Spring is here; we know because we can afford asparagus in the grocery store again. Those sweet, pointed tips taste like spring in a way few other foods can compare to. We like to remember, too, that eggs are a seasonal food, too; our chickens are beginning to lay again after taking the winter off, the yolks deep and yellow, and perfect for making aioli, quiches, and frittatas, as well as variations on the seasonal hard boiled egg recipes. It’s an in-between time, cool and warm, rain and sun, and our diets reflect this in-between state. We crave lighter foods, but we still need nourishment, especially after the flu season we’ve just had.
Ramen is a perfect spring food, and we devote this issue of the Homestead Journal to it. It is nourishing without being heavy, simple and satisfying, and infinitely customizable to suit the desires of your palate and the contents of your vegetable drawer.
It begins with broth.
Broth is the backbone of soup, the layered flavors of vegetables, and sometimes meat, forming the savory liquid in which the fresh ingredients bask. Vegetable broth, sometimes called mineral broth, is a much quicker process than bone broth, yielding a flavorful, mineral-rich broth in just a few hours. We’ve featured bone broth in earlier issues, and a lovely kombu-mushroom broth too- now to add to the array of brothing options, we offer this exploration of vegetable broth.
Yes, broth is the beginning, but the soup is just getting started. Now it’s time to talk noodles. Firm and springy, with a secret ingredient that lends them color and texture. Read on for Ramen Noodles!
Eggs are a classic addition to a ramen bowl. Whether boiled hard or soft, or scrambled and fried with noodles, there’s a wealth of ways to enjoy their sunny yolks. This one, however, is a particular favorite, adding both a probiotic element from the miso, as well as an incredible umami punch and a dense and creamy texture.
Let’s review the bowl in front of us. Amazing broth, check. Chewy noodles, check. Obligatory egg, check. We’re on a roll. Now what?
This is the fun part, my dears. Sliver vegetables finely; raw asparagus and peas and carrots are excellent. But you know what is even better?
Are you getting the picture? A blend of fresh raw ingredients, and fermented condiments elevate a ramen bowl to extreme deliciousness. Not too much of any one thing, but lots of different elements. Consider bok choi, green onions, dandelion or chard. Thinly sliced chicken or pork or duck. A dash of hot sauce or a scattering of pickled peppers for heat. Arrange the ingredients in the warm broth, atop the piled noodles. It can hardly help but be beautiful, and the attention paid to arranging the elements is worth the added enjoyment of taking a moment to contemplate the bowl before digging in. Look at this beautiful thing you made! May it nourish you from the inside out. The taste of Spring is on your spoon.
The smell of spring is in the air, the garden is alive and green. The weeds proliferate, pea vines twine and twist. The lettuce swells into tight fat heads, and the kale is dusky and lush. We’re planting potatoes and dreaming of a summer wedding that smells of sweet peas, roses, and the salty sea air.
This journal and the articles in it were written by Jessica Tunis, unless otherwise noted.