Sunday, September 12, 2010

Noodle Bowl!

Sometimes it takes someone else getting excited about something to remind you that those things you've grown accustomed to are, in fact, quite amazing.

I had the subtle pleasure of going to the giant Asian market, Super H Mart, in Carrollton with someone who had never been. We spent two hours browsing every single aisle, probably driving the regular just-coming-in-to-pick-up-a-few-items shoppers bananas. As I watched my friend take in every single product on every shelf down every aisle, many of which I recognized from years ago, I was reminded that growing up in Taiwan is pretty freaking cool.

I guess the moral of this recipe / story is that sometimes you just have to remember to appreciate the simple things that you so often take for granted. Like a bowl of noodles.

Pictured above:
udon noodles (fresh from the refrigerated section; mine came with 5 individual servings; I used one serving for this dish)
2 bunches of bok choy, sliced
2 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 egg
chili paste & green onions for garnish

I cooked the noodles according to the directions (which were in Japanese! I couldn't read them, so I looked for numbers and saw "5-6" in the midst of the gibberish).
I removed the noodles, but kept the broth in the pot to which I added 1 tbsp of vinegar to poach my egg.
Once the egg white set, I gently dropped in the bok choy cooked for another minute.
In went the mushrooms.
Then all the contents were poured over the noodles.
I topped with chili paste and diced green onions and a little soy sauce.

Then I ATE IT! (and thought of my mom and grandparents and thanked my lucky stars.)
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A recipe for happiness

While everyone (or at least I felt like "everyone") was doing Labor Day stuff with their families, I was stuck in Dallas sans family and feeling pretty bummed about it. I admit, I let it get the best of me yesterday. But as much as I wanted to bawl my eyes out, all I could squeak out was a measly half tear. And then, an idea. There is what's known as a burger institution in Dallas called Keller's Drive-In. I was reminded by coincidence that I had always wanted to try it. Gave them a call, confirmed they were open, and went on my bummed / merry way.

The recipe for happiness when you're bummed and lonely on Labor Day is as follows:

transportation to Keller's Drive in
#5 off the menu (a double-patty burger with lettuce, tomato, and some sort of sauce that is kind of like the Big Mac sauce)
+ cheese on that burger
chili cheese tots
Diet Coke

Eat there and order yourself a beer, or take it home and wallow a bit in your misery as I did. The misery will vanish. I promise.

Note: If you are not prone to bumminess often, this is a great recipe for cheering you up. However, if you often find yourself bummed out and need cheering up a lot, I recommend Keller's only once or twice and then a psychiatrist. We don't want you to add weight problems to your mental health problems.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Split Pea Soup

Today felt like a split-pea-soup kind of day. This was an odd conclusion for me to come to while shopping at Sprouts (my new Sunday morning ritual) since I've never made nor had split pea soup, and it's May. But the morning was a bit dreary and surprisingly cool, and all the ingredients I figured were necessary for this dish were right there in front of me.

Here's what I grabbed / had on hand:

1 yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1 Russet potato
6 cups chicken stock
1 lb split peas
1.5 lb ham hocks
1 bunch Italian parsley
salt + black pepper

In my favorite red Dutch oven, I drizzled some canola oil and sauteed my chopped onion (seasoned with a bit of salt).
Once the onions were soft, I added my chopped garlic.

While the garlic was cooking over med-low heat, I peeled and diced my potato. This also went in the pot and was seasoned with a little more salt.

I stirred these around for few minutes, added the ham hocks, poured in my pound of split peas (no soaking. really! it wasn't necessary) and the six cups of chicken stock.

This all came to a boil, and I turned the heat down to very low and let it simmer for about 3 miles on the treadmill and 6 miles on the stationery bike (50 minutes. Yes, I run very slowly).

When I got home, I stirred my soup and it turned green. Apparently split peas disintegrate after enough cooking.
I gave it another 10 minutes uncovered on low and took out the ham.

I had a huge bowl with a few sprigs of parsley on top and toasted sourdough bread on the side. Not bad for a first try.
Posted by Picasa