Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Evelyn Soup

As I was preparing dinner this evening, I couldn't help but think, "Here's a meal Evelyn would make."

My friend Evelyn is macro and though I miss living close by, I do not miss the endless cups of bancha tea I'd be compelled to drink out of politeness. Blech. That's pretty much my reaction to this meal, though in fairness I've never been too fond of silken tofu, seaweed, or miso. The buckwheat noodles were less of a trial, but not by much.

My husband on the other hand, likes this sort of thing and thought it was great. I really do think that's what it comes down to-individual tastes. At the very least, it is good for you.

So why did I make it? Well, I read a recipe HERE that was similar (different noodles and fish) and thought it sounded interesting. Bear in mind, I'm sure Haalo's was much, much, better. Different anyway. I'd been wondering about Sansho pepper for quite some time and was happy to finally have an opportunity to use it. I also don't believe in only eating things one likes, so as an example to my son, I made miso soup.

The mushrooms in the cellophane package were sort of curious. There's no nation of origin stamp (take a wild guess) nor description beyond "dried mushroom." They don't look like shitake, and frankly I wouldn't be shocked if they were plain old white button mushrooms trimmed to look more exotic. I picked them up at an Asian market in Omaha near Peony Park. If I grow a second head or something, I'll be sure to post photos.

Sansho pepper is a bit more difficult to come by, however there is a wonderful Japanese market in Ralston (84th street) that has that and so much more. If I was buying miso or soba noodles, that would be my first stop as they move more of it than other places. You can of course buy miso in health food stores as well. I used a soybean miso but I recently read there are miso pastes (fermented soybean) made from chickpeas or rice. Definitely something I'd keep an eye out for.

This was a simple meal to prep and keep warm. Miso should never be boiled. The best technique is to boil water and then remove it from heat. Then stir in the miso.

So Here's tonight's dinner in honour of my friend Evelyn who is much more disciplined than I (and probably healthier).

You Will Need:

2 sheets Kombu seaweed, rinsed and unrolled
4-5 dried mushrooms
1 package firm, silken tofu, cut into cubes
1/2 package buckwheat (or mugwort) soba noodles
1 carrot cut in matchsticks
Sansho pepper
4 teaspoons red miso paste
4 cups boiling water
1 small cod fillet
Flour for breading cod
Oil for frying

In a small pot, combine mushrooms, Kombu, and carrot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes. Drain. Cut the mushrooms into chunks, and chop the seaweed. Set aside in bowl with carrots.

In a large pot, cook soba noodles according to directions. Note-this can sometimes is tricky sometimes, depending on translation.

While noodles cook, boil 4 cups of water in a large pot. Remove from heat and stir in the miso. Add the tofu, seaweed, carrots, and mushrooms. Cover and keep warm without simmering (very, very low heat).

Drain noodles. Add to miso mixture. Cut the fish into cubes. Roll in flour and then fry in heated cooking oil, a few minutes on each side until lightly browned.

Assemble the soup with the chunks of fish on top. Sprinkle lightly with the Sansho pepper and serve.

Your family will either love you, or refuse to speak to you. I suggest having dessert on hand-just in case.

No comments: