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:: "fuzzy romance and brutal terror" : apparently, I can get behind that ::
Random (food) thoughts for April 4th 
4th-Apr-2008 09:39 pm
Digital Blasphemy - "Cobalt Daisy"
I suppose that when you've spent two days with intestinal flu, eating chicken tikka masala isn't necessarily a good idea. But when I took a brief trip to the co-op to get juice and vitamins, it smelled so good I couldn't resist it. Of course, they had brown rice to go with it, but I got cheap and decided I wasn't going to pay $2 a pound for cooked rice when I have a perfectly good rice cooker. Then I get home...and can I find the rice? NO. Me not having rice is unbelievable. It would be like me not having honey (I have four kinds, sadly). I spent 5 minutes going over the kitchen again and again and again, before finally realizing that the sticky rice jar was right there in front of me, underneath the lentils, exactly where it always is.

This means I probably shouldn't have been operating a motor vehicle this afternoon.

In other boring food news, can anyone tell me about miso? The co-op recently quit stocking half-dozens of eggs, which made me mad because I cannot use a full dozen before they go bad...but that part of the shelf is now filled with miso. There are a couple of restaurants here that serve delicious miso soup, but I've never had the nerve to ask if there's any chance of getting their recipes. The miso they use is light in color, and the soup has extremely finely chopped bits of carrot and some kind of green onion. But there are 7 different varieties of miso at the store, and at $8 a jar, I can't afford to experiment with getting several of them. So would anybody recommend a certain kind that they like to use? White rice? Barley? Aduki bean? Or do you have a recipe that you would recommend? 

Also?  POOP ON EVERYONE IN MY FLIST WHO IS HAVING DRUNK FUN TONIGHT, WHEN I CAN'T.  I'm about to go to bed and it isn't even 10 pm.

5th-Apr-2008 03:12 am (UTC)
I have no idea about miso ::discreetly attempts to push three 3 Muskateers wrappers to the side:: (What! They are "fun size", thus 3 of them equals roughly one regular one... I think.) But, just know that not all of us are out having fun even though we were totally supposed to, but could not because everyone is like "I have a new work schedule and it is killing me!". What kind of sad situation is it when a group of fully-functional adults (and not senior citizen adults, we are all like 31!) is all, "Oh man, I want to go out, but I am not sure I will make it to 9:00." 9:00!! Are you kidding me?! Anyway, enough of my rambling, it is 11:10, which means it is almost my new Self-Imposed Bedtime For Waking Up Early. This sucks!
5th-Apr-2008 05:26 pm (UTC)
Oh, man. I used to love 3 Musketeers. I have totally lost my sweet tooth in the last few years though (except for pop) so I think I could only eat one fun size one at a time. Man. Now I want to go buy a bag of them.

This whole "being a responsible adult" gig is not what I expected it to be. Of course, my night of "partying" tonight will consist of drinking wine, playing Magic and making fun of bad movies on Sci Fi, so I am hardly a partying animal either.
5th-Apr-2008 04:39 am (UTC)
Aw, hope you're feeling better soon. This is like the winter/spring of horrible sickness for everyone I know.

I've only made miso soup from scratch once, and it turned out terrible. So I just stick with the pre-packaged stuff. I used to have miso that came as a package of paste + a package of dried bits that you mixed together in water, but I didn't like it much. (Too salty.) I actually prefer the white miso stuff that comes as a packet of powder with a few dried green onion and shiitake mushroom and seaweed bits mixed in, and you just stir it in with hot water. (Which kind of feels like preferring cheap instant ramen noodles to actual cooked pasta, but IT TASTES GOOD DAMN IT.)
5th-Apr-2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I knew it was inevitable that I would get something else, because there are just too many people who are sick around me. I think it's finally over, which is good - it hit me at absolutely the worst time, work-wise.

(Which kind of feels like preferring cheap instant ramen noodles to actual cooked pasta, but IT TASTES GOOD DAMN IT.)
That's the problem, when it tastes good! Alton Brown can extoll the virtues of homemade mac and cheese all he wants - I just want a box of the Annie's stuff. Mmmm.
5th-Apr-2008 05:38 am (UTC)
Well, glad to see you're feeling well enough that things smell good and you can talk about food.

Miso soup is my emergency travel comfort food--I stash packets of instant soup mix in my luggage, in a drawer at work, etc. But I've never actually made it from scratch, because I suck.

When I lived in Japan, some fellow American English teachers said that you could just mix a dollop of miso with hot water, and this recipe seems to bear that out.

That is anathema to my father, who always starts out by taking some scraps of fresh fish and making a soup stock from them, then adding the miso, and finally garnishing with cubes of tofu and slices of green onion. AFAIK, he doesn't use konbu seaweed in the stock, although his inner hippie has made him add carrots and other vegetables on occasion. (I hated his vegetable miso soup, but the rest of the family loved it, so YMMV.)

My Japanese homestay mother made a variety of miso soups--some standard tofu/wakame, some with tiny little clamlike things that we weren't supposed to eat, and some with tiny little clamlike things that we were supposed to eat. So basically, the thing to do seems to be "make a broth from seafood/seaweed/vegetables/Japanesey things, mix in the miso, and garnish with seafood/seaweed/vegetables/tofu/Japanesey things."

I'll ask my dad what kind of miso he uses, and for other pointers.
5th-Apr-2008 12:55 pm (UTC)
Miso soup is my emergency travel comfort food--I stash packets of instant soup mix in my luggage, in a drawer at work, etc. But I've never actually made it from scratch, because I suck.

BWAHAHA I was just about to write the same thing! LOL :D

*high fives* for the suckage :D
5th-Apr-2008 08:26 am (UTC)
Disclaimer: My dad is a white guy, but he cooks for my mom/grandfather/relatives who are Japanese-American. All measurements are his estimation.

Start with about 4 oz. of raw fish bits (cut-off bones with meat still on them, dark bits cut off a filet, one cleaned whole small fish, etc.) Soak in 3 cups water for 20 minutes, then boil lightly for another 20 minutes.***

(OPTIONAL: Sautee some celery, onion, and grated carrot in a little oil, then add to the the last 3 minutes of boiling.)

Strain the broth to remove the fish (and optional veggie) bits.

Separately, mix about 1/4 cup miso with some tap water to dilute it. (If you want to use broth instead of water, let the broth cool off first--you don't want it to cook the miso.)

Stir the liquefied miso into the broth. Add garnishes either before or after serving--normally you'd want the tofu nice and hot, but sometimes he just sets out all the garnishes and everybody takes what they want and dumps soup over it.

***He says that besides fish, you can "boil 1/4-1/2 cup of dried shrimp for 30 minutes" to make the broth. (Why you'd have dried shrimp on hand, I have no idea, but anyway...) He doesn't know how the soup will turn out if you use freshwater fish instead of saltwater fish. He doesn't use konbu seaweed because he's never learned what to do with it.

My mother says that most people like white (rice?) miso best; my dad says he prefers dark/red miso, but local people just cook everything with whatever kind of miso they happen to have on hand. My mom says if you buy Maruhi brand miso, there are recipes for miso soup, miso fish, and miso salad dressing on the container. (And they just checked, and the Maruhi recipe calls for 1/4 cup miso to 5 cups water, but my dad says that sounds too watery. Maybe go easy on the water the first time and then dilute the soup if it's too strong?)

This is probably considerably more than you wanted to know, but it's good for me, since now I know the Anchovy Family Recipe For Miso Soup, too. :)
5th-Apr-2008 05:44 pm (UTC)
No, actually, this is great to know! I've looked up recipes online a couple of times before, and was looking at them on the jars in the store, and I'm not sure that I've seen any that called for making fish stock first. That might be the step I've been looking for. I can't remember the brand name of the miso they're stocking, but I know there were recipes on the labels.

I'm probably going to have to spend the weekend catching up on chores, but I'm definitely going to try this recipe. I end up having to make most recipes several times and tweak them, but this one sounds much more appealing than the ones I've seen online.

Your dad's approach sounds similar to my dad's approach to vegetable soup and chili: each pot kind of depends on whatever is lying around, and anything that strikes his fancy. (What's really weird is that we both independently started putting cinnamon in our chili, and neither of us could explain what prompted us to do it...but that's another food rant for another time.)
5th-Apr-2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
If it makes you feel any better, I went to bed at 6 PM, woke up randomly at like, 10 PM, then fell back asleep again. Isn't this FUN?

You have it the worst though. Stomach bugs are Teh Suck.
(Deleted comment)
5th-Apr-2008 05:50 pm (UTC) - Re: miso soup recipe
Oh, wow, talk about coincidence! LOL

The thing I hate about this is that other than the slight fever and being tired, I didn't feel too bad most of the time. But it was almost like clockwork, that I'd have to run to the bathroom. Grrrr. It's nice to be able to eat food and not count the minutes till I have to run again!

I hope you're feeling better, too. Remember, you need to concentrate on your EDUCATION, not on trying not to keel over. *rolls eyes at annoying people*
5th-Apr-2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
Awwww, feel better. Intestinal flu. I don't know what it is, but it sounds awful.

Now I feel guilty for drinking... but for me drinking fun means start at 8, drinking a 3/4 of bottle of wine in a very quiet place, and passing out by 11. Which is... not "fun" in a typical way. So don't be jealous.
5th-Apr-2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
Awwww, feel better. Intestinal flu. I don't know what it is, but it sounds awful.
Hee. That was my polite euphemism for having to rush up to sit on the toilet a lot. I figured if I just said I was sick, everyone would ask what was wrong, and I'd have to tell people over and over anyway.

I spend every Saturday night with some friends and I'll probably be severely limiting myself in the drinking department this time, out of fear that I'll disrupt my system again. I just couldn't believe how many people on my flist were apparently partying last night! (In the "partying" sense that you mention...)
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