Kare udon

Okay, this is a total phone-in. I will give the concession that I used homemade chicken stock, and sure, I poached the chicken breast with lots of fresh ginger and garlic, some sake, mirin and sesame oil, then added sliced shiitakes, Sweet Nantes carrots and delicate pearl potatoes. I even threw in some heirloom Italian pepper such deep carmine that it resembles raw beef. But this is hardly cooking.

Okay, I added cubed silken tofu, slivered scallions and sliced snow peas, and at the end I folded in some thick, chewy udon noodles (boiled separately so the broth wouldn’t go all soapy-starchy).

Come to think of it, what I did was truly cooking, but the act of breaking a couple cubes of Golden Curry into soup made it feel like I was faking it. Sure, I could’ve just added some curry powder, MSG (yes, I keep a fatty sack of it in my cupboard) and a little sugar and corn starch, and I would’ve achieved the same result. But I used the cubes. And I feel like a dirty cheater admitting it.

I keep cheapie Gekkeikan around for cooking, but a nice bottle of Momokawa Diamond Junmai Ginjo (I love the cloudy Pearl Junmai Genshu in the summer) for drinking. I know it’s probably sacrilege, but I heat osake in the microwave. In exactly one minute it reaches perfect blood-temperature.

Oh, p.s. I’ll be in and out a bit until Sunday. My good friend Catherine Wilkinson from The Dish is in town competing at the Tillamook Macaroni and Cheese Cook-off. In case you’re wondering, yes, she really is that hot in real life. Today I brought her chanterelles for her recipe, then we sat in the bar of her hotel making fun of Ilan Hall from Top Chef Season 2, who is emceeing the event. Catherine had been mistakenly calling him “Ian” all day, and couldn’t figure out why he was so standoffish. For laughs, I went to the concierge and asked her to page Ilan’s room to tell him he had two ladies waiting for him in the bar. He never showed up; probably because he is gay, or afraid of starfucking fangirls.

Oh, p.p.s. I’m planning a very special dinner for twelve of my closest friends this weekend. Elk roast with alder-smoked chanterelles, coho loukaniko with Fraga Farm saganaki and Hood River pear galettes with Douglas-fir needle ice cream will feature prominently. Stay tuned, and happy autumn!