Udon, grilled chicken, peas, quick pickles, egg, scallions

Sometimes I get ideas. Often they aren't very good ideas, but as a matter of principle I tend to stubbornly pursue them until they prove to be really, truly bad.

Making my own ramen broth certainly appeared to be one of these bad ideas. It required a trip to the further-than-usual supermarket to track down "meaty pork bones." (I soon triumphantly returned holding aloft a bag containing 5 pounds of pig vertebrae.) It also required turning the oven to 400 degrees in the middle of a heat wave.

But this idea turned out to be a great one. Not only because I have woken every day since to an apartment that still smells of smoky pork goodness, but because the broth itself is mighty fine.

David Chang's Momofuku cookbook is not the sort of thing you'd want to cook from every day. It's one part cookbook, but also one part picture book, one part memoir, and eight parts vanity project. Many of the recipes explicitly make the point that they relate exactly how things are made in Chang's restaurants while also implicitly making the point that you can't cook them because you're not David Chang.

Nevertheless, this broth is great. It is certainly a time-consuming production, but in terms of real work and technical skill it is a breeze, mostly just throwing various meats into a pot and watching to make sure nothing boils over. I will direct you to a literal relating of the recipe here and note only that it requires four pounds of chicken, five pounds of the aforementioned meaty pork bones, a pound of pork belly, a few strips of seaweed and a handful of vegetables.

Ruth the cat came over to help me and Anna consume the broth. Usually she just eats milk for dinner but on special nights we serve her ramen.

A few notes on the other accoutrements:

Chicken was done quickly on high heat on the grill after an hour or so marinating in a combination of ginger, garlic, canola oil, soy sauce and fish sauce. Hard boiled eggs were, well, boiled. Fresh peas, which are perfectly in season right now, required no work other than shelling and were sweet as could be when thrown into the bowl raw. Scallions were sliced and tossed in. 

Quick pickles were also from Chang, and are simple enough: Slice the cucumbers thin. Toss with one part salt to three parts sugar until well coated, and leave for 15 minutes. If they taste a little too salty or sweet, rinse them in water. Otherwise, they're good to go.