Soba broth bowl with mushroom and cabbage

I have a sore throat and a stuffy nose, so I made a brothy version of this quinoa fried “rice” recipe, which can be made quickly with pre-sliced mushrooms and pre-washed chopped salad.  Mushrooms and cabbages are both “neutral” (neither “heaty” nor “cooling”) foods in Chinese cooking, so this dish is a safe bet if you’re trying to avoid getting sick(er).

In a small pot, bring some water to a boil and cook the soba according to package directions.
Meanwhile, rinse (and chop, if not using pre-sliced) your mushrooms. (Softer mushrooms like shittake and oyster work best here; if using woodier mushrooms chop or break into smaller pieces to reduce cooking time.)

When the soba is done, drain and set aside in your serving bowl, tossing with a small amount of sesame oil to prevent sticking.
Also add some sesame oil to the pot, and begin to fry the mushrooms (or skip this step for a less “heaty” option). Then add your chicken or vegetable broth and bring to a boil again.
Finally, add the chopped salad (I used Dole’s Asian blend, which is mainly a cabbage mix), and cook until softened.

Season broth to taste using teriyaki/soy/tamari, garlic powder and pressed ginger (again, skip for a less “heaty” option), or whatever you like. (Optional: crack an egg into the hot broth for more protein .)
Pour over the noodles and serve.


Steak in butter

For years I’ve tried to cook steak using olive oil, since that’s the oil I normally cook with. At one point I stubbornly tried over half a dozen different “How to Cook the Perfect Steak” recipes, including Jamie Oliver’s (big fan of the olive oil, lots of flipping things around) and Alton Brown’s (involves a pan of boiling hot oil for reasons of Science, if you are clumsy AVOID). I flipped, I didn’t flip; I cooked at medium-high, high, and very high; I seasoned at different times; I rested the meat for five, ten, twenty, even thirty minutes. None of it worked. Several other recipes said to use butter or at least a higher smoke-point oil. I stubbornly refused.

Last month, on a whim, I bought butter. Today, for the first time in my life, I cooked steak in said butter, and for the first time in my life, it turned out well. I’m now completely convinced that all the rigmarole around the Perfect Steak can be boiled down to two words: use butter.

But here are more words anyway.

1. Take steak out of fridge and leave out until it’s at about room temperature. About half way through, salt quite generously on both sides.
2. In a large frying pan heat a fair amount of pure butter on high. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, watching that it doesn’t burn. When it’s nice and hot, add the steak. It should sizzle.
3. Sear on both sides until nicely caramelised. (Jamie Oliver says to keep turning the steak back and forth, but I just left it sitting pretty in its puddle of butter. He also says to rub it down with garlic and to whip it with herbs. I did not do this either.)
4. When it’s done (for medium rare, stop when the juices are just beginning to bubble out the sides a little bit), rest it for a couple of minutes.
5. EAT.