Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Ramen Girl- The Magic Ingredient Noodle Bowl

This movie was overlooked by me so many times because of the ridiculous U.S. poster for it (not shown). The poster is a shot of Brittany Murphy sitting on the floor in some kind of half way Geisha-like pose with her palms pressed together, in a Kimono, with big spikey red heels standing up in front of her. The tagline reads- "Her romance is on pins and noodles." (Go ahead, take a look). When I finally did watch it, it was a night when I just wanted empty brain candy. When I put it on though, I was delighted. The poster was not an accurate representation of the movie. Don't get me wrong this is no deep intellectual indie. It *is* light and it is charming, it's inspirational and it was a nice surprise. What this movie is not about is a young woman's plight in not being able to find a man. (Like the poster suggested). there are notes of that, but the focus is her journey in finding her song.

Abby moves to Japan to be with her boyfriend who is moving there for business. She uproots her entire life, moves to another country, and shortly after she arrives, he dumps her. Nice right? Abby realized how silly it is to lose her identity to a man and she won't be letting go of it so easily in the future. Jolted back into her own life, she now needs her own focus, so begins the journey. From 2008, The Ramen Girl... (Currently streaming on Neltflix!)

"Somewhere along the way, I just forgot what I wanted to do with my life... "
"Stop thinking about words! Use your heart!"

Noodle Bowl

Trust me, you will want to have your own noodle bowl sitting in front of you while you are watching this movie. In the movie, Abby is crafting her art of the noodle bowl. She studies under a meanie chef (who's really a softie underneath) who lives by the cooking philosophy that the ramen bowl is born out of the heart. Whenever I don't have an exact recipe to give someone, I give them a rough outline and tell them they have to use their heart to figure out the rest. This is what I'm going to do for this meal. But in the movie, the food is not all vegan. I'll be really mad at you if your heart tells you to throw a chicken carcass in there! Vegan ingredients only.

To make a basic vegetable broth, saute carrots, onions, and celery for a little bit with some salt, then add a bunch of water and some soy sauce, bring to a boil, then let simmer for a couple of hours. You can use other vegetables in addition, use your heart. For my Asian noodle bowls, I like to add star anise to my broth and a little cinnamon, maybe a little clove. (Asian 5 spice works well too). Also, Lemon juice, mint, garlic and ginger. When you taste your broth and you are satisfied, strain all of the vegetables out, then ladle your broth into a really big bowl. (The bowl is important, you'll desire the ones they are eating out of in the movie, go to your city's chinatown for cool big bowls). Put your japanese noodles in your broth, then comes the best part. The toppings!

Here is what I used for my toppings:

Baked tofu cut in triangles
Carrots sliced very thin
Thinly sliced bok choy
Chopped green onion (light and dark ends)
Shitake mushrooms, sliced

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Day the Earth Stood Still - Peace-Loaf

A flying saucer lands in Washington D.C. containng Klaatu, an alien with a message for human Earthlings. Unfortunately before Klaatu can even say that he comes in peace, humans do what they do and resort to violence. Luckily Klaatu's robot, Gort is there to protect him. Klaatu ends up in the hospital and escapes in order to explore this planet while humans spend the day in fear.

So often in movies and just in general speculation of intelligent alien life forms, they are depicted as violent, wanting to conquer and annihilating anything that stands in their way. Essentially, we create them in the image of ourselves. More likely though, intelligent life outside this planet is far more evolved, therefore violence just isn't present. Klaatu comes as a representative to tell humans that the rest of the galaxy has evolved past this insane violence and they fear the day will come when humans will exert their violence on alien life as we do with each other (and our fellow animals). It's excellent social commentary that holds up today as it did in 1951.

BTW, that poster is a little absurd. There is no blonde in her nightie in the movie :)

From 1951, The Day the Earth Stood Still...

"We have come to visit you in peace and with goodwill"

Reporter: I suppose you are just as scared as the rest of us.
Klaatu: In a different way, perhaps. I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason.

"Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!"


This dinner is great for this movie because it is a classic 1950's suburban meal. Minus the cruelty. I had mashed potatoes with mine, peas would've also been great as a side. This isn't just great as a loaf, I also make sandwich patty's and breakfast peace links (w/ maple syrup) out of this mixture.

1 8oz. package of tempeh
3/4 cups vegan panko bread crumbs
3 TB nutritional yeast
about 9 leaves of sage chopped up
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
about 1/2 cup chopped onion

Wet ingredients
3 TB soy sauce
1 TB tomato paste
1 TB olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 and 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 TB water

Crumble the tempeh and mix together with the rest of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients, then add the wet to the dry and mix with your hands. If needed add a touch more water. form into a loaf and bake at 400 for 45 minutes. I topped the loaf with ketchup, which I put on about half way through the baking process. you can also use tomato sauce.

"This does not mean giving up any freedom, except the freedom to act irresponsibly"