Miso Ramen

Miso Ramen

This is one of those incredible meals that will warm you inside-out and nourish you completely. It’s easy to make in a large quantity, so perfect for having people over. It just requires a bit of time to let the broth simmer on the stove. The broth has a traditional Japanese kombu dashi base, and is by Post Punk Kitchen: Miso Dashi Broth. This recipe makes enough broth for 3-4 ramen bowls. A tip for cooking with miso–do not let it boil! Simmering is fine, but boiling will kill all of the micro-organisms that support digestion.

Once the broth is almost ready, begin preparing the rest of the ingredients. Cook the noodles in water according to package directions. The vegetable combination I used was shiitake mushrooms, broccolini, kale, and bean sprouts. Feel free to explore other vegetables, but I suggest limiting sweeter vegetables such as carrots. Some great additions are daikon, zucchini, bok choy, rutabaga, and burdock (also called gobo). If you’re adding tofu, see directions below on when to add. Silken tofu is best, cut into small 1-cm cubes.

To prep the vegetables and assemble:
1) Heat a small amount of sesame oil in a skillet over low-medium heat. Make sure this doesn’t get too hot since sesame oil has a low smoking point.
2) Saute the vegetables, starting with those that have a longer cooking time. I put in the shiitake and broccolini first, sauteed them for 2 minutes, and then added the kale and after a minute, the bean sprouts. Don’t overcook.
3) Place the broth in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Add tofu if you’re using it, and simmer for 2-3 minutes to heat the tofu. Remove the pot from heat and add the vegetables.
4) Separate the noodles into bowls, and cover with broth & vegetables. Enjoy!

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Tahini Dressing over Barley and Sauteed Kale and Carrots

Tahini over Barley Kale and Carrots

Confession: after taking this picture I loaded on more tahini dressing. It’s just too good. Pair this with a simple bean soup and you have a balanced and incredibly nutritious meal.

For this recipe I used the tahini dressing from Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet, a book filled with well-researched information and delicious recipes. This tahini dressing is used in her barley casserole, an awesome dish. In the interest of copyright protection, I’ll just tell you that you should get the book. In the meantime, it’s an oil-free dressing and in my opinion what makes it extra-special is the addition of shoyu.

Now to the barley–if you can find hulled barley, choose that over pearl barley and choose EVERYTHING over quick-cook barley. Hulled barley is an actual whole grain, whereas pearl barley has been polished to remove the outer bran layer. Here’s some more info from the Whole Grains Council: Types of Barley. Now that that’s settled, simple cooking instructions–soak overnight, drain water and add more; I did 3 cups water to 1 cup barley, and had a little to strain off at the end. Boil for 45 minutes to an hour (will be closer to an hour for hulled barley).

Shred the kale and slice the carrots into matchsticks. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a skillet at low-medium heat. When heated, add the kale and carrots and cook only until the kale is bright green. I like to stop there so that the kale and carrots still have a little bit of crunch.

To assemble put down a layer of barley, then kale & carrots, and drizzle with tahini dressing. Slow down and really chew this dish, so you can get all of the nutrients. Yum.

Wheat Berry Salad w/ Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpea, and Red Onion

Wheat berry with Roasted Cauliflower Red Onion Chickpea

A hearty and simple salad with a delightful texture, born of last night’s half-asleep mistake–I soaked wheat berries instead of short grain rice.

Serves: 3-4 as a meal
Time: Overnight soak + 1 hour

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup uncooked wheat berries
3/4 cup uncooked chickpeas (or replace with 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed)
2 cups chopped cauliflower
2/3 red onion
2 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 juicy lemon
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp salt + additional to taste

Instructions

1. Soak the wheat berries and chickpeas overnight in cold water, covering with 2-3 inches of water (don’t soak canned chickpeas).

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

3. Rinse the chickpeas, add water, bring to a boil and then skim the foam off of the top. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender; depending on the soaking time, could be done as quickly as 5-7 minutes. Check periodically and add water if needed.

4. Chop cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Cut onion into wedges, and then cut each piece in half the other way to make triangle-shaped pieces.

5. When the chickpeas are done, throw onion, chick peas and cauliflower into a mixing bowl and add grapeseed oil and 1 tsp salt. Toss everything so it’s well coated in oil and salt, and then place in a baking dish and put in the oven. Check and mix every 10 minutes until browned, should take 35-40 minutes.

6. Rinse the wheatberries, add water, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender, should take 20-25 minutes. Check periodically and add water if needed.

7. When cauliflower and onion are browned, remove the dish from the oven. Toss with wheatberries, extra virgin olive oil, rice vinegar, parsley, lemon juice to taste, and additional salt to taste. Serve warm.

Ginger Miso Soup

Time for a proper post-holiday cleanse.  This soup is packed full of so many nutritiously delicious items, I’ll have to choose only two to focus on–miso and burdock root.

Miso: protection against radiation and cancer, protein, probiotics for healthy digestion, calcium, iron, the list is just too long.  The key is that you never want to put miso into boiling water and cook it, that will kill all of those wonderful microbes that do the body so much good.  Read more here: The Health Benefits of Miso

Burdock root: long used in Chinese herbal medicine, burdock is a blood detoxifier, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and a great source of fiber and potassium. Further reading: Natural Herbs Guide: Burdock

This recipe is partially inspired by Sandor Katz’s miso soup recipe in Wild Fermentation, an incredibly inspiring and well-written book about home fermentation.

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Serves: 2-3 as a one-dish meal
Total time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients
5 cups water
2 inches of a burdock root
4 baby portobellos
7 oz. soft tofu
2 baby bok choy
1 clove garlic, finely grated
2 tsp ginger, finely grated
6 tbsp mellow white miso
6-8 scallions, chopped for garnish

Instructions

1. Peel and slice burdock into thin disks; I quartered the disks because the burdock was pretty wide. Slice the baby portobellos into thin disks, and chop in half if they’re too large to fit in a spoon. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Throw it all in and cook for 3-4 minutes.

2. Cube the tofu and add.

3. Slice off the bottom of the bok choy then continue slicing up the leaves so you’re left with disks of the white part and shredded leaves. Add to the pot.

4. Check that the burdock is softened, and if yes then remove 1 cup of broth. Turn off the flame, add the garlic and ginger, and cover the pot.

5. Mash the miso into the cup of broth that you removed, and once it’s well mixed return it to the pot and taste. If you like a stronger miso flavor, you can replace some or all of the miso with a darker miso; add it in parts and check the flavor of the soup in between. You’ll probably need 3 tbsp. for red miso, and 4 for yellow if you’re entirely replacing.

6. Garnish with green onions and enjoy rejuvenation with each bite. If heating leftovers, be careful not to boil.

Arepas w/ Black Beans, Garlic Tostones and Avocado Chimichurri

Another decadent and oh so satisfying meal!  I used two recipes for this one:
The Surly Vegetarian: Venezuelan Arepas with Avocado Chimichurri
Pinch of Yum: Garlic Tostones

I made the black beans without a recipe, but here are simple instructions– soak the beans overnight in cold water, rinse, boil with about 3 cups water per 1 cup of beans and stick in a bay leaf.  When it starts to boil skim the foam off of the top, and reduce to a simmer.  At some point, throw in chopped red onion, minced garlic, and a minced serrano pepper (take out the seeds if you want less fire).  Do not put in salt until the end, otherwise the beans will stay hard.  At the end, put in salt and lime juice.  No measurements; in the midst of so many recipes I think it’s nice to put away the measuring cups/ spoons for one item.  It’s hard to go wrong.

One tip for this recipe: make the black beans and chimichurri in advance, then prep and pan-fry the tostones and arepas at the same time so they’re still crispy.  So good… though definitely not the healthiest, I’d say that occasional indulgence is necessary on the path to fulfillment.

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