Scotch Egg Ramen Noodle Bowl

Scotch eggs. Oh my word. Where to even start?

They’re a traditional British snack food, often considered a picnic-ready food – and although they’re pretty much born to be a breakfast food item considering it’s an egg enclosed in sausage, we couldn’t help but figure, eh, let’s just eat these all day long.

I can’t think of a more delicious concept – jammy egg, Worcestershire sauce-doused ground pork, and other savory elements, all deep fried until golden and sizzly. Here, I went with an Asian flair and added soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil. I had a hankering for a bowl of piping hot ramen, and wanted the scotch egg to jive with the Asian flavors in the broth.

A local ramen joint – Jinya, is doing ALL the business. Over the past few months, my sister has been ordering from them four to five times a week – no exaggeration. One time, she had Jinya deliver across the city to her office. For lunch. If she’s any indication – those guys are doing ramen right.

I love the new topping options I’m seeing for ramen. An egg is the classic must have protein-booster, but now I’m seeing crunchy fried pork belly, roasted eggplant, slices of American cheese, and other super delicious topping ideas that go beyond just bean sprouts.

Not that there’s anything wrong with bean sprouts.

This bowl features all my favorite umami flavors – or at least, what I consider umami flavors for my weird palate. Mushrooms, cheese, egg and pork from the scotch egg, toasted sesame seeds, grated onion, spicy chili garlic paste, and corn for a bit of sweetness.

How do you like your ramen to be topped? What’s a cool addition that’s a bit out of left field? I’d love to hear your favorites! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 1.

  • 1 egg plus 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 / 3 lb. pork sausage, out of its casing
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash soy sauce
  • 1 dash fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus 1 dash
  • 1 / 4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 / 4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi powder
  • 1 3 oz. package ramen noodles
  • 1 quart chicken or beef stock, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 yellow Kraft Singles American cheese slice
  • 1 / 4 lb. mushrooms of your choosing, sliced thick
  • 1 / 4 cup corn
  • 1 / 4 white onion, grated
  • 2 Thai chilis, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon Dynasty Hot Chili Oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed
  • Enough vegetable oil to reach two inches-high in a fry-safe pan

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Toast the sesame seeds. Add them to a dry, hot pan. Toast them on medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing often, until the seeds are golden brown and aromatic. Set aside.
  2. Combine the ground pork, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 1 dash sesame oil, along with a few grounds of black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Cover an egg with water in a small pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, and remove from the heat. Place the egg in an ice bath, and allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  4. Coat a saute pan in olive oil, and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes until the mushrooms shrink and become tender. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the scotch eggs. Combine the flour and the wasabi powder in a bowl. Set aside. Take the egg out of the ice bath and smash the egg on both sides, slowly rolling the egg until the shell slides off. Take the pork mixture and flatten it, putting the egg inside and carefully enclosing the egg in the ground pork, until it’s covered evenly on all sides. Place the egg in the flour mixture, then the beaten egg, then the panko bread crumbs. Set aside.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil in a fry-safe pan – enough that the oil rises 2 inches high in the pan. To test the oil readiness, put a pinch of flour in the oil. If it begins to sizzle and brown, the oil is ready to use.
  7. Place the scotch egg in the hot oil with a slotted spoon. Turn the egg carefully throughout the cooking process, about 4 minutes total, until all sides are browned. Remove the egg from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a separate pot, and add the garlic. Saute the garlic in the oil for 3 minutes or so. Add the quart of stock, and bring to a low simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the stock has concentrated slightly. Add the ramen noodles, and cook according to package instructions, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  9. Serve the ramen in bowls, topping with the corn, Thai chilis, sauteed mushrooms, grated onion, chili oil, toasted sesame seeds, American cheese and the scotch egg, cut in half lengthwise. Serve hot.

 

Mushroom Forager’s Soup

I’m in full-on mushroom mode this fall. Few things are better than that wholesome, nutty smell in my kitchen, and sautéed mushrooms are always a perfect bite before dinner. Add garlic to the sauté and you’ll hear earnest whimpers from my boyfriend about how good it smells. And they’re not too filling, either.

Did you a mushroom lover is called a mycophile?

I came across a organization with members that forage locally for mushrooms and host speakers with a deep knowledge of fungi – the Mycological Association of Washington, D.C. I saw a meeting they hosted on harvesting truffles, which piqued my interest for obvious reasons. I joined the group. They offer “forays” into the woods to seek out mushrooms – with experts. Don’t worry. I don’t want to be eating some red spotted toadstool mushroom, and be foaming at the mouth minutes later.

Anyone go mushroom foraging? What is it like?

I will usually buy mushrooms in bulk because I know they’ll get eaten – sometimes I’ll buy those stuffing mushrooms, other times I’ll get a huge bag of the loose cremini mushrooms.

But it’s a lot more fun to veer out of the produce aisle and head into the dried foods sections to seek out the interesting mushrooms stocked there. I hadn’t noticed the chanterelle mushrooms before. I’d usually just swing by to grab morels.

I was so excited to get home to taste these mushrooms – I couldn’t remember if I’ve had them before. They’re great reconstituted, almost spicy, but I can only imagine how much better they are fresh. Maybe it’s worth an order online. But for those who are like me without access to the fresh variety, the reconstituted dried chanterelles bring a deeper, woodsier flavor than your portabella or white cap mushrooms.

The base of this soup is a mushroom stock imbued with a variety of mushrooms I had on hand – baby bella, beech, oyster, shitake and chanterelle mushrooms all made the cut. Add some crushed garlic and springs of thyme, and that’s all she wrote. The stock was perfect.

If you love mushrooms, you’ll love this recipe. And if all else fails, just know you’re eating a cream-based soup, and really, how bad could that taste?

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 1 pound mushrooms of your choosing (I used baby bella, beech, oyster, shitake and reconstituted chanterelle mushrooms), plus 1 / 2 pound mushrooms of your choosing, sliced thick, for garnish, if desired
  • 4 springs thyme
  • 2 garlic gloves, crushed, plus 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1 / 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Olive oil, as needed

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Combine the mushrooms, thyme, crushed garlic, 1 1 / 2 teaspoon salt and water in a pot. Allow to come to a boil. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the stock is a deep brown flavor. If using reconstituted chanterelle mushrooms, strain those mushrooms, and add that liquid to the pot as well.
  2. Strain the stock through a colander lined with a paper towel to eliminate the dirt. Set the stock aside.
  3. In the same pot, melt the butter. Add the minced garlic, and allow to cook on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the flour, and stir until the flour is incorporated into the butter mixture. Add the milk, heavy cream, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, nutmeg, and bring to a light boil. Allow to simmer and thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, sautee a variety of mushrooms of your choosing (1 / 2 pound or so) in a skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper, for about 5 to 7 minutes on medium heat, until they are lightly browned. Set aside.
  5. Add 3 cups of the mushroom stock to the soup. Allow to simmer for 15 additional minutes, until the soup reaches a chowder consistency. Taste the soup for seasonings (salt & pepper), and adjust accordingly.
  6. Plate the soup, topping with extra sautéed mushrooms for garnish, if desired.

 

 

 

 

Mom’s French Onion Soup

My mom makes really good French onion soup. You know the kind I’m talking about.

Served in the traditional brown ombre crock pots, you spoon into a molten cap of cheese with those golden, crispy cheese bubbles on top. The broth is piping hot, scattered with droplets of beef fat that float and slide easily into your spoon. The crispy cheese pieces that are baked onto the dish call your name as you near the bottom of the bowl.

The flavor can be incredible when you make onion soup the right way. It should be.

As with any good stock-based soup, you have to prioritize your stock. It bears repeating because sometimes I get complacent, and go with what’s convenient. By complacent, I mean using store-bought cartons. It happens more often than it should. But I figure, if I’m making French onion soup, there’s a strong chance I have time to make homemade beef stock, too.

A recipe for beef stock from Bon Appetit shows us how simple making beef stock can be. Just remember to grab a few pounds of cattle marrow bones the next time you go to the grocery store. The butcher will have them. Everything else – trust me, you already have lying around.  Celery, carrots, garlic, an onion or two? That’s it. Really!

Drawing from a sermon of mine in an earlier post on making chicken stock – don’t worry too much about getting the proportions perfect, according to some recipe. At least I don’t. The sheer act of making homemade beef stock is deserving of a high five.

French onion soup always had a special occasion vibe to it – it’s a process. That overfilled pot of onions? That’s going to cook down to almost nothing before you do anything else with it. My mom thinks of it as therapeutic cooking, and I totally agree with her. It’s a satisfying feeling seeing those heaps of onions do their thing and cook down into pure onion goodness.

So mom, how did I do?!

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 4.

  • 3 Spanish onions, peeled and sliced crosswise
  • 4 stems thyme, tied into a bouquet garnier (tied together with kitchen twine)
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf, dried or fresh
  • 4 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 – 4 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 baguette
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed
  • Olive oil, as needed

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat the oven to broil.
  2. Coat the bottom of a large dutch oven with olive oil. Add the butter and allow to melt. On medium heat, sauté the onions, adding a large pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Add the garlic, bouquet garnier as well as the bay leaf to the pot. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the onions begin to darken and caramelize.
  3. Once the onions are a deep brown, add the Worcestershire sauce and raw flour. Cook for a couple of minutes to allow the flour to absorb into the mixture.
  4. Add the beef stock, remove the thyme bundle and bay leaf, and bring the soup to a boil.
  5. In small oven-safe bowls, ladle in the soup, leaving about an inch of space at the top. Layer enough 1 / 2 inch slices of baguette to cover the soup – 2 or 3. Top each dish with 3 / 4 to 1 cup of the Gruyere. It will melt down.
  6. Place the soup bowls on a sheet pan, and place under the broiler for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and browned.
  7. Serve hot, with extra torn baguette on the side for dipping.

A Hasty Debut Into the Release of Hankerings Salad Dressings

Phew! We have passed tests, completed paperwork, set and met deadlines, and we’re almost, almost there.

At three months in, we’ve firmed up our plans to produce and sell salad dressings beginning next year. Starting at local famer’s markets in DC and radiating out to stores and local food-based events in the Rockbridge County area in Virginia, where my parents live. We’re planning to sell online and in retail.

Without going into too much detail, the inaugural line of dressings will likely showcase what we’re calling five “creamies” (mayonnaise-based dressings) and one vinaigrette. The sole vinaigrette earns its one-that’s-not-like-the-rest label because it will be fruit-based.

Although sweet anything doesn’t fall into the Hankerings brand, we decided on something a bit more approachable (and healthy, I guess) for the non-mayo folks out there that’s still so damn good, you won’t be able to put it down!

The mayonnaise-based dressings will each spotlight one ingredient – one spicy, one bacon-y, one with blue cheese, one all about garlic, and one a little out of left field (pizza-related). The southern-inspired vinaigrette features peaches and honey.

There’s a lot of work that went into getting to where we are now. But I feel excited waking up week after week to watch it all happen. The names of the dressings will be released, and shortly after, you will be able them to purchase them through our site!

I wish you could feel the excitement we’re feeling through your screen. So don’t forget to stop by and see the latest and greatest in salad dressings coming straight from the Hankerings kitchen! 😊

To be continued!

Butter-Poached Shake & Bake Drumsticks

I have no excuse for this one. I just know, that you know, you want to eat it.

There’s a butter poaching technique I saw used on steaks – and I knew I wanted to try it immediately. But this poaching process is simplified. No removal of the fat solids. No monitoring the liquefied butter to ensure it remains at exactly 135*. And most importantly, no baby pool sized vat of melted butter. A couple of sticks will do just fine.

Poach what, though? I thought drumsticks, because I’ve been getting back into them. My parents used to make them for us all the time as kids. I loved Shake and Bake night. If I was lucky, I even got to do the shaking! Anyone else know what I’m talking about?

I’m not sure why I took such a long hiatus from drumsticks – because they are a perfect poultry cut. And unabashedly cheap.

I’m a dark meat person for life. I’ve never bit into a piece of dark meat that wasn’t moist and flavorful as hell. Even if it wasn’t cooked perfectly. A chicken breast? Yeah, you can overcook it. We’ve all made that mistake before.

The other flavor I incorporated is an unmistakably American snack staple. Cheddar and sour cream – specifically, that yummy, dairy-laden powder you taste on Lay’s Cheddar & Sour Cream Potato Chips.  My boyfriend and I snack on that stuff like fiends. And when crushed into granules, I couldn’t think of a more delicious coating to flavor chicken.

The longer you poach these drumsticks in the butter, meat exposed to the liquid, the better they will be.  Like any marinade, protein will assimilate whatever liquid it’s submerged in. Being careful to abide by an appropriate don’t-leave-chicken-outside-the-fridge-for-too-long span of time for poultry, I poached the chicken in butter for about an hour.

Don’t be wary about serving these butter-soaked haunches of meat – I think if you set the right tone for your eaters, as in, this is a special caloric occasion, everything will go over completely fine.

And use whatever potato chips you want for this. I don’t think you can top Cheddar & Sour Cream, but I’ve been wrong before.

What crunchy coatings have you used on baked chicken?  I’ll be making this again, probably sooner than I should. 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 / 2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 / 2 of an 8 1 / 2 oz. bag of Lay’s Cheddar & Sour Cream potato chips
  • 2 sticks butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat the oven to *350.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan with high sides, that’s snug enough to fit the drumsticks in one layer.
  3. Remove the butter from the heat, wait until the butter is cooled, about 5 minutes, and submerge the chicken, letting the chicken sit in the butter for up to an hour, turning occasionally.
  4. In the meantime, crush the potato chips in a large Ziploc bag with a mallet or rolling pin. Add the panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper, seal the bag, and shake to combine.
  5. After an hour, remove the chicken from the butter and add the drumsticks to the Ziploc bag. Seal the bag, and shake until all pieces are coated.
  6. Place the drumsticks on a sheet pan, and bake for 1 hour, turning the pan half way through for even cooking.
  7. Serve hot.