Project week is coming up again, and here I am, again, doing a project with foodstuffs involved. As part of my second “Life Skills” project, I am doing a whole set of foods: a side dish/snack + main meal per day of the project. My recipe list is as follows:
- Shakshuka (Eggs in purgatory)
- Pasta and poached egg
- Fried egg sandwiches
- Stovetop popcorn
- Hummus and veggies
- Ranch dip and veggies
Many of these I have made before (obviously). I’m quite a hand at brinner, for example, or eggs in purgatory. Gimme dat basil, yo. More on point, there’s a couple of these that could use more practice.
Most notably: ramen. Ah, real ramen. Luxurious, rich, savory, satisfying. There’s nothing quite as good as an intensely flavorful broth with all the fixin’s. But when was the last time I really, truly tried to make real ramen? I don’t know! So it’s adventure time!
- Eggs don’t go in the microwave. If you’re trying to soft-boil an egg and it’s not quite cooked to your liking, popping it in the microwave for thirty seconds will literally result in a popping. Like, egg everywhere.
- Eggshells don’t go down the garbage disposal. Apparently. (Side note: WHAT THE HELL IS GARBAGE DISPOSAL FOR, IF NOT GARBAGE? Have I been misled here, somewhere? Sigh.)
- 8 minutes is not enough up in Flagstaff for a good soft-boiled egg. It’s good for the flimsiest of flimsy barely cooked eggs.
- 3 packages of ramen noodles are too many noodles for the side of slow-cooker we have. Two will suffice.
- Holy moly I’m full. I’m not even halfway through my bowl yet.
- I’m a spice weenie. One jalapeño slice and I’m like, “Hooooo boy, my sinuses are like super clear!”
- Check expiration dates of things BEFORE you cook. Definitely had no red curry paste or sesame oil because both had expired/gone rancid. Why isn’t there a verb like to rancidify? That makes a lot of sense. Sort of like the verb “to extinctivize,” which means to make something go extinct. Example sentence: “White Americans almost extinctivized the buffalo in the late 19th century.”
Anyhow, lessons were learned and the key idea is that they were learned prior to trying to teach this to someone else. Stay tuned for more project week dishes!
Luxuriously Delicious Ramen
- 2-3 lbs pork shoulder/butt roast
- 4 cups of low-sodium broth (more would be better)
- 1/4 cup – 1/2 + 2-4 tbsps cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup + 2-4 tbsps rice vinegar
- 2 tbsps thai red curry paste (or several heaping squirts of sriracha, if you’re bad like me and forgot to check the expiration date on the thai red curry)
- 1 tbsps ginger
- The juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsps Chinese five-spice
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsps sesame/peanut oil
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2-3 packets Ramen noodles (seasoning packets discarded)
- Chopped carrots, cilantro, scallions, and/or jalapeños for serving.
- In a slow cooker, put the pork butt and the 4 cups of chicken broth. Add the 1/4-1/2 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup rice vinegar.
- In a small separate bowl, combine the lime juice, thai red curry, ginger, Chinese five spice, and black pepper into a paste. Smear the paste on the pork butt and into the broth.
- Cook the pork butt. I did 3 hours on high and 2 on low, but as long as it equals 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, you should be fine.
- When the pork is done, take it out and shred it. In a skillet, heat your sesame oil until very hot. Put in as much pork as fits comfortably without crowding. Sprinkle the pork with some brown sugar and a few tablespoons each of the remaining soy sauce and rice vinegar. Stir to combine. Allow to sit and caramelize for at least two minutes, then stir and allow to caramelize for three to five more minutes.
- While your pork is cooking, chop up the carrots, scallions, cilantro, and jalapeños.
- Soft-boil 2-4 eggs. I recommend you ask someone else how to do this, because all four eggs I made were gigantic, GIGANTIC failures. You’ll notice in the pictures that there are no eggs. Oh, there are eggs. Two, in fact. I just hid them under all the noodles in the hopes that the warm food would cook them a little more. Spoiler alert: they didn’t.
- About five minutes out, put the ramen noodles into the slow cooker with all that gorgeous leftover broth.
- Add about half of the pork to the ramen itself, then top with the remaining pork, egg(s), and various other toppings as you see fit.
- Enjoy immediately with lots of slurping. Otherwise it’s not really ramen, now is it?
Also, while I was making this today, I watched The Awakening on Netflix. Turned out I’d already seen it years ago and forgotten, but that didn’t change the fact that it was an excellent movie and I totally recommend it!