Fancy Ramen using Not-So-Fancy Ingredients

Ramen has been growing in popularity in the past couple of years, which is a real head-scratcher to those who only ate it in college due to the ten-packets-for-a-dollar price tag. San Diego has a bunch of fancy ramen places that have grown in popularity (like RakiRaki and Underbelly), and consider me a real convert.

Doug and I made such pretty ramen at home last night that I had to document it, then I thought, considering how easy it was, that I should clue others in to this cheap and easy meal. Even though spring has come (yay!!) I know that cloudy and rainy days (snowy, in some parts in the country) will still show up in the next month or so, so have this recipe in your back pocket and you’ll have something easy and warm to eat.

Ramen at Home

Needed for one bowl:

Ramen packet
Miso paste
One egg
Green onions
Radishes
Soy sauce
Sriracha
Black sesame seasoning (mainly for looks)
(We also added carrots, which was not my favorite addition)

You probably have many of these things in your fridge/cupboard right now. The most expensive things on this list would probably be the soup base and the soy sauce, but broken down into a per-meal price, this whole bowl of soup probably comes to less than a couple dollars.

Instructions: 

Bring two and a quarter cups water to a boil. Once boiling, add the egg. Let the egg boil for three minutes, then add ramen noodles and boil three minutes, according to packet directions. (The egg will be boiling for a total of six minutes).

While the egg/noodles are boiling, chop as many green onions as you like, and slice the radishes thinly.

When the timer goes off, fish the egg out with a spoon, run under cold water, and peel. Be careful because the egg will be soft-boiled and easy to squish. While the egg is cooling off (before peeling, I guess) add the soup paste to the water and noodles, and stir to mix. Sometimes I use a little less than the soup base calls for and sneak in a little bit of the seasoning packet that comes with the ramen ;)

Serve up in a deep bowl. Add the egg (you can cut it in half with your spoon as you eat) and top with radishes, onions, sesame, and soy sauce/sriracha to taste.

Told you it was easy! Do you have any super-cheap go-to meals? Share the recipe with me! 

Chorizo Pesto Tortellini

I posted this pic on instagram and thought it was so pretty and the food was so delicious that I had to share the recipe with you guys, if you can even call it a recipe.

Raise your hand if it’s been hot and muggy where you live this summer. This weekend was especially humid, which for San Diego is a big deal. I didn’t want to turn on any heating elements in the kitchen, but we had this fresh tortellini I was worried about turning the corner. So, tortellini for dinner indeed. The good thing is that the amount of time my stove was on was brief.

Ingredients:

  • Tortellini (I prefer cheese tortellini, fresh, not frozen, tricolor)
  • Pesto sauce
  • Shredded parmesean
  • Cherry tomatoes, quartered (mine were so small I just tossed them in whole)
  • Chorizo (I used linguiça, a household favorite since we made Choripan a couple of years ago) Pancetta would also be a yummy option, but takes longer to cook
  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Good quality olive oil

Directions:

Bring water to a boil, and meanwhile begin preheating a small skillet. You’ll want the skillet right at medium heat.

Cook tortellini according to package instructions. Since mine wasn’t frozen, it only took 2 minutes once the water was boiling. I removed from water using a slotted spoon and put directly into our bowls.

Meanwhile, cut up chorizo into small cubes. Throw them into the skillet with a little oil until hot, greasy and yummy. The reason I like using a sausage like chorizo it it’s already cooked or cured, which means cooking it is really low pressure. Just get it up to heat and it’s ready. The meat step and the tortellini step took me about the same amount of time and were ready simultaneously.

Spoon chorizo onto cooked tortellini in bowls. Immediately sprinkle with cheese so it melts.

Spoon one or two hearty spoonfuls of pesto onto each bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze on lemon juice, and sprinke a little salt.

Toss on a handful of cherry tomatoes.

Since everything I added to the tortellini was cold with the exception of the meat, it brought the temperature of the meal down to a level that was just right for a humid summer evening, while still being hearty for a good dinner.

I know the recipe is kind of basic but maybe you haven’t thought of this combination yet.
Enjoy! I know I did.

 

Yummy DIY Ice Cream!

Well, we went ahead and did it! A couple months ago, inspired by a few friends of ours, Doug and I bought an electric ice cream maker (this model). I had never thought of really making ice cream at home before, but ever since I started demonstrating this very machine at work–I realized how easy it is! Home-made ice cream is a great option for those who like to experiment. Overall, as long as you add enough heavy cream or half and half, plus lots of sugar, the sky is the limit when it comes to adding flavors and mix-ins.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Our first foray into ice cream making was a standard strawberry recipe from the booklet that came with the machine. However, I tweaked it a bit:

Instead of mashing the strawberries, I pulsed them in the food processor so that the juices were released but there were plainly still small strawberry pieces–the strawberry pieces froze wonderfully and add a sort of satisfying crunchy texture to contrast with the smoothness of the rest of the ice cream. Also, we subbed in a tablespoon of hot chocolate mix where it called for vanilla extract (since we were out of vanilla). With this particular batch, we froze it overnight, which gave it a harder consistency. I preferred that to straight out of the machine. Other varieties taste awesome straight from the machine–a little more like soft-serve.

One thing I noticed about making our own ice cream is this: it really encourages a person to eat less. I mean, pouring in two cups of heavy whipping cream really makes it hit home–this stuff is not healthy! The process reminded me of an article I read about cooking vs. purchasing processed food. The quote that came to mind was–

“Special occasion foods become every day foods when we let industry cook for us.” (One example Pollan gives is french fries or chips. They taste great when you cook them yourself, but the process is highly labour intensive(washing, peeling, cutting, pan, oil, splattering, oil, washing up etc) so left to our own devices we might eat them only every month or so as a treat, but many Americans now eat two batches of french fries a day because they have become so convenient.) … The diet that would work for everybody is: eat anything you like, just cook it yourself.

Does that make sense? Since I know exactly what is in my ice cream, I can enjoy the delicious, indulgent fruits of my labor, but the size of the scoop I serve myself will definitely be smaller than a scoop that Ben & Jerry’s would serve me!

Either way… I plan on making lots of yummy ice cream at home for the last few weeks of summer, and well into fall. Can anyone say pumpkin chai ice cream??