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.
Cooking, Camp and Growing on the Golf Course

Cooking, Camp and Growing on the Golf Course

Sesame Noodle Salad as pictured in my cookbook

If there’s somewhere I don’t want to be, it’s caught in a rut.  A rut, by definition, is a “sunken, deep track.”  In a figurative sense, it’s simply being stuck — trapped, without inspiration, creativity and probably worst of all, without hope.  If I start to feel like I’m going into “stuck mode” I do everything I can to break out: I travel, I listen to music, read books and meet new people — and when all else fails, I step out of my comfort zone.

Recently, I decided to learn a new skill — nothing related to the kitchen or any of my current work.  My new skill would be golfing, and I was determined to learn how to play.

Now, I’ve never golfed in my life. I knew nothing about the sport (and I still don’t).  However, it was time to learn something new, so I picked the one sport I’ve never held any interest and went all in.  I signed up for a Golf Boot Camp and that was it.

On my first day of camp, I was lost.  Literally.  I couldn’t find the golf course, I didn’t know where I was headed and I found myself driving around aimlessly while my GPS was “re-calculating.”  (Geez, that has to be the most frustrating sound to hear when you’re lost).  When I finally found the camp, I had no idea how to swing or grip the club correctly.  I was lost, frustrated and angry.  I would swing for the ball and miss — like an un-coordinated idiot.  I kept wondering: “Why am I doing this?  What was I thinking?”

At the Golf Boot Camp with Cathy Schmidt

Instead of giving up, I put my head down, corrected my grip and started to swing for the ball.  I decided that no matter what, I was going to power through and complete the lesson.  I’m not sure what it was:  a spark of fight, a bitter streak of stubbornness, or a hard-headed sense of determination (I’ll never be able to shake these from my personality) but I knew I had to continue.  I was going to hit the ball – damnit!

My instructor, Cathy, was more than accommodating.  She kept a watchful eye on everything I did, making corrective steps and giving sound advice. By some miracle, I hit the ball.  Then I hit another and another.  Before I knew it, I was spending my afternoons on the golfing range, practicing, meeting new people and improving my swing.  It felt amazing!

My swing is starting to improve

As I look back, I am in awe with the amount of support and growth I have gained.  When I shared my golfing goals with my friends Jen and Dean, they instantly gave their approval.  Jen graciously allowed me to borrow her clubs and Dean shared great golfing advice.  It felt fantastic to have such encouragement.

Unexpectedly, I’ve also grown on my professional side.  Jen and Dean have a daughter named Lauren, and Cathy has a daughter named Lucky.  Both Lauren and Lucky are pre-teens, currently interested in learning their way around the kitchen. It is an absolute joy to know that both girls have my cookbook and are spending the summer cooking their way through the recipes.

Hearing these two young ladies are excited to learn from my work has inspired me to reach out to both of them.  Together, we share a love for knowledge and cooking.  In fact, while talking with the girls, I realized how much fun it is to teach young people, and how wonderful it is to discover new things at any age.

Pretty Lauren enjoys Chicken Sausage with Peppers and Penne – that she made!

Also, after spending days in the hot sun, I’ve created several new recipes that are “picnic-friendly” and can go in any cooler, basket, poolside table or even in the back of a golf cart.  I’ll post these recipes in the coming weeks, as soon as they are tested and perfected.

In the meantime, I am posting my Cold Sesame Noodle recipe, with a big shout-out to Lauren, Lucky, Cathy, Jen and Dean — and of course, to all of my friends who have pushed me and encouraged me to try something new.  I may not be a good golfer (yet) but I am truly grateful for such amazing friendships.  The next picnic we have together will be on the links — and I can’t wait!

Cold Sesame Noodles
Serves 6

* Author’s Note: When I published this recipe in my cookbook, I encouraged the use of Chinese egg noodles, to make it more authentic.  Now that I’m bringing this on the golf course, I’ve switched to buckwheat soba noodles which are full of fiber, and I’ve added shrimp for extra protein.

Ingredients

Sesame Noodle Salad as pictured in my cookbook

2 pounds buckwheat soba noodles
1 cup shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup fresh snowpeas
1 cup freshly grated carrots
1/2 cup green onions, sliced thin

1/2 cup dark sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce (you may use low sodium)
3 tablespoons black Chinese vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sambal (chili paste)
Sesames seeds for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the soba noodles and cook according to package directions.  In the last two minutes of cooking, add the shrimp and the snowpeas.
  2. Immediately rinse the noodles, shrimp and snowpeas under cold running water.  Drain well, cool and set aside.
  3. Make the dressing by mixing the sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sambal and sugar.  Adjust seasonings to taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Combine the noodles, shrimp, snowpeas, carrots and green onions with the dressing in a large bowl.  Use tongs or extra long chopsticks to coat well.  Chill in refrigerator for two hours, turning every 30 minutes.
  5. Garnish with sesame seeds and pack in picnic basket or serve immediately.
Healing Chicken Soup

Healing Chicken Soup

I’ve been thinking a lot about healing — physically, mentally, universally.  When we are physically sick, we announce it, we rest, we let our friends and family take care of us.  When we are mentally weary, many of us internalize it, ignore it or try to work through it at our own pace.  And universally, there are collective stories or events that inspire and move us — some are spoken and shared and recorded throughout history while others are quickly forgotten.

Healing is the best part of the process — it means you’ve reached the end.  Whatever ailments you’ve endured, if you reached the healing stage, it means you’re ready to get better.  “Healing is letting go of the hopes of the past,” says Iyanla Vanzant.  How very true!

I can’t remember how many times I’ve made chicken soup to help my friends heal.  Sometimes, I drop off containers of soup as a surprise and scurry away.  In most cases, I bring everything, pot, chicken, vegetables and all and cook in someone else’s kitchen.  I can recall evenings where Heather was bundled up in a blanket, Jen was in her pajamas on a bar stool or Ron would lie on the couch, while I stood nearby, cutting vegetables, washing the chicken and stirring the soup.

My chicken soup with hearty dumpling

During the cooking process, we always talk, sharing stories of healing.  They could be funny stories, like childhood memories or goofball moments, or sometimes deeper stories are shared about experiences that have shaped us into the people we are today.  By the time these stories end, the soup will be done, bowls will be served and the healing process is already in full swing.

The following is my chicken soup recipe that has been a part of the healing process on so many occasions.  The variable in this recipe is the starch — sometimes it’s hearty dumplings, or dainty egg noodles or chunky ditalini tubes.  Usually, it’s whatever my friends, their hearts and stomachs desire.  I suppose cooking and healing are very similar in that the process can change, the outcomes can be different, but it’s something no one has to do alone.

Healing Chicken Soup
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 chicken legs (bone in, skin on)
4 carrots, cut into small circles
4 celery stalks, small dice
1 yellow onion, small dice
4 sprigs of fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Wash the chicken thoroughly and place in the bottom of a heavy stockpot or casserole.  Add the vegetables, parsley sprigs, thyme and bay leaves and enough cold water to cover the chicken.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for one hour.
  2. With tongs, remove the parsley sprigs and discard.  Carefully remove the cooked chicken and set aside until cool enough to handle.  Remove meat, keeping pieces in large chunks.  Discard skin and bones.
  3. With a ladle, skim off fat from the broth.  Add the chicken stock to the broth and adjust seasonings to taste.  Return chicken to the broth and cook until warmed through.
  4. Serve with dumplings, noodles or fresh bread.  Garnish with chopped parsley.