A bitter cold snap ravaged the South this week and left frigid Floridians in its wake. Temperatures plummeted down to the mid 50’s for much of the day on Friday. There was nothing that could have been done. No mitten would soften and warm the piercing chills of that gentle breeze. Nothing maybe except a nice bowl of soup.
I love both of the stereotypical soups you can choose from when you find yourself eating at any Japanese restaurant. It doesn’t matter if you are going to the most terrible of cookie cutter (insert random restaurant name deriving from generic Japanese landmark here) establishments. Or you are going all out at any of the high priced havens around the country ie; Nobu, Masa, Matsuhisu, or Jewel Bako. The one constant is this. They will have some version of either miso or clear soup.
This is my take on a marriage of the two styles.
It’s super easy and can be ready in minutes. I changed some of the ingredients around for personal preference but you can do what you like. Also to make this organic is not going to cost much more than conventional.
All you need is
48oz chicken broth. You can buy a quart and a pint size at the store.
4 oz shitake (sliced)
4 oz crimini (sliced)
I package silken tofu cubed
I bunch of baby spinach. You can sub in seaweed if you like
5 green onions
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons or more Tamari
Basically, you chop all your vegetables and pour the broth in a pot. Throw in everything but the fried shallots. Put on simmer for about 30 minutes or as long as you can stand it. The aroma will be amazing and hard to resist. The longer you let the flavors build the better it will be. It’s worth giving it some time to let the mushrooms release their flavors and allow them penetrate the tofu and broth. I’m not huge on seaweed so I used spinach. Play with it. Make it your own. If you want, adding a squeeze of white miso paste wont hurt but would change the flavor a bit, making it a more complex soup. Once you’re ready to eat, taste and make sure it’s seasoned to your liking. Then pour in a bowl and sprinkle fried shallots on the top. Makes about 6 servings.
The next extremely easy dish I’ve made recently is white bean hummus. I made this for a family get together and it went over very well. It came together due to not having any extra money at the time and just using the things in my pantry and fridge.
Take all these in items and pulverize in a food processor:
2 cans drained and rinsed Cannellini beans
3 green onions
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp Olive oil
It will probably take a little tweaking to get the flavor spot on, but you’ll end up with a nice creamy dip. I used sesame seeds, partly out of necessity and partly out out liking them more than tahini.(sesame paste) Tahini is quite pricey, around $6.50 a can, and I don’t have many uses for it. Plus I don’t really like it that much. I actually like the pop of the sesame seeds mixed with the creamy hummus.
To serve place in bowl and make some divots with a spoon drizzle more Oil on top to create little ponds of liquid gold. Sprinkle with a touch of cumin and coarse salt. Serve with rice or tortilla chips.
I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t believe it to be absolutely true. Anyone can make either of these. I have faith in you.