I am fortunate enough to have two days off during the week. Although I love spending time with Travis on Saturdays and Sundays, my midweek alone time is wonderful. I usually start my days by catching up on social media, news and food blogs while laying in bed drinking earl grey tea (pregnancy has prevented me from enjoying coffee, very annoying, did this happen to anyone else?) and the only thing that motivates me to get moving is a grumbling stomach. But this is where the real fun in my day begins. When I am alone at home I love cooking for one. Mostly because I can eat things that my husband would not count as a meal (which is essentially any plate of food that does not contain meat). Radishes, sea salt and butter. Poached egg and asparagus. Apple sauce and homemade creme fraiche. Figs, walnuts and goat cheese. You get the idea, simple but high quality ingredients thrown together for the perfect meal for one. These small meals have become a bit of a ritual for me, I always sit down at the table, or out on the deck in the summer, put away my phone and savor the moment.
Lately I have been finding myself really missing the buzz of living in a city. I used to spend my days off hanging out in my neighborhood coffee shop feeling energized by all of the people shuffling in and out. But now, out in the sticks, I try to slow down and have gratitude for the change of pace. We have a beautiful view from our dining room table of the rolling hills famous to this driftless region of Wisconsin. The view and quietness is what we longed for when we were surrounded by concrete in Chicago, but hey, the grass is always greener, right?
These simplest way for me to find gratitude in our new rural location is in the food that we are now able to grow - and with proper preparation we can enjoy food from our garden all winter long. In the past we were limited to canning and freezing, but thanks to our good friends Kevin and Shari (also featured in the previous post) we now have a food dehydrator to preserve the taste of summer! This fall we dehydrated just about everything we could get our hands on: kale, zucchini, green beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, venison, apple sauce, etc. All winter I have been experimenting with different ways to use the dried vegetables and have come up with some new recipes that have become regulars on our table (with an equal amount of duds, lets just say dried zucchini pesto will not be featured on the blog).
This recipe for ramen was inspired by our friend Jon, who we endearingly refer to as "the hippy". Not in a doesn't shower peace loving pot head hippy way. More in a mason jar using tomato and kale growing minimalist way. He told me about this one pot meal that he throws together at lunch as a way to use up some excess mushrooms they have around the office (he works for a mushroom spawn company). It's delicious, nutritious, can be thrown together in 15 minutes and is easy on the wallet. The perfect meal to add to my midweek solo lunch ritual. So below is my take on Rachel's winter spin on spring rolls: an Asian inspired lunch for one with winterized food from our garden.
Note: I used dried kale but fresh kale can be substituted, just pull it off the rib and roughly chop. I also used a mix of shitake and dried chanterelle mushrooms. Any mushroom, fresh or dry, will work.
Kale, mushroom, and miso ramen
Makes enough for one serving, double the recipe as needed
2 cups cooked soba or rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions
1 cup dried kale, or about 1 cup chopped fresh kale
1 handful of dried mushrooms or about 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 inch chunk of ginger, peeled and chopped in large sized pieces
1 egg, soft boiled, directions here
2 Tbs. prepared miso
1 Tbs. szeuchwan peppercorns, or regular peppercorns
Bring 2 cups water to a boil, add the mushrooms, kale, ginger and peppercorns. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until mushrooms and kale are tender. Remove from heat, stir in the miso and then noodles. Ladle into a bowl, top with the soft boiled egg and start slirping those noodles.