sauce - spread it around like you would pizza sauce. Sprinkle the pizza with some crushed red pepper flakes then top with cheese and peppers. Bake until golden and bubbly, 15 to 17 minutes.
Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine vegetable oil, soy sauce and peanut butter with hot sauce and grill seasoning. Use the microwave to loosen up peanut butter if it is too cold to blend into sauce, 10 seconds ought to do it. Add chicken and coat evenly with mixture. Let stand 10 minutes then grill chicken cutlets 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until firm. Slice chicken into very thin strips.
While chicken cooks, mix honey and vinegar and add the cucumber. Turn to coat evenly.
Top the hot, cooked pizza with chicken, scallions, sprouts and cilantro. Drain cucumbers and scatter over the pizza. Garnish pizza with peanuts, cut into 8 wedges and serve.
I also made a cake. I admit that I used a box cake mix, but I made the frosting homemade!! I just didn't know the ingredients for a homemade cake off the top of my head and didn't want to go to the store again later. The frosting is one of my faves!
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 cup hot water
To make the Mocha Frosting: In a large bowl, combine shortening with vanilla. Blend in half of the confectioners' sugar. Blend in 2 tablespoons milk. Repeat with remaining confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons milk. Mix in approximately half of the cocoa.
Dissolve the 1 tablespoon instant coffee into 1 cup of hot water. While still warm, pour two tablespoons of the coffee into the frosting mixture. Mix in remaining cocoa. Add coffee mixture, a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved. Fill and frost cake.