Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Udon Noodles, Shiitake & Cornbread

On a recent shopping expedition, I came across a generous bag of dehydrated shiitake mushrooms. And just a few weeks ago, I had dinner at Ama’s, a small, Japanese eatery in Providence’s Federal Hill neighborhood – I ate their Udon Noodle Bowl and it was very good. So when I bought the dehydrated shiitakes I also bought Udon noodles and decided to try my version at home. It turned out delicious! A real winter warmer! (I’m all about “warming” foods in the winter and “cooling" foods in the summer).

Here is my recipe for Shiitake Udon Noodles. This recipe is based on the dehydrated shiitakes, however if you are making it with fresh mushrooms, you can cut the broth simmering time in half.
-3 cups of water
-2 cups shiitakes – cut in halves
-1 carrot, shaved – I use the potato peeler to shave off long strips
-fresh, crushed garlic (3 cloves)
-1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium is best)
-Fresh chives (1 tablespoon)
-Fresh spinach (about 1 cup)
-Red pepper flakes (1 teaspoon)
-Sesame oil (1 teaspoon)
First, I bring everything to a boil (allowing it to boil for about 2 minutes), then I lower the heat to low and allow it to cook together for about 30 minutes (again, because mushrooms needed to be re-hydrated).
In the meantime, I cook the Udon noodles and set aside. Udon is a full, thick noodle that grows quiet a bit, so I put about half a package (or 2 bunches) of dried noodles. After the broth has simmered together, I add cooked Udon and let it sit together (heat off and covered) for about 10 minutes. 

I also made a delicious, whole-grain cornbread recipe that I first spotted in Whole Living Magazine. Their recipe calls for a cast iron skillet, but I made it in a regular tin pan and it turned out well. I use whole-wheat flour and stone-ground, old fashioned corn meal.

I drizzle honey while it is still hot. This is a wholesome, grainy cornbread that is great with  soups or for breakfast all by itself. Enjoy!

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