Ramen 101 with Progresso Stock

Bachelors and novice cooks are very familiar with ramen. At less than 50 cents a pack, ramen is a staple for college students and those who find a can of soup too highfalutin. Growing up, my sister loved ramen. What’s not to love? All you need is water, a microwave and 90 seconds.  It’s the non-chef’s dream.

She would buy the mega pack and be set for months. She recently sent me a dimly-lit picture with what appeared to be an egg and some smattering of meat in a bowl. The picture still haunts me, but my sister was way ahead of the trend curve. Ramen shops have popped up all around the country and offer a mix of veggies with a salty broth.

I ducked out of work during my lunch hour to meet Chef Michael Braden. Chef Braden leads a team at General Mills to develop scalable recipes. His latest project was to make Progresso Stocks taste like a homemade stock.

Ditch the sodium and MSG packet that accompanies the ramen block and make your own ramen that will make your guests slurp their way to the bottom of the bowl.

Wedding Season 2014

Magic soup

I love weddings. I prefer weddings that I’m invited to, but I’m not picky.

Wedding season is in full swing as summer in Chicago meanders onward. 2014 started with zero weddings on my calendar to explosive growth of three. The first of the year was for friends of my girlfriend in a land called Tinley Park. I had never ventured (and got out of the car) anywhere south of 55th street near University of Chicago in Hyde Park. This was in the 170s ballpark south. Foolishly, I forgot to pack snacks and Kevlar for the drive.

I made it to the church in time to see the couple become a couple in the eyes of the Church. The priest had a few slip ups, but not to the magnitude of Rowan Atkinson.

In his sermon he quoted the writer “anonymous” and When Harry Met Sally. One out of two isn’t half bad. Before heading to the cocktail hour and reception, we enjoyed some shots of Fireball at one of Leann’s friend’s casa. There were speeches, dancing, drinking, then more white people dancing at the country club.

The following day started with donuts, Tylenol and Vitamin Water before cruising into the city to catch some of the Air and Water show.

I returned home late Saturday night and started today making chicken rice soup for my mom who caught a cold. I roasted a whole chicken with carrots and onion, before giving it a long, hot bath in chicken stock and water. To jazz mine up, I also roasted poblanos, tomatillos and a jalepeno to make salsa verde. Adding salsa verde gives regular chicken soup a bright zip that will knock out any cold bug this side of 170th.