Wonder Pens at Home: Noodle Soup
It's the weekend! Saturday is one of the busiest days for us as a bricks & mortar, but it's nice to still think of it as the weekend, especially with this summer weather. We've had a lot going on this week, the release of the TWSBI ECO, the arrival of the Emeraude de Chivor ink from J. Herbin. Jon is the process of tuning up our bikes and getting a trailer for the baby so we can go on some bike trips through some of the city trails. The other night, Jon took Super out for his late night bathroom break, where the dog normally pees and then does the other business, but instead he just did his number 2. I think the dog must have confused himself because when he came back in, he peed on a couch cushion. There were some heated words exchanged between Jon and the universe, and the dog was banished to the packing area for the rest of the night until Jon's heart of stone melted. When we started packing up for the move, I packed up the kitchen stuff last while still knowing we would be ordering in or picking up take out for at least a "few days" while we transitioned into the new place. A few days turned into longer than anticipated as there was a delay in the kitchen appliances coming in, setting up the shop, unpacking, packing up some of the online orders we'd gotten backed up on...the list goes on. It felt a little bit like that documentary where the guy eats fast food for a year, and then at a certain point, he's trying to finish a burger and he just ...can't. We weren't quite at that point, I mean, we had some Japanese food every once in a while to "cleanse the palate," but it was pretty close.
But we're finally settled in, or at the very least, we've unpacked all the boxes we're ever going to, and it's been nice to have a kitchen again. I'm not really good at following recipes, so most of the cooking I do requires a bit of flexibility, and noodle soup is one of the best dishes to make for that. Ingredients: Chicken stock or beef stock Onions Ginger Garlic Meat (I like pork bone or beef bones, rib bones) Noodles (Udon in this case, which you can buy frozen or vacuum packed) Some sort of green vegetable (Bok choy in this case, but any will do, watercress...) Optional: You can anything you like - fish sauce, green onions, lemongrass, you can add in sliced hard boiled eggs at the end, star anise (go easy on that stuff, it's intense...). Jon would say the green vegetables are also optional.
Step 1: Brown the meat on all sides. If you have nice big bones, it can take a while to brown each side, even the bone ends, but it's worth it! Remove and set aside.
Step 2: Add the stock, scrap the bottom. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger into the stock. Add the meat. Simmer for as long as you like, half an hour or up to two hours. I'm sure longer than that would be great, too. Season. When you're ready to eat: Step 3. Heat your noodles in a separate pot of boiling water. If you're using Udon, they're pre-cooked, you just need to warm them up. You can do this in your soup, but I usually don't have enough room in the pot, and I think it adds a bit of starch to the soup, which I can take or leave. Add the vegetables to blanch them a bit. Step 4. Put your noodles in a bowl, add the soup and meat and vegetables.
This stuff is great for leftovers! You can refrigerate the remaining soup, and skim off the top the next day. If I have enough soup left, sometimes I make a potato soup the next day (i.e. I heat it up and add some potatoes, carrots, and maybe some more stock). A note on the meat: The best part about this "recipe" is that you can use pretty cheap cuts of meat with bone - you can't tell from the photo above, which are pork back bones, but I think the package is around $3-4. You can also use beef rib bones, chicken, etc. I'm an experimenter in the kitchen, and I've had more than my share of disasters, but it's pretty hard to mess this one up. Except with too much star anise. Happy weekend!