Friday, December 19, 2014

Candy Noodle Soup

This came to me in a dream. Noodles made of marzipan. A broth of Mexican chocolate with a little booze for sheen, piped in with a turkey baster. Garnished with sprinkles, candied citron and peppermint bark. It comes together rather well. Sort of tastes like Mozart Kugeln.

Noodle Soup Forward!

A Friend on Facebook called this....

Faux Pho 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lamb Broth with Root Vegs and Soba

I particularly liked this one because it breaks down the rigid borders between soup and stew. It's made with a lamb shoulder chop, carrots, parsnips and celery. It was cooked slowly so the broth stayed clear. Then served on soba noodles. So the final effect is exactly the slurpable soup aesthetically, but the flavors say Irish stew, without the potato of course.

I think doing this again I would add some seaweed to further undefine it. The briny flavor really goes well with lamb. Maybe even just some furikake sprinkled on top.

The bowl is another favorite of mine, made years ago, in New York. Super Mud Pottery when I was first apprenticing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I don't think these are supposed to go in soup in the Valtellina, but they are seriously dense earthy buckwheat noodles. They're in a beefy broth with shreds of cabbage, a few mushrooms and then as a nod to their Japanese cousins, just a dab of red miso in the soup. I couldn't resist a little parmigiano before eating. It's really does work.

I'm also guessing that soba noodles would work in the same context, though with more Northern Italian flavors. Maybe even a dash of tomato paste.

I love mixing and matching flavors in noodle soups. New combinations are coming to me every morning.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Pinking Shears Noodle

I know what you're thinking, but no, the shape is supposed to be cowry shells. How to do it actually came to me in a dream. I saw an image of my dad's pinking shears. He designed clothes in NY's Garment District and had a bevy of frightening sewing tools. The pinking shears were these thick brutish blades made of solid steel with black handles. I tried some craft scissors which weren't strong enough to handle dough. And this morning bought some fiskars and they worked perfectly, cut cleanly, right into boiling water. Here they're in a vegetable broth with some scallions, that's all. Most of them I just froze because I'm coming to realize that making noodles every morning for breakfast is ridiculous. So we'll see how they do in the freezer. Pop out a little container of stock, a ziplock of noodles and some fresh vegetables. Easy peasy. We shall see.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Tale of Two Stocks

I amazes me that with very similar ingredients one can make two completely and utterly different stocks. This is an interesting lesson in technique. The first stock here was made with turkey necks and giblets. I roasted them in the oven for a few hours with carrots, onions, celery. Then put everything plus the scrapings from the pan into a small stock pot, barely covered with water, and into the oven for about 16 hours at 275 degrees. I love the way this comes out, really dark with deep flavors and very clear. No fat at all.

The soup shown here is just stock with some shiitake mushrooms thrown in, noodles, of course, and some parsley. It's a super intense turkey flavor and actually with a little more reduction and thickening of flour it made a great gravy. But the bones in the necks didn't create any gelatinous thickening.
This second stock was made with the leftover carcass of the turkey, with wings, skin and a lot of bones, not much meat left. It was boiled for about 6 hours on the stove top with a lot of water in the same pot with carrots, onions, celery, etc. You would think they might turn our similar? This was milky like a bone broth, with a very intense flavor but tasting more like roast turkey than a stock base. And when chilled it solidified completely, so I could take the fat off the top. In the soup it was sticky and mouth-filling, and as you can see cabbage, tomatoes and parsley, similar noodles too. But very murky and thick.

The collagen in the skin here I think made all the difference. I don't prefer one over the other, but am nonetheless surprised that the part of the turkey used and the method of cooking makes such a tremendous difference in the final taste and consistency.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 17 courses

 I never mess with Thanksgiving, but this year decided to do many tiny courses served in unusual vessels. They're mostly riffs on traditional dishes so I don't think anything tasted odd. And now I don't remember the order! Thankfully great friends were there cooking with me to fill in many of the courses as well. Here are just a few of them. First is a green bean souffle in shot-sized timbales. Sprinkled with sumac.

Then came a crab soup with really long fresh wheat noodles. I couldn't pass up a chance to do a noodle soup! A little sour with lime. Chewy slurpable noodles made with the Atlas roller.

 These are yucca and malanga fries served in tiny Chinese food take out boxes I found at a restaurant supply shop. I have a ton of these left to do something with. Any ideas?

I think somewhere around here there was a tiny gumbo soup with a single okra in it.

There was also a lovely sour lemon granita palate cleanser.
 This is stuffing with celery, onion, sage, bacon in tiny jelly jars. They were reheated in the oven, and actually exploded when open. The first few dealt some serious blisters. Let cook for a few minutes and aim away is the lesson learned.

There was also a raw carrot puree soup served in a red cello cup shot about here as well. Actually several raw veggie dishes.
 Here a single one of my kabocha squash raviolo in a tiny Asian bowl with spoon. It's seasoned with sesame and white soy sauce. Plus a little cilantro. After I had taken a bite of it, of course. I think I may prefer this version to the usual lemon butter sauce and capers. The squash has to cook down slowly in a pot for hours until a thick paste, then put into rolled sheets of dough.
 A mashed potato ball seasoned with homemade dehydrated tomato pickle chip shards, furikake and parsley. I guess my mind is fixated on Asia lately.

Not pictured was the turkey, also on tiny plates and sauced with a dark stock cooked overnight and a gorgeously thick and sweet mole. Together they were really exquisite. Cranberry sauce too, naturally.
And cupcake sized pecan pie. There were actually many tiny desserts all served at once, so maybe it was only 12 courses with 17 dishes. Which ever, it was all lovely and great fun. Over three hours at the table I think. Everyone brought little courses as well. Now I just need to recover from the whole thing!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Noodle Soup Saga

I've been really into noodle soup lately if you haven't noticed. I have to write a book about it, and so I've started systematically recording every version I cook for breakfast. Some are simple, some extraordinarily complex and time consuming. This week I decided to just change little things in the basic recipe to see if I could taste the subtle differences. It's not something I've ever done before: cooking the same basic dish every day. As you can imagine, the differences are vast, just one ingredient different makes all the world of difference.

This week began with beef broth, buckwheat soba and a dollop of leftover lamb chili that was laced with pho flavors. Then on Tuesday was a quick ramen in chicken broth with coconut, tomato, lime and sriracha. I actually had a packet of instant ramen and just threw away the chemical packet. Still, very quick. Wednesday was a gorgeous mung bean, chicken broth and again tomato, lime, sriracha, cabbage, scallions. Nothing like the one the day before. Then Thursday was fish stock, rice cellophane noodles, lemon, parsley, carrots and cabbage. It's amazing how switching lemon for lime and parsley for cilantro changes the entire dish. Saturday there was almost nothing left in the house, but wheat noodles, chicken stock, and much like the day before, but with a hit of fermented salgam suyu, changed everything. Sour and beet/red carrot-flavored.

Today was the killer. An 18 hour stock cooked overnight on low in the oven. Mostly duck necks and vegetable ends. With arrowroot starch vermicelli. I never knew there was such a thing! Some shiitake mushrooms, cilantro, leftover chicken breast. It was slick with meatiness. No chili or acid, since I just wanted the stock to shine through. This bore no relationship to versions I made earlier in the week. Do you think there's the making of a whole book here? I'd say so!