Monday, February 25, 2019


Nothing like the prospect of a deadline to get one motivated to get one's butt in gear. Nothing has been moving with regards to getting garb made for myself or my sons. However, we were just asked if we'd like to participate in a roleplayers' convention the end of April, so, yeah... lit a fire under my ass.

For myself, it will be a long-sleeved, off-white or white linen tunic gown, with a short-sleeved, pale green linen overgown. And trim at the neckline and cuffs on the overgown.

For the boys, I will make basic tunics in linen - the older one will be in pale green, the younger on in pale blue. If I have time, I'll make them brown linen pants. If I don't have the time, sweatpants or something similar for the time being it is.

Now, to stay properly motivated...

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Beef and Udon Noodle Soup Recipe

For some reason I found myself craving udon noodles last week. For those who aren't familiar, udon noodles are a thick, chewy wheat noodle popular in Japanese cuisine. And the weather was expected to be chilly, and I had a package of meat in the freezer, so it was a perfect opportunity to try something new.

I had Zach make the udon noodles using this recipe. We ended up using more water than they called for, and I don't think he kneaded the dough long enough, but for a first try, it wasn't bad. We used a pasta machine to roll and cut the dough. Actually, we had the boys do it.

They all had a blast. And want to do it again.

As for the soup, I started off using this recipe for inspiration and guidance, but then went completely in my own direction. I mean, the fact that the recipe is completely non-kosher since it uses pork, and calls for eleventy million ingredients were certainly motivations.

I went to the supermarket and picked up some beautiful mangold (it's what they call Swiss chard here in Israel) since that's available and bok choy isn't. I bought cremini mushrooms, because that's what they had (alternatives would have been shimeji mushrooms, and/or shitake mushrooms). I actually found fresh snow peas. I already had carrots, scallions, and canned baby corn. I also bought mung bean sprouts to add to the bowl, just before eating. So that's the vegetation I used. I wish I could get bamboo shoots and water chestnuts.

I boiled 1 kilo of "goulash meat" in about 3 liters of water for about 2 hours, uncovered. I skimmed the scum off (Asian soups tend to do this for broth clarity), and removed the beef. Cut up the vegetables, added that to the beefy liquid, sliced up the beef, added that back to the pot, and now for the seasoning.

No one had lemon grass, so I decided that instead of doing without, I'd use a healthy dollop of red Thai chili paste, which covered a good portion of the flavor profile in the original recipe. It's got the lemon grass, ginger, garlic, and the heat of chili peppers. I added soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, salt, and black pepper. Then I let the soup simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Holy smokes, was that good. And even better the next day. My big mistake - and take care not to follow in my footsteps - was to add the udon noodles to the pot of soup. After cooking them in a pot of salted water (they only need about 3 or 4 minutes), remove them to a colander and rinse them well. Add them to the individual bowls and ladle soup over the noodles.

SO delicious!

What recipe inspired you to come up with something similar, yet completely different?