I can’t sleep. It’s really annoying. I used to sleep like a log and not wake up ’til the alarm woke me. Then I married an insomniac. And had three kids. None of them slept for 12 hours as a baby like the baby books told me they would. Usually someone wakes up in the middle of the night because of a bad dream, a potty break or just because. One night, I think my youngest, the princess was 2-years old, and all five of us were awake at around 3-o’clock in the morning. I shook my head in frustration. Things have calmed down a bit, but I’ve been ruined.
Now when I wake up on my own or because of a munchkin or because of my snoring husband, I can’t go back to sleep. I think about the zillion things I have to do when I get up: pay this bill, run to Target, oh, don’t forget to stop at this market, did I pay that other bill??? It goes on and on.
Like I said, I’ve been ruined.
So when I can’t go back to sleep at 3-o’clock in the morning, (after laying awake in bed for up to an hour) I blog, edit pictures, type up recipes, catch up with my other food blogging buddies, watch hulu… you name it.
And here I am, almost 4-o’clock in the morning. I’ve been up for two hours and I’m still awake.
I blame my husband, of course.
Continuing with my quest to try new things and branching out of my comfort zone in the kitchen, I present to you my first udon noodle soup. Another great recipe from Fine Cooking. I found these delicious (and stick-to-my-teeth-noodles, as described by my 7-year old) noodles during my adventures at the Vietnamese market. And the are FRESH udon noodles, not dry.
This was a very quick and easy soup to make and it was my first time using lemongrass – yeah, another first! Why was I intimidated by lemongrass????
Filled with shiitake mushrooms, chicken, fresh herbs and oodles and oodles of yummy udon noodles. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Must be the sleep deprivation.
I cheated with the toppings. I wasn’t in the mood to chop my carrots into matchsticks, so I bought broccoli slaw and picked out the carrots. Hubby enjoyed it with the broccoli, too. You could use bean sprouts and cabbage to top your soup, as well. The possibilities are endless, of course.
Well, my post is done. I’m still awake. Maybe I’ll catch up on an episode of “Bones” or “Parenthood” on hulu. My eyes should be droopy in no time, right?
Oh, a word of advice for the singles out there: If you like your sleep, don’t marry an insomniac. You will have kids who don’t like to sleep, too!
- 2 small chicken breast, boneless skinless, about 3/4 lb
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
- 2 1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced into rings
- 2 stalks of lemon grass, trimmed, outer layers discarded, halved lengthwise, and smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
- 1 TBS ginger, fresh, minced
- 2 tsp brown sugar, light, packed
- 5 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 3 1/2 oz shitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered (1-1/2 cups)
- 9 oz udon noodles, fresh
- 1 serrano chile, sliced into thin rings
- 8 leaves of basil, fresh, torn
- 2 medium lime, juice only
- 1 TBS soy sauce
- 1/4 cup basil, fresh, julienned
- 2 medium green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup cilantro, fresh
- Rinse chicken breasts with water and pat dry.
- Cut each breast horizontally almost all the way through, then open like a book and season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
When oil is hot add chicken and cook without disturbing until it’s browned and releases easily from the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes.
- Flip and cook until the second side is browned and almost firm to the touch (just short of cooked through), 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool.
- Add remaining oil to the hot Dutch oven, along with shallots and salt.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the shallots start soften, about 2 minutes.
- Add lemon grass, ginger and brown sugar to the shallots. Cook and stir until the ginger and lemongrass sizzle, about 1 minute.
- Pour in chicken broth. Deglaze the pan by scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, then raise the heat to medium high.
- Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil and add udon noodles. Cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander and run under cold water to cool slightly.
- Use your fingers or a fork to shred the chicken.
- Add the chicken and noodles to the broth.
- Cook until the noodles are completely tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.
- Discard the lemongrass, then stir in the serrano chile, basil, lime juice and soy sauce.
- Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Divide the noodles among 4 large, deep bowls.
- Ladle the soup over the noodles, and garnish with basil, green onions, carrot, cilantro and lime wedges.
- Serve immediately.
Serving Suggestions: You could also garnish your soup with bean sprouts and shredded cabbage. To save time, you can buy prepackaged bags of shredded carrots and cabbage.
Cooking Tips: * This soup is also a great for shredded, leftover roast chicken in place of the chicken breast. Just add it to the soup along with the chiles, basil, lime juice, and soy sauce.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, March 2010
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 442Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 2013mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 36g