RECIPE OF THE WEEK: How Do You Doctor Up Your Instant Ramen?

I like mine with peas.
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Claire Lower
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I like mine with peas.

Greetings friends and fellow countrywomen, and welcome back to yet another installment of Recipe of the Week. Last week was all about the love apple (you know, the tomato) and I was not only impressed by your recipes, but your passion.

The most up-voted recipe was Maddie Howard, with her delicious fried tomato and egg sandwich, but the real winner was me, because I got to eat it.

tomato egg sandwich.jpg

Straight-up sliced with a sprinkle of Kosher salt, because absolutely nothing is better than a never-been-refrigerated tomato. Can't be improved. Though also: my dad used to fry them on both sides like you would a green tomato, dipped in an egg and milk bath and then corn meal and flour (one part each) with salt and pepper; fried in butter or bacon grease, eaten with whole wheat toast and soft-fried eggs with crispy edges. Oh my God. He also put mayo on them, which is of course a Southern thing.  

I'm assuming you all know what sliced tomatoes look like, so I decided to focus on the second half of Maddie's comment, which was glorious. I had never fried ripe tomatoes before, and I'm pleased to report that it went really well.

Gettin' their fry on.

Gettin' their fry on.

While definitely much juicier than their green counterparts, there's a delightful sweetness in these that is transcendent when paired with a crunchy cornmeal crust, even if it's a little messy.

A thing of beauty.

A thing of beauty.

Toast (With mayo! This is key!) and eggs make this a meal, which I consumed the morning after my birthday. (Eggs and toast work wonders for a hangover.)

That golden yolk is the stuff of dreams.

That golden yolk is the stuff of dreams.

So I must thank you, Maddie Howard, for introducing me to a new recipe and hangover helper. Your trophy is this cover of "Take My Breath Away" by My Morning Jacket.

Next topic.

As an awkward teenager, I had two favorite after-school snacks: microwaved kettle corn with a Diet Coke, and instant ramen. 

I was very particular about the instant ramen. I would buy it from a little store near my house that had a hot water dispenser, where I would prepare it in a large paper coffee cup. 

Before tearing into the plastic, I would bash and bend the package, breaking the noodles into tiny fragments. I would then dump them in the cup and cover them with hot water -- flavor packet set aside -- and let them sit until the noodles were stupidly soft. 

Next, the water was drained away and the flavor packet was stirred in, along with a shredded string cheese. The cheesy, salty, somewhat congealed mass of noodles that resulted was slightly revolting, but mostly delicious.

Just a real cool teen who enjoyed her salty snacks.

Just a real cool teen who enjoyed her salty snacks.

These days, I still buy instant ramen, but I'll cook it in homemade broth and add a poached egg on top, maybe some peas, maybe some corn; it's all very refined now. But then are the times I can't help myself, and I revert to my teenage ways and make a hot bowl of cheesy, sodium-rich nonsense. Each preparation has its place and time.

ramen.jpg

So what I want to know is how you all prepare this cost-efficient classic. Do you use the seasoning packet or toss it? Do you make your own broth? What are the add-ins? I want details (please).