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Homemade Miso Ramen

29 Sep

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After spatchcocking a chicken the other night (recipe here), I saved the backbone to make a chicken stock.

To make a light chicken stock: Place the backbone and a few other chicken bones/discards into a pot with a chopped carrot, onion, and celery stalk and cover with water. Let it come to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour, partially covered. Drain the solids out and you get a beautiful homemade chicken stock. Salt to taste. Skim some fat off during simmering or after refrigeration.

I was contemplating a recipe to make that would let the homemade chicken stock shine, and my boyfriend suggested/challenged me to make ramen. Genius! Sometimes I need a little outside input to get my creative juices going again.

And guess what? Making ramen at home was not as scary as I thought it would be.

Granted, I made a somewhat simplified version compared to what one might find at a Japanese ramen shop, but I appreciate my less salty, vegetable-topped ramen for it’s purpose as an amped-up dinner at home. Having the chicken stock already prepared from the day before saved me a lot of time, too.

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I cooked all of the components of the ramen dish separately, but I was multitasking the whole time and only used 2 pots in the process. As the miso broth was simmering, I made 7-minute eggs* and set them in an ice bath while I steamed some broccoli and boiled my ramen noodles (eggs, broccoli, and noodles were all cooked in the same pot at different times). I kept everything separate until serving.

To serve the ramen, I placed cooked noodles in the bottom of a serving bowl. Then I ladled in hot broth and placed egg halves and vegetables on top.

*This was also my first time making a medium or 7-minute egg. It was so good, I need to do this more often.

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I had broccoli and greens on-hand at home. Use whatever seasonal vegetables you want. Also, you could add some ground pork or chicken to this recipe after sautéing the shallot/garlic/ginger. Cook until no longer pink and then add the miso/bean/sesame and follow the rest of the recipe.

Homemade Miso Ramen

adapted from Just One Cookbook

makes 2-3 servings

For the broth:

1 shallot or a small onion

2 garlic cloves

1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons white miso paste

1 teaspoon fermented black bean paste (not super spicy) or chili bean paste/La Doubanjiang (spicy)

1 tablespoons crushed sesame seeds

4 cups chicken stock, homemade if you have it (or vegetarian stock or water)

Noodles:

2 servings of packaged ramen noodles (do not use any of the powders or sauces that come with)

Toppings:

7-minute boiled eggs

steamed broccoli

fresh greens

more “authentic” might be: pickled red ginger, nori (seaweed), bean sprouts, corn, scallion, Japanese chili oil, pork or chicken

Directions: 

Finely chop the shallot and garlic. Mince the ginger with a microplane.

Heat the sesame oil in a pot. Add the garlic, shallot, and ginger and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the miso, bean paste, and crushed sesame seeds and stir. Add a little of the chicken stock to deglaze the pan and smooth out the miso paste, then add the rest of the chicken stock and stir. Simmer this while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

-Make your eggs. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Set two eggs on a large spoon and gently set them into the boiling water. Set the timer for 6 minutes, then spoon the eggs out of the boiling water and into an ice bath.

-Next, set a steamer over the same water you used to boil the eggs. Steam the broccoli, covered, for about 4 minutes. Set aside.

-Using the same pot you boiled the eggs and steamed the broccoli in, bring water to a boil and cook the ramen noodles for about 3 minutes.

To serve:

Spoon cooked ramen noodles into serving bowls. Ladle the miso broth on top of the noodles. Place your toppings–eggs, steamed broccoli, fresh greens–over the broth and noodles. Enjoy!

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

15 Aug

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I just made a batch of Smitten Kitchen’s Maple Cluster Granola. She uses an egg white in her recipe as a protein “glue” that creates wonderful clusters. Genius. Since I have a “nothing to waste” attitude, I saved the yolk and immediately made room in the freezer for my Cuisinart ice cream bowl.

As I was putting the container of fresh-baked granola away in the pantry, I re-discovered my bag of Culinary English Lavender (grown in Long Island). With lavender, a little goes a long way, so I always have what feels like an endless supply of purple buds.

And so, Honey Lavender Ice Cream.

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I just got back from a trip to visit California’s Bay Area and Sierra Mountains. Lavender seems to grow wild there, and in many other places, so if you have fresh lavender accessible, skip the purchased bag and go pick some!

This ice cream smells and tastes like a delicate flower, in a good way. I am almost tempted to lather a cold honey-lavender-ice-cream-mask all over my face, but the temptation to just eat the ice cream is much greater.

(psst…since we are on the subject, have you ever tried Dr. Bronner’s Lavender soap? It’s my favorite!)

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Pair the ice cream with fresh strawberries or white peaches. Or serve it over your favorite summer fruit crumble, cake, or pie.

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Find more Figs in my Belly ice cream recipes and flavors in the Recipe Index.

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

adapted from Bakeology by Lisa, using David Lebovitz technique

I used 1% milk and one fewer yolk than the original recipe because it was convenient for me and a touch healthier, without compromising on taste or texture

  • 1 cup milk (I used 1% milk, but you could use whole if you want)
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons culinary lavender
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks (large or extra large work fine)

Place the bowl of an ice cream maker in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

Place the milk, salt, honey and lavender in a small pot and heat, stirring with a rubber spatula, until just scalding. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the mixture infuse for one hour.

Meanwhile, place the heavy cream in a bowl and place a mesh strainer over the top. Set the bowl of heavy cream into a larger bowl. Surround the larger outside bowl with ice water.

After an hour, re-warm the milk/salt/honey/lavender mixture. Mix the egg yolks in a small bowl. Very slowly and stirring constantly with either  a whisk or a rubber spatula, pour some of the milk mixture (about 1/2 cup) into the yolks.  Pour this mixture back into the pot with the remaining milk mixture. Continue to cook the custard over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Once thickened, pour the custard through the mesh strainer into the bowl of cream sitting in the ice water bath. Stir everything together and let it sit in the ice water bath until the ice cream base is chilled. Once chilled, refrigerate the mixture for a few hours. Churn it in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Home Fries

28 Jul

My friend and her family generously gave me some of their surplus potatoes and home-grown herbs and onions a few days ago. When I got home, I set to work steeping an ample bunch of lemon balm leaves with lemon verbena tea bags to make a pitcher of iced tea. Then, I graced my kitchen with cilantro-studded home fries.

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When I lived in the Bay Area, I used to be okay with battling the crowds and going out for a big weekend brunch complete with eggs, home fries, maybe a muffin, and always coffee.

Oh, New York. Why does it seem like every brunch place here serves french fries with eggs? There is the occasional potato pancake or limp hash-brown, but rarely, if ever, a home fry. Maybe I just live in the wrong part of town for home fries? If anyone out there has a good spot for New York City breakfast potatoes, let me know. Until then, you can find me in my kitchen on weekend mornings, creating what I feel is a proper weekend breakfast.

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The trick to making these home fries at home is to use the microwave (if you do not have a microwave, you can boil your potatoes first). Wash the potatoes, chop the potatoes, and place the potatoes covered in the microwave. This gets them par-cooked before they hit the pan to get crispy outside and remain soft inside.

The second trick is to cook the onion separately from the potatoes and to add the onion back in at the end. Since the potatoes cook much longer than the onion, taking the onion out and then adding the onion back at the end prevents the pieces from charring.

Naturally, home fries are excellent with eggs. If the season is right, I recommend slicing some baby tomatoes in half, salting them, and mixing them in with the eggs. I scrambled my eggs, but a poached or a flipped egg  with the runny yolk seeping into the potatoes is another option. If you are not into eggs, home fries + beans or home fries + fish or home fries + sausage or home fries + salad are a few of many ideas.

Sprinkle with a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Hot sauce optional.

Home Fries

recipe from the always reliable and lovely Smitten Kitchen

makes about 4 servings

You can use all butter, or you can use a mix of canola oil and butter. I dialed down the butter slightly compared to the original recipe. Like me, start with less, and add more if you like. 

1 1/2 pounds potatoes

1 onion, chopped

3 tablespoons butter, divided (or a mix of butter and canola oil)

salt and pepper, to taste

optional: fresh cilantro

Arrange potatoes in large microwave-safe bowl or large plate, top with 1/2 tablespoon butter, and cover with another plate. Microwave on high until edges of potatoes begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes, shaking (without removing the cover plate) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking.

Meanwhile, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in large skillet (I used non-stick) over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter (or do half butter half canola oil) in the now empty skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and pack down with spatula. Cook, without moving, until underside of potatoes is brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn potatoes, pack down again, and continue to cook until well browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring potatoes every few minutes, until crusty and golden on all sides, 9 to 12 minutes (at this point, if you are making eggs to go with your potatoes, start them now). Stir in onion and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cilantro, if using.

Breakfast at Bartavelle in Berkeley, CA

28 May

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This place is a real treat. If you are looking for a good coffee and a bite to eat in Berkeley, Bartavelle is not to be missed.

I am almost always in the mood for a thick slice of avocado toast (sprinkled with olive oil, lemon, sea salt, and marash pepper), especially when paired with a soft boiled egg. The Persian breakfast was very light and fresh and included organic lebneh, feta, cucumbers, fresh herbs, za’atar and seasonal cherry jam, served with Acme pizza bianca.

Bartavelle is located where Cafe Fanny used to be, right next to Acme Bread on San Pablo Ave. and Cedar St.

While I am nostalgic for Cafe Fanny’s poached eggs and cafe au lait in a bowl, Bartavelle is quickly filling that ache.

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Oatmeal “Protein Pancake”

22 Dec

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I made a mini batch of (black pepper) ice cream last week that required three egg yolks. But what was I to do with the leftover whites?

Pondering my options, I remembered my friend Amy making this peculiar “protein pancake” for herself in college. I finally decided to investigate.

This is not your typical pancake. There’s no flour; just oats, egg whites, baking powder, and spices. Add some mashed banana (or any other kind of fruit) to the “batter” for a little more body.

I made this twice for breakfast last week. The first time (see the picture below), I did not put any fruit in the batter and cooked it in a tiny dash of coconut oil.

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My first attempt came out a bit pale and dry, but after lubing it up with a hefty amount of maple syrup and sunflower seed butter, I was very happy.

My second attempt…

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…came out just right. I added half of a banana, mashed, to the batter and sautéed it in butter (I used just shy of 1/8 of a teaspoon, so not that much at all). The edges were golden, and the fruit gave the pancake a little more oomph.

This oatmeal “pancake” is full of protein, whole grains, fruit, fiber, and healthy fat. A great way to use up leftover egg whites, but really just a great way to kick off the day.

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Prepare the batter the night before to save time and soften your rolled oats. Or, prepare the batter first thing in the morning, set the water to boil for coffee and get yourself dressed. When you come back, the batter will be ready to cook.

Note that you can change the ratio of ingredients. If you want a smaller portion, use 1/4 cup oats and 1/4 cup egg whites. Or you can go bigger and use 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 cup egg whites. After making the pancake once or twice, you will easily get a feel for portions and you can be looser with the measurements.

Oatmeal “Pancake”

adapted from Kath Eats and Carrots ‘n’ Cake

serves 1

Ingredients

1/3 cup oats, rolled** or quick

1 large or extra-large egg, or 1/3 cup egg whites (from about 1-2 eggs)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

cinnamon, to taste

optional: 1/2 mashed banana, or 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree, or orange zest

optional: 1 teaspoon chia seeds (helps to thicken)

Directions:

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes or so. **If using rolled oats, you can mix together the night before so the oats soften.

Spread a touch of butter or oil onto a heated skillet, and pour the batter in while shaping it into a large disc “pancake.” When you can shake it around in the pan, it’s time to flip. ++You can also do two mini pancakes instead of one large one. Cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Once cooked through, top with syrup, nut/seed butter, jam, yogurt, or fruit…endless possibilities.

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Oatmeal Protein Pancake, prepared the night before. In the morning, just pop the pancakes in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, place them back into the to-go container, add toppings and fruit, and run out the door! Yum.