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miso

Miso Marinated Salmon

Miso Marinated Salmon

The last time I went to my sister’s house, she sent me home with a five-pound bag of miso. Three little kids in the house she can handle, but ten pounds of miso, that’s what she calls a struggle. Guess that’s what you get when you order miso from the Internet.

Good thing she’s down to five pounds now, and I’m fortunately up five of my own. What would I do without a handheld weight of miso?

Here’s what I am doing with it: Miso Marinated Salmon. After you get the ingredients assembled, this becomes such a simple recipe to execute. Slightly (but only a pinch) sweet and a little salty, this becomes a transformative marinade for salmon. I’m itching to try it out on tofu or on some other protein-based forum.

Salmon

Though not pictured, I may suggest serving this atop brown rice. You could even snag a Tbsp. or two of the marinade to set aside (before adding the salmon) to drizzle over your rice. That’s an Asian pairing I will be cooking up soon. Considering I’m only ¼ cup down, I think I’ll have plenty of room left for more miso creations.

Miso Marinated Salmon

Any suggestions for how else to use the ingredient?

Click here for recipe…

Miso Soup


Somewhere between the multiple Thanksgiving dinners, the chocolate chunk pretzel oatmeal cookies, and the butternut squash mac & cheese, I decided it was time for a much needed lightened-up meal. If I was ever going to be able to power through to New Years, I knew I was going to need slow down with some miso soup.

Around the holidays when meals start consisting of heavily seasoned and salted dishes, sometimes I find myself craving nothing more than simply steamed veggies. In order to keep my taste buds sharp, I like to intersperse a few meals like these into my diet. That way I’m not burnt out while I navigate the kitchen to prepare for Christmas. I still have a lot of cookie baking and Christmas carol jamming that need be accomplished!

When making miso soup, be sure to save the miso for the end. Boiling it into the soup will kill the probiotic enzymes that make this ingredient shine. While you can use any variety you like, I chose red for it’s slightly heightened flavor. Red miso is made from a combination of soybeans and rice, which is then fermented for a period of 1-3 years. Don’t let all that cultivation time go to waste by letting your heat run too high.

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Umami

Umami flavor ideal for enhancing soups

Sweet, sour, salty, and bitter– These are the four familiarly recognized tastes that provide flavor to our foods and arouse our taste buds.  However, did you know there’s actually a fifth taste?  Umami (oo-mah-me) is a Japanese derived word used to describe the savory, almost “meaty” taste given off from the amino acid known as glutamate as well as naturally occurring ribonucleotides.

While you may not immediately recognize umami as your taste buds dissect the food within your mouth, studies have shown that humans contain special receptors on the tongue for glutamate and its related compounds, making umami our “5th taste”.

We actually encounter the umami taste from the very beginning of birth.  Glutamate is the most common amino acid in human breast milk, accounting for over half the entire free amino acid content within the milk.  Human breast milk also contains another umami constituent known as nucleotide inocinate.

As we move away from breast milk, there are plenty of other places where the umami taste can be found.  Parmesan cheese is particularly rich in umami, as it contains between 1200-1600 mg/100g.  Looking at a large piece of Parmesan cheese, you’ll notice small white crystals that have formed on the outside.  These are derived from glutamate.

Other umami-rich sources include seaweed, particularly nori, and kombu, a type of algae frequently used in Japanese cooking.  Animal sources of umami include beef, pork, chicken, tuna, anchovies, and clams.  Umami is also profuse in tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, and potatoes.

The utilization of umami foods is particularly beneficial in enriching stocks, soups, and sauces, adding a rich, savory flavor.  The next time you have spaghetti, try adding some sliced sauteed mushrooms to tomato sauce to enhance the flavors of your meal.  Notice if you can detect the umami flavor.  It may be hard at first since we are conditioned only to detect sweet, sour, bitter, and salty, but with time you’ll probably be able to notice that savory umami taste that lies within various foods.