Category Archives: Eat well

Miso Musings

Miso soup is the perfect savory appetizer, evening snack, and my go-to for staving off mega hunger for an hour or so while I conjure up something heartier. It’s quick to prep and fills up the belly without being, ya know,  a pop-tart.

It’s also super healthy. Miso is a fermented food, loaded with nutrients and probiotics. There are oodles of claims about the positive effects of eating miso – with benefits ranging from weight loss and improved digestion to cancer prevention and a boosted immune system.

Another bonus – Miso is an economical purchase – this 17oz tub contains 28 servings and costs less than $10! And it ain’t just for soup, either. Miso also works great as a base for salad dressings.

The soup route has some versatility – add anything you want, from tofu to scallions to carrots to candy canes.  I think one of these is going to be disgusting.

Today’s miso was served with chopped scallions and wine cap mushrooms (rehydrated from last summer’s harvest!). I heated the water in the electric kettle, and poured over the scallions and mushrooms. Since miso is a live food, it should not be boiled. I let the water ‘work’ on the mushrooms and cool just a bit (for about a minute), then add a hearty scoop of miso paste and stir to combine.

The traditional, classic miso soup uses dashi, a Japanese stock, as the base. To keep things simple, I stick with miso and water – but if you want more umami in your life, adding dashi would bring your soup game up some notches for sure.

Serve it hot, slurp it down. Enjoy!

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Celery, Garlic, Two Bean Salad

Celery, garlic, and two beans walk into a bar.

I’m not yet sure there’s a punchline worth waiting around for.

 

Celery from the grocery store, celery from an order of wings… these things just don’t do justice to the flavor a fresh-picked head of celery can pack.

 

These petite stalks, to me anyways, just beg to be chopped up and mixed in with a nice red wine vinegar and some garlic. And don’t you dare toss the leaves out. There is so much flavor in those leaves.

 

 

Ingredients:

– 2 cups cooked beans – the great northern (white) and kidney (red) made an aesthetically pleasing combination, I’ll say.
– 1/2 cup chopped fresh celery, stalks and leaves
– 1 large tomato, chopped
– 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
– 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
– 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– salt, paprika, crushed rosemary, black pepper, to taste
– up to 1/4 cup chopped parsley, optional

Simple Steps:
1. Combine all ingredients except beans in a large mixing bowl. Once coated, gently stir in beans. Can be served immediately but best if allowed to marinate, chilled for 1-2 hours.

Peel Pearl Onions

This is going to save me dozens of nickels!

Every year, there are bound to be the onions that just don’t size up… and while I want to eat onions on just about everything, I mostly see a tremendous amount of work when I look at these adorable little flavor bites, aka ‘pearl onions.’

What’s the word for the feeling when you finally Google something you’ve just wondered about before, and realize that someone else discovered the solution and put it on the Internet 10 years ago?

That word, for peeling pearl onions.

So here’s what I learned:

How to Peel Pearl Onions

…without breaking a sweat (or shedding a tear!)

peel pearl onions
pearl onions ready to go

1. Cut off the bums, i.e. the root ends of the onions. For my sample batch, I tried some red, white, and yellow onions; almost scientific of me, you might say.

peel pearl onions

 

2. Boil enough water to submerge your batch of onions. Drop the onions into the boiling water, and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain. (Optional – drop them in an ice bath, or rinse with cold water).

3. When cool enough to handle, hold an onion at the stem end, and squeeze. Depending on how you cut, you may need to give a little finger-peel at the root end to get it started. The onion should pop right out, quite to your delight, I’m sure. Repeat!

Add pearl onions to dishes like:

Cool Bean Salad tahini sauceTahini Dip Seared Shishitos with Lemon

See here, the pretty pearls have landed themselves in a beer and ‘Better than Bouillon’ broth for Braised Mustard Greens.

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ZuLamAnzo – Zucchini Kalamata Garbanzo Salad

I wish I could say it were the farm fresh zucchini that makes this dish shine, but alas, I think it’s the kalamata olives taking the cake today.

Served as a side dish, or antipasto,  the pickled-i-ness of the kalamata olives mingles with that fresh and mild zucchini flavor, with crisp raw red onions all mixed in with hearty garbanzo beans to go zoingo on your tastebuds.

Inspired by a recipe in The Vegan Gourmet, I’m calling this rendition:

 

ZuLamAnzo Salad

 

You’ll need: 

16 oz cooked / canned garbanzo beans
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 medium zucchini
1 racket-ball, or 3 ping pong ball sized red onions
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chopped parsley

 

Need more antipasto? Try These:

Cool Bean Salad tahini sauceTahini Dip Seared Shishitos with Lemon

 

Simple Steps:

1.  Chop the zucchini into 1/2″ -1″ chunks. Very briefly (2-3 minutes) steam the zucchini. (Got a veggie steamer?)

2. Finely chop the red onion(s), chop the olives in half.

3. Combine everything, briefly tossing together.  Serve immediately or allow to marinate for awhile. Serve cold or room temperature.

Enjoy!

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Snappy Green Beans

While they don’t really need any fancying up and are perfectly fine as a crunchy snack on their own, sometimes green beans like to put on their high heels and head down to Beale Street or some other wild place.  When that mood hits and your green beans are singing out country hits like, “I don’t know why you don’t take me downtown, like you got anywhere better to be!” Respond with all the flavors and a frying pan.

green beans
fresh picked green beans

Snappy Green Beans

You’ll need:
-1/2 lb Green Beans
– 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-2 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
-1 tbsp honey
-2 tbsp + 1 tbsp sesame oil
-1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
-1 tbsp sesame seeds
-2 tbsp sliced almonds

Simple Steps:  
1. In a small dish, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, 1 tbsp sesame oil, and red pepper flakes.
2. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Dump in the beans and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
2. In a pan, bring 2 tbsp sesame oil to medium heat. Add garlic and green beans, cook for 3 minutes. Add in the sauce, toss together over heat for 2 minutes and remove from heat.

Dish it up and Enjoy!

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