Spring Cleaning & Ramen in Beef Broth

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I read about the phenomenal Japanese cleaning guru Marie Kondo on the Wall Street Journal and immediately bought her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I have been in dire need to declutter and am very fed up with my inability to organize. I’m not the kind to read self-help books, but my desperate situation calls for desperate measures. 

A few days ago, I talked to my brother about the troubles of an overabundant life.  We used to have two sets of clothes at any given time, and we changed clothes only because they needed washing. I remember that the first time I set foot in an American supermarket, I was both delighted and paralyzed by the dazzling variety of choices of shampoo.  It took me a long time to read about every product and finally decide on buying the cheapest brand.  My brother and I reminisced nostalgically about our frugal lifestyle with few possessions. 

For a Japanese book about tidying up and decluttering to become a international best seller, and for the author’s name to become a verb, the world must be full of clutter indeed. This is an age of clutter, both tangible and intangible.  Her theory is that once the tangible clutter is gone, the intangible ones will be taken care of as well.

After I read only 18% of the book, I felt somehow enlightened and emboldened to take a crack at organizing.  Kondo method begins with discarding — what a liberating thing to do.  After putting away eight trash bags of once loved or never used things, I felt lighter, happier and hopeful that finally I maybe able to learn to organize.

It was time to make some good old comfort food: ramen in beef stew and broth.  We cooked a pot of beef stew a couple of days ago. The leftovers were perfect for ramen in broth.

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Beef Shank & Beef tendon Stew with Carrots:

1 pound of beef shank, 2 tendons, or you can use just the beef and no tendon

1 brown onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 cup of spinach(optional)

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes (optional)

1 cup of cooking wine

1/2 cup of soy sauce

1/2 cup of dark soy sauce

3 cups of water or beef broth

5 star anise

5 slices of ginger

1/4 teaspoon Chinese peppercorn (花椒)

1 tablespoons of oil

Preparation:

Cut the beef shank and tendon to 1and1/2 cubes.

Heat the oil in a wok on high, put in peppercorn and ginger.

Stir and let sizzle for about 30 seconds, add onion and stir until soft.

Mix in the beef shank and the tendon, stir for 3 minutes.

Add wine, soy sauce and water/broth.

Close lid and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours before adding the carrots.

Cook another 30 minutes.  Before serving, add spinach and cherry tomatoes.

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For the Ramen:

200g fresh ramen from Asian market

8 to 10 pieces of beef shank and beef tendon

Broth from the beef stew + beef broth if the stew does not have enough broth

2 teaspoon chopped green onion

Preparation:

Cook the ramen in a large pot of water according to package instruction.  In a separate pot heat up the beef and broth.  When the noodle is cooked to al dente, rinse it in cold water and separate into two serving in two bowls.  Pour the beef and broth over noodle.  Sprinkle chopped green onion and serve hot.

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