Upping Your Ramen Game

Every spring my university (West Texas A&M–Go Buffs!) would hold a Ramen Contest. As I can recall (but granted, it’s been a few years), there were probably about 10 or so categories into which you could enter your recipes, such as appetizers, desserts, most creative, healthiest, cheapest, etc.

For kids living off the stuff, this contest was a great way to either show off one’s Ramen culinary skills and/or pick up new and exciting ways to enhance your hum drum Ramen life.

Fast forward a few years couple of decades and I now live in New York City, where I was introduced several years ago to proper Ramen. O-M-G. The freshness of the veggies, the rich broth, the creaminess of the soft boiled egg–it was heaven. But also a bit of a splurge, as I never even dreamt of making it at home.

Then something magical happened. Over New Years–when I was visiting C&T in Florida–Christi made this amazing chicken ramen. And like the stuff I get in The Village, it was truly wondrous and I may have had two bowls. Okay, so I had two bowls and seriously contemplated a third until more wine & dessert distracted me.

However, I watched Christi make it and, while it was hands down one of the best meals I’ve eaten, it took a long time and a lot of prep work to make the magic happen. So, I threw it into the “too hard so I’ll just let Christi make this for me” basket and went about my life.

Several weeks later and still thinking about it, I decided what the hell, I was going to give it a try, but hoping I could find an easier recipe that was just as delicious, but a whole lot faster. Enter Pinterest, where you can find tens of thousands of ramen recipes. They all looked amazing, but most were just as–if not more–complicated as Christi’s recipe. And then I found it: Easy Homemade Ramen Bowls.

Winner Winner Ramen Dinner!

I scanned down the list of ingredients, which were thankfully minimal and decided to go for it. As I’m shopping for a few things that I didn’t have on hand, like ramen noodles and sesame oil, I called Christi to tell her I was trying a new (and infinitely easier) ramen recipe, at which point she begged me “I know how you are with recipes and thinking you need to modify them, but please, please, please follow the instructions otherwise it’s going to be awful.” Thanking her for the vote of confidence, I finished my shopping and went home to start cooking.

With the exception of substituting bok choy for the carrots, adding a splash of chardonnay (I couldn’t help it!), and including jalapeños and fresh cilantro in my toppings, I followed Dana’s recipe to the letter (you can find her original recipe here!) and it was so delicious and so easy!

Truth be told, I enjoyed Christi’s chicken ramen more, but Dana’s allowed me to have a delicious and healthy dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes, so it’s now become a staple dinner in my household. It’s so easy to throw together and customize to your taste there are absolutely no excuses to not up your ramen game.

Killing Thyme’s Easy Homemade Ramen Bowl (as adapted by moi!)

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 head of baby bok choy (or spinach, but personally I prefer crunch of bok choy), trimmed and cut into thick slices
  • 4 cups veggie broth (or chicken or even beef but DO NOT EVER EVER EVER make ramen without using broth)
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Very generous dash of white wine (I find chardonnay, viognier, and dry rielings pair well with ramen, especially if you like your ramen on the spicy side!) + more for drinking [you have to–it’s in the recipe! 😉 ]
  • 3 Tbsp (or more to taste) soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp (or more if you like it hot!) Sriracha
  • 2-3 bricks of Ramen (depending on how soupy you like it–personally, I prefer less broth, so I use more noodles. also, if you’re buying ramen with flavor packets, throw the packets out!)
  • Sliced scallions for topping
  • Sesame seeds for topping
  • Sliced jalapeños for topping
  • Roughly chopped cilantro for topping
  • Soft boiled eggs (I make 1 per person)
  1. In a small saucepan, fill with water and a dash of salt and bring to a boil. (NOTE: I usually start the water and then skip down to complete Steps 3-5 before actually adding the eggs to boil.)
  2. Once the water is boiling, carefully add eggs and boil for 5-7 minutes, depending on how soft you want your eggs (I like mine at 5 minutes, but that grosses most people out). When cooking time is up, place in an ice bath for a couple of minutes to stop the cooking process.
  3. In a medium dutch oven (or sauce pan), heat sesame oil and olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, and simmer until fragrant. Do not brown the garlic otherwise (Dana advises) you’ll get a bitter flavor.
  4. Splash in the wine and then add mushrooms, simmering until mushrooms soften, about a minute, stirring frequently.
  5. Add broth, Sriracha, vinegar, and soy sauce. Stir and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer for about five minutes. Taste and adjust by adding more Sriracha and soy sauce if needed.
  6. Add the bok choy (or veggies of your choice) and cook for about 3-5 minutes. I don’t time it, I just look at how wilted the bok choy is getting.
  7. Carefully place the Ramen noodles into the pot of simmering broth and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until tender.
  8. Crack and peel your eggs and then slice them in half.
  9. Carefully transfer the soup and noodles to bowls, and add your toppings.
  10. Grab your bowl, your chopsticks, your wine, and, as Dana advises, fall into a state of bliss.

Bon appetit!

 

Sunday Comics: Happy, Uh, New Year!

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know that January is nearly over.  But it’s not yet–so I have a few more days before wishing someone a Happy New Year because my procrastination is in full swing becomes embarrassing (and even when it is embarrassing, I just drink more and ignore it).

You gotta love friends:  I have been nudged by nearly all of them about me neglecting all of you–ranging from a passive “I don’t think I’m getting your email updates anymore” to aggressive “Why the fuck aren’t you writing” comments.

I know, I know!  The truth is, I have been writing–just of the book (gasp! yep, I said it) variety.  It is a travel humor book: a collections of stories I have accumulated over the last 25 years of traveling.  I have 2 more stories to type up and then I think my very first rough draft is done!  Also, because apparently I’m a glutton, I’ve started piecing together a cookbook, which will be a collection of favorite recipes.

Apparently, I like collections.

Regarding the blog, I could apologize and proffer promises of a “new year, new me bullshit” but we all know that’s not me  (well, the promising yes–just not the doing!)–and in the spirit of Sunday Comics, found this little gem on Pinterest (because aside from Netflix, what better way is there to procrastinate?!?!?!?!).

resolutions

Happy, Uh, New Year!

 

 

Put A Stick In It!

Pretty much since the arrival of Lucille and the discovery that–with the right accessories–she could make ice cream, I have wanted an ice cream maker.  Not necessarily that ice cream maker (I’m open to seeing other ice cream makers), but I do love making ice cream…in part because I love eating ice cream, especially homemade ice cream, and in larger part because it brings back great memories of sitting on Grandpa & Granny’s porch watching Grandpa crank the ice cream maker, waiting eagerly for him to sneak us a spoonful before Granny would put it in the freezer.  I also have heard that right now Aldi in the Twin Cities has a great deal on a 2qt ice cream maker…you know, just in case you live, work, or are traveling through the Twin Cities and decide that your Minnesota souvenir of choice can also be an integral part of your kitchen.

But this isn’t a post about ice cream.  This is a post about a well-loved cousin to ice cream: the popsicle.  A more portable version, easier to make, already-portioned-out-so-you-don’t-eat-the-entire-2quarts-in-one-sitting summer staple.  What started this mild obsession?  Well, awhile back, I saw this recipe for Orange Creamsicle Yogurt Pops from Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food and realized that not only did I have all the ingredients on hand, but that this might be the answer for my yearning for an ice cream maker.  I accepted this as fate–and the sign of a genius plan!–when the other day I was out and about and found a popsicle mold for only $4.  Done and done!

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While waiting for them to freeze, I did what anyone would do: I got on Pinterest to look for more recipes.  Actually, I also blame the Fudge Bars from Whole Foods temporarily residing in my freezer because, well, it would also be AWESOME to have fudge bars without going to the store!

So when you type ‘popsicle’ (why limit yourself to just fudge?) into the search box of Pinterest you get about 3 days worth of pins. I found a wide variety of recipes for fudge popsicles (hellllllooooo, Nutella pops!), complicated fancy ones that look pretty and sound amazing, but fall into the Too Hard Basket (such as blackberry ombre popsicles or coconut/salted caramel/chocolate with almonds–but if you decide to make these, personally I think it should be pistachios), über-easy/healthy ones (aka put fruit in a mold and fill with coconut water), and my new favorite: the adult beverage ones.  WHAT THE WHAT?  This is just further proof this really was a genius plan!

It started with this Peaches & Cream recipe from Tutti Dolce (who seems to be a connoisseur of popsicles, as several of my popsicle pins are from Laura!). I clicked on this one because it’s summer and I almost always have peaches on hand.  In reading through the recipe, this caught my eye:

1 1/2 Tbsp crème de pêche (peach liqueur)

Liqueur?  Oh yes, please, and thankyouverymuch!

So then (and this is how Pinterest sucks you in), I start actively searching for adult popsicle recipes and realize that there are a lot of lushes kindred spirits (pun intended!) out there!  Sangria, Bourbon, Tequila, Prosecco…I’m quite certain you’d be hard pressed to find something without [insert your favorite adult beverage here].

I then did what any pinner would do: I created a board.  Not just for the adult popsicles, although I do appreciate your faith in me that I would could do that.  I even included a few of the Too Hard Basket ones, mainly because they are pretty and maybe complicated popsicles are your thing.  I mean, I don’t judge.  Who knows…perhaps–if given the appropriate amount of champers–I might be prompted to try one of them….until giving up in a huff and just sitting on the couch, drowning my sorrows in another bottle of champers while waiting for the easy adult popsicles to freeze.  What?  It’s the most likely scenario.

But back to popsicles….inquiring minds want to know: what’s your favorite?


 
Happy summering!

PS–if you’re interested, here’s my Put A Stick In It Pinterest Board.  If you already follow me on Pinterest, you’re welcome for the plethora of popsicle recipes in your feed 😉 And, of course, I’m always looking for more great recipes if you wanna share your favorite popsicle recipe!

Peachy Keen!

I love scones.  Probably the best scone that I’ve ever eaten was a bacon, cheddar, & chive scone.  I mean, c’mon–it is bacon and cheese!  But that’s not why we’re here today.

Peaches.  Peaches are why we’re here today.  We are (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) smack dab in the middle of peach season!  To me, peaches are–along with watermelon–are the very embodiment of summer.  So when I found the recipe below on Pinterest, I just knew I had to try it immediately.

They were, in a word, scrumptious.  As per usual in my house, I substituted plain greek yogurt for sour cream and used half & half instead of heavy cream.

Oh and in case peaches aren’t your thing (Sissy, I’m talking to you!), I’ve also tried them with cherries instead and they are equally amazing.

I only ask you do yourself a favor: just make a double batch!

A huge THANKS! to Michelle at A Latte Food for sharing this wonderful recipe!

bon appétit!

Peach-Pie-Scones-29

Peach Scones with Vanilla Glaze

Peach Pie Scones with a Vanilla Glaze
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 16 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 Scones
Ingredients
Scones
  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed and cold
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh peaches, diced
Vanilla Glaze
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1-3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
Scones
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Once combined, cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Whisk together heavy cream, sour cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.
  • Stir in the peaches, and mix until just combined.
  • On a well-floured surface, turn out the scone dough and pat into a small disk that’s about a 1/2″ thick. Cut into 6-8 slices, and transfer to the baking sheet. Brush each scone with just a bit of heavy cream.
  • Bake for 16-18 minutes, or just until golden brown. Allow to cool.

Glaze

  • Whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 Tbsp of heavy cream. If the glaze is too thick, continue adding in heavy cream, one 1 Tbsp at a time, until it has reached the desired consistency. Pour over warm scones and enjoy!

http://www.alattefood.com/peach-pie-scones-with-a-vanilla-glaze/