Summertime Soup

For the kids and I, summer means sweating at tennis, cooling off at swim, drinking fruit smoothies, extending imaginative play time, and eating naengmyun. Naengmyun is a Korean cold noodle soup that I grew up loving. I could eat it every day. Unlike some Korean dishes, it is relatively simple to make. Boil the noodles for 3 minutes, rinse them with ice and cold water and place in bowls. Make a soup base either by boiling beef beforehand for broth which you refrigerate and thinly slice the meat for the soup or using the powdered packet that comes with many noodle bags. I often do the latter because it is easier (I LOVE EASY PREP), and I can live without beef. With the base, I add some rice vinegar and a touch of sesame seed oil plus ice water. Slice up some cucumbers, Asian pear and hard-boiled eggs and a refreshingly light summer meal is ready.

Since we’ve lived in Albuquerque, I have had a hard time finding Asian pears. These pears are usually bigger, crunchier, and less sweet then the regular pear. The texture allows for it to hold up nicely in soup. When I was little, I remember my folks planted two pear trees on the top of our hill. They somehow got real Korean pear tree branches that they grafted into these trees so they could enjoy fruit from the Motherland. Years later, we also ended up burying our beloved Springer Spaniel near those trees, where the hybrid pears grow (oh, dearest Madam). Last time I made the soup with regular pears (maybe Bosc?). This week I checked out Sprouts for the first time and found some Asian pears! YAY! Check out the sticker:

"ASIAN PEARS - Produce of Chile" ;)

“ASIAN PEARS – Produce of Chile” 😉

In my carelessness of buying the cheapest option, I realized yesterday that I had bought the noodle bag without the soup base packets. No big deal since I still had old packets saved up when I had used beef broth in the past. However, it also meant that the bag of noodles was without the little hot oil packets you can add to your soup for some delicious heat. Even as a little girl, I would want a few drops and now as an adult I want more than one packet. A brilliant friend suggested I use some green chile. Does this make me a bona fide New Mexican now? I not only had the beloved state product readily available, but I added it AND I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Korean - New Mexican fusion: green chile in naengmyun

Korean-New Mexican fusion? Green chile on naengmyun

And what’s dinner with kids without some fun? We noticed that Ethan’s bowl inadvertently looked like a smiley face.

Happy soup

Happy soup

So then Connor decided to make his an angry Darth Maul face.

Angry Darth Maul soup

Angry Darth Maul soup

It still makes me happy to see my boys gobble down Korean food. I made myself kimchi fried rice for lunch. Connor asked to eat it as well instead of the almond butter and jelly sandwich I made for his brother. That boy ate his SPICY bowlful and only needed an extra half-glass of milk. What a champ! This Korean Food Thursday was extra Korean today. 🙂

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