Monday, May 14, 2012

What is a Noodle?

It's a conveyance, a means of transporting something flavorful from the plate to the mouth. It doesn't need its own flavor, not really. And how much better if it cooked in a flash,  didn't come with calories, fat, carbs, or even gluten. Perhaps just a bit of soluable fiber to aid digestion and contribute to that full feeling. Sound too good to be true?

Not any more.

Of course, to come without all those things, there has to be a hitch, right? It's called cost. But those magic noodles are out there, and I tried my first ones tonight. And now there are five leftover containers of yummy spaghetti sitting in my freezer, ready to be added to my work cooler, starting tomorrow.

What's my secret? They're called shiratake noodles. They come sealed in plastic pouches, floating in liquid. You drain that off, drop them in boiling water for about a minute, drain, cool, and blot dry. Or skip the blotting part and let them cook in a sauce which imbeds them with flavor as it reduces. Don't be put off by a funky fishy smell as you first open the package. It's gone when they finish their boiling water bath.

I do spaghetti by browning hamburger, pouring off the grease, and adding a few things, starting with Ragu in whatever flavor caught my attention on the last shopping trip. Onion flakes and garlic powder - not salt - get generously thrown in, followed by grated sap sago cheese, which these days I have to order off the internet. Not grated. Whole hard green cones, which I persuade Paul to grate. As a reward, he gets to use the cheese to flavor his pizzas.  Even the pricey fancy grocery stores seldom carry it, so I tend to order half a dozen cones at a time, slip the grated cheese into snack size ZipLocs, those into a freezer ZipLoc, and leave frozen until some is poured out for the next use. Strong flavor, but delightful in Italian flavored tomato based foods. It even makes prepackaged diet lasagna taste wonderful.

A topping of grated parmeasan/romano cheeses, some stirred in while cooking down, the rest added before serving, finish the job.

Since I'll be eating this while working, possible even while driving (shhhhh!), I pre-cut the noodles. My packages of angel hair came in up to 2 foot lengths, something unwieldy even at the table. I liked 2" better.

And yes, I took a taste test sample, something I was able to do without worrying about the carb count for the evening. Yummmmmm!

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