2.22.2014

Noodling Around

My friends Patricia and Philip know me well. When they see a really interesting cookbook for sale, I’m often the lucky (and grateful) recipient. And they have good taste - especially for food that tastes good! They also understand that cookbooks need to be beautiful as well as practical.

Their most recent gift was a book called, simply, Noodles. Mark loves noodle dishes and this book has many recipes that he wants me to make. To tell you the truth, I’m not complaining.

It gives me a good excuse to go to Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket. Lee Lee's is, I think, the largest supermarket we have in Tucson. It caters to the Asian grocer, but includes foods from all around the world.

For example, when students returned from Namibia and wanted rusks, I found them at Lee Lee. When I needed a whole fresh fish for a cooking class, they had at least 10 varieties from which to choose. I once wanted a Malaysian curry powder, and they had three varieties.

The store’s aisles are organized by nationality: Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Indian, German, Spanish, Dutch, French, British. I have also seen the store listed as Lee Lee International Market.

Whenever I go there, I feel like a kid in a candy store.

The noodle selection alone is astounding! Every noodle mentioned in the book is available, and there are quite a few more that aren’t.

Today, wanting to use several recent gifts including the book, I made a somen noodle soup with pork, scallions, mushrooms, and chile oil.

The chile oil was a homemade gift from Dan and Veronica, and the tureen was a gift from Deb, a colleague at the Honors College. She drew it in our annual White Elephant gift exchange (thanks to Diana who brought it), but knew it would get more use in my kitchen.

There were also some gifts that go back many years - the cloisonné chopsticks that Bill and Alan brought me from China, the bowls Terry and Randy gave me one birthday, and the chopstick rests from Patrician.

Altogether, these beautiful gifts made for an incredible meal. And it coincides with the 4th anniversary of Cocoa and Lavender!

Looks like another good year ahead for noodling around in the kitchen!

~ David

Somen Noodles with Pork, Scallions and Chile Oil
Adapted from Noodles by Vicki Liley

3 ounces fresh ginger, washed

5 scallions
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
4 ounces oyster mushrooms
6-8 ounces Chinese barbecued pork
9 ounces somen noodles *
chile oil

Slice the ginger into coins and place in a soup kettle. Wash the scallions, chop the white parts, and add them to the ginger. Cut the green parts into 1-inch pieces and set aside.


Add stock, water, soy sauce, and sherry to the ginger and white parts of the scallions, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes to flavor the broth.


Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms; set aside. Slice the pork into thin slices; set aside.


Once broth has finished simmering, use a mesh strainer or slotted spoon to take out the ginger. Some scallions will come, too - that is okay. Return to a boil.


Add the noodles and cook one minute. Add the reserved scallion greens, mushrooms and pork. Cook for 1-2 minutes until noodles are done.


Divide among 4 bowls and drizzle with chile oil.


Serves 4.


* If you don't have access to a wide variety of Asian noodles, you could use angel hair pasta. 


 

35 comments:

  1. The market like Lee Lee in my neck of the woods (Los Angeles) is 99 Ranch. I love to go there just explore. But sometimes I am intimidated I have to admit. Most products contain no English so finding something like lotus powder can be difficult because I tend to pretend like I know what I'm doing, just to save "face". Whose "face" and just who I presumes cares is a tough question to answer however. GREG

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    1. We have a 99 Ranch in Phoenix, but I have yet to go. I hear they are pretty similar to Lee Lee. Like you, I spend a lot of time wishing I had a translator. You should have seen my buying the whole fish. It was truly comical.

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  2. Wow! This dish looks and sounds divine! I so need to make this. Lee Lee's sounds like an awesome store! We have a 99 Ranch - I'm so lost in that store.

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    1. I am definitely going to have to get up to Phoenix to visit 99 Ranch. But for now, Lee Lee will do! :) Thanks, Christine!

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  3. A gorgeous recipe... I am pretty certain I have that book! I definitely have the whole series. Lee Lee sounds like heaven!

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    1. Thanks, Liz. I have a couple in the series and have not been disappointed in any of the results.

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  4. Happy 4 David! You have so many great plates and serving stuff, and most of them are gifts or were bought on trips, love that! I got a few cookbooks from friends, but they never seem to be interesting enough. I started cooking some asian food last year, and noodles are such a big part of it; but also there are so many that I never know which one to buy. That supermarket sounds like the perfect place. How is the winter in Tucson? That soup sounds amazing for any time of the year anyway.

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    1. Winter here has been the most perfect winter since we moved here. Well, in some ways... we could really use some of your monsoon rains about now! But it has been warm, and being able to sit in the garden each weekend is just lovely. I agree - this is a good year-round soup!

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  5. David, happy 4th bloggiversary - certainly quite the accomplishment. All of the gifts that you received from your good friends look so very pretty and sound very useful - how precious to have such wonderful friends!
    The Asian market sounds s bit like my favorite one in Maastricht (NL) which is a bit far away for a quick shopping trip but the best Asian store - I am a tad hard to please I was told...
    Your soup recipe looks perfectly amazing, delicious my friend, delicious!
    Euch noch einen schönen Sonntag,
    Andrea

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    1. Thanks for the anniversary wishes, Andrea - time has flown so quickly! I find it really fun to use things from friends in the blog - it lets them know that I am thinking of them as I cook. Of course, they will ask, 'If you were thinking of me, why didn't you invite me to dinner?' :)

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  6. How nice to use gifts from your friends to make this delicious sounding dish for your 4th anniversary of blogging. Congratulations! Your market sounds like a wonderful place to shop.

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    1. Thanks, Karen! My friends do know me pretty well, don't they? I remember only one fairly good Asian grocery in Portsmouth, NH - and otherwise it was a long drive to Boston and then lots of skipping around the city to find things.

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  7. I LOVE Asian markets! I could spend hours and hours strolling the isles. These noodles are calling my name. Wish I could come get them. ;-) Beautiful, as always.

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    1. Come any time, Valentina! I have a couple more great noodle dishes on the way!

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  8. Oh, I love those kind of stores... could spend hours in Lee Lee's!

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    1. Thanks, Fiona - do you have a place like Lee Lee's in Milano? When we go, you can usually say goodbye to half a day!

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  9. Ooh, 4 years! Keep up the great work!

    I love wandering around Asian food markets so Lee Lee's sounds like a bit of a wonderland to me. Not that we're short of them in Sydney. Just short in my neighbourhood.

    I love a good noodle dish too!

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    1. Thanks, John - I am having a blast and see no end in sight! I find it so sad that you are lacking in Asian markets in your neighborhood... at least you have a lot in Sydney!

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  10. Happy “4th” blogoversary, David! So glad I found your wonderful blog! Loving your new cookbook…and it’s name. It’s always so nice to get foodie gifts from friends. Your friends have very good taste! Love the soup…it's perfect comfort food!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! There are a couple more really good noodle dishes on their way - all great complements for the wonderful baking you do!

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  11. Happy Anniversary David! We share the same blog anni month! First off, I need friends like yours! So generous and such wonderful and thoughtful gifts.
    Lee Lee's sounds like my POM, do you have the same difficulty as I do...taking 2 hours to read the labels??
    But like you, I have a great time roaming the aisles and discovering all kinds of things. Ours even has a deli and bakery with duck and buns and boba tea.
    Anyway, great way to celebrate with a wonderful noodle soup. Like Mark, I love noodles!

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    1. Nazneen - I am so lucky to have friends who understand my insatiable need for cookbooks! Yes - we spend hours with our reading glasses just trying to figure out what is what. Great fun! We have a man who cooks pork, beef and duck - and there are also two restaurants as well!

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  12. Happy 4th Blogversary!
    I have always been intimidated by noodles - I have never prepared them at home, and I simply love your adapted version of noodles with pork, scallions and chile oil!

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    1. What frightens you about noodles, Shashi? The nice thing about them is that they are an inexpensive item to play with. You should give this a try!

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  13. Let me add my voice to the chorus--Happy Anniversary and thank you for four years of terrific posts!! This one looks wonderful, per usual, and I hope I can make it soon! I am embarrassed to ask where I get Chinese Barbequed pork? I don't think my local (tiny) Asian store carries this...maybe you need to set up an "Amazon" Store for your readers!

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    1. Susan, the Chinese barbecue pork is called Char Siu and is pretty easy to make - lots of recipes available online! Maybe Lo's will have it, though. My neighbor used to get it at Costco! Glad you like the recipe!

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  14. Gorgeous! Delicious!
    David, I've been craving noodles lately.
    Unfortunately, I tried to satisfy this craving with some very .....uh, well, let's just say simple noodles from one of those fast-food sushi places today at lunch.
    I will definitely be making your dish this w/end! xo

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    1. I know what you mean about craving noodles - they are so comforting in their way! Next time I go to Lee Lee, I will stock up on all kinds of noodles so I will never get caught without.

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  15. Happy 4th blog birthday David, This is a great recipe to celebrate the event. I am a huge noodle fan too so a book like this would be right up my street. I agree with you a good cook book has to have good recipes but it also has to have great photos as well. Btw I am totally in love with the blue bowl in your photos :)

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    1. Thanks, Karen! If I get a cookbook without pictures (it is hard to believe that most cookbooks used not to have photos!) I can literally fall asleep while trying to read it. Photos keep me awake and interested! Glad you like the blue bowl! It is just one of the reasons I love blogging - I get to get out everything for the photos!

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  16. David - you are easily the most talented blogger out there. Happy anniversary, here is to 40 more years!!! :)

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    1. Ahu - you are so sweet! That made my day - in fact, it made my year! In 40 more years, though, there will be a lot of pablum!

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  17. Four years! Wow! Congratulations David, you're such an inspiration... talented, humble, creative and a wonderful blogging friend. I'm so glad that we found each other in the blogosphere! As for this dish... looks so delicious. I am not very competent at Asian food but I've been attempting a few more dishes in recent months. The noodle book looks great! I think Mark is going to be a very happy man over the next few months (and luckily you will too!). Congrats again. Thanks for sharing the food journey with us :) x

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    1. You are so sweet, Laura - and I really appreciate your kind words about my blog. You should try this dish - it is really pretty easy if you can get the ingredients!

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