Cacio e Pepe Ramen

David Chang is chef extraordinaire, restaurateur, and owner-creator or Momofuku Restaurants in New York City, Toronto, and Sydney. He’s creative and amazing and it featured on The Mind of a Chef. On an episode he made cacio e pepe ramen and I attempted this with my nouveau skills.

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Make sure your cheese melts, as in melt-melts.

Ingredients:
Ramen noodle (i.e., Neoguri, Ichiban, Shin Ramen, etc.)
1 cup of water from boiling the noodles
2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated or already grated
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated or already grated
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

In a pot, bring the water to a boil, enough to cook the ramen. Boil for 2 minutes.

In another pot, take 1 cup of boiled water from the noodles and add the cheeses, butter, and pepper. Melt it all away under low heat. After all have melted-melted, add the noodles. Optional: add 1/2 the packet of soup base.

French Bread Crostini

French bread crostiniFrench bread crostini is a great side-kick to soups. Whether it’s with butternut squash soup or lentil soup (I covered last Friday), the crostini crunchiness compliments soup. Here it is. Super-easy:

French Bread Crostini
French bread or baguette
Extra-virgin olive oil
Shredded cheese (4-cheese is my fave; use pecorino, romano, monterey jack, etc.)

1. Set the oven to 400 degrees
2. Slice the french bread in diagonal slices, half and inch thick
3. Drizzle the olive oil over the slices
4. Top each bread slice with cheese
5. Place the bread on a rack and place in the oven for 7 minutes.

Chicken and Lentil Soup

#THankful Thursdays (1)

I made chicken stock and lentil soup. I usually make chicken stock after I have butchered the chicken. You have read about these recipes posted for #foodiefridays. I rarely make a recipe the same way twice because I may not have certain ingredients and I don’t let that hold me back. I like to test out how adding or omitting some ingredients changes up a recipe. I also like to add ingredients that fit the palate of those who eat it. My Hubs and I like our foods on the spicy side. If you do, too, add more than the recipe calls for, however, if you don’t, omit the cayenne pepper, altogether. I usually make this dish when I have a good two hours. It makes 6 servings, so I usually take the rest and separate them into single servings in containers and freeze them. I will eat them over lunch throughout the week.

Ingredients:
Remaining chicken from butchering (bones with some meat left over)
6 cups of water
Whole onion, sliced thin
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic
Half handful of peppercorns
1/8 tsp parsley
Salt
Pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups of lentils

1. Boil the chicken, onion, carrots, and peppercorn in water for 45 minutes
2. Separate the contents from the broth
3. Let the broth sit so that the fat settles to the top, either skim the fat from the top with a spoon, or MacGyver the fat removal
4. With the contents in another bowl, pick the meat off the chicken bones
5. Discard the bones
6. Pick out the garlic and the peppercorns (you can also leave them in, if you wish, but make sure the peppercorns get blended in well in the next step, the puree process.
7. Take the carrots, onions, and chicken and blend it in a food processor or blender until pureed (“pureed contents”)
8. Take chicken broth, pureed contents, and lentils (after they are washed and picked over), and add them into a pot. Also, add parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper, then boil for 30 minutes.

Serve alone of with french bread crostini. French bread crostini will be covered on the next #foodiefridays post.

Lentil Goodness

Lentils are really good for you. They’re economical. Lentils are a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, and rich in dietary fiber (8 grams), lean protein (9 grams), folate and iron. They treat your heart right. Lentils also cook up fast, in only 15 to 30 minutes.

Remember how Mark Bittman taught me how to cook? What I love about his recipes is that he gives you ideas on how to change it up – options are good! This lentils recipe is his, as are the change-ups, below:

Lentils make soup making easy—they cook quickly and are incredibly tasty. And unlike many lentil soups, which are so thick they put people off completely, this one is nicely balanced with some simple vegetables. The lentils break down a bit during the cooking to give the soup a hearty consistency, but you can purée it if you prefer. Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, cut into 1/2 -inch dice
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2 -inch dice
1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock or water
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt

1. Put the oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, just a minute or two. Add the carrot and celery and keep cooking and stirring until brightly colored and hot, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the lentils, bay leaf, and stock; sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. (At this point, you may cool and refrigerate the soup, covered, for up to 2 days; reheat gently.) Add more stock if the soup is too thick. Just before serving, taste, sprinkle with salt and more pepper if needed, and serve.

Lentil Soup with Lemon and Dill. About a minute before serving, stir in 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, or to taste.

Lentil Soup with Cumin. Add 11/2 teaspoons ground cumin along with the bay leaf. Add a squeeze of lime or orange juice, if you like, and garnish with a dollop of yogurt and chopped fresh cilantro.

Lentil Soup with Smoked Paprika. Add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika along with the bay leaf. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or chives if you like.

Lentil Soup with Sausage or Bacon. Start with about 1/4 pound chopped sausage, bacon, or pancetta and cook it in the soup pot until slightly crisp before adding the other ingredients in Step 1. Drain the fat if you like or use it and omit the olive oil.

Lentil Soup with Roasted Garlic. Omit the onion, carrot, and celery. Prepare and peel 1 or 2 heads of roasted garlic. In Step 1, cook the garlic in the olive oil for a minute or two, mashing and stirring until fragrant.

Lentil Soup with Dried Tomatoes. Omit the onion, carrot, and celery. In Step 1 cook 1/2 cup dried tomatoes (preferably not oil-packed) and a tablespoon of minced garlic in the olive oil for a minute or two, stirring occasionally, until both are softened and fragrant. Proceed with the recipe.

I made my own chicken stock, which I will cover on the next Foodie Friday. I digressed from this lentil soup recipe. I even omitted celery. I’ll cover this on the next Foodie Friday post.

Foodie Fridays: Fast Breakfast and What to do with Them Thighs

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It doesn’t mean it has to take forever to make, either.

Here is the fast and simple recipe:
Multigrain Eggos
Banana. Just one.

Yes, pop the Eggos in the toaster over, slice your bananas and drizzle the syrup! OH! You can add a thigh for breakfast!

Alternatively. Thighs. What to do with them thighs. Remember last week’s Foodie Friday post?

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Here is what to do with the thighs: Take them and put them on a plate with mixed rice and a side of steamed broccoli.

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Steamed Broccoli:

Steamer or a bowl that fits in a pot
Broccoli tops, chopped
2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
1 Tbsp of Lemon
1 Clove of Chopped Garlic
Salt and Pepper

1) Steam your broccoli tops that are chopped for 4 – 5 minutes. 2) place the olive oil, lemon, and chopped garlic in a pan over medium heat. 3) Take your steamed broccoli and toss it into the pan with the rest of the goodness. 4) Salt and pepper to your liking.