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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 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.)
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