Eggs

Soba Noodles with Fried Egg

As this New Year begins, I reflect on the goals I hope to accomplish this year. The certain milestones I should aim for. And improvements and lessons learned from wrong turns and experiences. I plan on renewing my imagination.

Develop a stronger focus.

Reveal a better me, a stronger me, a wiser me.

 

I want to make cooking easier.

Less daunting.

Fun.

Because being connected to our food, makes us feel alive.

It allows us to take some time out of our day to enjoy the simpler joys in life.

So let's start this year together.

Let's get back into the kitchen and start with the basics.

Honor ourselves with consciousness and respect.

These soba noodles should do the trick. Buckwheat noodles, fried egg, crunchy carrots and toasted sesame seeds -- what's not to like?

 

Try it a few times and you'll find your rhythm and before you know it, a healthful, soulful dinner awaits you in just a blink of an eye...

 

Eat well. Eat consciously. Eat to nourish.

 

Let's make 2012 a fabulous year together, shall we?

 

Soba Noodles with Fried Egg
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Joy Zhang
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 2
Buckwheat Noodles tossed in a Soy Lime Sesame dressing with Crunchy Carrots and Fresh Herbs.
Ingredients
  • Handful of buckwheat soba noodles
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 carrot, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • small handful of cilantro, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 tip of a green onion, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. In a medium pot fill with water and bring to boil. Drop noodles in and cook for 4 minutes at medium heat at a gentle boil.
  2. Rinse carrots and herbs and pat dry. Shred carrot and set aside. Finely chop cilantro and green onion and mix with shredded carrots.
  3. Test to see if noodles are semi firm, if so turn heat off immediately. Allow pasta to further cook in the hot water for an additional 2 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the dressing.
  4. In a bowl combine lime juice, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Whisk well and set aside.
  5. Test noodles for preferred firmness/softness and strain. Return noodles to pot and mix in carrots, herbs and dressing.
  6. ----
  7. In a medium pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Crack egg(s) carefully into pan and fry until edges are browned and whites are set (sunny side up). Flip over and cook for about 1 minute for over easy, ~ 2 minutes for over medium, ~3 minutes for over hard.
  8. ---
  9. To serve: Place noodles in a bowl and top with fried eggs. Feel free to add a dash of chile powder or chile sauce for an extra punch!

 

On a side note, I received an unexpected surprise.  As I was reading Food & Wine's Top Chef Magazine I found one of my photos I took of Tre Wilcox in there for the Restaurant Wars article!  Can anyone find something funny about the photo?

 

Winner gets a prize :)

Best Shrimp Fried Rice

Back in Elementary school I’d remember we had International Day, where students were asked to bring a dish from the country they were from.  Being Chinese, most of my friends assumed all we ate were eggrolls and fried rice and that we all knew some form of karate.   Not wanting to veer too far from stereotypes to risk confusion and so more people would like me, I decided to make Shrimp Fried Rice.

I cooked two pots of rice and was frying my eggs when my mother loomed into the kitchen -- “WHAT YOU DOING?” You see my mother has a thunderous voice, the kind that just shocks you right in the ear making your shoulder suddenly jolt up in pain. “Uhm...I’m making shrimp fried rice for International Day at school.” I continue to sauté my vegetables, feeling her lurking heavily over my shoulder.  She looked over at the pot of my freshly cooked rice and watched her brow wrinkle in distress: I’ve really gone and done it now, I’ve offended the Fried Rice Gods!  “How can you use that rice?  Must be OLD RICE, you cannot serve this, BU HAO!” And indeed it was bu hao, it sucked actually – I ended up with a goopy, soggy, pasty mess and safe to say, it was the worst fried rice ever.

You see--good thing you have mommy here to teach you how to make!” I ended up buying the Shrimp Fried Rice from General Chopsticks that day because what I made was honestly not edible.  That very weekend my mother taught me how to make the world’s BEST Shrimp Fried Rice, her secret? -- A sprinkle of chicken bouillon and white pepper at the very end.  So here it is, I’m passing on the love: My mother’s guide to Shrimp Fried Rice.

1.       Always use day old rice – make sure it is dry and not mushy and preferably cold.

2.      Fry all of your ingredients separately – shrimp, eggs, vegetables, rice, to avoid making just one gigantic clump and this ensures that all ingredients are cooked evenly.

3.      Use very hot heat and the right amount of oil, too little oil will break the rice apart, making it very sticky – for every 2 1/2 cups of rice I recommend using 2 tablespoons of oil.

4.      Pre-marinating the shrimp makes all the difference in the world.

5.      Always taste your rice the very last minute and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Recipe for the Best Shrimp Fried Rice:

(Serves 2-3; Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Cooking Time: 40 minutes)

Shrimp

  • 1 cup shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • ¼ cup Shao Xing Cooking Wine
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • ½ cup vegetable oil

--------

  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • ¼ cup white onion, chopped
  • ½ cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 ½ cups of cold, day old rice
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Chicken Bouillon
  • A pinch of white pepper (and salt if needed.)
  • ½ cup green scallions, finely chopped

Marinate the shrimp with shrimp, cornstarch, cooking wine, soy sauce and white pepper.  The oil will be for later use.  Refrigerate the shrimp for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, gently break apart the rice into small clumps using your hands and set aside.  Chop the onion, green onion and scramble your eggs.

Set a metal strainer and a bowl aside to catch the excess oil from cooking the shrimp.  Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok at high heat until the oil just begins to smoke.  Add the shrimp mixture and quickly sauté the shrimp, making sure all surfaces of the shrimp hits the hot oil.  Cook for about 1 ½ -2 minutes or until shrimp are almost cooked through (the surfaces will turn entirely pink), turn off heat and allow shrimp to cook the rest of the way for an additional minute.  Strain shrimp through strainer and set aside and save the oil for the rice.

In the same skillet or wok, heat a tablespoon of the reserved oil over medium high heat until hot.  Sautee onions for 2 minutes and then add the frozen vegetables.  Add another tablespoon of oil and add the rice.  Gently break up the rice with the vegetable mixture by shaking the skillet or wok, or moving it around with a heat-proof spoon.  Add the soy sauce and mix thoroughly and then add the shrimp.  Sprinkle with chicken bouillon and a pinch of white pepper, taste and salt accordingly.  When ready to serve, sprinkle finely chopped green scallions to add a burst of freshness.

How to Cook Eggs: Part 1

 

An egg.  It looks so ordinary on the outside yet the inside is filled with endless wonder.  Whether eaten plain, mixed in a sauce or paired alongside a salad, the world's most transformative protein can turn any ordinary meal into something simply extraordinary. 

To become successful in the kitchen, one must learn the basics.  So let's start with how to hard boil and soft-cooked eggs.  Here are a few egg basics to remember.

- Eggs are rated in different grades ranging from AA, A or B. These ratings are determined by appearance, texture and flavor.  Commercial B eggs are rarely sold in stores but used by commercial baking.   

- A brown egg and a white egg are the same.  There is no difference in flavor or texture.  Brown eggs usually cost more because they come from smaller farms and the hens that lay them actually eat more.

- Free-range and cage-free eggs mean two different things. Hens that are raised in a free-range environment have regular access to the outdoors.  Whereas cage-free eggs though not confined, it is not guranteed these chickens ever get fresh air.

- Eggs will keep for 4-5 weeks after the pack date. However, it is important to always keep them refrigerated.  By leaving eggs out in a warm environment you become susceptible to contracting E-coli and we always know that's a no bueno. 

How to Cook Hard Boiled Eggs

In a large pot, cover eggs with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Immediately remove pot from heat, set aside and cover.  Allow the eggs to sit for 10-12 minutes.  Run eggs over cold water to stop the cooking.  Serve warm or refrigerate to cool completely. 

How to Make Soft-Cooked Eggs  

Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil.  Using a slotted spoon, gently place the eggs into the water.  Cover pot and immediately remove from heat.  Let the eggs stand for 4-6 minutes depending on how runny you want your yolks. 

Hard-boiled eggs and soft-cooked eggs are so versatile.  Hard-boiled eggs can be used for egg sandwiches, eaten plain with a dash of pepper and salt or ontop of a salad for a good source of protein.  Soft-boiled eggs go perfect with pastas or a wonderful breakfast alongside some buttered toast. Stay tuned for next week's recipe that will feature an easy 15-minute pasta recipe which pairs perfectly with a rich melty soft-boiled egg.