Tag Archives: Asian

Ramen, a Slurpy Soup

So, I love soups.  I would eat them every day.  I love broth ones, porridge ones, creamy ones.  In a box with a fox, in a house with a mouse.

My wonderful, long-suffering Italian husband… he’ll eat them. He’s a good sport. But he doesn’t love them.

I love Asian food.  I’m a military brat who spent a total of 6 years of her childhood on Okinawa (and some other random places, too). I grew up in a home that appreciated this “ethnic” food, and we ate it frequently.

My wonderful, long-suffering Italian husband… he’ll eat it. He’s a good sport.  But he doesn’t love it.

UNTIL.

Homemade ramen soup.

Ramen, A Slurpy Soup - Foodies Gone Real

He actually asks for this. I’m not entirely convinced it’s because it has a pasta-like carb in it ;-) but for us… happy medium when I’m craving Asian and he’s not feeling so tolerable to my other dishes. Like cabbage stir-fry or fried rice.

Now, my disclaimer is this: there is probably going to be some ramen purist out there that will claim I didn’t do this the correct way.  You’re probably right.  There’s likely many restaurants out there that could make this more authentically.  However… this foodie is on a budget. With legit health concerns over the food I eat. So I think this is a balanced compromise.

We start this soup like any other soup or stew-like food, like my chicken soup, chili, or even stroganoff – frying the onions in butter. You can create no better base than this!

INGREDIENTS:

butter, for sauteing
1 small onion, or about 1 c. chopped
1 medium carrot
1 pound of ground pork… as best sourced as you can afford
1 clove garlic (or two!)
1/2 c. san-j soy sauce (I can’t recommend any other brand)
1 tsp. ground ginger
dash red pepper flakes
ground pepper to test
5 cups water (or broth)
1 cup frozen peas, optional (but delicious!)

Note on the veggies: by all means… feel free to increase them. I often do, to increase vegetable intake

Other items:
ramen noodles
hard-boiled egg, at least 1/2 per person
chopped scallions or chives
diced carrots, mushrooms… lots of topping ideas. We usually stick to green onions, but if you know you have a favorite asian topping, I promise you can add it and it will be fine!
And… I recommend chopsticks :)

DIRECTIONS:

Do your thing with the butter, onions and carrots.  I would recommend using a big pot or dutch oven.  Also, side note, this smells like heaven. If you were slightly hungry before starting, now you’re likely salivating.

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Remove the vegetables (I use a slotted spoon) once they are softened (they don’t have to be mushy… you’re going to boil it later) and brown the the ground pork.  DO NOT SALT IT. If you’re a home cook and you’ve done browning meat any length of time, a lot of recipes call for salting it.  You will regret it because of that soy sauce that’s coming on later.  However, feel free to go nuts with the pepper. The soup can be as spicy or peppery as you want, so do this as what you feel is appropriate for your tastes.

Ramen, A Slurpy Soup - Foodies Gone Real

Now that the pork is browned, add the veggies back in.  Sprinkle on the ginger and red pepper flakes.  Stir and let it saute for just a minute.  Now you may add the soy sauce.

Use the soy sauce to scrape up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot … this is also called deglazing.  You want the brown bits because it adds flavor. I promise it’s true, because the depth is not as great if you tried to clean it off (and not use it) and then continue cooking with a clean pot.

Add your water.  You could use broth… wouldn’t hurt.  However, if it’s salted you might run into issues make the soup too salty.

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Throw in your peas if you’re using … and begin the boil.

Now while this is boiling, I recommend doing the following:

  1. get your hard-boiled eggs ready, if necessary
  2. get your ramen noodles ready
  3. chop your garnish

I know there are guides out there for how to boil eggs. I just use this sucker (check it out here). Love it. Had it for years and it was a cheapy kitchen spontaneous buy.

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You want to boil the soup for about 10 minutes, (this is about cooking the veggies the rest of the way), then let it simmer for another 15 minutes or so.  Just honestly, you could rush this. Or draw it out.  Whatever you are working with in time. I wouldn’t recommend letting it simmer for an hour or anything… I think the peas and carrots would go to mush. Unless you like that kind of thing… then knock yourself out.

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Now here’s how it’s going to vary… prepping whatever ramen you’re using. I use gluten-free ramen noodles. I’m still not over this… my ITALIAN HUSBAND LOVES THESE THINGS. 1) They’re Asian and 2) they’re rice (not wheat). My noodles call for me to boil them for a very short amount of time, then run then under cold water. I just have to tell you… if you buy them and they say to run it under cold water…. DON’T SKIP IT. It prevents them from cooking further and not turning gross and mushy. The benefit of the soup still simmering is that once I drop the noodles in, it rewarms them! It works beautifully.

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Because I have to limit my carb intake, I do not put 4 servings of ramen noodles in the big pot once they’re done.  I ladle out the soup into individual bowls then put in the cooked pasta as per our carb preferences.  (You can buy a big pack of these noodles here.)

And then… top it.  That egg, y’all. THAT EGG. And those scallions. I really wouldn’t skip these garnishes!

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Isn’t this soup great and forgiving? it really is what you want it to be. Maybe that’s why my Italian husband loves it, too.

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DISCLOSURE: There may be affiliate links within this post. I never recommend anything arbitrarily and receive small financial benefit. If I choose to recommend something, it’s of my own free will and volition and MORE because I think you’ll benefit from hearing about it more than me gaining the $$.

Salmon Teriyaki Recipe Review: from “Paleo Takeout”

If you ever followed my meal plans or facebook page, you notice that I often link up to recipes from the blog, The Domestic Man. Just IMAGINE my foodie-fan-pysch when Russ Crandall, the mastermind behind this intelligent blog, asked for volunteers to test out new recipes for his yet-unreleased cookbook. I was geeking out!

I signed up for his facebook book group and got to pick which recipe: I picked Salmon Teriyaki.

Salmon Teriyaki Recipe Review - Foodies Gone Real

First off: the sauce was SO EASY to make.  I’m not afraid of a little work, though, but love it when I can find something that will be easy to throw together when I’m short on time.  I imagine this sauce will be phenomenal with just about any other meat with which you pair it.

More important than ease of preparation was the flavor.  I’m not exaggerating when I say I could just eat the sauce by the spoonful.  (And let’s be real, here: I did! Afterall, I’m a tester, so I’ve got to test the sauce a FEW times in order to give proper feedback, right?!)

Salmon Teriyaki Recipe Review - Foodies Gone Real

Next note of appreciation: that he prescribed three different ways to cook the salmon.  I consider myself a pretty accomplished cook, but had no idea about these other ways to cook salmon! (Maybe I’m not so accomplished with seafood. ;-) ) I chose pan fried, and his instructions worked like a charm.

While all this goodness was going on, I also made my signature recipe of fried rice and boiled some broccoli.

Salmon Teriyaki Recipe Review - Foodies Gone Real

This was outstanding, and the recipe made enough that I now have some to store away in my freezer (for more easy cooking nights!).  If the goal is to make these foods as a) easy as takout and b) tasty as takeout and c) healthy and not damaging to my body, then SUCCESS!  There are loads of other recipes in the cookbook (not just asian!) so I look forward to reading more!

Wondering how you can get your hands on the recipe?  Well, the book isn’t released yet! So put it on your wishlist, preorder it on Amazon, do something to get your hands on this cookbook!  This book is D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y going on my wishlist!

If you are wanting to try more of Russ’ recipes before the cookbook release, check out some of the following recipes that I can personally recommend (because we make and enjoy them regularly in this house!)

Salisbury Steak (ate it just last week!)

Chic-Fil-A copycat nuggets

Eye of Round Roast

Tilapia Taco Salad

Chicken Tikka Masala

In no way was I compensated for my time or positive review of this recipe, blog, or “Paleo Takeout”. This is me just being a crazy fan of a fellow foodie!

A New Food: Garlic Scapes (and an Asian-Inspired Side Dish!)

This year we are participating in a local CSA (Community Shared Agriculture). We are discovering new foods and have fallen in love with garlic scapes!

Bag of scapes!

If you don’t participate in a CSA, you should probably still see some at the Farmer’s Markets (depending on your region — in the NE these are out, in warmer climates, it may be past that time). They are a great onion replacement, and taste fabulous on their own roasted (try this lovely recipe from The Elliott Homestead)

Garlic scapes have a middle “nob” that is tough to chew (etc.) that we choose to cut off or not eat.  Feel free to give a try for yourself! No harm shall come to you by eating it. :-)

Cutting scapes

I threw them into an Asian-inspired veggie stir-fry that I adore! I call it cabbage stir-fry, but my disclaimer is that I do not know by true “Asian-food” definitions that this constitutes as a stir-fry.

CABBAGE STIR-FRY:

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 tablespoons of grass-fed butter (you could also use sesame oil if you wanted a different darker flavor)
  • 2 garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated/sticks (I usually just use my vegetable peeler to make a bunch of strips)
  • 4 cups of coarsely chopped cabbage
  • soy sauce

Directions:

Prepare all your veggies.  Truthfully, this is the longest step of the whole process!

While you are cutting them up, turn your stove on and heat the skillet on medium heat for a few minutes (I wouldn’t do it more than 5 minutes before step #3.)

After it’s heated, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on the pan.  This process should be relatively quick as the pan is already hot. (If you use sesame oil, you do not have to wait before step #4.)

Add all your veggies, and saute.  Stir frequently to prevent uneven cooking/burned parts, and add more butter/sesame oil as needed to prevent sticking.

Sauteed cabbage stir-fry

Your veggies are just about done when the start to become transluscent, or lose their color (most noticeable with the red onions).  You can taste a bite of the cabbage, and you don’t want it really crunchy, but you don’t want it soggy, either.  It should have just the tiniest bit of crunch left.

Translucent stir-fry

At this point, add the soy sauce.  I usually just drizzle it around, no measurement.  I would suggest drizzling it, then taste it, and if needed, add more.  Use the soy sauce to scrape up any brown bits or stuck vegetables (shouldn’t be much!).

Soy Sauce Stir-Fry

Now serve! Very easy … and SO tasty.

Cabbage Stir-Fry

Take-out night: Fried Rice

This week (and next) I spending some time away from meal plans and posting a few recipes I’ve had up my sleeve the last few months for awhile…

FRIED RICE.

Fried Rice Cooking!

This is becoming one of my favorite side dishes because it’s easy to turn it into a filling meal.  You have a starch, vegetables, a little bit of protein, and it’s very easy to add more – cook your shrimp, chicken breast, etc. before you start the process and BINGO! A balanced meal.  I think I also like it because you can prep this stuff in advance… you can cook the egg, thaw the peas, cook the rice.  Night of, really… you just throw it all in a pan, and presto!

Unless you’re my husband and this is just enough as a main dish.  What can I say… I married a steak-and-potatoes kind of guy.  (Well, really, a ravioli and meatballs kind of guy, but that’s another story for another day.)  However, this often “does it” for my lunch — I rarely need to add much more to this.  Needless to say, it reheats well, and I often make a large batch and just munch on it throughout the week.

There are two variations, sticky or mushy.  Really, depends on your preference.  I happen to be a mush-food-loving-girl so that’s often how I fix it.  What changes it?  If your peas are fresh/thawed or still frozen when you throw them in the pan.  Throwing them in frozen means you’re going to get water added back to the dish, making it slightly more “mushy”.  If you like sticky fried rice, make sure your peas have no excess water.

I would like to add that I use white rice, and that has to do with the phytic acid content being found in the bran that makes rice “brown rice”.  Granted, brown rice adds more fiber, but I’m not particularly interested in wasting all the nutrition in the rest of my meal on the phytic acid in the bran. So, white rice for me.

Ingredients:
  1. 2 1/2 cups cooked white rice (you can add more or less depending on your liking)
  2. 1 egg, fried, cut into small pieces
  3. 2+ tablespoons of grass-fed butter
  4. 1 small onion, chopped
  5. 1/2 carrot, shredded, matchsticks, or cut into thin strips (I usually use my peeler)
  6. 1 cup of peas frozen or thawed (see notes above about peas)
  7. Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Soy Sauce
  8. dash of tumeric (optional)
  9. dash of ginger (optional)
Directions:

Heat your skillet and add the butter.  You may need to add more butter as you cook if the food starts to stick, so have some around/ready.

Add those onions and carrots and cook!

Onions+Carrots for Fried Rice

Once the onions have started to become translucent, add all the rice and fry it in that yummo butter.

Adding the Rice - Fried Rice

Watch for the rice sticking to the bottom – may need to add more butter!

Once it is thoroughly mixed, dump the peas in.  Notice mine are frozen (if you look carefully you can see the ice).  If you’re using frozen rice, you’ll need to keep the heat on medium, and I recommend covering it with a lid to help it melt faster. You can move to the next step once it’s all melted and mixed in. If you’re using fresh/thawed, just stir until combined.

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Once your peas are mixed, this is where you make it look like take out! Throw a good smattering of soy sauce on the pan and scrape, scrape, scrape all the goodness off the bottom of the pan (shouldn’t be much since you’ve been adding butter!).  Then, give a dusting of tumeric and ginger… feel free to add more to your tastes, tumeric and ginger and SUPER good for you! (Think anti-imflammatory!)

Mix in your fried egg, and voila! Fried rFried Riceice!

Enjoy!

 

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