Monthly Archives: May 2013

Ramen Noodle Soup

Ramen Noodle Soup

Ramen Noodle Soup

From those 5-for-a-dollar noodle packets that are a staple of broke college students everywhere, to high-end Japanese Noodle restaurants, ramen noodle soups really run the gamut in price and sophistication. I ate a lot of those cheap packaged ramen noodles in college, and I still get a hankering for a bowl of noodles every now and then. You can buy higher quality ramen noodles at Asian markets or the Asian section of well-equipped grocery stores. I’ve used those, and they’re good. But we keep the cheap packaged noodles around for emergencies, in case we want to throw together a quick and really tasty bowl of noodle soup.

First, throw out the little packet of powdered seasoning that comes with the noodles– it’s full of sodium, MSG, and God knows what else. We’re going to make a much more flavorful and healthy soup base for the ramen noodles.

Since this site is called “RecipeOptions.com”, I’ll give two options for ramen noodle soups here– a spicy Thai Tom Yum-style soup, and a non-spicy soy sauce-flavored soup. These are not strictly authentic recipes– just quick and delicious Asian style soups I put together using ingredients I’m likely to have on hand.

These recipes serve about two people (or one if you’re hungry). Double up on ingredients as needed.

Spicy Tom Yum Style Ramen

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Raw Jumbo Shrimp, Deveined.
  • 1 Package Ramen Noodles
  • 2 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • 1 Heaping Teaspoon Thai-Style Red Curry Paste
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic, Diced
  • 1/2″ Square Piece of Diced Ginger
  • 1-2 Celery Sticks
  • 6 Green Onions
  • Peppers– Any Combo of Red/Green Bell, Thai, Jalapeno, Serrano, or Sweet Peppers– depending on what you have on hand and how hot you want your soup.
  • Handful of Mushrooms
  • Red Chili Pepper to taste– once again, depending on how spicy you like
  • 1 Teaspoon of Peanut Oil
  • Few Drops Toasted Sesame Oil
  • Fresh Cilantro (Optional)

 

Dice up garlic and ginger. Cut celery and peppers into thin strips. Dice up mushrooms and cut green onion into 1/4-1/2″ pieces. Juice the lime. Cut shrimp down center about halfway through to butterfly them so they cook quickly and evenly.

Heat up a soup pan, add the sesame oil (just a few drops for flavor) and the peanut oil. Add the garlic, ginger, peppers, mushrooms and celery and stir-fry them in the oil for just a few minutes– not too long. Add chicken stock, red curry paste, fish sauce, and chili pepper. When it starts to simmer, add ramen noodles and cook for about two minutes.

Add green onion, lime juice and cilantro (if you like cilantro– a lot of people don’t like the taste, but if you do it really adds a lot to the soup). Finally, add the shrimp, turn off the heat, cover and let the soup sit for about three minutes. This is the secret to NOT overcooking shrimp in soup– don’t boil it! Make sure the shrimp is completely submerged in the broth and let the residual heat cook the shrimp just right. Enjoy!

Ramen Noodles with Soy Sauce Flavored Broth

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Raw Jumbo Shrimp, Deveined.
  • 1 Package Ramen Noodles
  • 2 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic, Diced
  • 1/2″ Square Piece of Diced Ginger
  • 1-2 Celery Sticks
  • 6 Green Onions
  • 1/2 Sweet Red Bell Pepper
  • Handful of Mushrooms
  • Fine-Ground White or Black Pepper, to Taste
  • 1 Teaspoon of Peanut Oil
  • 1 Sheet Nori (Japanese Seaweed), cut or torn into strips

 

Dice up garlic and ginger. Cut celery and peppers into thin strips. Dice up mushrooms and cut green onion into 1/4-1/2″ pieces. Cut shrimp down center about halfway through to butterfly them so they cook quickly and evenly.

Heat up a soup pan and add the peanut oil. Add the garlic, ginger, red pepper, mushrooms and celery and stir-fry them in the oil for just a few minutes– not too long. Add chicken stock, soy sauce, and white or black pepper. When it starts to simmer, add ramen noodles and cook for about two minutes.

Add green onion and nori. Finally, add the shrimp, turn off the heat, cover and let the soup sit for about three minutes. This is the secret to NOT overcooking shrimp in soup– don’t boil it! Make sure the shrimp is completely submerged in the broth and let the residual heat cook the shrimp just right. Enjoy!

Perfectly Grilled Pork Tenderloin

pork-loinPork tenderloin is the equivalent of the beef tenderloin that filet mignon cuts come from. Used to be though, the Food and Drug Administration recommended cooking pork to an internal temperature of 165 degrees– which resulted in a relatively dried-out, flavorless cut of meat. But a couple years ago, the FDA changed their recommendation for cooking pork to an internal temp of 145 degrees. This is great news for us backyard barbequers, for now we can confidently cook pork tenderloin the way many chefs have been doing it for years. And what a difference 20 fewer degrees makes! I was amazed at the difference the first time I tried it. Pork tenderloin cooked medium, so it’s still slightly pink in the middle, is juicy and delicious. It almost rivals filet mignon in flavor, in my opinion, and at a lot less per pound.

Grilled pork tenderloin is good either as a dry rub or marinated. I decided to marinate it this time– maybe I’ll do a dry rub pork loin post later this summer– I’ll definitely be making this again.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin, any size
  • 1 12-oz. can of your favorite Cola
  • 1/2-Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2¬†Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano

 

Special Utensils:

  • Meat Thermometer

 Serves 2-4, depending on size of tenderloin

Mix the marinade ingredients. Marinate the tenderloin for at least several hours, preferably overnight.

Heat up charcoal to cover half the grill, or heat up half the burners on your gas grill, if you insist on using a gas grill (crime against barbeque, in my opinion, but I try to keep an open mind). I also cut up some apple wood, burning some on the coals to embers, and reserve a few chunks to soak in water for smoking. I think I mentioned in another post, if you have a gas grill and you want to smoke meat, I’ve heard you can put wood chips in foil, wrapped up but open on the ends, then set directly on a burner to get the wood inside the foil smoking.

When the coals are ready. first put the pork on the hot side of the grill, turning every few minutes just until you get a nice brown on outside of the meat. Then move the meat to the cooler side of the grill to finish cooking with indirect heat. Insert the thermometer probe into the middle of the loin, sit down, open your favorite beverage, and wait until the temp reaches 145. take the tenderloin off the heat, let rest for 5 minutes or so, and enjoy!

Diced Potatoes on the Grill

potatoesAfter

Now that warm-weather grilling season is here in Michigan, I thought I’d focus a little more on BBQ/grilling side dishes. Here’s one my dad used to make when he grilled in the backyard. I’ve added to it but the principal of cooking the diced potatoes in foil is the same as when he did it back when I was a kid. It’s a great-tasting side that’ll go with anything you’re grilling or barbequing. Simple, and a nice change of pace over plain old whole potatoes wrapped in foil and grilled.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium-sized potatoes, skin-on, washed and scrubbed
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • Sweet red, orange or yellow peppers (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons granulated garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt

 

Special Utensils:

  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil

 

Serves 2-4

Pull out a long piece of foil from the roll. I usually pull out a 3-foot long piece and fold it in half for extra strength. Dice up the potatoes into around one-inch squares. I leave the skins on, but you could peel the potatoes first if you like. Dice up the onion and peppers (if you’re using peppers) and add it all to the foil sheet. Then drizzle the olive oil and apple cider vinegar over and add the salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme. Grab both ends of the foil sheet and kind of roll the potato mixture back and forth to help distribute the spices. oil. etc. This is what it should look like at this point:

potatoesBeforeNow take the top and bottom of the foil sheet and wrap it together carefully, rolling the top of the seam down to make a good semi-airtight seal. Do the same with the sides. Get the charcoal going or turn the gas burners up on one side. Now here’s the trick to making the potatoes really good– lay the foil package right on top of the heating-up coals, or put them where the gas flame is the hottest. Turn over at regular intervals. The idea is to brown the potatoes just enough to carmelize them and increase the flavors, to get that hash brown flavor– not enough heat and all you’ll get are steamed potatoes.

Get the potatoes sizzling away nicely on the high heat first, and when you start to grill you can back off on the heat to the potatoes. By the time your BBQ is ready you should be able to open a perfectly cooked pouch of potatoes. Enjoy!