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Using My Noodle

Hello folks!  Have you ever had ramen.  I mean proper ramen, not the $.25 a pack stuff that the hubs practically lived on in college (we had really great chefs at my school).  I'm talking about deep, flavorful broths and interesting ingredients.  Well, I have been on a ramen kick lately.  Noodle bowl places are a little hard to come by in Nashville, though they're not non-existent.  There's a place called Two-Ten-Jack in East Nasty that is as awesome as their hours are limited.  You can't start getting food until 5pm, and by then there's a massive line.  There's also Peace, Love, and Pho, which is good but serves pho and not ramen, as you might have guessed from the name.  Despite how yummy their pho is, parking is a bit of a pain...which does seem to be an issue with most of the hip places around town.  I guess that's a consequence of living in a proper city.  And then there's another ramen place I haven't tried, but I can tell from the address that it too will have parking issues.  Seriously, people, crappy parking does not make you cool.

So you see my dilemma.  Add to that the hubs' celiac, which is an entirely different bowl of noodles.  Therefore, in customary me-style, I decided to make my own.  After all, the hubs shouldn't have to miss out if I can help it.

I tried two different recipes this past week.  First, using myself as a guinea pig, I made what is basically bacon and eggs ramen from Yes to Yolks.  Mine was even more simple than this recipe because I was being lazy efficient.  I have dried lemongrass in my cabinet, so that got thrown in, and I have miso broth in a box that I used.  I also decided to be brave and used some fish sauce I'd recently bought for the first time.  It doesn't smell great, but it doesn't smell awful though either, and it adds a really nice depth of flavor.  Just be sure to only use a little.  It's like sesame oil; it packs a lot of flavor.  I also didn't have spinach.

This is something I really appreciate about ramen/noodle bowls: you can kind of just add whatever you have on hand.  My bacon and eggs ramen turned out splendidly!

I know, it looks weird, but I happened to still have some black rice noodles
on hand, so I decided to use them up.

Given the simplicity of the ingredients, I think this meal has one of the highest returns on effort investment that I know.

Nom nom nom!  I added a little too much broth (in my opinion), but it was delicious.  And it seems quite breakfasty to me as well.
 Right, once I had successfully experimented on myself, it was time to move onto a larger test group - the hubs.  For that one, I wanted something a little more well rounded, so I choose a simple chicken ramen from Fork, Knife, and Swoon.  This time around, I stuck to the recipe a little closer, though I did use chicken thighs instead of breasts.  The hubs is super-paranoid about chicken being cooked within an inch of its life completely through. :-)  Thighs are great for this because they stand up to all kinds of abuse and neglect and still come out fantastic.  I actually pretty much only buy thighs for this reason.  I used mung bean noodles (also known as glass noodles) for this go-round because, again, that's what I had on hand.

Can I just say how much I appreciate that the chicken in this recipe cooks in the oven.  No faffing about with the hobs and how hot it should be and sputtering grease.  You shcaff it in and forget about it for a little while.  Then, while it's cooking away, you just assemble everything else.

That is a mighty good looking set of noodle bowls.  Just looking at them makes me feel all warm and happy inside.

I quite like the way ramen bowls are arranged.  There's something artful about everything being divided up just so, presented almost like a bouquet of edible, messy, slurpy bouquet of soggy flowers.  And the hubs super enjoyed it!  I cannot tell you how much I love being able to beat celiac restrictions with homemade dishes.  Now I just need some proper ramen bowls.  Mine are just not cutting it.


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