Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Udon Period

I just have to say, that my mom is gonna get a big kick out of this. I have hit 210 posts, so this was bound to come up sooner or later. LOL

I have been packing my apartment, making ready for my move to Portland, and have decided to tackle the kitchen. HA HA... Anyone who has seen, either in person or in pictures, what my apartment kitchen looks like will be fully aware of the monumental task that is before me. The problem, if you haven't already guessed, is that, well, I kind of like to cook and bake. Yeah, just a little bit over the last 13 years now.

This has created a tiny little problem. There is not an apartment anywhere in the world that has a large enough kitchen to store all my pots, pans, sheets, tins, mixing bowls, dishes, utensils, ramekins and various other gadgets, both manual and electric, as well as any specialty cookware like crepe pans, waffle irons, brioche molds or aebleskiver pans. In fact, I have decided what I really need to do is rent an industrial sized kitchen and string a cot in the dry pantry. AH, the "bliss factor".

The point I am attempting to make is, now that I have begun packing my kitchen, and cupboards are becoming bare of "accoutrement", I am reminded of those bygone days of my "Udon Period". I joke about this a lot, because it sounds very "artsy".   I mean, I am kinda, sorta, maybe just a little bit, creative-ish, sometimes anyway. At least I think so, on occasion.

While it's true that "Soba" would be a better term for it, "Udon" just sounds better. What I speak of is those years preceding my obsession with cooking. When I was a college age know it all, spreading my wings, living life on the edge and eating an OH SO healthy diet of cold cuts, and white bread (no Mayo). Occasionally iceberg lettuce would make an appearance. After all, one should always eat vegetables, right? ;)

I had a small sauce pan and a large pot for boiling water (in case someone in the building was having a baby, cause lord knows I didn't know how to cook pasta) and a cast iron skillet to fry eggs in, but that was the extent of my cookware. Granted, my ability to fry an egg properly left A LOT to be desired, but back then I really didn't care if my fried eggs could been thrown against the wall and bounce like a "superball" or flubber. The one thing I COULD "cook" though, was Ramen Noodles. TA DA!

Ramen really is a strange beast. It's absolutely terrible for you. But somehow comforting. My theory is that it's a "noodle soup" type food which reminds people of "chicken noodle soup". I started out with a simple preparation, according to the directions. Over time this evolved. Now mind you there were only 5 flavors back then... Oriental, Beef, Chicken, Pork and Shrimp. None of this Chili Lime Shrimp or Creamy Chicken or Mushroom Chicken... I could go on, but I won't. OK, just one more... BBQ Pork.. Only 5 flavors can get a little boring after awhile. Especially when you are eating it for lunch AND dinner. It is because of this, that the allure of flavor combining and, consequently, actual cooking began.

I started experimenting with flavor additions. Asparagus with Chicken... Mushrooms & Broccoli with Beef... Carrots, Onion and Celery with Oriental... Rosemary with Chicken or Pork... I even added Chili Powder and Lime to the Shrimp (before it was an official flavor). If I wanted more protein, I would simply crack an egg into it and stir. (this was my favorite, cause it reminds me of a noddle laden Egg Drop Soup). I would put ANYTHING in Ramen just to see how it would taste. Eventually this spurred me into my first "Pasta" dish. But that is another story. (did you know that dry Pasta needs to boil A LOT longer than 3 minute?)

So as I sit here an reminisce while my kitchen slowly empties of all but the most basic of cooking paraphernalia, I leave you with this easy manifestation of Ramen that I usually consume when the mood strikes at 1:30 AM while packing to move....

Revamped Ramen

1 pkg Ramen (your favorite flavor)
1/2 a small carrot, diced
1/2 rib of celery, diced
1 egg

Bring fresh water to a boil with the carrots, celery and the seasoning packet.

When water beings to boil, break the Ramen block into 4 pieces and add to the water.

OK, here is the bestest part... The incredible edible egg.....

When there are 45 seconds left on the timer, crack the egg into the saucepan.

Stir with a fork to break up the egg; the faster you stir, the smaller the egg pieces will be.

Pour into a bowl and garnish with a little chopped parsley.

I usually add a touch of black pepper as well. The nice thing is that aside from the extremely high sodium content, this is actually fairly easy on the stomach when you have the flu.



Bob said...

Nice! Great story, I also had an Udon Period. Heh. I love Ramen, I've been playing around with it lately. I never added egg though, I'm doing that next time.

Unknown said...

well...who would've thunk that ramen was so versatile. i think I have some somewhere...maybe in my emergency kit? LOL

Patti T. said...

Oh my, so I guess it is not only my one son who absolutely lived on these salty packages! He was not so creative, he "dressed" them up with small frozen salad shrimp and a handful of mexican shredded cheese. He used to buy cases of these in his bachelor days.
He would probably not be happy if I told everyone what his ONE other recipe was tuna surprise (and he is right, I was surprised) drain a can of tuna, add ranch dressing to desired consistency add about a half a jar of green olives and ta da, one of his favorite meals in those days. Good thing he doesn't read your blog, I am giving away all his cooking secrets.

DDpie said...

LOL Shane, my girls absolutely loved Ramen noodles...until they went to college hahahhaha. On another note, I feel for ya bud, having to downsize :( I hope you can just figure out how to store all of that...instead of re-buying it in the future.