CHANNELING MY INNER GEISHA
Today I stopped in at a little neighborhood convenience store. It’s one of those places that sells various types of incense and little fake roses in what look like test tubes at the counter. Apart from the usual candy bars, beer, soda and other usual conveniences, they also sell other objects that seem to have come from various parts of the world. It’s one of my favorite places, because you never know what they’re going to have nestled amongst the items we are familiar with. Today, hidden on one of the lower shelves, were adorable little Japanese soup bowls and not only did I have to have them, I had to fill them…immediately. It was then I started having mad cravings for udon noodle soup and a little Japanese culture.
Having unpacked my treasures, 4 perfect little blue and white bowls, I went out on the internet and looked for a recipe that would satisfy my craving. There were a lot of amazing ideas, one of which included a poached egg. I’ll admit right now that poaching eggs is not one of my strengths in the kitchen but having a velvety yolk mixed with the other Asian flavors sounded like a great plan! I made everything except the egg and was thrilled with the flavors and the consistency. It took me 2 tries to get an egg to cooperate but the dog is wearing a huge smile because he was treated to my rejects.
I added it to the soup and used 3 shrimp still in the shells on the side. I decided for the purpose of the picture that I’d hook them over the side but once that was over, I peeled them and added them in. Here is my strange admission for the day, even as an adult, I like to play dress up and I have a vintage kimono and zori, so yes…I dressed for dinner (in this case, high afternoon tea with soup instead of cookies or cake). Sitting at the table, wearing my kimono, eating my soup and sipping green tea was made even more delicious by the afternoon sun streaming through the window. It figures that as I savored my soup, there was a knock on my door and a my Mother’s voice announcing that she’d stopped by to say “Hello”. Unwilling to hide my propensity to occasionally dress up as a geisha on Friday afternoon, I told her that the door was open and to come in. Her first response was to ask if I was daring to wear one of the kimonos that she’d brought back from Japan (she lived there for a year). Giving me a disapproving look, she admonished me not to get any soup on it and informed that she needed to get home to take care of her dog. I gave her some soup to go and went back to enjoying myself.
Every once in a while, you have to create the perfect moment, and for me this was it (even the interruption was welcome, I now realize that my Mom thinks I’m crazy but has fully accepted it and decided that as long as I’m not a danger to myself or others, that she’s going to ignore it)! This is one of those bizarre activities that I’m going to occasionally revisit, just to remind myself how amazing those little moments of stepping outside the normal routine and doing something a little crazy can be.
|Slightly Sweet Slightly Sour Soba Noodle Shrimp Soup||
- 1/4 cup miso
- 2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbs dark soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Juice of a small orange
- Juice of a small lime
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 1 shallot sliced into thin pieces
- 12-16 shrimp in shells
- 2 6 oz packages of udon noodles (pre-cooked)
- 2 carrots peeled and cut into thin strips
- 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
- 4 eggs (each poached to make 4 servings)
- 1 green onion chopped
- 1 Tbs pickled ginger chopped
- Add miso, soy sauce, lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, red pepper flakes, shallot and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring to allow flavors to blend.
- Bring broth to medium and add shrimp (leave them in the shells). Cook shrimp for about 3-4 minutes or until pink but not rubbery. Remove shrimp and set aside. Make sure that there are no shrimp shells or tails left in the broth. Add udon noodles, carrots and cilantro and cook for about 2 minutes. Reduce to low.
- Poach an egg for each serving.
- Add soup to a bowl. Top each serving with a poached egg and about 3-4 shrimp per serving. Garnish with chopped pickled ginger and chopped green onion.