Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Journey Begins

Earlier today I left the house, headed towards Winco Foods. I planned on taking the 57 and then the 62. But after getting off the 57 and waiting at the 62 stop for a minute or two I decided to just walk, it was only about a mile more to Winco. I thought I would find some Psilocybe along the way. Which is what I always think when I go out for a walk.

But alas, no magic mushrooms this time. I did make it to Winco and purchased what I thought I would need to make a decent bowl of Ramen. Unfortunately Winco doesn't carry pork bones so I had to make do with ham hocks. I did buy a nice pork loin since I planned to add the quintessential sliced pork to my Bowls from now on. This was definitely the missing ingredient in my bowls, at least one of the missing ingredients anyway. The pork turned out quite good, with a nice glaze.

My broth is still coming along, most recipes call for leeks but I have yet to purchase one of these vegetables. I have just been throwing things into my broth that I think would give the soup a good taste. But I can't tell if my broth is missing something or has too many things. Perhaps its time to try a leek. And maybe a slower boil.

I also liked walking to Winco, now if I can only get You to come along with me. You know who you are :)

P.S. there are some trails along the way.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Ramen

The other day I was eating some spaghetti and it occured to me that I was eating Ramen. It started me thinking about how many foods I eat that could be considered Ramen. Basically anything with flour and water I suppose. If I dip my bread into a bowl of water I have created a Ramen. Even the slice of bread itself could be considered a Ramen since it contains at least a few molecules of water.

Spaghetti? Or Ramen?

Ramen In a can! (Only use in case of emergency)

I made a decent bowl today. The noodles still leave something to be desired however. I'm told they taste like spaghetti. I enjoy them for the most part, but if I'm going to sell my Ramen in the street it has to have a wide appeal. Creating things with wide appeal is not something I have ever had much interest in. But I do enjoy learning new things.

A few weeks ago I bought a packet of noodles that looked like they would make a decent Ramen. Yakisoba, apparently they are for stir frying. What I needed was chukasoba. The noodles weren't very good, although they did spur me into making my own noodles. At the moment I'm cutting my noodles by hand, I initially thought I would hand pull my noodles, but that art is going to take some time to learn.

Whenever I cook, I tend to think about how food was prepared thousands or millions of years ago. I like to use my hands and limit the use of machines. So many things in our lives are focused on speed and efficiency, using technology to achieve these things. But our technological civilization is only a small blip in humanity's timespan. There's no way to tell if the rapid adoption of all this tech is going to be good or bad for our species future. The only thing for it is to wait a few thousand years and then reflect on where we are, where we have been, and then consider where to go.

I spent most of my day boiling some chicken bones and digging up my backyard with a shovel. My favorite day this week by far. I plan to plant a few vegetables for my Ramen in the spring, or sooner depending. I have a degree in Botany, a little snow shouldn't deter me from attempting to grow some food. Anyway here's a neat video I found while doing some Ramen research.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A trip to the market

I've started work on my broth. It appears that its going to be a pork based broth, but I am a huge fan of miso soup so I might switch over soon if I get my hands on some good miso paste. Perhaps my broth will be a combination of the two. Or perhaps it will be something completely different and westernized, I'm not quite sure yet. I did find a recipe online that I wanted to try out, but it called for quite a few things that I didn't currently have.

So I wrote down some of the ingredients I needed and went to the Asian market near my apartment. The man behind the counter said he had never heard of those before, but he did tell me about an Asian supermarket, just a few miles away! He started explaining to me how to get there, but I never seem to understand people when they attempt to do this. Luckily he gave me the newspaper he was reading that had an ad for this market!

The next day Brittany and I ran some errands, including going to the DMV YAY! We also decided to hit up the Asian supermarket so I could pick up a few things. The place looked bigger than I expected. Brittany wasn't even going to go in, but I told her it would be fun and she got out of the car.

This place had a gift section near the front entrance and I spotted some Ramen bowls, unfortunately they were forty five dollars a piece! I think I'll need to pick up a few cheap bowls from somewhere, I just hope they don't have lead in them lol! We spent some time checking out their selection of lucky cats and put a small one in our basket. In the end we wouldn't purchase him, but I suppose he brought us luck while he was with us.

When we got back from our excursion I started my first broth. It called for a very long simmering time, while keeping the pot covered. I thought that might make the broth a little strong and I was right. I looked over the recipe again and noticed a comment about "This is how I prepare Ramen to suit my particular tastes." Yeah that sounds about right. I dumped the broth down the sink and went back to the drawing board.

The next day I took the rest of the pork bones, an onion, and some celery and simmered them for a few hours uncovered. I thought it tasted much better. Now I'm going to think about some other things to put in the pot!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ramen in Film!

Yesterday after doing some Ramen research, I came across the names of two films about our delicious noodles. Tampopo, and The Ramen Girl. Both movies were quite good in my opinion, with similar themes, being the search for the perfect bowl of Ramen. But the movies take quite different approaches in exploring this theme.

At first I tried placing Tampopo in the fragmented sketch comedy genre, but after a few minutes it quickly went far beyond this limited description. The film is funny, and you should probably watch it for that reason alone. My favorite two characters are the food lovers, who are never named but are quite memorable and very odd.

Anyway here's links to torrents that I downloaded and am currently seeding.
The Ramen Girl Torrent
Tampopo Torrent

The funniest thing about these movies is that I learned quite a bit about making Ramen. Notably that good Ramen is hard to make! I quite enjoy a simple bowl of noodles and a nice miso broth, but I have accepted the Ramen quest for the perfect bowl. To make this bowl and have others consume it! I can see myself spending a lifetime on this task.

I'm currently waiting on some dough to settle while I write this post, and will make some noodles later this afternoon. My broth at the moment contains a beef bouillon base, shudder I know, but it must suffice for the moment. Until I can obtain some pork loins and bones and start work on a decent broth.

Good fortunes for everyone!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fast, Cheap, and Good!

Greetings fellow space travelers! Herein will be a chronicle of my Adventures in Ramen. I have been a huge fan of Ramen for many years. There was a brief time in my life when I was known to eat 2 or 3 packages of Top Ramen a day.

Of course, that kind of Ramen consumption could not last, but for the past few months I have been partaking of the Nissin companies Oriental flavored Top Ramen. Which is the best of their bunch in my opinion.

And then a few weeks ago, A revelation! Why not open my own Ramen cart! I currently live in the Portland area and if you are familiar with this city, you know that there are food carts practically on every corner. Sounds exciting doesn't it?

The good news is there's a decently sized Asian market a block from my apartment with an assortment of vegetables and leafy greens, noodles, sauces and oils, as well as some black fungus which I don't think I'm going to try. Actually I don't know how something called black fungus would even make it past customs but there it was. Other than the unnamed fungus, this market is perfect for experiments in Ramen making.

So I have started work on a few Ramens. I expect it will be some time before these Ramens are cart ready. It will also take some time to procure the actual cart. I dream of a custom built Ramen cart, but in the beginning I imagine I will obtain a cheap prebuilt cart.

So, this blog will be a written account of my journey from the idea of standing by the side of the road selling hot Ramen from a cart to actually doing just that! In the beginning this site will mostly be a collection of links, recipes, and photos of my delicious Ramen!

Have a nice day!