Weekly Winner: A Rockin’ Riff on Ramen

For whatever reason, I’ve always been intimidated to make ramen. I’ve always felt it was a dish best left to all the fabulous ramen shops that are scattered throughout Chicago. I thought that any attempt I made would just be “faking it” and I would wind up with a poor imitation of a really good, complex soup.

The secret to ramen obviously lies in the broth. It has to be rich, unctuous and totally comforting. You simply can’t pour some store-bought broth into a bowl and add ramen noodles and call it ramen. That is, unless you are in college — I know I lived on that stuff). Luckily for me (and all of us), Food & Wine magazine has changed the ramen game for all of us. Miso Chicken Ramen is the rich-tasting, soul-satisfying, comforting soup I craved, but its super easy and comes together in just about a half hour.

Miso Chicken Ramen

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 qt chicken stock or low-sodium broth

3 Tbsp white miso

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1/2 lb shredded cooked chicken (about 2 cups)

Ice

2 large eggs

Two 3-oz packages ramen noodles, seasoning packets discarded

Shredded carrot, thinly sliced scallion and Sriracha, for serving

Procedure:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the stock, miso and soy sauce; bring to a boil over high heat, whisking to dissolve the miso. Add the chicken and simmer over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Keep hot over low heat.
  2. Set up a small ice bath. Fill another medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the eggs and simmer over moderate heat for exactly 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the ice bath to cool. Carefully peel the eggs and cut them into half lengthwise.
  3. Meanwhile, return the saucepan of water to a boil. Add the ramen and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes. Drain well and transfer to 2 large bowls. Ladle the broth and chicken over the noodles and top with the eggs. Serve with shredded carrot, thinly sliced scallion and Sriracha.
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Weekly Winner:  Noshing on Noodles

There’s something about cold noodles that I just love.  They’re addictive and refreshing all at once.  Usually you find cold noodles in some sort of Asian variety, but if we’re being totally honest with each other, I’ve been known to dig into cold left-over Italian-style pasta as well.  A noodle is a noodle, right?

Cold Sesame Noodles with Broccoli and Kale from Bon Appetit was a happy find for me for several reasons.  First of all, they’re cold noodles – and not just any noodles, but ramen noodles (bonus!). Secondly it has roasted broccoli.  I am happy to eat broccoli in any way, shape or form (including raw) but roasted is definitely my favorite.  Finally, it served as yet one more way I can get hubby to happily eat kale.  I think the zip of the vinegar and spice of the sambal oelek has a lot to do with it, but I’m taking my victories however I can.

As the temperatures continue to rise here in Chicago, rest assured this will become not only my go-to lunch, but also an awesome side dish to take along to concerts, picnics and cookouts.

Cold Sesame Noodles with Broccoli and Kale

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 large head of broccoli, cut into large florets with some stalk attached

2 garlic cloves, 1 finely grated, 1 thinly sliced, divided

1-1/2 tsp sambal oelek

1 Tbsp plus 1/2 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, divided

3/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/4 tsp black pepper, plus more to taste

3 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced, plus more for serving

1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled, cut into 1-inch match sticks

4 cups chopped Tuscan kale leaves

2 (10 oz) packages fresh ramen noodles or 2 (3 oz) packages dried

Torn mint leaves and toasted sesame seeds (for serving)

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 450F.  Toss broccoli with grated garlic, sambal oelek, 1 Tbsp vinegar, and 1/4 cup oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper.  Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned in spots, 20-25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk scallions, ginger, sliced garlic, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and remaining 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup oil in a large bowl.  Add kale; toss to coat.  Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  • Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain; rinse under cold water.  Add noodles and warm broccoli to kale and toss to coat. Divide among bowls and top with mint, sesame seeds, and more scallion greens.