On his last night at home before returning to university, my son and I broke tradition. Rather than my preparing a farewell dinner for him and the family alone, as I usually do, we decided to make dinner together. Clark and I love to cook but we have different styles. I rely on recipes as a guide, only glancing at them once or twice to gather ingredients and start the process. When Clark follows a recipe, he is more methodical. He takes things step by step. I like to work in a small space, cleaning up as I go. Clark likes to spread out in the kitchen―creating a bit of chaos is part of the fun. While we both love to experiment with flavor and texture, I tend to have a clear idea of how I want things to turn out from the beginning while he is more adventurous, even welcoming an unexpected but successful outcome to a dish he’s labored over. At times our different styles have gotten in the way of successfully cooking a meal together. We’ve butted heads while we worked on more than one occasion, abandoning the idea of cooking together from time to time, trying again, then abandoning things once more. Recently, though, we’ve both tried to let go of some habits and steadfast rules that got in the way of a spirit of collaboration. During the holidays, we worked toward finding a process and a way of being together in the kitchen. I learned to let go, relax a bit more with him. We learned to laugh at ourselves and with each other while we cooked. The farewell dinner—delicately spiced Asian fare―was a success, with the best part happening in the kitchen before we sat down to eat.
I created this dish of Egg Drop Soba Noodles with Clark in mind—it’s one I think he might like to make for his roommates at college. Soba noodles are cooked until tender then topped with a broth that is thickened into a sauce by fresh eggs. Topped with crunchy arugula and a bit of sweet red pepper, it makes a hearty lunch on a cold winter day. It would even be great for dinner with the addition of some cooked meats or steamed tofu and a cup of miso soup alongside.
I hope your new year is starting out well, with new joys and traditions on the horizon. We take a family photo at the holidays—it's a tradition I hope we will always keep.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
Egg Drop Soba Noodles
Yield: 4 Servings
- 8 ounces soba noodles
- 2 cups stock, chicken or vegetable
- 4 eggs
- 1 small red pepper, rinsed and slivered
- 1 cup greens—arugula, spinach or kale—rinsed, trimmed & chopped as needed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fill a medium soup pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the soba noodles. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain, set aside, and cover to keep warm.
- Add the stock to the soup pot and bring to a boil. Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Hold a colander or a sieve over the soup pot and pour the eggs into the sieve. Allow them to drizzle into the stock, coaxing them a bit by stirring them with a wooden spoon. (This may need to be done in stages, depending on the size of your sieve). Once all the eggs are in the pot, stir gently until fully cooked.
- Divide the reserved soba noodles between four shallow bowls or dinner plates. Ladle the the egg drop broth over the noodles. Top with red pepper and greens.
- Serve and enjoy.
- For a heartier dish, add some cooked meats or steamed tofu to the garnishes.
- For a full meal, start the dinner with a bowl of Spicy Sweet Potato Soup and finish with Spice Muffins with Brown Butter Frosting.
- Soba noodles are made from buckwheat. You can substitute any other noodle that is to your liking. Cooking times will vary depending on the size, freshness and shape of your noodles.