Monday, June 17, 2013

happy birthday to me: mushroom ramen

In case you haven't heard, my birthday has recently come and gone. I generally welcome each birthday, celebrating the happiness of the past year while looking forward to all that's to come. I'll admit, however, this one was different. Remember that cross roads I had mentioned? Well, currently my days are spent trying to figure out my next move, what career path to take before we can make our resto-cafe dreams come true. Needless to say, it's been taking its toll. So when the big day drew near, I wasn't the least bit excited.

But, like always, the clouds parted and the sun shone through. This birthday, besides the amazing gifts from the man, I got to spend my birthday with a crew of food bloggers from across Canada. Nothing like a twitter party to lift the spirits and remind you of everything you have to be grateful for. The party celebrated the release of Get Your Grill On with Turkey & Mushrooms, an e-book collaboration between Mushrooms Canada, Turkey Farmers of Canada and ten of Canada's best food bloggers, many of whom I had the pleasure of meeting at FBC2013. I was beyond thrilled when Mushrooms Canada asked me to moderate the party because, if there is one thing I love more than anything, it's talking food. Despite it being the fastest hour of my life, I wouldn't have spent my birthday any other way. Big thanks to the team at Mushrooms Canada, Turkey Farmers of Canada and all the participating bloggers for making my day. Plus, the e-book is nothing short of incredible. I suggest hitting up the Mushrooms Canada and Tasty Turkey facebook pages, throwing a like their way, then getting your download on. These are 20 recipes sure to spices up your summer grilling.

But what this post is really about is the Back to the Roots grow your own mushroom kit. Part of the unbelievable swag at the FBC conference, Mushrooms Canada graciously gave all attendees a kit to take home. Somehow in all the craziness (like the lack of power during registration perhaps), I had totally forgot to snag one. As the weeks went by and the instagram pics started surfacing with the mushroom play by play, I knew I had missed out big time. But, lucky me, the awesome ladies of Mushrooms Canada whom I enjoyed a nightcap with at the conference went ahead and mailed me one anyway so I could get in on the action.

And action is exactly what I got. Both Brent and I became mesmerized, rushing to the windowsill each morning to see the progress. It was as if you could stand there and literally watch them grow. We even harvested at day 9, a day earlier than expected. I don't know what's going on in our house but I can't wait to turn that box over and do it all over again. Uh huh, the kits can magically produce up to four mushroom harvests. You have got to hit up Back to the Roots to order one for yourself. Even better, share a pic of your fully grown mushrooms on their facebook page and they'll send a kit to a school of your choice. How cool is that?






I know right!
I eat mushrooms on the regular so when these bad boys were ready, I could easily have put them in just about anything. These oyster mushrooms, however, were destined for something bigger, something I've been obsessed with lately. If you read my last post - wait, what? you haven't? Stop everything right now and get on that! - it'll be no surprise that I went ahead and made me some ramen.

Needing some key ingredients, I jumped on the new ride (I also got an ol' school bike for the bday) and pedalled my way to an Asian grocery store here in Dartmouth. I was hoping to make my own dashi with kombu and bonito but they carried neither. Looks like it's commercial dashi stock for me. Have I lost you yet?

This recipe may not have the depth of flavor of proper ramen but it's quick and easy and mad delish. It's also one of those things that can be topped with just about anything, including the almighty egg. #putaneggonit

Mushroom Ramen


Serves 2-4

2 tsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
3 cup sliced mushrooms, shitake & oyster
2 cup chicken stock (homemade of course)
2 cup boiling water
2 tbsp dashi
2 tbsp soy sauce
200 g ramen (4 blocks)
1/2 cup spinach, chopped
4 green onions, diced (we also grew these in the windowsill!)
2 eggs, soft boiled
1/2 cup corn, cooked
nori


In a large pot, heat the sesame oil over medium high. Cook the garlic, ginger, and mushrooms about 5 minutes. Add in the chicken stock. Dissolve the dashi in the boiling water. Add to the pot and simmer 10 - 20 min, depending on how hangry you are. Season to taste with soy sauce. If you favour a clear broth, simply strain, reserving the mushrooms for the top.

To soft boil the eggs, boil 6 min. Remove and rinse with cold water.

For the ramen, bring a pot to a boil. Add the noodles and cook til tender. The timing will depend entirely on your noodles. The Rooster brand instant noodles take about 2 min. Drain.

To assemble, pour the broth into two bowls. Add in noodles. Top with spinach, egg, corn, green onions, mushrooms, and as much nori as you like. Some recipes want you to wilt the spinach but why bother when the hot broth will do that for you?

With this being so incredibly easy, no doubt my ramen obsession will be brought to a whole new level.