November 26, 2014 12:00 PM

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Cheaters’ Shio Ramen

Sushi Bar Salad Crudités*

Yuzu Cream Pie with Shaved Dark Chocolate

Sapporo Beer

*For recipe, go to PEOPLE’s Holiday Entertaining tablet edition

Warning: Do not wear nice clothes when consuming ramen. “You’re slurping the noodles, and they’re splashing your shirt,” says Ivan Orkin, founder of Ivan Ramen in Tokyo and New York. “It’s messy. You give up looking neat and clean, and you end up giving yourself permission not to look sexy.” But diners will look satisfied after consuming a big bowl of the Japanese noodle soup that has been popping up more frequently on menus across the U.S. and is fast becoming a favorite way to ward off the winter chill. “Ramen isn’t just New York or Los Angeles; it’s popular in the whole world right now,” says Orkin. Though he learned to make fresh noodles on his own in Japan, the ramen renaissance man created a simple version of shio (Japenese for “salt”) ramen to serve up at home. “Not everybody has time to make things from scratch,” says Orkin. Thankfully, “there are high-quality ingredients available everywhere.” And while some of them may look intimidating at first (see box, next page), Orkin assures cooks, “You can have a really great meal and not spend a lot of money.”

CHEATERS’ SHIO RAMEN

4½ tbsp. diced yellow onion

¼ cup diced Fuji apple

2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. canola oil

2 tsp. minced garlic,

1 tsp. minced fresh ginger

½ cup water

3 tsp. fine sea salt

2½ quarts fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

2 tbsp. instant Hon Dashi

½ cup chicken fat

8 eggs

28 oz. fresh ramen noodles, or 8 pkgs. instant ramen (discard seasoning packet)

1 lb. cooked chicken, pork, shrimp or tofu

2 cups finely sliced scallions

8 tsp. minced bonito flakes

1. Combine the onions, apple and oil in a small saucepan, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Do not brown. Add the garlic and ginger and simmer 10 minutes more. Cool to room temperature. Bring ¼ cup water to a boil. Stir in sea salt. Cool to room temperature, then stir into onion mixture.

2. Combine the chicken broth with the Hon Dashi. Stir in the onion mixture and the chicken fat and bring to a boil. Cover the broth and keep on the lowest possible heat to keep very hot but not simmering. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.

3. Place eggs in another pot of boiling water and cook exactly 6 minutes. Plunge eggs into ice water to stop the cooking. When cool enough to handle, peel eggs and set aside.

4. Add the noodles to the large pot of boiling water. Cook according to package directions for fresh noodles, or 3 minutes for dried noodles. Drain well.

5. To assemble the ramen: Measure out 10 oz. of broth into each bowl. Divide the noodles equally among the bowls. Divide the meat or tofu equally among the bowls. Slice eggs in half and put 2 halves in each bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ cup scallions, followed by 1 tsp. bonito flakes per bowl.

Serves: 8 Prep time: 10 minutes (does not include cooking time for chicken, pork, etc.) Cook time: 50 minutes

YUZU PIE WITH SHAVED DARK CHOCOLATE

3 eggs

1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk

½ cup yuzu juice, or ¼ cup each lime juice and lemon juice

1 ready-made chocolate-cookie or graham-cracker crust

1 cup heavy cream

3 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar

1 oz. dark chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together eggs, condensed milk and juice until well mixed. Pour mixture into crust. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pie is set. Cool pie on the counter for 1 hour, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

2. When ready to serve the pie, whip cream with confectioners’ sugar. Cover the pie with the whipped cream. Grate chocolate over the top.

Serves: 8 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes plus time for chilling

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