Joy Livery

Month: August, 2014

Miso Hungry Soup

picstitchI don’t know if it is my undying admiration for martial arts (check <— that out!) and those that practice them or my deep curiosity of Japanese culture and their food, but I love miso soup.  I’m also willing to throw in some less desirable accountability and admit that part of its attraction is its ease.  Boil some water and you are practically half way there.  But there are more respectable ways to dress this bowl of steaming umami, and many, many days I do indulge myself in trying them out.  This one here has come to be one of my favorites because I feel like it includes all of the necessary flavors and it packs a nutritional punch.  


A pile of aromatic white rice sits in a rich miso broth that slowly infuses with the more forward flavors of ginger, garlic and lemon.  Why the lemon, you ask?  Mostly I add it because this happens to also be my soup of choice when I’m sick, as it adds a kick of Vitamin C.  It also reminds me of my favorite go-to when feeling under the weather, Garlic-Ginger-Cayenne Lemonade.  Not a terribly romantic name, but certainly straightforward.  That being said, I will add that the soup doesn’t come off as super lemony, so don’t be deterred if the thought of lemon soup sounds awful to you.  It just adds a nice brightness to the broth.  

As you mince your garlic, ginger, and scallions, don’t worry if you are not super handy with a knife.  While it is definitely more apropos to have more finely chopped aromatics, I wouldn’t call it a deal breaker by any means if you are more of a lazy chopper.  The last addition I made was a couple leaves of basil, another aromatic.  With all of those aromatics, congestion doesn’t have a chance!  


A note about the seaweed- make sure to source your seaweed from a reputable provider somewhere on an Atlantic Coast.  I’m sure that all of our oceans have their imperfections and pollutants, but I don’t like the idea of eating radioactive seaweed.  Just a thought. : )  



2 T plus chickpea miso paste (feel free to experiment with the different flavors that the different aged misos offer.  i also like to go for the chickpea miso and just skip the concern about soy altogether.)

2 stalks of scallion

1 knuckle of ginger, minced

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of rice, cooked

a few basil leaves

1 ounce of firm tofu (or silken if you prefer), cut into cubes 

dulse, cut into strips




Begin by starting your rice on the stovetop.  Then more to your cutting board and mince the garlic and the ginger, and chop your scallions.  Once those are all chopped and sitting pretty on the board, check your rice.  Once your rice has completely cooked, heat a cup of water in the kettle.  While it heats, cube your tofu and cut your dulse into strips.  As the kettle whistles, take it off the heat and plop (what a terrible word to describe food… sorry) your miso paste into the bottom of a bowl.  After giving the water a minute to come off boiling temperature (but not too long!), pour just a bit of water in and mix it into the paste.  If you skip this step, your broth will be lumpy, so be sure to not miss it!  Once this is done, pour the rest of the water into the bowl and continue to stir.  Now you can construct the rest of your bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients carefully and make a masterpiece, or to hell with it, and just dump it all in there and be done with it.  Whichever you choose, certainly enjoy!






Curried Pumpkin Soup


I’m sheepishly sharing this a tad early.  Technically summer does not leave until September is ending, and in Florida it can last into October.  This soup came together nonetheless.  : )  It had been a great Saturday- taught Led Primary Series at Ananda Kula in the morning and then headed over to the Cummer Museum and spent some time goofing off with friends and my our kids.  And I must say, it was incredibly hot today (another strange non-reason to make an autumnal soup).  Coming home, I soon realized I didn’t have much in the kitchen for dinner, so I went poking around in the pantry and came across a can of pumpkin.  Besides a mean tofu pumpkin pie, I honestly can’t think of anything else to make with a can of pumpkin other than soup.  So while it isn’t pumpkin, spice and everything nice season, this recipe really hit the spot.  The curry just sings in your mouth and was such a joy to eat!

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1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

1 teaspoon curry powder 

3 tablespoons ghee

1 can of pumpkin puree

1 cube of vegetable bouillon (Repunzel brand is a favorite)

Salt to taste (keep in mind that your bouillon cube with have salt in it)

1 – 1 1/2 cups pure water 

4 small stalks of celery

1 yellow summer squash

1/2 of small onion 

3 leaves of chard 

3 cloves of garlic 

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     First thing to do is heat the ghee in your pot.  Add the spices to the ghee to heat.  When the mustard seeds are popping, add your chopped onion.  Wait until the onions have softened to add the garlic.  Once the garlic has become aromatic, add in your celery and squash.  Place the lid on the pot and allow to steam.  If needed, add a tablespoon of water to the pot to help this process along.  Sometimes there seems to be enough moisture from the vegetables as they cook, but you don’t want the pot to scorch.  Check after a minute how the steaming is coming along.  Give the vegetables a stir.  Add in your bouillon cube with a little bit of water (maybe a quarter cup) to begin to dissolve the cube and let it coat the vegetables.  Next add in your pumpkin puree and a cup of water.  If the consistency seems a little too thick, add in more water.  It is certainly more of a preference issue as to how thick or thin your soup should be.  Mine was somewhere in the middle.  The last thing to do is add in the chard.  When chopping chard a handy tip is to roll the leaves up together like a cigar and then chop it.  I chose to chop mine more fine for this batch of soup and it turned out well.  Allow it all to cook for a little bit longer, allowing the flavors to meld.