What are you up to this weekend? We're ..
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staying pretty close to home. I'm on call this weekend (for my career job) and it promises to be a lively one
So as we're catching up on things around the house .. we'll simply be thankful we made it to the weekend .. and wish for some sunshine on our shoulders and a good book in our lap.
I'm also hoping to find some time to be in the kitchen.
The Veggies has her first paying food gig(!) I'll be developing recipes for a California-based greens company .. and couldn't be more excited (and nervous) all at the same time. This week a huge box filled with all things green showed up on our doorstep .. and I've been pondering what to make with it all ever since
Any good ideas?
Also at the top of my to-make list? A lovely raw soup from the new Tartine cookbook. Its ingredients include raw parsley, cilantro, avocado, cucumber, and other good-for-yous. I looked at the recipe with respect and adoration .. and headed straight for a warm bowl of tomato soup with a chunk of grilled cheese on sourdough for dipping
( that's just how some days go )
Whatever you're up to .. I hope you have a good one!
This past weekend .. a trip to visit my son and his family. Turns out he's a pretty incredible cook in his own right. What a treat to spend an afternoon together in his kitchen.
For the longest time, I've wanted to capture the recipes that people love. The recipes they're known for. The dishes that make you smile when you think about them. The stories they represent. Last month a friend who's perfected sourdough bread.
Today .. my son's miso soup
“What started as an interest in fermented foods and probiotics.. led me to the cute Miso Master. And the rest is history”
The humble beginning of his love for this savory .. warming broth that's truly a blank canvas. It has that sort of healing and comforting quality we need to carry us through .. but it never feels obligatory or medicinal. (Like that weird cayenne-lemon/apple cider vinegar cocktail your roommate is trying to foist on you)
Miso soup is comfort food that looks nothing like comfort food. All you really need to keep it in your back pocket is a bit of miso in your fridge .. some kombu in your pantry .. and an inventory of potential add-ins (or not)
Its heft can ebb and flow depending on your cravings and the ingredients you have on hand. Call it dinner with the addition of soba noodles and chicken (or tofu). Pack it full of veggies for a light lunch. Or .. if a terrible sickness finds you .. nurse a pot of broth all day while hiding under blankets watching movies on Netflix
Whatever you add to it .. and however you eat it .. resolve to make miso soup your new staple.
If routine gives you a warm fuzzy .. you can keep it minimalistic all of the time. If you shun monotony .. treat it as a reliable starting point for improv. Either way .. it's still far cheaper (and quicker) than carry-out
True miso soup .. it turns out .. doesn't start with miso at all. Instead, it starts with dashi .. a Japanese sea stock made with kombu (dried seaweed/kelp) and bonito flakes (dried tuna). Make it and you'll essentially be reconstituting an ocean .. leeching from them their umami and salt. Turn the heat on medium and hang around the kitchen, keeping an eye on things. You'll want to bring the water only to the cusp of boiling ..
it takes a while
Boiling water will almost certainly kill the active enzymes (and thus the probiotic benefits) of live miso. The things that add taste and all the good stuff for our health
Strain the broth through a strainer lined with cheesecloth into another pot
— — —
While the dashi is steeping .. prepare any mix-ins you might be using. In his case .. mushrooms and cabbage (a nice prebiotic for the probiotic). Roast or sauté veggies that are sturdier than leafy greens. Boil the soba noodles (and rinse them with water afterward). Soft boil an egg .. press and slice some firm tofu .. or
cook and slice your chicken
The ingredient that gives this soup its ultimate appeal is the miso that is stirred in at the end. Just a small amount provides the sweet .. salty .. nutty .. fermented .. savory solution that transforms the soup into a magic elixir
Make a miso slurry by spooning the miso into a small bowl (start with 1/2 to 1 Tbsp for every cup of liquid) .. adding a small ladle of broth and whisking until smooth. Add it back to the pot .. and allow the soup to simmer gently for a few minutes (making sure it doesn't boil). If the broth is too mild .. add more miso (always via the slurry technique)
Next, are the mix-ins and simmer for another couple of minutes
Top with whatever garnishes you'd like. In our case a sprinkling of bonito flakes and chopped scallions. Other ideas might include sesame oil .. pepper flakes .. soy sauce .. herbs .. or Sriracha.
Resolve to make more next week
A few notes about the recipe:
Many miso soup purists would say it it's authentic if it's not made with dashi. My son would tell you .. do whatever works. Some people simply use water. Others adding veggies spices to the pot for additional flavor. He'll sometimes add a few shots of sake to the water as well
For restaurant-style miso, use red miso made from soybeans. If you like that flavor, try branching out into white miso (milder and sweeter) .. yellow miso (earthy-flavored) .. or any other kind of miso you find and feel like trying.
Happily, in the past few years, ingredients like miso, kombu, and bonito flakes have become much more available. An Asian grocery store is always your best bet .. although larger groceries are carrying them now
~ Adapted from Everyday Harumi by Harumi Kurihara
- Dashi (Japanese Sea Stock)
- 6 cups of water
- 1 oz kombu (dried kelp)
- cabbage or other mix-ins for flavor (see notes above, optional)
- 1 cup dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi)
- Miso Soup
- ½ cup dried wakame (a type of seaweed)
- ¼ cup miso
- 6 cups dashi
- ¼ cup thinly sliced scallion greens
- Dashi (Japanese Sea Stock)
- In a large pot over high heat, add the water, kombu, and other mix-ins (if using)
- Bring to the cusp of boiling, without letting it actually boil
- Take the pot off the heat, remove the kombu, and sprinkle the bonito flakes over the liquid.
- Let stand 3-5 minutes, stirring if necessary so the bonito flakes will sink
- Strain the stock through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and into a bowl
- Miso Soup
- Stir together miso and ½ cup dashi in a bowl until smooth.
- Heat the remaining dashi in a saucepan over low to medium heat until warm, then gently stir in the mix-ins, along with the reconstituted wakame.
- Simmer 1 minute and remove from heat.
- Immediately stir in miso mixture and scallion greens