Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Warm Sesame Noodles with Pomegranate-Steamed Cabbage

I cooked something.

I think that probably doesn't seem noteworthy, but I haven't cooked anything in over a month. Aside from one loaf of banana bread, which I gave to one of my doctors. And I only made that because I could sit on a chair while the blender did everything.

I think I mentioned previously that I've had a lot going on. Aside from normal life changes that people expect (or don't expect), I've also had some health issues. It's made it nearly impossible to eat, and for a while I was subsisting on a can of soup a day and a few sneaked pieces of junk food. I lost 20 or so pounds. Finally, thankfully, I have an appetite again and I can eat without getting sick. So that's good.

That doesn't mean I'll be cooking up new stuff and posting it daily, but it does mean occasionally I might actually have something to say. I'm kind of taking eating one day at a time right now, trying to get a workable appetite so I can eat more than an appetizer portion per day. It was nice, but weird, to be in the kitchen again. I was kind of worried I'd forgotten how to cook. But it turned out I still cut things just as fast and I can still put dinner on the table without mucking it up.

However, I have had this bizarre craving for somen lately. I think about it a lot. When I say a lot, I mean that I've thought about it so much that I have no idea what's going on in some of my classes. So today I decided to make food for dinner instead of letting P try to sneak more food into my belly than I expect to eat. I really like sesame noodles cold, but I wanted to add some bacon and stuff and make them warm. Also, we got some beautiful baby bok choy at the farmer's market, and this seemed like an awesome opportunity to make them. Particularly given that the lovely people at POM sent me the new flavour of juice they're releasing later this month, and I thought it'd be awesome in a steaming liquid (I was right about that, by the way). Anyway, this is really simple but filling food and not in the slightest bit fancy or even interesting to look at. So, hope you enjoy!

8 cups water
8 cubes bouillon (I used 4 beef ones and 2 double-serving tomato ones)
2 slices galanga
1 package somen (or 1/2 package normal somen and 1/2 package carrot somen)

1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 small red onion, diced
2 pieces of bacon (I had these already made in the fridge, but we eat our bacon soft so they still have much fat), diced
2 stalks celery, sliced

1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup broth from above
1/2 cup POM brand pomegranate cranberry juice
1 bundle (I think there were 6 or 7) baby bok choy

Put the water, bouillon and galanga in a pot. Boil it and let it boil until it's a nice, warm, brothy-looking brown colour. Heat oil over medium or medium high in a pan. Add bacon and cook 5 minutes. Add onion and cook 5 more minutes. Add celery, and cook another three minutes. Put the somen in the broth and cook 3 minutes. Drain broth and set noodles aside (throw away the galanga), reserving the 1/2 cup, and add the juice to it. Bring them to a boil, then toss the boy choy on top, cover with a pan and steam 5 minutes (I think; I went 7 and it was a little too long). Remove bok choy from the pot (and drain the pot), and put a little more oil in the pot. Add the somen, lemon juice and the bacon mixture and stir well (I used tongs). Serve with the bok choy. Serves 4 or more (I think this should probably serve 6-8 people, but P really liked it more than I expected and ate about half of the pot's worth of noodles).