March 21st, 2010

Weather - Dr. George

Snow away

We got about an inch of snow Friday night.  Saturday morning when we headed out to do our weekly shopping, the ground was completely white.  The high temperature for the day was near freezing, and the sky was hazy all afternoon.  But by the time we got home that evening, the snow had completely melted.

We really don't need any more precipitation.  The ground is extremely muddy around here, and many of the area rivers are at or above flood stage.  The Hydrologic Information Center website says that 174 gauges are reporting flooding, with 22 reporting major flooding.  Another 136 gauges are near flood stage.  The Missouri River at Omaha is reporting 27.6 feet; the flood stage is 29 feet.  At Brownville, the Missouri has reached 37.3 feet and is rising; at 38 feet the Cooper Nuclear Power Plant begins flooding preparations.

Fortunately the forecast appears to be dry for the week ahead, with temps in the 50s.
Cooking - Soup Nazi

Nong Shim Japanese-style Udon Noodle Soup

I picked up a box of Nong Shim Udon Soup at Costco for $12.79 for 6 surprisingly large bowls.  That comes to about $2.13 per bowl, significantly more expensive than the 66 cent per bowl Nissin Bowl Noodles that Costco also sells.

Each bowl contains three packets.  There's a large pouch containing pliable, "fresh" udon noodles; this isn't your typical hard, dried ramen brick.  There's also a liquid soup packet (no powdered soup here!) and a foil packet labeled "flake".  There's also a plastic lid with holes along the edge.  These will come into play later.

The preparation instructions are a bit unusual, if you're accustomed to making instant ramen.  First you open the noodle pouch and add them to the bowl, then you fill it with boiling water, cover and wait 2 minutes.  Then you drain off the water through the holes in the lid.  Finally you add the contents of the soup and flake packets, add more boiling water, cover and wait another minute.

This stuff is totally unlike any cup or bowl noodle I've ever had.  The broth is dark brown and quite rich, very slightly sweet, with the flavor of soy sauce and just a wee hint of fish.  Unlike the other Nong Shim products I've had in the past, this soup isn't spicy.  The noodles are firm and slightly chewy and are nearly restaurant quality.  They tasted fresh.  The soup is full of huge pieces of wheat dumplings, green onion, seaweed, krab and red pepper.  There's also quite a lot of it; it was quite filling for me, and I'm usually a big eater.

At more than $2 a bowl, it costs a lot more than ramen, but you've never seen ramen or even canned soup that looked (or tasted) anywhere as good as this.  You'd swear this was takeout from a Japanese restaurant.