Ramen Noodle-Based Recipes: Officially Jumping the Shark

Why would I make such a pronouncement?

Well…

Ramen Noodle Recipe Magazine

One of those cheapy publishing houses took this idea and ran with it… right over a cliff. I saw this recipe “book” or “magazine” or… “leaflet” (?) in the impulse magazine holders right by the check-out at a small town grocery store in Texas. Move aside ramen taco and ramen burger, we now have 55 recipes featuring ramen noodles. From the looks of this publication, we can now learn how to make anything, even a cheesecake crust, out of packaged ramen noodles.

Sorry guys… at this point I don’t think any creative new ramen noodle recipe is going to go viral. The trend is over. Ramen noodles are totally normcore. Onto the next food blog craze!

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New Melon Alert: Mag-nificent Mag Melon

Mag Melon Sign

It wouldn’t be springtime at Endless Simmer without at least one weird melon post from yours truly! We all know they’re my specialty. Seriously. Anyway, I was shopping at my beloved Central Market last weekend when I stumbled upon samples of what I thought were cantaloupe. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But! Rob pointed out the sign next to the display. “It’s not cantaloupe, it’s mag melon,” he told me. Mag melon?! I thought he was misreading. Turns out I was underestimating his reading comprehension; this was indeed mag melon.

Here’s what that little orange sign up there has to tell us.

Mag melon has a relatively short growing cycle and is grown in temperate climates. Its small seed cavity provides more value per purchase. It contains higher fiber, protein, carotene, and Vitamin C than that of a traditional cantaloupe.

So what did the sample taste like? Well, a lot like cantaloupe. It was very dense and sweet, not mealy at all (I can’t stand mealy melon, ugh) and we brought one home with us! If you see one at your local market, you should do the same. Can’t hate on an extra dose of fiber, protein, and Vitamin C.

Mag Melon Samples

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Burns My Bacon: Dessert Gimmicks

Dominique-Ansel-Cronuts-SXSW-Coookie-Milk-Shots

So the food porn-obsessed Internet is going crazy this week with news that Dominique Ansel, he of the great cronut craze of 2013, is back with his latest trademark creation: a chocolate chip cookie shot “glass” with a shot of milk. It’s beautiful. It’s mouthwatering. It’s waste-free.

It’s also stupid.

Why? Because, um…who wants to drink a shot of milk and THEN eat a cookie? It’s cute, yes. But the order is just all wrong. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer here but there are some things I just have to take seriously and this concoction is NOT practical. I feel like I would end up with milk and crumbs drizzling down my face as I tried to get the perfect last bite.

This gimmick is just not an improvement on the traditional milk and cookie. Cookie first, then milk. It doesn’t work the other way.  Design me a shot glass made of milk with a cookie contained inside it, and then I might be impressed, Dominique.

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Burns My Bacon: Unnecessary Jarring

salad in a jar

 

From a recently received press release:

More and more consumers are getting creative when it comes to their food—and not just what they eat, but how they eat it! Mason jar salads are particularly a popular trend on Pinterest with healthy eaters easily able to transport their salad creations on-the-go. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but also a healthy solution to many commuters, travelers and busybodies on the move.

No. No. No. Fine, cocktails in a jar can be cute, but it’s overdone. (Keep my beer in a pint glass please.) We decried this trend when it moved on to desserts in a jar three years ago. Now SALADS have to be in a jar too? Apparently this “healthy trend” is not limited to Pinterest, but coming to a restaurant/store near you. Please tell me exactly how jars make salads easier to transport. Who has ever thought, “gee, that tupperware works great, but I wish it could more fragile and also five times heavier?” I’m sorry, people. Eat your goddamn salad on a goddamn plate. And if you start putting my entrees in a mason jar…just expect broken glass.

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Running for Cheese

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As some of you know, over the last two years I have made an attempt to balance out my outrageous amount of pork belly consumption by training for a marathon. For the most part, I’ve used this as an excuse to eat as much food as I want to, but with the New York City Marathon just around the corner this weekend, I’ve actually been taking it easy on the eating and drinking front, trying to do the right thing for at least the week leading up to the race. So when I went to pick up my bib and other materials at the marathon expo yesterday, I was pleased to receive an “Insiders Guide” tucked in the official marathon “Start Village Bag.” It includes a nutrition section with lots of helpful tips about what to eat before the race. This one caught my eye:

For breakfast, a “great option is bread or a bagel with two ounce of Grana Padano.”

Oooh, what is this Grana Padano? Is this a new superfood I haven’t heard of, rich in antioxidants and run-fueling protein? Better make sure I get some before the run! The guide goes on:

After the race, “Good choices include salty soups, tomato juice, pickles, Grana Padano, and fresh fruit.” There are also three recipes for Grana Padano meals, along with a primer on how you should eat it while training: “mid morning: 1.5 ounce of Grana Padano and 1 sliced apple or pear….pre-evening run: 1 to 1.5 ounces of Grana Padano on 2 slices of whole-grain bread with sliced tomato…” and on and on and on. The best way to succeed at marathon running, according to this guide, is to eat Grana Padano morning, noon and night.

As you may have realized, Grana Padano is not a superfood, but merely a salty Italian cheese. Yes, according to this “insiders guide” the secret to succeeding at distance running is to eat cheese all effing day. Now, my first reaction was “what the eff have I been doing eating gross, chewy power bars, when cheese is actually the best thing for me?” My second reaction was: this is a scam.

Yes, I get that this is an advertisement. We have those here on Endless Simmer too. But here’s the thing: The New York City Marathon costs $266 for each runner to enter ($358 for foreign runners). It is actually called the “ING New York City Marathon” due to a lucrative sponsorship with a financial institution, and every inch of the race is covered in advertisements for various brands. Do they really, really need to accept advertisements (posed as editorial content) that tell runners to eat as much cheese as possible??

If I’m missing the point here, just let me know and I will gladly spend the next 48 hours cheese-loading.

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“I’ve Got Shards in My Enchilada”

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After a long day of work, my girlfriend calls to ask if I’m okay with enchiladas tonight. “HELL YES” I’m okay with enchiladas for dinner tonight! Leaving late from work on a Friday, I got into the car for my 40=minute trek to the Philadelphia suburbs. I could taste the cheesey goodness of enchiladas, looking forward to smelling them as I walk up the stairs to the apartment. YUM.

Ten minutes away—now I’m really getting hungry. I’ve convinced my stomach that it’s in for a tasty treat tonight. He’s excited. I got a call from girlfriend, thinking it would be her asking how far away I was so she would know when to put it in the oven. Then, WHAMMY: “the pyrex dish exploded after about a minute and a half in the oven.” DAMNIT. Luckily, girlfriend was okay and THANK GOODNESS she didn’t open up the oven to peak at the enchiladas while it exploded.

I wasn’t sure of what to expect — was thinking maybe the “oven safe” glass just split into quarters. She seemed upset on the phone — but she did just spend an hour creating these tasty envelopes of cheesy goodness. But then I got home, and the glass had literally shattered into hundreds of tiny glass pieces, covered in cheese. To make it worse, of course cheese coated at least half of the oven. Since we have a gas oven, the glass (and cheese) also snuck into the cracks that go below the panel that covers the gas burners.

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Burns My Bacon: Still Burning

croutons4

In case you haven’t noticed, I like to complain.  Partially, it’s because there are just so gosh-darn many annoying things in the culinary world, and I feel it is my duty to voice my gripes for all to hear.  Kinda like a public service announcement.  And partially, I have this idea that if I let my annoyance out in a public way, I will be able to move on with my happy-go-lucky existence.  Kinda like group therapy.  Sometimes, though, a violation to my sensitive annoy-o-meter is so heinous that the same complaint, differently manifested, bears a second airing.  So listen up.

Not all that long ago, I wrote about waste-of-space label recipes.  I wrote about it; I thought I was over it.  Then, I came upon the example above, and I knew I couldn’t keep quiet.

I confess, I do love pre-made croutons, even though they are a total ripoff.  Yes, I am paying an exorbitant amount for someone else to cube my stale bread and sprinkle ranch powder on it.  I admit it.  Just call me Sandra Lee.  However, it’s not enough for the crouton makers to basically pick my pocket.  Now, according to the package recipe for “Baked Ranch Chicken,” I am supposed to grind up the bag of croutons into bread crumbs in order to bread my chicken.  Seriously.  I think that would come out to $.02 per crumb or something.  What do these marketers take me for?

The only reason I haven’t called the 1-800 hotline to lodge my complaint is that I never considered using ranch dressing instead of eggs to get my breadcrumbs to stick to the chicken, so the recipe was not a 100% waste.  But, I will provide my own breadcrumbs and use the croutons for my salad, thankyaverymuch.

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