Archive | October, 2011

Miso Pork Ramen

24 Oct

The ultimate hangover food. Sunday morning started with 2 eggs, fried to perfection, mopped up with challah. A bacon and lemon cheddar scone snack at Kiwiana w. Sam & Ellie. And homemade ramen for dinner.  Now since I was a bit non-functional and indecisive, I kind of winged it on the recipe and prayed for the best. To my surprise, it worked out- deliciously.  I was inspired by a pork miso soup recipe in Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking- a cookbook I bought after I came back from Japan- convinced I would make Japanese food all the time (didn’t happen). The original recipe includes potato and tofu- but no noodles or other toppings. I also scoured various internet recipes, including one from a blog called Tess’ Japanese Kitchen- I mean, how could I not listen to that?  As I am a ramen novice, if anyone has any additions or tips- let me know.

I ended up making a ton of broth- 6 servings maybe.
1 pound of pork (i used pork loin- and cooked it whole, but it but would ideally recommend pork belly. the loin ended up really drying out, excepts near the great fatty cap.  if not, then I think pork butt/shoulder- which you should cut up into chunks before cooking- and allow to cook for longer- about 2-3 hours.  Pork bones etc could also enrich the stock.  Next time, I might also follow my original thought- and use pork ribs- which I think should only take an hour to cook the meat- and you get the added flavor from the bones. Thoughts anyone?)
water
7 tablespoons awase miso (awase is a mixed miso. I couldn’t find- so made mixing half red miso, half white miso)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 package dried ramen noodles (i found these at the corner store. they were packed like spaghetti– not like those 75 cent ramen packs- they used to give out on septa)
3 green onions/ scallions
sriracha or that red chili powder

Toppings of your choice.
spinach (1 package of baby spinach)
seaweed (6 sheets of dried nori)
hard-boiled eggs  (I did 6. One per serving)
bean sprouts (1/2 package, raw)
Put pork belly/butt/loin in a large pot.  Fill up with water, about an inch or so over the pork- I used maybe 8 or so cups of water.  Add soy sauce and mirin. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour (or longer if using butt/shoulder.)  Take off heat. Skim fat off top. Let pork stand in cooking broth for 15 minutes.  Remove pork from pot and thinly slice. With heat still off, whisk in miso.  Add more miso to taste– mine didn’t need additional- but if used much more water, you might.

Meanwhile, prep your toppings.  To hard boil eggs, put in a small saucepan. Add water, covering an inch or two above the eggs. Bring to a boil. Lower, still boiling cook for 9 minutes.  Remove eggs with a slotted spoon. Put in a bowl w. cold water. When cool, peel. You can store unpeeled hard-boiled eggs in fridge, adding as you go. Or just keep peeled, whole eggs in soup.
In a separate pot, boil water. Blanch the spinach (put in boiling water) for 2 minutes until wilted and bright green, then remove to colander. Next- in same water, rip up sheets nori, and blanch until wilts- about 30 seconds, and removed to colander. In same water, boil ramen noodles for 2 minutes (or according to package directions).  Remove to colander.

Place noodles in your bowl. Ladle broth over. Arrange toppings. Add fresh scallions and sprouts. Enjoy.

I think it’s best to store your ramen noodles separately from the broth. Also, as with all broths, best to store without any of the toppings, the first night.  So the next day, you can easily skim the fat off the top. Though i kept the meat in the broth, in efforts to rehydrate a bit.

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Challah

18 Oct

I am so thrilled to have my first guest blogger— Mara Sprafkin!!  This gorgeous recipe- and charts– I am beyond impressed.  Though of course, nothing less would come from this talented artist— check out her site Mara Sprafkin— and her assistant Paul’s blog.

Without further ado… Mara’s post:

I was very excited to guest blog this recipe for Tessa. I tend to use her recipes quite frequently as I have been cooking more and more. I set out to learn to bake bread in September and started with Challah. This may seem complicated but Challah is a relatively easy bread to make by hand. You don’t need bread pans and you probably have all the ingredients already in your house. It is a perfect thing to try if you are stuck in the house for a while. And in the end you get freshly baked bread. And that is it’s own reward.This Challah recipe comes from my mother. It is dated January 15th, 1966 and came from the Temple her family attended when she was a kid growing up in Southern California.

I have adapted slightly for the High Holidays by substituting honey for the sugar, adding raisins and doing a fancy crown braid.
1 packet of yeast (if you have jar and not the packets you can use about a tsp and a half.
1 cup very warm water
1 whole egg
1 tbsp. honey (you can also use sugar)
1/2 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. oil (veggie or canola)
3 1/2  cups of flour (plus more for kneading)
raisins (optional)
1 egg yolk
sesame seeds (optional)
Put the yeast in a large bowl. Add the cup of VERY WARM water, the whole egg, honey, salt and oil and the 3 1/2 cups of flour.
Mix well with spoon and by hand.
Once the dough seems well mixed sprinkle your work surface with flour and knead dough. You probably only have to do this for about 10-15 minutes. You will know when it is done when you have a smooth roundish ball that is not too sticky. If your dough is too sticky (probably will happen) add more flour as you knead.
Wash out the bowl you were using to mix the ingredients with some warm water and dry it.
Place the dough ball in the warm bowl with a little oil rubbed all over it and in the insides of the bowl and cover the bowl with a wet cloth. (I like to wet the cloth with some warm water but you can use whatever is coming out of your faucet.) Let this sit for 2 hours or till the dough pretty much doubles in size.
If you are going to add raisins to your bread you will now need to soak the raisins. Please note that you can use as much or as few as you want. I tend to use about 3 oz. or a pretty large handful. Put the raisins in a small bowl and submerge them fully in water. You might as well just let these sit till the dough is ready. This keeps the raisins from drying out while the bread is baking in the oven.
2 hours later…
Take out the dough and punch it to get out the air bubble.
You can easily divide the dough into 6 parts and make 2 small regular braided loafs or divide the dough in 3 parts and make one big old braided challah.
Or you can get all fancy and make a round crown braided loaf by following my step by step instructions. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.
If you are adding raisins you need to then drain the raisins.
Sprinkle your work surface with flour
Then one piece at a time roll out the dough flat with a rolling pin or the ever handy wine bottle. Sprinkle a quarter of the raisins all over the flattened dough. Starting with one end roll the dough back up into a coil or snake. You can then squeeze the dough to get the coil longer. It should be between 12 and 24″ long]
Do this to each of the 4 pieces so that in the end all 4 coils are about equal in length. (if they are not exact don’t sweat.)
If you are not using raisins you can just skip to here.
Arrange your 4 coils in a criss-crossed pattern like in the first photo.
Moving counter clockwise take the under piece in each ‘set’ and place it over it’s partner directly to the right.
Now moving in the opposite direction take the under piece again in each ‘set’ and place it over it’s partner directly to the left.
Do this until there is nothing left to braid. You might have to pull the dough a bit but that is ok.
When you run out of dough to braid pull all the ends up and pinch them all together.
Flip the whole braided dough over carefully and surprise a beautiful seamless round braid!
Spray a cooking sheet with non stick spray and place the loaf on the cookie sheet.
whisk up the egg yolk and brush it over all of the bread.
If you want to add sesame seeds after the loaf gets brushed with egg yolk you can sprinkle them on top.
Preheat your oven to 350 and place the cookie sheet on top of the stove. (This will just provide a little warmth for the last rising.)
While your oven preheats let your uncooked loaf of bread rise for about 30 more minutes.
Bake in the middle of the oven for about 45 min to an hour.

Vegetarian Chili

4 Oct

So many veggie chili recipes to choose from. This one is from the Frog Commissary Cookbook, which I borrowed from Debby (my sister’s mother-in-law) and was apparently all the rage in the 80’s. The recipe intrigued me because it contains bulgur wheat- which is sort of all the rage now.  Unlike other vegetarian recipes, you don’t feel like you are missing anything here- the bulgur gives the heartiness and even the appearance of meat.  Unconvinced, I tried to un-vegetarian it and add a couple of turkey sausages I had in my freezer- but honestly– I could barely taste it- and would just as soon leave out again next time. Could it be the meat was just not necessary?  Color me impressed.  As Frog Commissary says, don’t be intimidated by this long list of ingredients- they are all pretty basic and you probably have a good deal of them already. By the way- chili is one of those things- that the leftovers taste even better. And don’t forget to top w. some shredded cheddar.

*Note- I made again- as totally vegetarian- so good! seriously no meat required

1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots (3 carrots maybe)
3/4 cup chopped celery (a couple stalks)
2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
1 cup chopped green pepper (1 large)
1 chopped and seeded jalapeno [original recipe called for 2 tablespoons chopped canned green chilis or to taste]
2 cups sliced mushrooms (12 white mushrooms)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (4 cloves)
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
if you require even more heat, you can add a small pinch of cayenne

2 cups chopped tomatoes (5 plum) *Note- I used a 28oz can of San Marzano tomatoes which come in tomato juice as substitute for the chopped tomatoes and tomato juice. I was a bit more heavy handed on the red wine to give a bit more liquid.*
1 25oz can of kidney beans, undrained (just pour out the top 1/5 of liquid)
2 cups tomato juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice (1/2  lemon)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup bulgar wheat
1/4 cup dry red or white wine
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce)
[I added a couple drops of liquid smoke- it is great for creating a smokey flavor- but watch out- it is very potent- find it in your grocery store near the Worcestershire]
[if you can’t bear the thought of no meat– add a couple links sausage, take out of their casing]

Have all your ingredients prepped. Heat oil in big pot. Add top list of ingredients into pot and cook on high for a couple minutes. [I added some time here, let veg at least onions soften] [Add meat, if using.] Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. [add more wine at any point if feel needs more liquid.] Then lower and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.  Original recipe ends there. Can keep simmering-covered.  (as i do) to soften the veg a little more- or deepen the flavors. But don’t stress- eat whenever you feel- or take out a bowl- and keep the rest on low for a little extra time.

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