Looking to the Side

One of the things I wanted to do this year was try new recipes at least once a month. I have 2 sons who are big fans of Ramen. We have a couple places that do Ramen pop-up events (usually at a brew-pub) and they are forever raving about them. When we visited my sister in Florida last year, she served ramen at dinner one night and it was delicious. I poured over a cookbook from the library (you would be amazed at the sheer number of cookbooks available) and found several recipes that were contenders. BUT there was one thing that seemed impossible – the broth.

I hemmed and hawed and finally decided to go to the grocery and gather the ingredients, hoping that this wouldn’t set me back too much. Well, I ran into a parent from my son’s Suzuki days – Mei Holmes. She is Japanese and her husband American and we started talking about our children (her daughter was a friend of son#2). After a few minutes I mentioned that I needed to continue my shopping and we parted only to meet again in the imported food section. One thing led to another and she gave me some very good pointers on making Ramen…

So for the Meatless Friday Meal, I present Vegetable Ramen Soup:

The secret to this delicious meal was the Ramen broth. A vegan broth called Ramen Broth was on sale and recommended.  Just look at the richness and creamy look of the broth!(I love a short cut!)

I had frozen mixed vegetables, the ramen noodles and all the remaining ingredients. It was easy to season the vegetables and noodles, and mix it all together…
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
1 container Ramen Broth
2 packages ramen noodles (any brand) plain
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon Oriental 5 Spice
2 drops fish sauce
Place noodles in boiling water and cook until soft. Drain noodles. Pour Ramen Broth into a sauce pan and add spices. Heat to just starting to simmer and add vegetables. Once veggies are hot, add noodles. Makes 3 servings.

According to Sparky it was very good. But what really made the meal was a little squid on the side! I made the Ojingeochae muchim and it was (as usual) delicious!

Looking Found

Teaching simpler
Love will define us
Enlightening established
The love of experience
Aim the year toward you
A powerful word
Conversation the next step
A few, simply a few, read
Often faithful sing
Speak to become truth

I had a conversation with our good friend about his retirement. For 35 years he has worked at a printing company as a proof-reader. There are many who have no understanding of his job. He doesn’t write content BUT he can spot punctuation, grammar, syntax mistakes in a blink of an eye. To those who appreciate his talents, he is worth his weight in gold. For example, he is a space geek like Sparky and while proofing copy for a text book pointed out that the photo of the earth from space being used on the cover had been flipped and inverted. There were some who brushed it off but he informed the company anyway. They were VERY grateful! He had said that he wouldn’t miss anything about his job. Guess what? He has discovered that he does miss something – POETRY! You see most of the documents he proof read were justified. For those of you who don’t do publishing, it is where the words are spread evenly across the page from the right to left margins. It makes it easier to compare different versions of copy by reading the last word of the lines. If the last word is different, then you know that something was changed. The poetry he missed was found by reading down that far right margin.

In essence he was describing Found Poetry. That is a type of poem composed of words, phrases, or sections of other works which are reworked as a poem by making changes in spacing, lines, the addition or deletion of text to impart new meaning. The poem above is a type of found poetry called End-Line Found Poetry where you select the end words of lines as you read down the right margin of a justified document. I simply started at the top of the page and wrote the words down in order forming lines of poetry in either 5 or 7 syllable couplets. Then I made a few tweaks for clarity and to correct tense but the poem basically wrote itself. Is that really poetry? Is it laziness? You be the judge…

Looking Ashy

Today is Ash Wednesday. For many Christians it marks the beginning of Lent, a time of preparation for Easter that involves fasting, prayer, and alms-giving. Although today is not a Holy Day of Obligation, almost all Catholics will attend a Mass and “get ashed”. The mark of ashes on the forehead in a cross is a reminder of our mortality and our need to repent. The service is at noon today and I will be attending.

Every year I say that this is the year I’ll be sure to take my palm fronds to the church to be burnt for the ashes on Ash Wednesday. And as usual, I forgot. I’ve amassed a large bouquet of palms as I put one with each crucifix and in all the bedrooms. That means 6 palm fronds and since I’ve forgotten for the last 15 years I have a huge bundle of very dry and brittle fronds! I feel a little guilty just tossing them so I’ll hold onto them for another year…

The beginning of Lent means that we will be going meatless every Friday and probably every Wednesday. That doesn’t seem like a real hardship to me. I guess the idea was that those who could afford meat were to forego it in an act of solidarity with the less fortunate. For me that means we will NOT substitute lobster or shrimp on Fridays. I’ll be making vegetarian/vegan dishes on Fridays. Since I’m a planner (is that really a surprise?) I’ve already put together a list of the meals we’ll be having:
Potato Pancakes
Ginger Carrot Soup
Cauliflower Steaks
Cranberry Orange Quinoa
Saag Aloo with Rice
Greek Lentil Soup
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I’d love to post photos as I go but most of these are pretty ordinary. It has been a while since I made the Cauliflower Steaks. Sparky liked them better than I did but my sister made some using a curry spice that really made them irresistible.