Wednesday, September 28, 2011

10 Minute Miso Soup

It's not even October and we have already had a nasty cold make its way through our family. Starting with Jamie last week, this little virus has infected all of us in one way or another. I am particularly enjoying the rattling, tubercular-sounding cough. Kara felt so cruddy yesterday that I had her stay home. A sick day in September? Really?

Even though it has been humid and warm all week, this little bout of illness made me crave some soothing soup. I had just read about the medicinal qualities of miso. And since everything you read on the internet must be true, I thought that I would make a little miso soup to help the healing process. (Also, I happened to have some miso in my fridge.)

Here's the thing, if you like miso soup, you should make some - even if you aren't suffering from an awful cold. It is really easy and tasted great. Most miso soup recipes call for chicken stock or dashi, a Japanese soup stock that you can buy in any Asian grocery store. I didn't have either of these ingredients, so I made a vegetarian miso soup. The whole thing was complete in about 10 minutes.

-Chop some vegetables to flavor your soup. I used one shallot, a stalk of celery and one carrot.
-Saute the veggies in a pot with a bit of oil for a few minutes.
-Add 4 cups of water or stock of any kind.
-Bring up to a simmer. At this point I added about a cup of cubed firm tofu. Completely optional.
-In a small bowl add 2-4 tbsp of miso paste. Scoop out some of the hot water from the pot into the bowl and dissolve the miso. Pour the now liquid miso into the pot.
*Note: There are lots of miso varieties. I had a mild white miso in my refrigerator, but other varieties would work too. Also, the saltiness and strength of miso can vary widely, so start small. You can always add more if the soup doesn't taste "misoy" enough.
-Taste and season. You can add some soy sauce or red pepper flakes if that works for you.
-One last important instruction: Don't boil your soup with the miso in it. The miso will turn gritty and yucky.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fried Green Tomato...Salad

This summer has been rough on our tomato plants. First we had scorching heat. Then we got a full month of rain. Now summer is dragging into fall and our tomatoes are limping to the finish line. After getting a pretty good initial crop, a good deal of which was lost to thirsty squirrels and birds, the second wave of tomatoes were splitting as soon as they even considered turning red. I finally gave up on about half of the plants and pulled them out to make room for some fall greens.

One of the ways I have been coping with these tomato challenges is to embrace the fried green tomato. There are countless recipes and techniques for making these little treats. But the basic idea in all of them is to dredge the slices in some combination of milk, egg, breadcrumbs, flour and/or cornmeal and then fry them up in vegetable oil. I think I probably use a different "recipe" every time. I only have two pieces of green tomato frying advice: 1st Salt the tomato slices, let them sit for 15 minutes or so and blot off the water and 2nd double dredge them (i.e. coat them in flour, then a milk/egg, then breadcrumbs/cornmeal).

The last time I made these treats, I put them on top of a salad. Amazingly good. I used the recipe for the cilantro lime dipping sauce to make a salad dressing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tobermory Vacation

Well, we've been back from our vacation to my mom's place in Tobermory for almost a month, so I suppose it's time to actually post some of the amazing pictures from our trip. (You may be asking, "Where the heck is Tobermory? Here you go.)

Josh, who has joined us on our yearly jaunt three times now, gave the best description of a Tobermory vaction: "There isn't much to do...except relax and look at a lot of beautiful stuff." These sunset shots are a pretty perfect example of the incredible beauty of the place.

Tobermory has also been the setting for some of our best family shots.

Kara & my mom exploring the lake.

Kara giving Jamie some kind of Canadian sand treatment.

Daddy's girl

Kara and I at the Grotto. That's a cliff we are standing on. Nervous mommy.
This year Dave got some particularly cute shots of Jamie.

Thanks to Josh for this one.