Chicken and Egg Miso Ramen: Oiishi!

Chicken and Egg Miso Ramen: Oiishi!

Simple, easy, delicious chicken and miso ramen noodles

Simple, easy, delicious chicken and miso ramen noodles

When I posted a pic of my Chicken and Egg Miso Ramen on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, I was surprised by the response.  So many people wanted to talk about it: the ingredients, how I made it, and naturally, the recipe.  Jen (as in Jen’s Vegetable Lasagna featured in my cookbook) wanted to come over for a ramen filled afternoon.  Kipp and I decided that ramen beats pho any day (what a great hashtag #ramenbeatspho). Even picky eater Korey had to chime in about her thoughts on egg yolks.

So I’m using my website to share my recipe with you (I know, I know, I haven’t updated in FOREVER!  Forgive me, I’ve been busy).

Now, when I say ramen, I’m speaking of a delicious, savory, umami-filled bowl of noodles and protein, the kind of wonderful comfort-food goodness that makes noodle bars a worldwide sensation.  I know many people hear the word ramen and think of things like Top Ramen and Oodles of Noodles, but that’s instant ramen….. and while that’s quite good to a college kid or 20-something hipster, I’m speaking about a traditional Japanese food staple that has taken the world by storm.  If you haven’t been to a ramen noodle bar, you are truly missing out.  My favorites bowls are found at Momofuku in NYC, Slurping Turtle in Chicago and Sakuramen in Washington, D.C.  And if your town doesn’t yet have a noodle bar, I strongly encourage you to make ramen at home. In fact, when you realize how easy it is, you’ll wonder why you don’t do it more often!

To make ramen at home, I use two pots: one for the broth and one for all the other proteins.  A good ladle strainer, often called a “spider” is a great tool to use, but tongs or a slotted spoon will work just fine.  Everything will cook quickly — just give the ingredient a quick “bath” in hot water — then set it aside.  It really is that easy.

Miso, thank goodness, is available in most grocery stores and organic markets.  You just have to know where to look.  Fresh miso paste is refrigerated, so look for it in the dairy section or where organic foods are kept.  Shelved miso is usually in some sort of bottle and can be found in either the international foods section or even where salad dressings are kept.

Finally, a word on noodles.  You can certainly use instant ramen noodles if that’s all you can find (just remember to throw out those seasoning packets).  Chuka-mein, also known as “chinese noodles” are very good, as are fresh egg noodles and even buckwheat soba noodles.  For me, the longer the noodle, the better, because that means I can slurp up all of the savory goodness.

Proteins are easy — it’s whatever you want them to be.  Leftovers from last night, extra veggies in the fridge, hot or cold.  That’s the fun of ramen noodle bowls — you can experiment with ingredients every time.  Happy slurping!!

Chicken and Egg Miso Ramen
Serves 2

Simple, easy, delicious chicken and miso ramen noodles

Simple, easy, delicious chicken and miso ramen noodles

Ingredients:

1/2 lbs. ground chicken
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
1 carton good chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes (if desired)
4 tablespoons yellow miso
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 package chuka-mein, “chinese noodles” or 2 packs instant ramen
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Additional protein ideas:
1 egg
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
sliced fresh cabbage or baby bok choy
firm tofu, diced
fresh green onions, chopped
shrimp

  1. With the first pot, heat a few tablespoons of oil (canola, vegetable or olive) over medium high heat.  Add the red chile flakes and cook for 1 minute.  Add all of the ground chicken along with the onion and grated ginger and saute until cooked, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the entire carton of chicken stock with the miso paste and 2 cups of water.  Stir to incorporate all the miso, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and allow to simmer gently, uncovered.  Add the sesame oil and soy sauce and season to taste.
  2. In a separate pot, bring cold water to a boil.  Add the ramen noodles and cook until just before done (do not let noodles go too soft, they should still have a bite, about 2 minutes in boiling water).  Using a spider, tongs, or slotted spoon, remove the noodles from the pot, strain and rinse under cold water (keep the water boiling on the stove).  Set noodles aside.  In the same pot with boiling water, cook the spinach leaves (about 1 minute) and again, use the strainer or a pair of tongs to remove and set aside.  Do this with all of your proteins (except green onions) but do not overcook them.  You may want to keep a large clean platter beside the stove or a bunch of small bowls for your cooked proteins.  Lastly, prepare the eggs.  Soft boil eggs in their shell or poach lightly in the simmering water.  Be sure to keep the yolk soft.  Remove egg from boiling water and set aside.
  3. To bring it all together, place the noodles in the bottom of a deep soup bowl, creating a cone-like mountain.  Using tongs or chopsticks, place small sections of proteins around the noodles (spinach, tofu, shrimp, etc). Using a slotted spoon, scoop the ground chicken meat from the broth, and section it around the noodles.  Place the poached egg or soft boiled egg (shelled and split into two pieces) at the very top of the noodles.  Ladle the hot broth over the entire bowl.  Garnish with a generous amount of chopped green onion.  Serve with a soup spoon and chopsticks. Enjoy immediately.
Winter Comfort Foods: Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

Winter Comfort Foods: Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

Cheesy tater tot casserole

Cheesy tater tot casserole

When my friend Scott announced he was preparing a tater tot casserole, my ears perked up.  Tater tots? As in the crispy, little potato nuggets that I loved as a kid?  I begged him to tell me more.  A native of Nebraska, Scott says he grew up on tater tot casserole, and prepares the same recipe his mother made, which he happily shared with me.  Scott’s tater tot casserole is a playful rendition of shepherd’s pie — ground beef, diced vegetables, canned soup and plenty of tater tots. It’s something the kid in all of us would enjoy… and here is my interpretation of the dish.

I created this recipe using a popular hash brown casserole as an inspiration, then added flavorful chicken sausages and sweet bell peppers to the mix.  I used sun-dried tomato smoked sausages, but regular hot dogs or shredded chicken breast will substitute nicely.  Serve this casserole with a side of steamed broccoli, lima beans or a fresh salad and you’ll have an easy comfort food favorite.

With my friend Scott

With my friend Scott

Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole
Serves 6

Ingredients

6 cups frozen tater tots
1 red bell pepper, diced
4-5 smoked chicken sausages, sliced
2 10-oz cans of cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.  Spray or grease a 13×9 rectangular baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and bell pepper over medium high heat.  Add the sausages and saute until peppers are softened and sausages have toasted, about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the condensed soup, sour cream and milk.  Add the garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Once combined, add all the cheese, tater tots, peas and the sausage mixture.  Mix until well combined.
  4. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake, uncovered for 30-40 minutes.  The casserole is done when the tots are slightly browned and the cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Lesson 2: Learn. . . then Love

Lesson 2: Learn. . . then Love

Tomatillos, onions and tomatoes

“Why do you like stupid men?”

I am toasting tomatillos on a tiny comal when Chef Estela bluntly asks me this question.  My eyes popped. “What?”

Chef Estela shakes her head.  She is preparing Pipian Verde (Oaxacan Green Mole).  “Look at what we did here,” she says, “we slowly sauteed the onions, then the tomatoes and finally added the garlic.  That’s because each of the ingredients need time to get to know each other, then they can love one another and create a great meal.”  She moves onto a pot of Chile Pasilla.  “Time,” she says, “women need to take their time with men.”

I’m now cooking in silence.  She nods and continues: “People need time to learn about each other, then they can love.”  She puts down the wooden spoon in her hand and looks at me.  “Has any man taken the time to get to know you?”  I shake my head.  “Then why do you like stupid men?”

Chef Estela gives me a visual

My eyes meet hers and she gives me a warm smile.  I start to giggle.  “Look,” she says, “you have a book, yes?”  I nodded.  Indeed, I have a cookbook.  “Good,” she responds, “you take your book and put it in between your legs.  And if any man wants to go there, they need to get to know you first!”

I have yet to stop laughing.

Chile Pasilla (Pasilla Sauce)
Chef Estela Silva, Mexican Home Cooking School

Ingredients
5 or 6 dried pasilla chilies
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 onion, left in tact
4 garlic cloves (2 cloves minced, 2 whole)
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 or 4 roma tomatoes
6 tomatillos

  1. Bistec en Chile Pasilla

    Toast or broil the tomatoes, tomatillos, 1/2 whole onion and 2 whole garlic cloves until blackened. Set aside.

  2. Slice open the chiles and remove the stem and seeds.  Toast chiles until they blister then add to 1 cup of hot water with the charred onion.  Soak 5 minutes.
  3. In a blender, combine the charred tomatoes, all the onions, garlic cloves, chiles and tomatillos with 1/2 cup of water (if you want it spicy, use the chile water). Process until smooth, adding more water if needed.
  4. Use with beef, pork or chicken.  Add potatoes to make a stew.
Celebrating Summer Vegetables

Celebrating Summer Vegetables

Cilantro, avocado, garlic and lime

My goodness, I do love Summer vegetables!  On the grill, in a salad, or lightly sauteed — I can’t seem to get my fill.  This week I have not one, but three recipes to share with you, all of which feature delightful vegetables of the sunny season. 

The first comes via my dear friend Michelle, who made the most sumptuous Pink Vegetable Lasagna on Sunday night.  Rather than use two sauces, Bechamel and Marinara, she created a pink sauce, a delightful mixture of the two — and the tangy, rich tomato cream danced with two types of squashes, baby spinach, sweet onions, a mire poux medley and lots of melted cheese.

Skirt Steak Torta - fabulous!

The second comes from the fabulous Rick Bayless who has a wonderful skirt steak torta recipe.  In his recipe, he says you can choose to grill skirt steak or zucchini — honestly, I like both, so I grilled both and pressed them together into a savory torta.  Topped with avocado cilantro mayonnaise, cumin flavored black beans and spicy chipotle sauce, it was by far one of the best meals of the season.

Finally, I share my recipe for Summer Fennel with Lemon and Braised Chicken.  This is such a simple and light dish, because the flavors are zesty and bright. When paired with pearls of cous-cous or a cucumber salad, it creates a very welcoming plate.  Something that says come and stay for awhile.  And that’s exactly what Summer is.  Happy Eating.

  1. Michelle’s Pink Vegetable Lasagna

    Michelle's Pink Vegetable Lasagna

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic: C’est Tout!

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic: C’est Tout!

“Trapped! Yes sir, trapped! Into frittering his life away being nurse-maid to a lot of garlic eaters!” – Mr. Potter

I smirk whenever I hear Mr. Potter say this during It’s a Wonderful Life.  Not only because it was Frank Capra’s way of thumbing his nose at bigotry, but because it shows how much American tastebuds have changed in just a short amount of time.  The movie was created in 1946, a time when garlic was consumed mostly in Europe, Asia and Africa.  It’s hard to think what American dishes tasted like without garlic (in fact, I don’t want to think about it!)

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

A lot of people give credit to Italian cuisine for introducing garlic to the American diet.  While I tend to agree, I think credit also needs to be shared with French cooking, particularly by way of Chefs Julia Child and James Beard.  Both Julia and James embraced French cuisine and made it easy for Americans to relate to — simply by making classic recipes new, exciting and fun.

Child and Beard made Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic into a trendy dish during the 1960’s and 70’s.  The idea of peeling so many cloves of garlic challenged and excited the hands of home cooks, but even more so, was the idea that this strange, bitter, odor filled bulb would transform itself into culinary liquid gold.  “A recipe I taught in my classes for many years,” Beard said, “and one that never failed to astonish the students because the garlic cloves become so mild and buttery when they’re cooked through!”

Peeling garlic, two bulbs down, two more to go!

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic is a classic French dish that is served in many brasseries and countryside kitchens.  What I love about this dish is the simple, warm presentation of chicken in a rich, savory sauce — only to be met by the sensation of soft creamy garlic that will melt on your tongue and spread easily on your chicken or even bread.  I recommend serving this with a freshly baked baguette.  You won’t need any butter, as the garlic and sauce are rich on their own.  And yes, peel the 40 cloves of garlic yourself.  It’s easier than you think.  C’est tout!

P.S. I leave this week for Paris.  Time for some relaxation and inspiration.  I’ll write when I return. Au revoir!

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Serves 2 people

Simmering away!

Ingredients
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 legs of chicken, skin-on, bone-in (drumstick and thigh separated)
20 cloves of garlic (about 2 bulbs) peeled
      *use 40 cloves if using a whole chicken
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 cups cognac
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Heat a heavy stockpot or dutch oven with the olive oil over medium high heat.  Salt and pepper the chicken generously.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pot and cook until golden brown on all sides.  Use tongs to turn the chicken easily.  When chicken is toasted (about 10 minutes) remove from stockpot and set aside.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pot along with all the garlic and lower the heat.  Stir quickly until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute.  Add the chicken stock along with 1 cup of the cognac and all the thyme.  Stir with a wooden spoon to pick up any brown bits at the bottom of the pot.  Return the chicken and all the juices to the pot.
  3. Once the liquid begins to simmer, bring the heat to low then cover the pot with a lid and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  After cooking, remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium high.  In a small bowl, mix the flour and one cup of the hot broth to make a slurry.  With a whisk, slowly whisk the slurry into the stockpot.  Add the remaining cognac to the broth along with the cream.  Stir and adjust seasonings.  Allow the mixture to boil, reduce and thicken, about 6 minutes.  During the last minute, add the remaining tablespoon of butter.
  5. Serve the chicken with the gravy and garlic cloves, along with fresh baguette.  When dining on this, you are encouraged to smear the soft garlic onto the chicken or onto your bread.  It’s liquid gold, trust me.  Bon appetit!
I Dream of Tajine: A New Take on Old World Technique

I Dream of Tajine: A New Take on Old World Technique

If there’s a cuisine I adore, it’s Moroccan.  Savory, sweet and always full of flavor, Moroccan food is simply amazing.

North African countries are credited with the creation of the tajine, a funnel shaped, clay or earthen vessel.  Morocco is credited with the creation of tajine, a fantastic dish typically made from lamb, vegetables and served with cous-cous — cooked in a tajine, naturally!

The most noticeable trait of a tajine is the funnel shaped lid.  This cone is ideal for steam.  The moisture of the food travels up through the funnel and the condensation drops back into the food boosting it with flavor.  Since water is such a precious commodity in dry areas, how clever of desert nomads to create such a cooking vessel!

HSN's gorgeous ceramic tajine

Cooking with a tajine has grown in popularity recently for several reasons.  Health advocates enjoy tajines because they require little or no added fat.  Most tajine recipes call for very little oil added and some none at all.  There is also little need for salt.  Fresh herbs and ground spices are used, which infuse dishes with incredible flavors.  Slow food enthusiasts enjoy tajines because they go into an oven to slowly cook for hours.  Those who enjoy entertaining delight in bringing such a unique dish to the table.  Personally, I love bringing a tajine to a table surrounded with hungry friends, and lifting the lid for a dramatic presentation.  I always get ooh’s and ahh’s!

I am honored to be presenting an exclusive ceramic tajine tonight on HSN.  This beautiful dish comes with a special chicken recipe which I happily share with you here:

Chicken Apple & Raisin Tajine

4 pounds of chicken (cut into pieces)
1 large red onion, rough chop
1 cup raisins
4 cloves of garlic, rough chop
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, rough chop
12 oz chicken stock
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground tumeric
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tablespoons preserved lemon juice
8 saffron threads
3 tablespoons olive oil (for browning)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Saute chicken in a saute pan with olive oil until browned.  Remove chicken and place in the bottom of the tajine.  Saute onion, garlic, ginger and cinnamon and add to chicken.

Add preserved lemon juice, saffron, chicken stock, raisins and apples to the tajine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover with lid and place in oven.  Cook until chicken is cooked through, approximately 75 minutes.

Serve with cous-cous and garnish with chopped parsley and slivered almonds.