Training is everything.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.

Mark Twain

After our amazing dinner last Saturday night, the boys and I ventured over to the brand spanking new food co-op that opened a few days ago. We are big fans of co-ops and therefore excited to have something like it conveniently located downtown.

We were so impressed! It is well stocked and the prices are super reasonable. I'm not sure we have any reason to make the trek to Whole Foods anymore. Not only do they have an amazing selection, there is a juice/espresso bar and tons of fresh food options for lunch or dinner.  If only I'd had my real camera . . .

We are big advocates of buying local. Mario is the son of a hard-working cattle rancher, so he can appreciate the need to support farmers more than most. He may have stared at the meat case for an extended period of time. Something about sausage with bacon in it. After that he started speaking in tongues.

I am a fan of miso soup. I have also read a lot about miso's purported health benefits (live cultures and all).  I have been wanting to make it for some time now, but never seem to get around to it. It sounded complicated. Well, the handsome new co-op had me looking up recipes on my phone. Most call for dashi granules, a product I have yet to see on a store shelf. I'm also guessing it is a bit less healthy than a real miso soup base.

So I went all in. I found a recipe for dashi and bought the ingredients. Then I found a highly rated miso soup recipe and set out to find the best of both worlds. Since the dashi recipe makes 4 cups, and the recipe calls for 4 cups of water plus dashi granules, the two recipes incorporated seamlessly. 

You only need two ingredients for the dashi. I got a "whoa, that's some expensive soup" from Mario at the store, as the two add up to about $18. Buuuut, it will make a ton of broth. You soak the kombu for 15 minutes, then place over medium heat until just on the verse of simmering. Put 1/2 cup of bonita flakes and allow to soak for an additional 10 minutes. Now you have your soup base. Easy peasy. As I mentioned before, this is a great, simple dashi recipe to follow.

Homemade Miso Soup

  • 4 cups dashi 
  • 3 tbsp miso paste
  • 1/3 block extra firm tofu, cubed (more or less to taste)
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • veggies and other add-ins (optional)
In a saucepan over low heat, whisk miso paste into dashi (don't boil!). Stir in tofu. Add green onions and any other veggies, as desired. Warm gently for 2 to 3 minutes before serving. 

I have to say this was really good! You can definitely play around with the ratios to make the dashi stronger or weaker. I added kale to my batch, but found that I prefer it in soups with stronger flavors like this one. It was less salty than the restaurant-style miso soup, but it is a fair trade for a soup that is really good for me. It was satisfying and hit the spot on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The key to this is not to let it boil. It kills the live cultures and good-for-you-ness in the ingredients.

I am working to eat better and improve my overall well-being after months of feeling blah, and this soup is definitely getting added to my repertoire. Enjoy!

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