We've talked a lot about ramen in The Flying Chef Journal because it's such a versatile staple for many kitchens. In our current situation, however, ramen is fast becoming a staple of many a lunch or dinner meal. Fresh or dried, ramen is good stuff, but not just for soups. This recipe is a fresh twist on the usual, with pickled ginger, mandarin oranges, green onions, and crunchy Napa cabbage. The dressing's sweet-tart flavor comes from honey and rice vinegar, with a dash of soy.
Turn your Pandemic Pantry around and surprise your people with this colorful ramen salad.
1 head Napa cabbage
1 package instant ramen noodles, crumbled
½ cup sliced almonds
1 can mandarin orange slices, drained
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 handful sliced, pickled ginger
2/3 cup oil, vegetable works best
1/3 cup honey or agave
1/3-cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp sesame oil
A dash salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place sliced almonds on cookie sheet, and add the dry uncooked, crumbled ramen.
(You can throw the ramen seasoning packet away; you won't need it.)
Place ramen and almonds into oven and bake for about seven minutes, or until all crunchy bits are lightly toasted.
Do not burn.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Rinse, drain, and chop cabbage into bite sizes pieces.
Chop green onion and slice pickled ginger.
Drain mandarin orange sections.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl
Whip up dressing and toss the salad.
Eat promptly; the ramen will get soggy if held too long.
If you want to prepare the salad ahead of time wait until it is time to serve to add the dressing.
See, cooking is easy!
If you, like most of us, are spending more time at home, it's probably a sure bet that you've started cleaning stuff, and this cleaning might include the freezer. Spring is finally here, which means we can look toward (I hope) another salmon fishing season. But first, last year's fish needs to be used up, especially if space is at a premium. These salmon burgers are a perfect way to use up that fish. A rich blackening seasoning, made from ingredients you probably have at home already (or hey, why not clean out the spice cupboard, too?), provides a nice summery flavor that will help us think of better times ahead.
For the burger:
2 salmon fillets, skin removed, cooked, and shredded
2 TBS chopped onion
¼ tsp fresh chopped parsley
¼ cup bread crumbs (Italian seasoned is the best, but use what you have)
½ tsp dried basil
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs vegetable oil
Red pepper flakes, to taste
For the dressing:
3 Tbs mayonnaise
1 pinch dried basil
Chopped fresh dill to taste (dried is fine, too)
In a bowl, mix all of the burger ingredients except the oil, and form six patties about ½-inch thick.
In a large heavy pan over medium heat, add the oil.
Just as the oil starts to smoke, add salmon patties, and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until browned.
For the dressing, mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, basil and dill.
It’s just that easy. Smear some atop your burger and enjoy.
Homemade Blackening Seasoning
1 Tbs paprika
2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
½ tsp dried thyme leaves
½ tsp dried oregano
It is perfectly OK if you don’t have all seasoning ingredients on hand. Wing it with what you have and make your own flavor.
Mix it all up and store in an airtight container. This seasoning would be good on halibut or chicken, too.
Use as a rub and let set in on the salmon before cooking.
Remember that chicken you roasted yesterday? Today it will become a comforting meal that everyone in your family will eat.
Just what is it about casseroles? These one-dish wonders that are known also by other names -- "hot dish," "covered dish," or perhaps something else in your family. Casseroles are true comfort food, called such because of the sense of nostalgia they provide, especially in times like now.
This hearty, warming dish is made even more delicious by the leftover chicken roasted in yesterday's post. Today's lunch or dinner meal is the second in my installment of "Pandemic Pantry" recipes, and is a sure bet to help you feel good in these troubled times.
A note: If you'd like to stretch this dish even further, serve over hot rice or wide egg noodles.
Hey, and I hope you'll tune in to my latest radio appearance with KFQD, where I expand upon the Pandemic Pantry options, and how we can all help one another and appreciate our food service workers during this difficult time.
3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup, or cream of mushroom soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups panko or Italian bread crumbs (some mothers in the 1950's and 60's used corn flakes or other dry cereals; do what you remember fondly)
6 Tbs butter, melted
Salt/pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F
Grease a 13x9-inch baking dish
Combine soup, chicken, salt/pepper, and shredded cheese and spread in dish
In a large bowl, stir bread crumbs and melted butter, top casserole
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until bubbling, and topping is golden brown
If there's one thing I do know during this crazy Coronavirus pandemic, it's that we'll all likely have a lot more time to cook, for better or worse. The State of Alaska has also mandated several actions, including maintaining several feet of distance between people, which means a lot fewer trips to the grocery store.
This is a great opportunity to use up several common pantry items, and get creative, but also fall back on old favorites. Over the next several days, look for The Flying Chef's "Pandemic Pantry" series, hopefully inspiring and comforting all of you (read: us) stuck at home.
First up: The Flying Chef's Two-Day Chicken. A favorite from the minute you purchase in bulk (two chickens) from your local big box store.
Just remember to wash, wash, and wash your hands some more, for at least 25 seconds, with real soap, and don't touch your face. Just don't. Stay at least six feet from other people, which may mean a slower shopping process, but that's OK if it keeps us from getting sick, OR transmitting the virus to other people.
OK -- message received? Let's cook.
The Flying Chef's Two-Day Chicken.
1 whole chicken (buy in packs of two or individually)
¼ cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons whole basil
1-teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp brown sugar
1 cup wood chips for smoking (see procedure for option)
1 plastic bag (produce bags work, as do smaller-size NON-SCENTED trash bags)
Add the following to a blender:
Slice lemon and extract juice. Pour juice into blender and reserve the rind.
Add all remaining ingredients, except the wood chips and blend for about a minute.
Clean chicken under cool running water, remove giblets and discard.
Place chicken in plastic bag.
Pour contents of blender into the bag and fully coat the bird with the mixture, being sure to get some of the marinade into the cavity.
Place the reserved lemon rind into the cavity of the chicken.
Remove excess air from the bag and tie closed.
Place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
Make sure and knead the bag once or twice in this period.
From here, vary the recipe depending upon your cooking equipment:
Use a grill and cook with wood chips for about 90 minutes on indirect heat. Using charcoal? Move the coals to one side and place the bird on the other. With a gas grill, light only one burner to ensure that the tasty entrée will not burn when it drips, and will be a golden brown success.
Don't have a grill or want to cook inside? No problem.
Roast at 375 degrees for about an hour, or until the internal temperature of the hip joints reaches 180 degrees. Yes, you should clean the kitchen drawers to find that meat thermometer.
Remove bird form heat and cover with foil for approximately 15 minutes.
Carve, serve and wait for the complements to roll in. Seriously.
I suggest a few side dishes. Stuffing or garlic mashers along with a light salad should do the trick.
Here's the thing about ramen noodles -- those squiggly, narrow noodles most of us cooked in two minutes or less during less-affluent times in our lives: They are not all created equal. Good ramen noodles are slightly-sweet, wheaty-flavored goodness with just a bit of chew to their texture. Ramen comes in three styles; fresh, dried, and fried (we are all familiar with the "blocks" of noodles that come wrapped in plastic and sold with a spice packet, yes?). Hey, eat what pleases you, but if you can get fresh ramen noodles at a local store, do it, then make this "to-go" style ramen recipe that serves up well at lunchtime, no matter where you might be.
2 small mason jars (pint)
1 package ramen noodles
1 TBS soy sauce
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp hot sauce
1 cup shredded chicken
1 cup spinach, chopped
½ cup carrot, cut julienne-style
2 TBS sliced green onions
Cook ramen noodles like you always do, according to directions on package
Run cold water in the pot of ramen to stop the cooking process and preserve noodles' firm texture
Tear open ramen flavor packet and pour in the bottom of the mason jar
Split the soy, ginger, and hot sauce between the two jars
Add the chicken, then layer the spinach and carrots. Top with the chopped green onions and screw the lid on.
When ready to dine, boil water and pour into jar, just topping the ingredients
Screw the lid back on and let steep for 3 minutes.
Remove lid. Stir, and enjoy!
Favorites from Chef Mark Bly
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