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Ramen

Ramen

In honor of nutrition month I would like to show everyone what I like to do with ramen.  For me, instant noodles aren’t a meal.  I wouldn’t even really classify them as a snack because 10 minutes after eating them I’m hungry again.

I started playing with ramen around the time I was in 6th or 7th grade.  At the time I realized I was no longer satisfied with 1 pack of noodles so the first thing I tried was simply eating a second pack.  This worked for a time or two, but then my mind began to wander.  Now, I don’t suggest eating a lot of instant noodles as they really aren’t that great for you.  Yet on the occasion when you find your self being drawn in to their simplicity keep this post in mind.

Now that I live in Hong Kong there are quite a few more options for instant noodles and I have found a new favorite, but this can be done with any pack you prefer.

My pack of choice is the Ajisen Ramen.  The flavoring packs have a deeper taste to them and the noodles tend to have a nicer bite.

They also come in a two pack so it’s great for couples!

 

 

We simply begin by ignoring all of the cooking instructions and boil a pot of water.  (For a healthier version boil a pot of your favorite stock instead and ditch all the flavoring packets!)

Dump out the flavoring packs into a good-sized bowl that you’re planning to eat out of.  When the water (or stock) comes to a boil add about 1/2cup to your seasonings and stir to combine.

 

 

Dump your noodles into the boiling water and cook them until they just start to get tender.  Trust me on this one, if you wait until they are cooked through by the time we’re finished here your just going to have a pile of mush in the bottom of your bowl!  Remove the noodles from the water but keep the water in the pot either using chopsticks or a noodle spoon.

Top your noodles with a handful or 2 or greens.  Dark leafy veggies are an excellent source of nutrition and they are darn tasty as well!  You and boil up some asparagus, broccoli, choy sum, or bok choy ahead of time and add it at this stage as well for an even healthier treat.

My favorite thing to do when playing with ramen is to add an egg.  Today I decided to poach my egg as I’m feeling quite lazy and don’t want to dirty another pan but you can scramble, over easy, or sunny side up if you’d like!  Another option would be to have some hard-boiled eggs on hand.  They make a great snack as well!

If you’re going to poach keep the noodle water, add a teaspoon of vinegar, stir your water, drop in the egg and let it cook for about a minute to a minute and a half.

Scoop out the egg, top up your bowl with water (or stock) and enjoy!

*Side note* You may notice my ramen flavor today is pork bone broth.  This is about as close as this lazy chef was getting to a roast crown of pork to celebrate today’s holiday.  Happy roast crown of pork day!

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Unexpected Feasts

Ever had your day all planned out only to have cash thrown at you and be told you need to make dinner a littler more special tonight?  Well, there is a lot more context that belongs in this story but it’s funnier without it so I’m going to stretch the truth with you knowledge (That’s not lying is it?) and tell you that’s exactly what happened to me.  At 11:30am.  Guests will start arriving at 4pm.

So wait, shop, cook, and have a meal ready in 4 1/2 hours….AND make it special!?!?  I have to admit, I panicked for about 15 minutes until I decided to grab little miss cupcake, head to the store and hope for the best of luck.

The following is what happens if you put me on the spot:

We’ve collected a few mini bottles of vodka and had been meaning to do a side by side comparison tasting for weeks now so I decided it would be a perfect time to bring these out.Of course you can’t just taste a bunch of vodka without anything to eat so our first course was a cheese and charcuterie platter:

The platter consisted of sweet chorizo, parma ham, crottin de chavignol, aged gouda, goose liver pate with sauternes, water crackers, and baked goats cheese stuffed figs wrapped with parma ham (not pictured).

Next up was the “salad” course with salmon 3 ways. (ceviche, pan fried, & smoked)

The mixed greens were tossed in a bit of the ceviche liquid.  The smoked salmon was wrapped around avocado slices and asparagus spears.

Next we had the red course.

Marinated, pan-fried lamb chop.  Oven roasted cherry tomatoes. Seared beef cubes stuffed with roasted garlic and toasted pine nuts topped with homemade demi-glace

Last but not least was a veggie course.Asparagus spears sauteed in butter and black garlic, topped with lumpfish roe.

Of course cupcake pitched in and made us two wonderful desserts.Strawberry & basil parfait.

Follow by the piece de resistace…A sponge cake layered with fresh strawberries and strawberry basil cream.  YUM!!

So after the 20 minutes of panic dinner turned out to be just fine.  In fact, it was pretty good if I do say so myself….and of course I do say so myself.

 

**FYI** Happy pound cake day!

 

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Fettuccine Alfredo

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Happy fettuccine alfredo day!

Alfredo sauce:

1Tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, minced
3 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups heavy cream/whipping cream
1/4 cup milk
100g (4oz) parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and herbs, saute until onions become translucent.

Add white wine and reduce by 1/3.

Lower the heat to medium-low, add cream and milk. Stirring slowly, but constantly until it just starts to simmer. Add the parmesan at this point, stirring until the cheese is melted through the whole sauce.

Serve immediately with fettuccine and topped with your favorite protien. (grilled chicken is an excellent option.)

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Dinner, food, My Meals, Photography, Recipe

 

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Peach Melba

Peach Melba

Happy peach melba day!! (a day late)

January 13th is peach melba day, and although I am posting this on the 14th I promise it was celebrated on the proper day.  Ok, enough excuses…on to the celebration!

A peach melba is simply cooked peaches with ice cream and a raspberry sauce.  I decided to take a crack at it myself as I don’t recall ever having this dessert before.

First I halved the peaches, removed the pits, and simmered them, skin on, in a vanilla syrup for about 3 minutes per side.

Then I removed them and allowed them to cool slightly before removing the skin.

Second was the raspberry sauce.  I kept it simple and tossed a pint of raspberries, 3Tbsp of powdered sugar, and 1tsp of lemon juice into a food processor.  I decided the sauce was a bit thick so I then added about 3Tbsp of port, blended it all together and ran it through a sieve to remove all the seeds.

Next step is to pop the peaches back into the lemon syrup just long enough to get them hot again, assemble, serve, and enjoy!

I saved 3 halves to play with later as I may have an idea for a twist on this classic.

Happy peach melba day!

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Dessert, food, My Meals, Photography, Recipe

 

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Happy Cream Puff Day!

In honor of cream puff day I decided to whip up a quick batch of my own this evening.  Once you’ve got choux paste mastered they are really quite easy.

Cream Puffs

Choux Paste:

55g        Butter
120mL   Water
1/8tsp    Sugar
1/8tsp    Salt
1 splash Vanilla extract
60gms    All purpose flour
2            Eggs

1. Boil butter, water, sugar, and vanilla
2. Stir in salt & flour, remove from heat and continue to stir until the dough is warm to the touch.
3. Add eggs and stir vigorously until a smooth, sticky paste forms.

Scoop by heaping tablespoon fulls onto a parchment paper lined sheet pan, pop into a pre-heated 210C oven for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven immediately, pierce the choux paste shells with a toothpick, and allow to cool completely. (about 20 minutes)

Fill with your favorite whipped cream/custard/chocolate/jam or combination and enjoy!  We sure did tonight!

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Dessert, food, My Meals, Photography, Recipe

 

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Pregnancy safe sushi.

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Tonight I decided to surprise my wife with one of her favorite meals; sushi.  This would normally be a simple task but we are now 7 months pregnant so almost every normal ingredient was out.  This simply posed an excuse for me to get creative.

From left to right we had: chicken terryaki with asparagus, avacado fries with orange bell pepper, ants on a log, caprese salad, and on the bottom is prawn with chives.

I love making and eating sushi. It’s one of the few meals where the focus is on the freshness and preparation of the ingredients. Each individual ingredient has it’s own flavor which is complimented, never covered up or only used to enhance the main ingredient.

Getting the rice correct is so important to making good sushi. I was only halfway successful this evening. My rice was seasoned perfectly but was just a little undercooked. Regardless, I’ll chalk this one up as an overall success!

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Dinner, food, My Meals

 

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Home-made Tau Fu Fah

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It doesn’t look exactly appealing but tau fu fah (bean curd pudding, aka tofu pudding) with its incredibly smooth, creamy texture and refreshing touch of ginger is perfect for a light dessert after a big meal.  You can even have it for breakfast like I did today!

It’s actually quite simple to make.  All you need is:

1 liter of soy milk
1 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp gypsum powder
1/4 cup cold water

Simply bring the soy milk to a boil over high heat.  While waiting for the boil stir together the water and two powders.

When the soy milk comes to a boil remove it from the heat and pour the two liquids simultaneously into another pot, give it a quick stir then cover and don’t even think about it for the next 30 minutes.

Once set this dish is enjoyed by scooping out thin layers with a spoon into a small bowl and then covered with as much yellow sugar as your taste buds demand.

If you don’t happen to have any yellow sugar (like me this time!) Adding a few tablespoons of the following sugar syrup will be an acceptable (and I think tastier alternative.

1/4 cup water
3.5 Tbsp sugar
5-10 thin slices of ginger

Put it all in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionaly.

Enjoy hot or cold!

 

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