Sunday, November 11, 2012

RAMEN. A hung-over dinner story.

Today I was feeling slightly under the weather.  Totally my own fault.  My brother in law came over last night and he, Gina and I had a drink or two...  He and I drank skrewdrivers for some unknown reason, Gina stuck with beer because she is infinitely wiser than we are - and not very many beers at that.  Needless to say, he and I were in the silent, headachy club this morning while Gina was feeling well rested and healthy.

I'd like to believe I learn from my mistakes...

Anywho - today I did something I really never do - I actually rested on a Sunday.  No pace reading, no frantic, obsessive (to the point of pathology) cleaning, no plans.  Nope.  This guy sat on his B-hind and played video games pretty much all day.  And liked it!

So, in essence, I was a pretty normal dude, for once, if only for a day.

It was an eat leftovers cold kind of day.  And it was a Ramen for dinner kind of day as well.

Gina had a salad - I dont think a picture of it is out there.  But I opted for my old pal Ramen.

If anyone is just starting out as a vegetarian here is a quick tip you will thank me for forever (money gifts as your way of saying "Thank you!" are graciously accepted.  Seriously.):  The only Ramen that is vegetarian (that I know of) is the one in the blue package.  They call it "Oriental Flavored" but I feel kind of uncomfortable calling it that - so I just always say, "The one in the blue package."

It looks like this:
 Ramen - which some (wikipedia) say has it's etymological origin as the old school Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word for "hand pulled noodles" - was, as my understanding goes - a noodle soup made with for reals noodles, the kind you actually have to cook.  It wasn't until Momofuko Ando perfected and began selling the first instant noodles in 1958 that Ramen could be purchased as a packaged product and prepared very quickly at home as we know it today.

Ramen is - as anyone who has ever lived on their own in their late teens, early twenties knows - very cheap.  And also does pretty little for you nutritionally.  As a young-buck vegetarian making pretty much no money, blue package Ramen became very well known to me - but in order to bulk it up nutritionally, I have experimented with many different methods of preparation.  I even had a phase where I was adding 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to the pot around the time the water boiled and stirring it until it melted in.  Don't knock it till you've tried it - the peanut butter added a really cool depth of flavor to it.

Another favorite of mine is to add mustard to the broth while its cooking before you put the noodles in (my college roommate's girl friend taught me this one).  The salty/tangy combo is really good.

Sriracha in the broth is a no brainer - but then, Sriracha goes with everything.

Tonight I used the below method of preparation:

Hung-Over Ramen Special

Fill a pot with water totally ignoring the instruction on the back of the package to only use 2 cups.  I like a lot of broth - I feel like I get to enjoy eating it longer.  Don't judge.

Bring water to a boil and add SALSA.  You heard me.  SALSA.

Put on Pandora on your iPhone and find the Cuban station and do a little dance while you are doing this.  Yeah, you're feeling it now.  Go on.  Move those hips.


Add a healthy glug (or perhaps two glugs - go a little nuts) of soy sauce.


Shake in a nearly inhuman amount of cayenne pepper (or don't if you are not ridiculously into spicy food.)


Add a TON of frozen veggies.  I used a Stir Fry mix package that had broccoli, mushrooms, string beans, and onions.


Add a can of black beans for some added protein, and because they are freaking delicious.  (I dump the can in a strainer first and rinse them because I am crazy and believe that this changes the fact that they just came out of an aluminum can.)

While you stir the beans reflect on the fact that you have been meaning, for pretty much your entire adult grocery shopping life, to start using the dry beans that feel like they're too much work to prepare.

Let this all simmer for a couple minutes to give the frozen veggies time to be - you know - not frozen anymore.  During this time, do NOT do what I do and continuously bring to mind that weird and probably unresearched internet article I read a couple years ago that advised me that every ticking second you boil, bake, or cook vegetables they lose their nutritional value.

Cut the heat.  Add the flavor packet and give it all a good stirring until it's good and mixed.

Ladle that steaming, delicious bad boy into a bowl as shown below:


And that was dinner tonight - and for many, many nights in my early twenties.

Now I'm going to go to bed and tell myself, again, that I will never drink again all the while knowing that I very likely will.

Or maybe I'll just play more video games.


  1. I know EXACTLY what you mean about always wanted to get the dried beans. I don't imagine that they are as good nutritionally as the canned ones, but I have nothing to back this up with. I have done it once, with chichi beans (chickpeas for you non-guido's) and it went horribly. I think I was impatient with them (I want hummus NOOOW).

    Also, I think you can shake the cooking phobia of frozen veggies. Frozen veggies are the best processed way to retain the original nutrition of your veggies. And if you drink the broth that you cook them in, stoichiometrically, you will still get those nutrients. Actually, the heat might even help you in some cases (calcium). However, if you are looking for antioxidants (clearly you are not - being that you are hungover), you need to look to raw leafy greens and little else.

    Boom! Info bomb!

    1. Thank you! Yeah, i've seen those tried chichi beans (I can say that, I'm Italian) - and I've been meaning to try those too.

      Thank you for putting my mind at ease about the frozen veggies! I will definitely have to remember to retain the broth - that makes a lot of sense!