Happy 2015, everyone! In the past, I’ve gone along with the hype of NYE in NYC- the ticketed bar event, scouting a sparkly outfit, and guzzling watered down cocktails with lots of strangers. And while I usually have a good time out at a bar or event with friends it’s really just not my thing. I’m so happy Danny and I spent this year ringing in 2015 with old and new friends at the apartment (his parents’ rooftop apartment to be precise!), enjoying good food, bubbly champagne, and never having to wait in line for the bathroom. I’m sure my pups, Carmen and Belle, celebrated their ideal New Years as well, in these same sleepy spots. How did you ring in your 2015?
And with the new year comes new recipes, along with…a cold! The crazy changes in temperature and the packed trains and gyms (go get those resolutions, people!) have most likely been my downfall, and so I’ve been doing everything to start feeling recharged and well again. Lucky Duck Danny is in Florida this week for work so at least I don’t have to worry about passing this cough along to him. First, lots of tea and honey. Second, Switchel. Ever heard of it? I’d been seeing it in a few boutique-y grocery and health food stores (it does cost a pretty penny at about $6 a jar), but was skeptical to try it until prompted by a friend. Switchel is a genius concoction of ginger, raw apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup, born in Vermont and now brewed in Brooklyn. The antimicrobial properties of ACV, soothing and anti-inflammatory qualities of ginger, and sweet taste and hint of calcium from maple syrup make this drink unstoppable. I’ll have to start experimenting with different ratios and preparation techniques to brew a cheaper batch myself, but for my cold’s sake, it’s Switchel for now.
Third on my sick list is soup and I figured this would be a perfect time to test out an easy ramen recipe inspired by my good friend Stephanie from Figs In My Belly. Ramen shops are popping up all over the city and curious noodle-slurpers are lining up to get a taste of this Japanese speciality. I’ve waited in the two hour lines at Ippudo, but I’ve also easily grabbed a booth at Jin and have loved each experience equally. But why eat at Jin when you can make ramen in?
I definitely took some shortcuts, like buying chicken broth instead of making my own, but I think my other ingredient choices more than made up for it. Besides the broth I knew I wanted to keep it vegetarian, but you are more than welcome to add the more traditional pork chasu or perhaps slices of crispy skinned duck.
To compliment the umami flavors of the miso broth I just had to add some mushrooms, and I couldn’t think of a better time to splurge on a maitake mushroom from my farmers’ market- for $24 a pound maitakes are definitely not just for sautéing everyday! * I did NOT buy a pound of maitakes, only a meager 1/12th of a pound for this recipe. Sometimes called hen-of-the-woods, this monster mushroom is meaty, yet silky smooth tasting when immersed in broth. Incredibly enough, this wonder fungus is being used to treat cancers by reducing tumor growth and as an adjuvant therapy for those undergoing chemotherapy to reduce hair loss and pain. The power of food and fungi truly is amazing!
Miso Ramen for One *easily double all ingredients to make 2-3 servings!
- 1/4 cup onion or shallot, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 heaping tablespoon white miso paste- trust me, you’ll find excuses to keep using this product!
- 1 teaspoon fermented black bean paste or spicy chili bean paste
- 2 cups chicken/vegetable stock- or 1c stock + 1c water
- 1 pack of instant ramen noodles- throw that flavoring packet away!
- Your own toppings!
- I used sliced carrots, tatsoi (a Chinese spinach), maitake mushrooms, seaweed paper (nori), a 4-minute egg, and scallions.
- Any green, leafy veg would work great (think mustard greens, bok choi), sautéed corn, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and again, meat such as ground pork, shredded chicken, or crisy duck breast would be a real treat!
- Heat sesame oil in a pot. Add diced onion, garlic, and ginger and let cook for 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add miso and bean pastes, followed by a splash of chicken stock to deglaze the pan. Add remaining stock and continue to stir until miso has smoothed out and is incorprated into liquid. Let this broth simmer while you prepare your toppings.
- For the egg: bring a pot of water to a boil. Using a spoon, gently lower your egg into the water and let cook for only 4 minutes. Remove egg carefully with spoon and transfer to an ice bath. Once egg is cooled or has reach room temperature, carefully peel away shell and keep egg whole until ready to slice in half atop ramen.
- For the noodles: cook according to package directions, remembering to NOT add the flavoring or sauce packet. Strain noodles once cooked and place in serving bowl.
Now for the assembly. Some of my toppings, such as the greens, carrots, and mushrooms, didn’t need to be cooked beforehand- I was going to let the broth do all the cooking for these items- so I layered those into my serving bowl with the cooked noodles.
Next came the simmering broth. Once my noodles were swimming in a salty bath, I added the final touches- two strips of seaweed tucked on the side, a sprinkling of scallions on top, and my ooey, gooey 4-minute egg sliced on top.
And if you like spice, don’t forget the sriracha!