Monday, June 11, 2012

A nice spring mash-up

My brother once called me a great "last day before vacation" cook - meaning I can take whatever happens to be in the fridge and make a meal out of it.  This remark was in response to a meal that my 18-year-old self had made from the contents of his 23-year-old summer sublet bachelor pad fridge.  I can't remember what that meal was, other than I know it included a leftover Hamburger Helper flavor packet. These days my leftover fridge ingredients tend to be higher quality than Hamburger Helper, but I still like to think of myself as pretty good at improvising.  So faced with a new week's re-up of CSA farm share vegetables, I was trying hard to use up our greens, and came up with a surprisingly yummy lunch yesterday. 

I had some garlic scapes and leeks sauteed in butter which were left over that I hadn't put into last night's risotto.  I added this into swiss chard sauteed with pancetta and added some broth to help it cook faster and give it some liquid.  Then tossed in fresh Korean noodles -- these are great jia-jyung-myun-style round wheat noodles that have a great toothsome bite.  And the final ingredient -- the one that really pulled it all together -- was a chopped salted preserved duck egg, homemade by my mom's friend.  I've never made salted eggs, but whatever the Chinese do to preserve it not only infuses a salty flavor throughout the egg, but also does something to the texture.  The egg, including the white, gets a dense grainy creaminess -- almost like a blue cheese.  And that's exactly the kind of thing it added to the noodles -- coating everything with an extra dose of flavor and texture.  It was so good, Redneckhunter even liked it, despite all the green things!

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