First came Pho, then came Ramen. If they had a child, I may never eat anything else again in my life. Ramen has quickly become a new favorite dish for me, even though I've only had it a handful of times. I can't say I know what the best ever tastes like, but I definitely have acquired a taste for my own version. Let's just say the key ingredient is PORK BELLY. Have you had it? Um, it's melt in your mouth amazingness. Pork belly (also called side pork) is basically a big hunk of bacon that hasn't been smoked or sliced yet. It's slow roasted, ever so gently, to render down the fat and the just before serving the top layer is crisped up for a buttery, salty, crunchy crust. Anyhow, ramen is basically a chicken or pork broth served with ramen noodles, protein, and a number of varied topping options. My favorites are egg, mushrooms, green onion, seaweed, and bamboo shoots.
1.5 lbs. pork belly
8 C. chicken broth
1 chicken bullion cube (optional)
1 pkg. white miso soup mix (recommend Sushi Chef brand)
8 oz. ramen noodles
4 soft boiled eggs*, peeled and soaked in soy sauce
shiitake mushrooms or wood ear mushrooms (fresh or reconstituted)
bamboo shoots (recommend soaking in soy sauce and mirin)
First, make the pork belly. In a roasting pan with a lid, place the pork belly fat side up. With a sharp knife, make hash marks just through the top layer of fat. Sprinkle generously with salt and add just a little bit of water (2-3 tablespoons) to the bottom of the pan. Cover, bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, then drop the heat to 300 degrees and roast another hour and a half to two hours. When the pork is done, let it rest at room temperature until easily handled. Wrap up in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Next, start the broth. Combine the broth and soup mix in a large stock pot and bring to a simmer. If desired, add the bullion cube for extra flavor. Cover and let sit while you start the noodles. In a medium saucepan, bring roughly 4 cups of water to a boil. Add in the ramen noodles and cooke 2-4 minutes. Drain.
To serve, divvy up the noodles among four bowls. Carefully slice the pork belly with a sharp knife into 1/4 in slices. Lie on top of the noodles, then top with the egg (sliced in half), green onions, seaweed, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots. The last step is to ladle in the broth. Take a good whiff of your handiwork and dig in! I eat mine with chopsticks and a large soup spoon.
Fall is upon us, so that means soup weather! I was in Seattle Labor Day weekend and was lucky enough to check out some cool foodie spots (thanks to my tour guide and friend, Rachel) that got my mind wheeling for some new receips. We spent Saturday night at The Whale Wins restaurant -- a really cute place with delicious and inventive food -- but I must admit my tummy could have been fuller if we only had bigger wallets. Anyhow, the chicken dish we ate had me jones'ing for Tarragon...So after a chilly weekend in Seattle (it was 60 degrees there and 85 in MN), I was ready to find a Tarragon soup recipe to warm up the week. This recipe combines many of my favorite veggies, so I couldn't be happier with the results. I made it vegan to lighten up the load a little. And to pay tribute to my co-host vegan friend.
Recipe is adapted from Happy Yolks.
6 Tablespoons butter or coconut oil
2 leeks, sliced and rinsed of any debris
1 large fennel bulb, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 lbs. mixed red and yellow/gold potatoes, diced
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
6 C. vegetable stock
1 tsp. salt
1 -14 oz. can coconut milk (full fat or light)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 C. minced tarragon
1 Tbsp. Sriracha
Saute the butter, leeks, fennel, onion, and garlic over medium heat until soft -- about 10-15 minutes. Add the potatoes and apple and cook another 10 minutes (uncovered) over medium-high heat. Try to brown the potatoes and caramelize the vegetables. Add the stock to deglaze the pan, then add the salt and pepper to taste. Cover, and simmer for 30-35 minutes until the potatoes are tender with poke of a fork. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk and lemon juice. Using a stick blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Stir in the tarragon and Sriracha -- you may wish to add more/less of the Sriracha to taste.
A co-worker brought in leftovers of this pasta dish and highly recommended it. So of course I pinned it and promised to give it a try. The result? I liked it. I didn't love it. But I still managed to go back for seconds. I wish it had a little more zing. Not sure what could add that component...Maybe a splash of vinegar next time? Some tomatoes? I don't mean to downplay this recipe, you really should try it. The best part? It's all made in one pot! Love that type of easy clean up!
Recipe courtesy of Host the Toast
Hi, I'm Michelle and based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I love all things cooking and baking and would love to inspire you to create something of your own!