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Thread: Can't hunt, so let's cook (warning: large photo images)

  1. #1
    Senior Member DParker's Avatar
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    Can't hunt, so let's cook (warning: large photo images)

    Once again the skies have opened up non-stop in this part of the state and have made getting into the woods this weekend a no-go. So, having yesterday (I only work Mon-Thur now) off and knowing that the wife would be doing the Christmas shopping thing bright at early today I decided to tackle a little culinary project I've been wanting to try for some time now: Homemade ramen. No, not that 10/package crap we've all survived on at one point in our broke and misspent youths...but the real, legit Japanese ramen that has become so trendy lately. But don't let that trendiness fool you. Good ramen deserves every bit of its sudden popularity here, and a properly made bowl is the soup of the samurai gods...and is priced accordingly. There are several different styles of ramen, with my personal favorite being Tonkotsu (pork bone broth). It is also the most labor-intensive version, with the broth alone taking a full day of simmering pork bones along with other flavorings like onion, garlic and fresh sliced ginger. In addition to the time and effort, it stinks up the house. Given that and the fact that I would have plenty of other work to do making the Chashu (rolled and marinated pork belly) and Ajitsuke Tamago (marinated soft-boiled egg), rather than try to tackle that much as a 1st effort I decided to take at least one short-cut and use a packaged instant noodle+broth kit that gets surprisingly glowing reviews.



    My original plan was to use my sous vide cooker for both the eggs and the pork. But after a completely unsuccessful attempt to get it to hold a steady 190F for some reason (which became clear later) I bailed and went with old-fashioned boiling water for exactly 6 minutes and then an ice bath to halt the cooking. After that they were soaked a marinade of water, soy sauce, mirin (a sweet Japanese cooking wine), sake and sugar in the fridge overnight. I then made a similar marinade for the Chashu, but with the addition of sliced green onion, fresh ginger, garlic and leeks. I sliced a 2 lb section from the middle of a 10.75 lb pork belly slab I defrosted the day before, and set the rest aside to be cured for bacon when I was done with everything else. The 2 lb strip was tightly rolled, tied up with butcher's twine, placed into a 1-gallon zip-loc bag, covered in the marinade and then dropped into a 165F bath for 24 hours.

    The eggs actually turned out very well. Just look at that perfectly runny-yolked bastard.



    The Chashu was another story. It turned out that the problem I had attempting the eggs should have served as a warning that the thermometer circuitry in my Anova sous vide cooker was finally going wonky on me. But I assumed it was OK when I double-checked it using an external probe thermometer right before I went to bed around midnight. After 12 hours the water was holding at exactly the 165F I had it set at, so I assume everything was OK. But when I got up this morning it seemed like it was too hot when I held my hand over it. Although the Anova display still said 165F, my external thermometer revealed that it had actually climbed all the way to 211.4F. Damned near boiling, and >11F hotter than the Anova is supposed to allow itself to go. So it had flaked out at some point in the AM, and had been sitting at that ridiculously high temp for who knows how long. When I took the rolled belly out I found that it had turned nearly to mush in texture. It tasted great and wasn't dried out (which was what I most feared), but it was impossible to get slices to hold together.



    This mishap threw me off so much that I completely forgot to re-hydrate the dried wood ear fungus that I bought just for this purpose. Oh well...next bowl. However, the pork and egg toppings, along with some sliced scallions were enough to make for a more than acceptable first effort. I think it's judging me though.

    Don't go ninja-in' nobody don't need ninja-in'.
    - Diemon Dave

  2. #2
    Well now, that all sounds quite acceptable! Too bad I'm too far away to drop in unannounced

  3. #3
    Senior Member DParker's Avatar
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    Come on by. I've got 11 bags of noodles left, and Amazon on speed dial if we need more.
    Don't go ninja-in' nobody don't need ninja-in'.
    - Diemon Dave

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    Senior Member Swamp Fox's Avatar
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    Dried wood ear fungus? ... It's definitely judging you. That's the way those fungi are.

    Keep on keeping on.

    You'll get it right.

    Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?



  5. #5
    Senior Member DParker's Avatar
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    Herro.

    If I had a nickel for every time I got that reaction from a pretty young woman......well...I wouldn't have any money or anything. I'm just sayin'.
    Don't go ninja-in' nobody don't need ninja-in'.
    - Diemon Dave

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    Senior Member Swamp Fox's Avatar
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    LOL ...

  7. #7
    DP, Am I reading this right? You don't hunt in the rain or you don't bow hunt in the rain?
    Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

    Ephesians 5:11

  8. #8
    Senior Member DParker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Peck View Post
    DP, Am I reading this right? You don't hunt in the rain or you don't bow hunt in the rain?
    It's not the falling rain itself that's a problem (though rain AND temperatures in the high 30s is somewhat less than appealing with no camo rain gear). Hell, I've fished in pouring rain and hunted in a blizzard, and not minded either. It's the cumulative effect it has on the ground where I hunt (which generally saturates quickly and drains poorly) when it's not only still raining (and is expected to continue all day), but has also been doing so for nearly 24 hours prior. Walking into the public land units I have access to is bad enough under those near-swamp-like conditions, but if I were to actually kill something larger than a rabbit then getting it out would be nigh impossible.

    ETA: What the East Texas Piney Woods I hunt look like after a good day of rain, followed by a couple days of drying out:

    Don't go ninja-in' nobody don't need ninja-in'.
    - Diemon Dave

  9. #9
    Senior Member bluecat's Avatar
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    That's quite a project there Mr. Parker. So, one day you just decided to try and make home-made ramen?
    Zombie Response Team

    I write English not so well, but this thin string for sewing or fabric-making my funny wheel getickles. Baron von Schtupp

  10. #10
    Senior Member DParker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluecat View Post
    That's quite a project there Mr. Parker. So, one day you just decided to try and make home-made ramen?
    The decision to try to do it myself happened every time I got the bill at my favorite ramen joint. Actually getting off my duff and doing it happened one day when I found I could buy decent (per reviews) instant noodles and soup base from Amazon so I could ease into the endeavor. I still haven't decided to go hardcore and make the broth from scratch (and I doubt I'd ever bother trying to make my own noodles). I might have to wait for the wife to find an excuse to be out of town for a weekend so I can get away with stinking the house up by boiling pork bones all day. I learned my lesson on that front the one time I made my shrimp stock indoors.
    Don't go ninja-in' nobody don't need ninja-in'.
    - Diemon Dave

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