Miso Hungry

Do you ever have those moments when you realize that you’ve done something really, really dumb? You know, like when you go to wash your face in the shower and realize you just poured conditioner into your hands. And to make it worse, you haven’t shampooed yet, so you can’t just go on and condition, so as not to waste.

Or when you walk up to the counter to pay for your coffee and realize you left your wallet in the car. Or worse – at home? They don’t really let you wash dishes to earn your coffee/food like people say they do. But sometimes they are nice and they let you slide, or pay them next time.

I don’t have a gym membership anymore, but when I did, there were plenty of times when I’d get showered and ready for work at the gym, only to find that I’d neglected to pack a bra. Let’s just say that sweaty sports bras have no place in the professional world, or at least they shouldn’t have…

Hopefully you’ve all been there a time or two as well. Or at least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself.

Food-wise, I’ve done plenty of silly things in the kitchen. Last night even, I was making pizza, and I must have spread the dough too thinly because when the pizza came outta the oven, it definitely didn’t come off the pan. We were left picking chunks, some charred and some gooey, off the pan instead of sitting down to perfectly cooked pieces of pie.

I’ve already told you about the time I forgot to take the tie off of the soba noodles, and ended up with goops of noodles. And yeah, there are plenty of others, I’m sure.

The worst though, is when you finally use an ingredient, one that you’ve heard about, read about, and for whatever reason, never bought yourself, and you LOVE it. At least for me, I think of all those months and years I could have used said ingredient, enjoyed said ingredient, shoved said ingredient into my face. Avocadoes are one such ingredient, and I’ve tried to make up for lost time.

Miso is another. Oh, baby. Be still, my heart.

Since my discovering miso, oh, 1 month ago, there has been miso-glazed chicken, miso-curry vegetables, and now this – a rice salad with miso vinaigrette. Vinaigrette! Miso, where have you been all my life?! It is extra-salty, but nutty in a way, too. Decadent, but pretty healthy since it’s really just fermented soybeans, usually. Umami for sure comes to mind. And just plain freakin’ awesome.

Don’t be like me – don’t read about this great-sounding miso-laden recipe and turn the other cheek. You’ll regret it 5 years later when you finally do come around. Live for now, and get thee to the Asian aisle of your grocery store and get this.

Wild Rice Salad w/ Miso Dressing
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen; serves 4

printable version

time commitment: 1 hour (for cooking rice, which can be done in advance. if so, time commitment drops to 20 minutes or less.)

this is a great, versatile recipe that can be served warm or cold. I’m so into miso dressing lately that I made this again since I had all of the ingredients on hand except the carrots, which is used in the original recipe instead of butternut squash. Feel free to use either one – if you do choose the carrots (1-2 cups, sliced), you can skip the sauté part and throw the carrots in with the edamame after the tofu is sautéed, just to heat them up a little and take away some of the hard crunch of the fresh carrot. Also, I threw in the arugula to “bulk up” the salad a little and make this dish stretch to four servings instead of 3.

ingredients
salad
1/2 c wild rice
14 oz. block extra firm tofu
2 t coconut oil
1 small butternut squash, cut into 1″ pieces
2 t soy sauce
fresh ground pepper
3/4 c cooked, shelled, edamame
1 large handful of baby arugula
3 T toasted sesame seeds
chopped cilantro, for garnish

dressing
2 T white (shiro) miso
2 T agave nectar
1 T sesame oil
2 1/2 T rice vinegar
1 shallot, minced
Juice of half an Orange

instructions
Rinse the wild rice. Bring two cups water to a boil. Add the rice, turn the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 35-40 minutes), adding a bit more water if necessary to finish cooking. You will see a tuft of white pop from the center of the rice.

Meanwhile, drain the tofu of excess water. I like to wrap it in a dish towel and sit something really heavy on top of it for about 10 minutes. Cut it into a 1” dice. Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat – a cast iron skillet would work great, but any skillet will do. Add the butternut squash and sauté for about 7 minutes, then add the tofu and saute for about five minutes. Sprinkle the soy sauce and a few grinds of fresh pepper over the top and saute another few minutes until the edges are browned, adding the edamame at this point as well. Turn off heat and set aside, letting cool as much as possible.

To make the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Then, in a large bowl, combine the rice, tofu, squash, and edamame. Toss everything with the dressing. Add the arugula, sesame seeds, and cilantro and give it another toss. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Green Goddess

Despite the general lack of cold weather out this way, something about the months of January and February call to me, like those siren songs that tempted Odysseus at sea, and all I hear is sweet, beautiful pleas to make soup.

Of course, our weatherman did say that we were having “bone chilling” cold weather last week. Which to the crazy Californian he is, meant that we had weather in the high 30’s in the wee morning hours, which promptly increased to the 40’s and 50’s. For crying out loud, some people were wearing down coats and scraping “ice” from their cars. Ah, perspective.

Bone-chilling cold weather or not, I gravitate towards soup with open arms, without (bees)wax in my ears, with no restraint or need to resist the temptation whatsoever. There have been quite a few dinners of the soupy, stewy variety as of late, although my inability to post more than once a week has really done a number on the recipes I share with you.

I also haven’t had the chance to talk nearly as much about our meandering as of late, which makes me a little weepy. We’ve had some really awesome weekends out here lately, and maybe one of these days I’ll do a quick Friday post or something to post some pics about life outside of food.

But for the moment, that ain’t happenin’.

If you are finding yourself in a cooking rut (or cookbook rut, I suppose), I still can’t recommend Heidi’s Super Natural Every Day enough. True, I’ve had it for quite some time now, but I still manage to find a recipe to cook that doesn’t disappoint. This lentil/split pea soup is all up in the Interwebs (my friend, Liz, for one as well as here, here, and of course, the source) and for good reason. It’s pretty tasty.

And for me, it meant I got to use my ultra-pink immersion blender that I finally re-bought! A year was way too long to go without my blender, because pureeing in batches in a regular blender is just not something I’m into.

Now, it just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t make a few modifications to a perfectly good-as-is recipe, but I did anyway, although not too much. I definitely recommend using coconut oil for sweating your veggies, although olive oil would work if needed. The coconut oil with the coconut milk though? Rock solid. I also drizzled mine with more of a coconut-curry oil than a butter, because I liked the idea of really driving that coconut flavor home, if you know what I mean. And yeah, I probably used a little less broth than some might prefer, but I like my soups well, less soupy. Oh, and I think the cilantro is a nice finish, but you could stick with the original and do chives, because that sounds pretty awesome too.

Last but certainly not least, I chose green split peas instead of green lentils, but I’m certain they’d both be tasty. I just liked the idea of making my soup “greener” since it was more photogenic. Oh, the things we do for these blogs ;).

 

Green Split Pea Soup
Adapted from Super Natural Every Day; serves 4-6

time commitment: 45 minutes

printable version

ingredients
3 T coconut oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 t red pepper flakes
4-5 c vegetable broth
1 1/2 c green split peas (or green lentils), picked over and rinsed
1/2 t curry powder
1/2 c light coconut milk
salt to taste
cilantro, chopped

instructions
In a large pot over medium heat, melt 2 T coconut oil. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and stir often until onion softens, a few minutes. Add 4 c vegetable broth and the split peas. Simmer, covered until split peas are tender, 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 T coconut oil in a small pan and add curry powder. Stir into the oil and saute for about a minute over medium heat, until warm and toasty smellin’. Set aside.

When lentils are tender, remove from heat, stir in coconut milk and 1/4 t salt. Puree using an immersion blender (or in a regular blender or food processor) until smooth. Add more vegetable broth if you prefer your soup less thick. Taste and add salt, if needed. Serve drizzled with curry oil and sprinkle with cilantro.