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miso

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

With 1-degree wind chills and the first dusting of snow, it only seemed natural to whip up a big pot of soup.

A little urban exploration and camera venture outdoors left my frigid hands wanting nothing more than a warm bowl to hold. My red cheeks were longing for that steam-filled facial, too.

And so began the soup-making.

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

Originally, this was designed to be a ramen recipe. But when you get to the store and no ramen noodles are to be found, that needn’t be reason to abandon ship.

Instead, I found a funky package of raw kelp noodles laying on the shelf near the empty ramen spot. Resembling cooked rice noodles upon first look, I decided to give it a whirl. Plus, the package sold me on the claim of tons of trace minerals captured inside…

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

The kelp strands were slightly crunchy – almost like a julienned cucumber – but also smooth and mild like a rice noodle.

I’d eat them again, and would recommend them for this recipe, especially if you’re seeking a light, New-Year-resolution-friendly, goodbye-sickness meal. Although, ramen or rice noodles will certainly work just as well – and play a heartier role.

Japanese Miso and Seaweed Noodle Soup

The broth here gets its flavor from kombu, one of my favorite seaweeds, and also from ginger, garlic and mushrooms. Feel free to play around with dried mushroom and other veggie combinations. But don’t skip the seaweed. It’s chock full of vitamins and minerals, and also able to develop an awesome, vegetarian umami flavor.

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Miso Tahini Soup

Miso Tahini Soup

Maybe I’m getting old. (But will forever want to draw at the kids’ table.) Maybe I had one too many Friendsgivings + Thanksgivings this year. (Forever thankful.) Maybe I just like soup best as December rolls in.

Likely it’s all of these and more – but regardless, I was ready to pass on all T-day leftovers this year. Another scoop of stuffing? No thank you.

Soup me, please.

Turnips

I was ready for a meal like this before the weekend even arrived. And whether you still need a few more days or not to reach that point, this remains one of my favorite cleansing, warming meals as the cool winter days set in.

It’s earthy. Light. Yet full of flavor that satisfies you within just one bowl.

I stumbled upon the recipe over on 101 Cookbooks after doing a quick Google search for turnips. They are still an item that leaves me clueless sometimes. (Although, lately I’ve learned a fast roast in the oven does wonders on the beauties.)

Miso Tahini Soup

This was first whipped up for a small gathering of friends, and again soon after in the week that followed. I look forward to utilizing the soup as the hefty holidays continue to roll forward.

Feel free to play around with the veggies you put into the pot. We did a steamed eggplant version the other night, which was wonderful. Just be sure to leave out anything too overpowering. There’s a delicateness to this soup that you won’t want to lose.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

When I saw miso + creamy butternut, I thought to myself, “interesting combination”. Then, when I saw coconut in this recipe too, it instantly got bookmarked out of intrigue. Coconut and miso together is entirely new to me, and I have to say it works quite well in this soup. (The extra coconut milk left in your can works well in oatmeal the next morning too – banana/maple/coconut/oat heaven, hint hint.)

There are definitely layers of flavor going on here that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. In a good way.

One of my friends with whom I was sharing this brought over olive bread to add to the dinner table. That was like a hipster dressed in early fall – they pull out all their favorite items to layer a cardigan over a flannel over a collared denim over a too tight t-shirt. Too many layers, in a bad way.

Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

Adding anything with olives to this soup meal, I wouldn’t suggest, unless you’re a fan of conflict and intense food dichotomy. A crusty baguette, on the other hand, would compliment this perfectly.

This miso in here adds a subtle saltiness, and a hint of earthiness that’s surprisingly detectable. I like a little crunch in my soup, which is why I added the cashews – they won’t overpower the miso, but rather add to the coconut’s sweetness. I also tried throwing in a handful of raw kale the next day while reheating. This too complimented the soup, and added a healthy (literally) dose of satisfying crunch.

Surprisingly simple, this recipe will undoubtedly be going on the repeat list. Not sure about where you live, but it’s snowing here today. For sure the best excuse to spend the evening inside and layer up on butternut gold.

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Miso Oat Porridge

Miso Oat Porridge

My sweet tooth doesn’t generally kick in until after breakfast. Unless we’re talking homemade apple pie, I’d rather save the sweet stuff for lunch or dinnertime. This goes not just for crappy sugary cereals, but pancakes and waffles too.

Don’t go all Amanda Bynes on me. I promise you, I do love a big stack of blueberry pancakes fresh off the griddle. However, unless it’s a lazy, off-work morning and nearing close to lunchtime, I usually want to wake up to savory, not sweet.

Miso Oat Porridge

I’ve been seeing a lot of savory takes on oatmeal lately, and given my typical morning temperament, I decided to give one a chance. I chose a recipe from 101 Cookbooks, a blog I’ve been following for quite some time now. The recipes you’ll find there are generally simple but elegant, and always make me want to dive in.

This particular recipe calls for just four ingredients, along with a handful of your chosen toppings. As simple as it is, it really reinvents a morning bowl of oats. Toasty, and slightly salty from the miso, the bowl really becomes what you decide to chop up and throw on top of it.

Radishes

Funny how just a few posts ago I was pleading for help on what to do with radishes. Now I’m eating them for breakfast.

For this, I went with some fresh herbs and minced onion to compliment the miso, and thinly sliced radishes to add a bite to the subtle, sweet flavor of the butter. Delish. I felt great after eating this, and will be adding it to my morning rotation, radishes and all.

Have you tried any interesting versions of savory oatmeal? I’d love to hear about them!

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Asparagus with Miso Dressing

Asparagus with Miso Dressing

 

Remember that 5 lb. bag of miso I told you I had? Well, I just got around to putting it to use for the 2nd time. Two teaspoons of it, at least. That’s some serious progress right there.

Inspired by recent Asian eats, and a few fellow bloggers, I decided to whip up a light miso-lime dressing. I used it on a bunch of garden-picked asparagus I snagged from my parents’ house. As I’ve iterated before, there’s nothing like free produce from the field, especially when a pound of asparagus at the store can cost you $3.99. Knowing how rampant and easily asparagus grows, that’s seems a little silly.

Asparagus and lime

My own garden in the city is proving to be a slightly stagnant process.  I long for the day when I’ll finally have a backyard, or a deck, or any outdoor space to easily grow produce. It may be time to move my urban dwelling. But until then, I need to remind myself that tomato season is coming up, and I must, must, must take the 10 min. bike ride down to my friend’s garden and steal a little space from her. If you think asparagus prices are absurd, tomatoes are even worse. Nothing beats a vine-ripened tomato though, so there’s no way I’ll be missing out on those.

 

I recently interviewed a farmer who grew 405 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes alone last year. If that’s not some inspiration to get my butt in the garden, then I might as well be a lost cause. With that (and really just a need to get off the computer and out into my friend’s garden), I leave you with this asparagus recipe. Light, simple and elegant, this is an easy springtime dish (and a great use for miso waiting to be used).

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