The Results Are In!! Brooklyn Kitchen Ramen-Off & Casserole Crazy

I managed to compete in both of the cook-offs mentioned in the previous post: The Brooklyn Kitchen's 2nd Anniversary Party & Ramen-off, and Emily Farris' 4th Annual Casserole Crazy party.

I won't beat around the bush...I WON THE POPULAR VOTE in the Ramen-off with my (famous) Ramen Kao Soy. AND...I took second place with the judges! So it was extra super fun and exciting in the back room at Union Pool on Sunday. (And trust me, I've had some fun times there- wink, wink!)

My prizes: a lovely Boos Block cutting board, a funny little curved knife that I'm sure has some specific use I'm not aware of, a rice cooker cook book, and a neat little zester that collects the zest in a built-in compartment. Cute. Oh, and they pinned a big fat #1 ribbon on me. Awesome.
(The recipe follows below.)

Taylor & I show off our matching (temporary) Brooklyn Kitchen tattoos:

Casserole Crazy! was just as fun, but this time my dish failed to impress the judges. My roommate and I formed a team: Yes We Casserole! with: A Casserole You Can Believe In. It was made with fideo & chorizo. Fideo is the Spanish word for noodle. The Mexican variety are like vermicelli and are usually coiled into little nests. The Spanish version are very short, thin noodles, like the kind that come mixed in with Rice-a-Roni. I guess they're the "Roni" part.

Our recipe went through a major revision after the first test and I thought it was really good. Unfortunately, for the actual night of the cook-off, we doubled the batch and found ourselves needing more liquid at the end of the stove-top cooking. So we added more wine and chicken stock, stirred it up and put it into the oven. Harry, one of the judges and sponsors of the event, had this feedback: "Yeah, I tried that one, it was too wine-y!" So there you have it. I guess since the alcohol didn't have a chance to burn off, it overpowered the other flavors. An otherwise perfect campaign, ruined by too much much booze.

I was so impressed by the competition and creativity at both events, and it was nice to see many familiar faces. The buffet line after the judges took their portions was like thanksgiving with only side dishes. Who needs turkey anyway? Check out Cathy Erway's round up on Not Eating Out in New York.

For your enjoyment:

Ramen Kao Soy
Adapted from a recipe in Hot Sour Salty Sweet, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

For the curry:
3+ cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1+ tbsp Red Curry Paste (the kind that comes in a plastic bag inside a plastic tub)
1 tbsp peanut oil
2 cans Thai coconut milk with 1/2 cup of the thick part set aside – Chaokoh is a good brand
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced lengthwise then into thin slices
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
3 packages ramen noodles, packet discarded (or 1 lb. Chinese egg noodles)
Sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Lime wedges
Cilantro leaves
Chopped scallions
*Toasted chili oil
*Pickled mustard greens/cabbage (recipe below)
Lays plain potato chips – if not making crispy noodles

*Really essential to the experience

Put a large pot of water on to boil for the noodles.

Mix turmeric, garlic and curry paste until well combined in a small bowl.
Heat a wok or heavy pot over high heat. Add oil and when hot, fry curry paste mixture for about 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup thick coconut milk and lower heat to medium high, stirring to combine.
Add the meat and sugar and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the meat has changed color all over.
Add remaining coconut milk, broth and fish sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles until just done, drain and toss with a teaspoon or two of sesame oil.

When the curry is ready, remove from heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste for seasoning and add additional fish sauce or salt if needed.

To assemble:
In a soup bowl, start with noodles, then add a tablespoon or so of the pickled greens, ladle in the curry and meat and top with scallions, cilantro, chili oil, potato chips or fried noodles and a squeeze of lime.

Quick Pickle
Follow this ratio depending on how much you want to make at a time:
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups water
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
Mustard greens, cabbage or kale, chopped
Onion, sliced
Garlic, smashed into chunks

Heat vinegar and water in a saucepan with sugar and salt until boiling. Add onion and garlic if using and simmer for a few minutes. Add greens and simmer for another few minutes, leaving slightly firm. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for at least a half hour. Transfer into a storage container and cover with cooking liquid. Keeps in the fridge for quite a long while.

Whiny Fideos Casserole:
Note: this recipe is for a full 9x13 baking dish. You can halve it to make a smaller portion in an 8x8" pyrex.

4 links raw chorizo
2 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 lg onion, diced medium
1 red bell pepper, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
about 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 lb. fideo in short pieces
1 cup white wine
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced
2 cups 1/2 & 1/2
1 1/4 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated manchego cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a dutch oven over medium-high while removing casings on chorizo links. Fry chorizo, breaking it into medium-sized chunks until brown, about 4-5 minutes. Remove chorizo from the pot to a sieve set over a bowl, leaving about 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in the pot.

Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add onion and peppers and cook until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes until they have released their juices and softened. Add all spices and cook for a minute, stirring to blend. Remove everything to a bowl.

Return any drained chorizo oil to the pot plus enough olive oil to make 2 teaspoons. Add the butter and melt over medium heat. Add fideo and stir to coat with the fat. Cook over medium to medium high heat until browned but not burnt, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, stock, tomatoes and chipotle chile and cook over high heat, scraping the bottom to remove any browned bits. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 4 minutes, until much of the liquid is absorbed and the fideo are al dente.

Return veggies and chorizo to the pot along with the half and half, and stir to combine. Layer the mixure into a casserole dish in thirds, using 1/2 cup of the cheddar in between each layer and finishing with the manchego cheese and remaining cheddar on top. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. If the top isn't nicely browned, place under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes, checking carefully to avoid burning. Let stand for a few minutes and serve!


jessica said...

good lord, your recipes sound amazing. that kao soy is going straight to the top of my to make list. yum.

brian said...

Same here jessica, on my to-do list.

I want to make this Ramen Kao Soy recipe. It looks daunting, but I think it's do-able. Sadly, I think I will skip the "pickle" part... as I do not like either kale or mustard greens... but I do like cabbage so maybe that's a go.

melissa said...

jessica! hi! yes, please try it. this is one of my favorite recipes ever. you can make it more or less spicy or salty by adjusting the curry/fish sauce amounts.

brian - you HAVE to make the pickle! it's really delicious and very different from fresh mustard greens. but cabbage does work just as well, maybe a savoy or napa type?

Catherine said...

catching up on your blog- holy shit! i love kao soy, this will be a must make as soon as i re-enter my kitchen. i miss thaiku, actually i miss good food in general... soon, very soon!