Miso Ramen, aka Cooking Redemption

note:

All the recipes I used are found on Just One Cookbook. Nami has one of the best cooking websites I’ve ever read; she makes fantastic videos to go with the recipes, too.

Last summer, my husband and I spent a long (unplanned) time in New York City. For two months, like a record with a skip, we tried to leave and were compelled to stay. It was —- something.

There were, however, a few really cool side benefits, one of which was an Honest to God ramen shop a half block from us. Geoff and I became *hooked* on ramen. (For something like an explanation of how ramen can soothe the soul, I recommend “The Ramen Girl,” a sweet movie with Brittany Murphy.) Since we’ve returned home, we have missed the ramen.

So…. This weekend, I made Miso Ramen. I was nervous returning to the kitchen after the egg curry episode. I wasn’t proud of that dish, and I was concerned that I had lost my cooking mojo.

I feel much better now.

miso ramen

miso ramen with chashu, ajitsuke tamago, and pickled ginger

I was careful to follow Nami’s excellent instructions for making ajitsuke tamago, or ramen egg. These are the soft-boiled eggs which are then marinaded and used as a topping on the ramen. I made these the day before and they came out beautifully.

ajitsuke tamago

ajitsuke tamago, or ramen egg

Our local stores don’t carry pork belly, so I used pork loin to make the Chashu. Aside from nearly setting the house on fire when I added the pork to the heated oil in the pan, it too came out succulent and tender. (I supposed I accomplished the “searing” step after all LOL)

Chashu

Chashu

It can be tricky finding ramen noodles to use. You can use the noodles from the instant packets (just toss the flavoring packs). I found some noodles by Kame yesterday and used those. They were very good.

Overall, these recipes were fun and enjoyable – during the cooking and the eating. Now, we can have wonderful ramen at home!

last note:

I received no promotional stuff; all opinions are my own šŸ™‚

Egg Curry with The Book Club Cook Book Cooking Crew #thebookclubcookbookCC

One of my friends from high school is an adventurous cook (see this post where I mention her). Camilla is a delightful source of encouragement and ideas in the kitchen and when she asked who would enjoy participating in a year long cooking project, I immediately jumped at the chance. Here’s the link: How To Participate — Everyone is Welcome.

This month is the first round of recipes. Using The Book Club Cook Book, each host selects a book and recipe for that month. Each of us then creates something in our kitchen either using the recipe listed in the cook book or another inspired by it or the novel on which it is based. The book this month is Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. The recipes are egg curry and mango lassi.

In the final story of the collection, our narrator makes this dish for his bride after she travels from India to Cambridge, MA. Realizing the enormous leap of faith she makes coming so far from home to a man she has only met briefly, he makes for her the only dish he knows to try to give her comfort. Personally, this story (“The Final Continent”) is my favorite in the book.

I began to research “egg curry” online and learned that there is no one recipe for it. In fact, it varies from household to household. It is however considered to be both a resourceful empty-pantry dish and a true comfort food. The recipe I chose to use includes a significant amount of grated ginger and potatoes. As ginger is one of my favorite flavors and the Irish in me can’t imagine a comfort food without potatoes (unless it’s beer. or pad thai. or a burger. or—), I decided to use the website recipe in stead of the cook book recipe.

I hard-boiled eggs ahead of time, and sliced up several potatoes. I liked the idea of adding potatoes to the dish to give it a little more substance. Eggs are delicious, but they can leave me wanting when they aren’t coupled with something else. Maybe the Irish in me just can’t imagine a comfort food without potatoes… Either way, the added potatoes and ginger are why I used the recipe from the website.

Both the eggs and the potatoes are initially prepped and flavored separately. After preparing them separately with a combination of boiling and / or frying, and after separately grating ginger and a tomato (!!!), eventually everything gets added together and cooked all they way through.

egg curry final step

Conclusion:

There were a lot of steps involved for a dish which is supposed to be quick and simple. I don’t mind recipes that demand attention and detail, but I did hope for more flavor and variety of texture after having done all that work. The recipe in the cookbook did not have nearly as many steps — I should have stuck with that one.

egg curry

Please visit the other bloggers participating in the project! These are wonderful sites – great ideas, beautiful pictures, and funny to boot.

Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Tortillas and Honey

Adventures in All Things Food

A Day in the Life on the Farm

The Spiffy Cookie

The Pajama Chef

Life on Food

Cheese Curd in Paradise

Mostly Food and Crafts

Things I Make (for Dinner)

Giveaway
And to kick-off the event, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla, this month’s host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

One of our lucky readers – US and Canada only! – can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authorsby Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy ofTarcher-Penguin.Giveaway runs from July 1st till July 31st at 6 o’clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: Camilla received a complimentary copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp to use in this year-long project plus the opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Routine

We don’t really have schedules in our family. We have routines, sure, lots – but schedules don’t usually stick. I’ve learned to roll with it, sometimes a little better than others. My husband and our daughter both have a difficult time with sleep. Well, okay, so do I, but not in the same ways. It comes when it comes, and often not during the usual sleeping hours. In both Geoff’s and Bella’s cases, this is not stubbornness, but part of the physical conditions they both live with.

 For Bella, ADHD can make it hard to sleep. During the school year, we can keep a fairly even keel,  it during the summer, I give her a little more space. She doesn’t have to be anywhere at anytime, so I let it slide.

For Geoff, the Lyme/ ME/ MS combo is so unpredictable and traumatizing that we never know what to expect or when. It’s frustrating for all of us, but nothing effects it – not schedules, not routines, not medications. Usually, he’s nocturnal. 

Of course, the dog and I aren’t. At least, not anymore. While I’m not a morning person, I am up and ready for coffee securely in the AM, hours before the rest of my family.

We’ve worked out how to let each other sleep or wake without disturbing others. But sometimes, there are wrinkles. Last night / this morning is one of them. I slept in the downstairs back room last night because the air conditioner upstairs froze. I came out this morning, and Geoff is sound asleep in the recliner and Bella is passed out on the floor of the dining room. Our house is small, so it’s pretty much impossible to do anything without waking them up. So, Cerby and I are outside on the front steps getting some sun before it gets too hot to be outdoors. All those chores can wait, after all.

I know for many people, our fly by night “routines” are maddening, but for us – we roll with it and enjoy what we have.

You have to pick your issues. And when and where everyone sleeps and wakes is not actually all that important, compared to other things. And they are pretty adorable right now, sound asleep where they are.

Outdoors

The past few days have not involved any hikes in our local national park. Instead, we’ve been focusing on running on the street where we live.

I’ve always hated running. It hurts. It’s hard. It’s sweaty and uncomfortable. But, Geoff and I agree that we want our daughter to participate on the cross-country team this Fall. She needs the exercise and the experience. I don’t want to ask her to do something I wouldn’t do, so….

I’ve started running. And what do you know, I’m beginning to enjoy it. Each time I run our street, I see something new and beautiful, and I find that being outside combined with the challenge of running does wonders for my state of mind.

The street we live on runs along a lake and river. There used to be a mill across the river from us, back when this was a prosperous mill town. That was a long time ago, though, and now it’s just a bigger-small town in Maine. What this means for us is that we live in an area full of gorgeous scenery — most of which is still affordable for the average Joe. A few miles away, things get pretty fancy pretty fast, but where we are, life is still real.

The Movies for Geoff I’m attaching today are ones captured just outside our door or just down the street. They’re pretty low-tech, but still neat.

Dessert Hack

Here’s the ugly truth about me: while I do love to bake and cook from scratch, sometimes I’d really rather…. not. Sometimes, I just want it easy and brainless and done. Before I begin participating in the yearlong Book Club Cook Book cooking projectĀ steered by Camilla**, it’s important to come clean. I believe we should understand the limits of those who offer advice and how-tos… and therefore, I need to be straightforward about some of mine.

I am not a Cook. Camilla, for example, is a Cook. Sometimes, I want to capitalize all four of those letters when I think of her. She does the CSA, forage for food, farm to table, organic, free range, food so fresh it talks back to you. Personally, I’m not that brave. I love to read about her adventures, but I’ll only go so far myself. Also, I’m in Down East Maine where winter lasts 8 months out of the year and the infrastructure is deliberately ignored to discourage casual interlopers. (It’s a New England thing. We do want your tourism, but……)

Now, I’m not bad in the kitchen. Not calling myself a “Cook” is just my way of acknowledging that you’ll never find me on a Food Network contest. I burn stuff, and sometimes myself. I use my rice cooker every week. And every once in a while, I take a shortcut.

Like today.

dessert hack 3july2015

A little over a year ago, I made a version of the chocolate stout pudding on Camilla’sĀ website.Ā It was awesome. I couldn’t use my wrists for a week afterwards from all the whisking, but it was so, so worth it. (That pudding is NOT the hack.) My family raved and gushed and — It was good.

Here’s something I learned not too long afterwards:

My kid loves instant Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate pudding and a Keebler graham cracker premade crust *almost* as much, and it takes 5 minutes to make if you’re unorganized. (THIS pudding is the hack.) Honest to God it takes more time to open the packages than to whisk and refrigerate. And she LOVES it. So, dessert hack. Kid thinks I slaved and I get Best Mom Ever points — and I can do this before morning coffee or on a commercial break.

**The Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew is a yearlong project and ANYONE can join in. For details, please seeĀ here.