Monday, September 27, 2010

Update: Back in the Soup

Although I haven't posted anything about it since I talked about making nabe, my giant box of Japanese soup stock and I have not been idle. I've been experimenting with variations on our old favorite, miso soup.

As part of our commitment to eating better, Barry and I usually start dinner with a large green salad or a bowl of low-calorie soup.  This helps fill us up so we're less likely to pig out on the more calorie-dense main course.  Low-sodium miso soup is one of our regular choices, but until our trip to Lee-Lee Asian Market, we were stuck with the instant version.

The dehydrated miso soup in our local supermarkets contains miniscule pieces of dried tofu, green onion, and seaweed.  According to Naomi Moriyama, though, miso soup really only must contain dashi (the bonito-flavored soup stock) and miso; beyond that, the cook can be as inventive as he or she wishes.  Here are some of the things I've been combining, a few at a time:
  • Wakame or nori (dried seaweed) - unfurling from little dried shreds to big green squares
  • Diced tofu, regular or fried
  • Mushrooms (shitake, enoki, or crimini)
  • Daikon (Japanese radish, sweeter than regular radishes) or sliced red radishes
  • Bonito flakes (as a garnish)
  • Green onions
  • Fresh spinach
Normally Barry will taste whatever soup I give him and pronounce, "This is good."  Since I've started serving my miso experiments, he's been repeating "This is really good" several times during the soup course. I think I'm on the right track.

Now, would it be heresy to serve Naomi's Japanese Country Power Breakfast soup for dinner?

"Beautiful Soup!  Who cares for fish,
 Game or any other dish?
 Who would not give all else for two p
 ennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
 Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
      Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
      Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!

 Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
 Beautiful, beauti--FUL SOUP!"

-Lewis Carroll, second verse of the Mock-Turtle's song from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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