Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bide-A-Wee Noodle Bowl ("The Cheat")

A tasty cheat. Yes, I said cheat, not treat. Though it's both, really. The cheat part is that the basis of the dish is none other than a package of pickled vegetable flavor Doll brand instant ramen. The treat part is the addition of snap peas, green garlic, spring onions, garden greens, home-smoked bacon, and drop an egg in the middle. And the secret ingredients, a couple of teaspoons of our cider vinegar, about half a teaspoon of espelette pepper. Couple good dashes of soy sauce to round it out.

I make no apologies, and I ate it right out of the pan I cooked it in. Drank a Bell's Oberon, the only wheat beer I really like. And I do really like this one. Of course, this was another Bide-A-Wee bachelor supper.

I'd love to hear about your favorite kitchen cheats, whether they involve the versatile rotisserie chicken, frozen dough, a doctored Totino's, whatever. I used to get a lot of mileage out of Campbell's chicken broth diluted to about one-third suggested strength, three cans water to one of broth. Come on, folks, give it up. We know everyone cheats once in a while.... *

Bide-A-Wee Noodle Bowl
serves one

In a saucepan or small skillet with highish sides, cook a couple of slices of good bacon gently, until just crisp and most of the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pan, and toss in a handful of snap peas, stringed and sliced in half on a diagonal (or sub other veg, green beans, sliced turnip, carrot, whatever you have or like). Add also one bulb of green garlic, sliced, or a good clove of regular garlic. Now add the water, however much it asks for on the ramen package, or just wing it, enough to cover the noodles. And add the noodles, and a couple of handfuls of greens. Simmer for three or four minutes. Add the ramen flavorings, a couple glugs of soy sauce, some espelette or cayenne or sambal if you like it a bit hot. At the very end add two teaspoons of good cider or rice wine vinegar.

Crack an egg and drop it right into the middle of the noodles. Leave the pan on low heat for about a minute, place the bacon slices on top, then whisk it away to a hot pad on the table.

Eat out of the pan with chopsticks, and drink a good beer, or beverage of your choice.


* The 1979 film Breaking Away is one of my favorite movies of all time. Ostensibly about a bike race, it is in fact a compendium of poignant wisdom pertinent to just about every important aspect of life on earth. In this case, it's Dave Stoller's heartbreaking realization after being disillusioned by the visting Italian cyclists he has idolized: "Everybody cheats. I just didn't know."

Oh, and it's really funny, too.

Text and photo copyright 2010 by Brett Laidlaw


el said...

I confess to no cheats of the commercial kind...but if I am going for comfort food, because that's what your bowl truly is, then I have a deep list. Mostly, it includes eggs and (no surprise) sticking goat cheese in near about everything edible, savory or sweet.

And I second your beer choice. It's local for me!

Trout Caviar said...

Geez, El, you are so freakin' pure! Oh, but I see you say you don't confess to any, not that you don't have any.... But I won't pry.

The things you describe I think I would call crutches, rather than cheats. I mean, especially when they're eggs from your own hens and homemade cheese. No cheating there. Our list of crutches--especially at the cabin, working out of a cooler and no running down the block for anything-- includes bacon, eggs, maple syrup, cider.

So let's expand the discussion to cheats and crutches.

Cheers~ Brett

Charles Leck said...

This sounds great, but, first, let me tell you that I experimented with FROMAGE FORT and it came off just perfectly. Wow! Wow! Wow! What a wonderful way to use up left over cheeses. I usually over-buy for dinner parties and holiday feasts we have and wonder what to do with it all. This is perfect. I made a lunch today of one of the "little white bowls." I spread it on little scares of toasted rice bread (non-gluten) and it was really great. ChasLeck

Anonymous said...

Sometimes: Triscuits + cheese = dinner. Triscuits are kinda high calorie, but such simple ingredients, if feels nice and healthy. Good cheese makes it feel like I'm not dissing myself by having cheese & crackers for dinner.

I also doctor ramen, but not so fancy. Hard-boiled egg cut in half, random japanese pickle & nori(always on hand for just this reason).

Trout Caviar said...

Ah, Triscuits, those charming wheaty wafers, wonders of technology! I have a soft spot for them, too. Triscuits and sardines are even on the menu (or were) of a famous Manhattan restaurant, Prune.

I also like to keep jars of various Chinese pickles and such around--Sichuan pickled vegetable, bamboo shoots in chili oil, pickled radish--to zip up a bowl of ramen.

Charlie, fromage fort would be good on Triscuits--I wonder if there's a gluten-free variety out there for you.

Cheers, all~ Brett

Sylvie in Rappahannock said...

Instant couscous.
Canned Beans.

Crutches or cheat?

Trout Caviar said...

Chère Sylvie, according to my snap judgment:

Instant couscous--neither.

Canned beans--cheat.

I have spoken(!).


p.s.~ For whoever's in range of a Whole Foods, the big fat marinated butter beans in the olive bar, crazy expensive, addictive, maybe the ultimate stick-a-toothpick-in-it aperitif cheat.