Chilled Kimchi Soup with Ramps and Quail Egg

The summer is beginning to ramp up, which means we are fully booked from now until mid-July. Weddings, bachelorette parties, friends visiting, family visiting, conferences – our weekends are busy. Beyond that, we are trying really hard to not plan anything for the rest of the summer. It’s tough. I already have light suggestions in my calendar for what we might want to do, but for our first summer in New York, I want to maintain some semblance of flexibility to explore the city in which we live.

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Eric and I have started building up a bit of a routine to our explorations as well. Saturdays usually include a one-way long run – 8-10 miles to a destination that most often includes food and beer. With the weather having been so lovely lately, these one-way runs often turn into all-day patio-hopping endeavors. It’s fun. Sundays we switch it up with a bike ride to some of the farther-flung places: breweries, parks, other boroughs. We’ve found some good biking routes around the city and we certainly get our hill work in with the number of bridges we must cross on our rides.

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So this soup – it’s tasty. Spicy. Perfect for a hot day. You can use a chicken egg instead of a quail egg, though quail eggs are cuter. And you can skip the ramps if they’re no longer in season. Or add other greens if you want to amp up the health factor. Compared to most hot soups, you don’t want a fatty broth here – the fat will congeal when you chill the broth, making it rather unappetizing – so if you’re making your own, remember to skim the fat before you use it. The tofu fries add a nice crunch and texture and frankly just taste good. Slurp these up before a big bike-riding, patio-hopping, beer-drinking day.

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Chilled Kimchi Soup with Ramps and Quail Egg

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
2 cloves garlic, minced, grated, or crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 cups chicken stock
1 heaping teaspoon gochujang
1/2 cup kimchi
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 bunch ramps, roughly chopped
2 cups ice water

2 servings fresh Chinese or Korean noodles
4 oz extra firm tofu, cut into strips
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil

green onion, shredded, to garnish
quail eggs, one per serving, to garnish
red chile, thinly sliced

To make the broth, start by sautéing the garlic and ginger in oil over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes, until very fragrant. Add the chicken stock and gochujang and allow to come to a boil, whisking to incorporate the gochujang. Turn off heat and add the kimchi with plenty of its juices and rice vinegar. Make sure the ice water is ready, then add the ramps, stir so they are all submerged, then immediately add the ice water. Taste for seasoning – add salt if necessary. Put the pot in the refrigerator or the freezer if you want it to chill faster.

Make your noodles according to package directions until al dente. In a frying pan, fry to tofu strips in oil over medium-high heat until crispy on the outside. You might need to do this in batches.

For soft boiled quail eggs, bring a pot of water to boil, drop the eggs in and set the timer for two minutes. After two minutes, remove from hot water and submerge them in ice water.

To assemble, layer the the noodles, tofu, green onions, quail eggs (peeled and cut in half), and red chile in a deep bowl. Pour the chilled broth with kimchi and ramps over the top. Slurp to enjoy.

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The Transition Salad: Squash, Lettuce, + Warm Chorizo Vinaigrette

If you still have some winter squash hanging around the house but like me are starting to crave a nice, light summer salad, then, friends, eat a transition salad! Here’s the key: warm vinaigrette. On soft, tender lettuce. Yes. I’m serious.

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Here it is, guys. I’m short on words tonight.

The Transition Salad: Squash, Lettuce, + Warm Chorizo Vinaigrette

1 whole red kuri squash (or others, they’ll all work), roasted and sliced
1 Chinese eggplant, sliced and roasted
1 bunch red leaf, green leaf, or boston lettuce, washed and torn
8 oz Mexican chorizo
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

cilantro, to garnish
sliced green onion, to garnish

Roast the squash and Chinese eggplant in the oven. Heat oven to 400, cut the squash in half and slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch coins. Brush both the squash and eggplant with olive oil. They’ll cook at different speeds, so just keep an eye on them. You’ll want to flip the eggplant after about 10 minutes.

Get the lettuce ready in what serving bowls you’re using. Top with the squash slices, eggplant slices, cilantro, and green onion. Then start the dressing. In a pan, begin to sear the chorizo, breaking it up as it cooks. As the oil starts to sizzle, add the garlic and jalapeño. When the chorizo is fully cooked, add the vinegar. Let warm through, then immediately pour over the salads. Eat immediately.