Ginger Miso Soba Noodle Soup
A very versatile and very QUICK soup to make on a drizzly day. Like today. And tomorrow.
1 carrot sliced thin (or zucchini, fennel or beets)
1 small onion diced (or leeks)
4 cups water
2 handfuls of fresh beet greens, kale, or Napa, sliced cross wise
2 inch piece of fresh ginger minced
100g soba noodles (rice noodles great too)
2 tablespoons miso (whisked in warm water, then added to soup)
2 scallions sliced thin (white and green parts) for garnish (or garlic scapes, or fennel fronds)
Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions, veggies and ginger (not greens yet). Saute for about five minutes. Add the water not quite to a boil. Add your two handfuls of greens. Stir until the greens begin to wilt. Next, add the noodles and continue with heat until they have softened. Finally, in a small bowl, whisk together the miso with about 1/4 cup of water, then add this to the soup. Miso should never be boiled. Just mix the soup well, Remove from heat. Serve. Reheat gently when you have it as a leftover.
Chioggia Beet and Fennel Salad
A delightful salad for this week pairing these two pretty veggies. I like the citrus vinaigrette combo but another light sweet dressing works great. In my house, maple balsamic vinaigrette is ths staple dressing on hand, and I don't often have oranges and lemons hanging around. But it you do, great, it will be lovely.
4 chioggia beets
1 head fennel
Juice of one orange
Juice of two lemons
Zest of one orange
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts
4-6 cups mixed greens – lettuces, arugula
2-4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons minced chopped fennel fronds (or chives, parsley, or mint)
Cut the greens off the top of the beets and reserve for later use. Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler. Using a slicer or mandolin, thinly slice the beets. Stacking a few slices, use a chef’s knife to cut the beets into narrow strips. Or grate in a food processor. Place in a medium bowl.
Remove the fennel fronds. Remove the tough outer layers and cut in half lengthwise (from the top, where the fronds were, through the core end.) Remove the triangular shaped core at the base. Using the slicer or mandolin, thinly slice the fennel. Rinse the slices, dry with a paper towel, and slice into narrow strips, just as with the beets. Add to the bowl with the beet strips.
For the vinaigrette, place the orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest and olive oil in a small, sealable container. Shake vigorously. Season with salt.
Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat and add walnuts to skillet. Toast until fragrant and starting to color, then remove from heat. Allow to cool, and coarsely chop.
Place the mixed greens in a large bowl with fennel and beets. Dress with vinaigrette. Taste, season with salt if needed or more vinaigrette. Top with the crumbled goat cheese, chopped walnuts, and minced fennel fronds (or other herb choices).
Fennel and Kale Pasta
A good solid recipe from Cooks Illustrated. This one is also yummy with a bit os sundried tomato or even dried cranberries added in.
1 Fennel bulb, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, parboiled, stems removed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp tarragon (skippable)
1 tsp garlic powder (I'd use 2-3 cloves garlic, but I can't help myself, it's probably too much)
1 cup white wine
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup walnuts
1lbs. fettuccine, boiled al dente
Cook fennel and onion in olive oil slowly over medium heat until tender and beginning to brown.
Add white wine, walnuts and seasonings, cook for 3-5 minutes. Stir in kale and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Do not allow kale to becoming overly wilted.
During final minute of cooking stir in balsamic vinegar and Parmesan. Remove from heat.
Stir in cooked, drained pasta and toss.
Serve with chopped fennel fronds, fresh ground black pepper, Parmesan and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Miso Baked Tofu
Mark Bittman's method for baked tofu is below. Baked tofu is great for a quick snack, it can be tossed in salads, stir frys, sandwiches, miso soup etc. Served alongside beet greens and rice, this is simple healthy, yummy meal.
warm cooked rice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Dry the tofu with paper towels - just blot off the water. Mix 1 TB of miso with white wine, veg stock, or water just to brushable consistency. Brush the tofu liberally with this mixture. Place in a baking pan. Bake for about 1 hour undisturbed. It's done when the crust is lightly browned and firm. Remove and use immediately or cool, wrap, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Notes on Preparing Tofu
Freezing is the only way to store tofu for long periods. But even in the short term it creates a darker, firmer, chewier, and meatier brick. Freezing makes the water in tofu expand; when thawed, this water is released, resulting in tofu with a dry and spongy texture that's perfect for grilling, stir-fries, or braised dishes.
To freeze, drain the tofu and pay it dry; wrap it in plastic (or put in a container) and freeze for several hours, or until you need it, up to three months. For extra chew, cut the tofu into cubes, dry them well, and freeze them in a freezer bag. Allow enough time to defrost tofu before slicing and cooking.
Squeezing: Here you just press some of the liquid from a brick to give it a drier and firmer texture that makes it denser and easier to handle and cook. Cut the tofu in half through its equator and put the halves on four sheets of paper towels, then cover with another four sheets. Cover with a can of food, a heavy cutting board, or a similar weight so the tofu bulges at the sides slightly but doesn't crack. Wait 20 to 30 minutes, or as time allows (even the few minutes it takes you to prepare other ingredients will help); change the towels if they become saturated. Of course, the longer you squeeze the tofu, the more liquid it will release and the drier it will become. (Drier tofu absorbs more flavors, which is especially important for marinating.)
Sesame Ginger Beet Greens
Serve this with Miso Baked Tofu on a bed of brown rice or pearled barley.
1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
4 cups loosely packed beet greens
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp grated gingerroot
1 pinch salt
1/2 tsp sesame oil
In small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds until golden, about 3 minutes; set aside.
Trim stems from small young beet greens or remove centre rib from larger mature beet greens.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beet greens, garlic, ginger and salt. Cover and steam until greens are wilted, about 3 minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil; sprinkle with reserved sesame seeds.