Friday, November 20, 2009

Homemade Udon Soup

I love Udon soup. LOVE it. Delicious broth full of veggies and some noodles...and even some shrimp. Fantastic.
Today was a crazy day-I went into work an on my day off and worked all day to finish a proposal paper, and after a bit of emergency cat food shopping (...they had none, poor guys...), I came home and raked the entire back yard - 8 large bags of leaves. I hate raking, but what can you do. So yeah...I wanted good, healthy food as a reward...and I wanted it FAST. I knew I would be hungry after all that.
My husband doesn't like seafood, so whenever he's away, like this weekend, I usually have some. While in the store for cat food I walked by the seafood and saw tiger prawns on sale and stopped dead and thought "oooooh..." (there was some drooling too I admit). So I bought six big ones. I went home and tried to think of all the yummy things that are in Udon soup and put together a homemade version from my head....
And IT WORKED. I admit I want to keep fiddling with it to get away from the packaged noodles and totally get it from scratch...but for now, this will be...well...spectacular.
OH. MY. So good.
It made 1 giant (think meal size japanese soup bowl) noodle bowl of soup.

1 package chicken Ichiban Noodles (the good stuff! )
1/2 t low sodium vegetable stock
1/2 t miso
1/2 t chinese 5 spice
~1/4 t pepper (to taste - it was 6 grinds on the mill)
1 small carrot sliced very thinly
a finger length of celery cut into matchsticks
1/2 small onion cut into very thin slices
1/4 c peas
2 mushrooms sliced thinly
6 tiger prawns, tailes trimmed (precooked)
1 c Japanese cabbage, shredded thinly

I boiled ~3 1/2 c water in a small saucepan. Basically enough liquid to cover everything...not exact measurement or anything. I added the all veggies but the cabbage and all the spices (including the soup spice packet) and boiled them for 2 minutes. I added the noodles and cabbage and cooked for another 3-4 minutes unti lthe noodles were done...and that was it. Seriously. That's it!
I poured it all into the giant bowl and let it cool for a few minutes (OK I admit I added an ice cube because I was STARVING) and then ate the most yummy bowl of homemade soup I've ever ever (ever ever EVER) had.

Ever. :)
Mmmmm....Try it for yourself :)

And the very next day...

OK. I made it again. Yum.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Polenta: A Plea for Consideration

So I was finally able to lay my hands on some actual polenta corn meal. (I found out that early polenta was actually made from chestnut meal! Droooollll...) It is courser than some corn meals on the market but not as course as others I have seen. The Steep Hill Food Co-op carries Red Mills polenta. I had been using the polenta in log form but wanted the authentic experience, and polenta is sadly lacking from the menus of most Italian restaurants. This is a sore oversight I assure you.
I cooked my polenta for about 45 minutes and added in a sauce I made from roma tomatoes, spinach, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary, savory and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts.
Good Lord this a good meal. I plan to make more traditional polenta in futre - especially if I can ever get my hands on some chesnut meal!

- Magnus.