Friday, October 21, 2011

MISO Pretty!

We inturrupt this regularly schedule program to...

Go on, and on, and on, and on about my new found love, Miso.

Oh. My. Goodness. I never knew the void that was in my life, until the day I bought that unsuspecting bag of light yellow miso.... who knew it was not only a wonder food! but delicious and CRAZY versatile!

Poor Chad, the man occasionally gets weekly inundations of the same "new and miraculous" food I've just found - you know like last month when I bought rainbow chard for the first time, and we had it in some form or another 4 times that week.... Well this week it was this delicious stiff goo, that I now know and love.

Let me just start by telling you that we should have figured out that there was something to miso being as though the Japanese have been eating it for thousands of years - and the Japanese people, well they seem to be pretty smart (I mean hello they were also the ones who brought us sushi, ninjas and Tennenkoubo - a crazy delicious flavored bread that comes in a cellophane package). Anyways - its almost a super food (in my opinion) its high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, and not to mention full of living pro-biotics - due of course to the fermentation process it undergoes! Oh, which brings me to what it is exactly - its a paste made of just four ingredients (in the case of the kind I bought): soybeans, water rice and salt - which are mixed together with a special mold and allowed to ferment.

The kind I bought is considered a "white" miso, but because of its higher concentration of soybeans, it has a nice yellow hue to it. As for taste, it has an obvious salty front to it, but once you let it coat your tounge you start to get these amazing pinapple-y, tropical flavors from it. The result is a mildly sweet, yet salty, hugely favorful and totally satisfying, well-rounded taste.

So, how have we had it so far? Well, my favorite is a simple miso soup - yup, think of that delicious stuff they sell at sushi restaurants. And its so simple, a mug full of almost boiling water, a tablespoon or so of miso, and to make it extra special, a drop or five of fish sauce - stir vigorously. I seriously have it at night, before bed, instead of tea. Other than that I've also made a squash miso soup and salad dressing so far - both so amazing I just had to share the recipes. But who knows how far I'll go, I still have a lot left and a little goes a long way!

Now for the recipes:

Asian Broccoli Slaw

    3 tablespoons rice vinegar
    2 tablespoons white miso (light yellow)
    1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 16-ounce bag broccoli slaw (or 4 broccoli
            stalks & 3 carrots, julienned)
    3 large green onions, thinly sliced
    1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Using the magic bullet with flat blade - blend vinegar, miso, ginger, and oil, really quick (like 2 seconds) until a creamy dressing forms (kinda like a thin mayo). Combine slaw, green onions, and cilantro in large bowl. Toss with dressing.

And then the soup:

Creamy Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

  2 medium leeks - white part cut into 1/4-inch slices
  2 teaspoons oil
  3 cups cubed squash - butternut, acorn, delicata or
         even a pumpkin
  1/4 teaspoon salt
  2 1/2 cups water
  14-ounce can coconut milk (light works perfectly)
  1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  1 cinnamon stick
  1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
  3 tablespoons sweet light miso
  Minced parsley for garnish

    Heat the oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, squash, and salt, stirring briefly to coat with oil, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the pepper and cinnamon. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender. REMOVE THE cinnamon stick.
    Add the ginger juice and miso, and blend everything until puréed (enter the immersion blender). Simmer the mostly smooth soup over medium-low heat until heated through. Garnish with parsley before serving.

There you go - consider yourself addicted!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


It has been a while... I know, I know.... but life has been just an amazing whirl wind of awesome! So, finally, now that I have a bit of time to myself (Chad is out taking Milli for a walk) - I thought I would start the series of updates. The following couple of posts will be in some order.... probably not chronological, no... probably more in the order of what I though was most awesome, to what I thought was just cool. But, this comes with a promise - a promise to write more often (I have a bunch of new recipes to share too!).

As I wrote in a previous post, Chad and I went to a benefit auction a while back - and since, come to find out, my husband is an auction fiend! we actually won a couple of items! A "Paddle Package" was one of them.

I realize "Paddle Package" is a somewhat ambiguous name, it was to us too, but that's what it was called - and WOW! it ended up being a bunch of different gift certificates to local rental places - and a lesson (with boards) for 3 people to learn how to Stand-Up Paddle Board! Which, is also reffed to as SUP (stand-up paddling). It ended up being the coolest thing ever.

Chad and I and my friend Ashley - who had always dreamed of SUP - went out to Dyes Inlet one happy, sunny, Sunday morning. Its just our local bay which happens to have a small beach. Anyways - once we got out there, we met up with one of the coolest couples I've ever met - a husband/wife team who just love the water - and even better, love to donate their time and skills to benefit auctions. They brought the boards and the know-how - and were so helpful and patient with us! The husband even took pictures of us the whole time with his water-proof camera!

The actual stand-up part of paddle boarding ended up being pretty easy - you strap onto a big, foam surf board, get onto your knees, then just stand up. The hard part was negotiating the long paddle, and moving forward. There was a technique.. which I never quite mastered... though Chad and Ashley had no problems... I think I crashed into everyone at least once... but despite this, I never fell in the water. Which I can't say for Chad and Ash! Hhhaha! They decided they needed to switch boards and one point - to see how the length and floaty-ness differed - and mid switch SPLASH!! It may have been Chad's fault - but he'd never admit it!

My fun really started when the lady guide wanted to switch my paddle board for her canoe thing! Oh my goodness! It was the MOST AMAZING THING EVER! I just glided though the water, faster than everyone, more maneuverable. Luckily for me, no one else wanted to try it.

So as it stands - I want a canoe/kayak and Chad wants a paddle board... we'll see what happens. In any case, I suggest that everyone try this sport! Its a great way to be outside - on the water - without much of an investment required. Its really popular in Hawaii - but its becoming available everywhere (we even saw a rental place up at Lake Tahoe). To rent a board and paddle for a couple hours is only $20 or so - and beaches aren't restricted yet!