April 5, 2010
Just because the weather is finally getting lovely doesn’t mean there’s not a ton of people out there (bless their hearts) still getting over the yuck. I was reminded of this when I ventured out to church yesterday and the gym today, only to meet (more honestly, avoid) lots of snifflers. So be careful! And have a bowl of delightful home-made miso soup to put some spring in your step.
If you don’t know what miso is, or want to learn more about the different varieties, you’d do well to check out this great (short!) NPR article, Mastering Miso’s Mysteries. I discovered the pre-packaged powdered soup version while still in high school in north Georgia, but these days I prefer to do-it-myself with the paste. Right now I have red and white varieties by Westbrae and Miso Master in the fridge. (I keep them in the “dairy” drawer, though I’m not sure it matters–I do so just because there’s, for obvious reasons, space there.)
If you know anything about cooking with miso, you know not to boil it or pour boiling water over it. In so doing, you kill both the flavor & the enzymes–in other words, it’s no longer very enjoyable for health or taste. I get around this by setting my variable-temp tea kettle to 180 and then mashing the miso with a little water before adding the rest and stirring. You can do something similar by bringing a small pot of water not-quite-up-to the boiling point & letting it cool for a couple minutes while you do other things related to the recipe.
Miso is great mixed with warm water & a spike of soy sauce or tamari, if necessary. When I’m feeling fancy, as in the case pictured above, I boil some rice or wheat noodles in a separate pot & mix them into the miso base along with chopped scallions (green onions), a little torn dry kelp, cubed tofu, tamari, and a pinch or two of hot red pepper flakes. I’ve found the last two of these ingredients really helps the flavor of white soy miso develop.
Yung sing! (Cantonese, “Drink & win!”)
October 7, 2009
First, the most important news: our katze Unix seems to be doing much better today than she has since the fleabath incident Sunday night. (Worrisomely, she’d put her appetite on hold and would mew loudly every time we touched her). She’s in fine furry form tonight, though, and is currently sitting in my lap encumbering my typing. And oh, how soft and flea-free her tortoiseshell fur is! (Alas, we’ll still be heading to the V-E-T in the morning.)
Tonight’s dinner was generously provided by friends N & J in celebration of Nate’s upcoming birthday. As a special surprise, they prepared some sushi–Nate’s favorite–with avocado, carrot, and cucumber. (I brought over the materials to make a quick miso–red miso paste by Westbrae, cellophane noodles from Jungle Jim’s, japanese-style firm tofu, two cloves of garlic sliced thin and some kombu kelp.) Observe the taller N coach the shorter one on the wily ways of sushi:
Those are taller N’s in the foreground (second picture). Little N…well, let’s just say he could do with a little more larnin’:
But hey, who am I to judge? I didn’t even try! On that note…
In the interest of full disclosure (because this blog ought not be about my triumphs only, but about my royal struggles too), I will admit that I f-ed up not one but TWO desserts tonight. I fail so comprehensibly so infrequently that it is quite marvellous that I was able to do it twice in one evening. Still, I admit: I ruined some rice pudding by using short-grain BROWN rice and not cooking it through; mere minutes after wiping the apron of this masterpiece, I whipped up some chocolate pudding that didn’t set because my arrowroot was so expired it had completely lost its potency. Oops?
Hope you’ll check out tomorrow’s update on cooking for Peace Forum: butternut squash soup that isn’t (DUN DUN DUN) …pureed!!! Better yet, just come have lunch! Tomorrow’s talk: “One Hill at a Time: Supporting Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance at Al Tuwani.”