Stalling On the Way to the Kitchen

miso paste

In case you haven’t noticed, 80 and I took a two week vacation to Japan and Korea. In those glorious days of no work I didn’t cook a damn thing. In fact, it shocked me how much I didn’t miss the kitchen.

But now we’re back. I spend my days tapping on slate colored keys, knowing exactly what I’m doing and where I’ll be. I no longer need Lonely Planet guiding my days. Outlook dominates my hours once again.

Because I must get back into, well, being back, I bought something that would force me into the kitchen, but also force me to experiment with the flavors I found so delicious. I bought a big tub of miso paste. (Actually, it’s the only thing in my fridge at the moment.)

I’ve never played with miso paste before, but I have a feeling I’ll be able to find a billion uses for it. At this point, though, I’m very unclear on what those uses are.

Before we left for vacation, 80’s mom sent me Japanese Food and Cooking by Emi Kazuko and Yasuko Fukuoka, to prepare me for the craziness ahead. I’ve spied a few recipes I’m excited to mess around with—Fried Aubergine with Miso Sauce, Pot-Cooked Udon in Miso Soup (with a broth-poached egg!), Broccoli (stem only) and Cucumber Pickled in Miso—but I also want to try a clean miso soup.  If anyone knows where I can find: dried wakame, second dashi stock, shichimi togarashi or sansho – let me know!

And if you have other, less terrifying miso included recipes, comment here please.

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  • kate June 3, 2010  

    Check out my friend’s recipe for Sea Bass marinated with miso: It sound awesome and simple. And momofuku for 2 has lots of recipes involving miso; ones that are more involved than soup, but not too complicated as to be intimidating (unless it’s an actual Chang recipe she’s writing about!).

  • Summer June 3, 2010  

    Hooray for miso! One of the easiest possible recipes is miso salmon: just slather salmon filets with miso paste and either broil them or cook them on the stovetop in a non-stick pan.

    Dried wakame should be easy to find in any Asian store… if I can find it in the tiny Vietnamese store in Sarasota, you’ll have no trouble in DC. But if you can, get yourself to an H Mart. They’re Asian supermarkets as big as a suburban Safeway, and they have EVERYTHING.

  • erica June 3, 2010  

    miso works well in lots of marinades, dressings, and of course as an ingredient in faux cheese recipes, aside from being the easiest noodle soup base EVER. i keep a tub in the office fridge in case of hangovers. nothing calms the nauseated tummy like miso… it was used as an anti-radiation sickness treatment during WWII, and detoxes like crazy.

  • gansie June 3, 2010  

    thanks for the suggestions. so im embarrassigly new to this ingredient. if i want to make it into a dressing or a dipping sauce, i dont have to cook it first, right? maybe just mix w/ oil and season a bit? im looking forward to broiled summer veggies and a miso something or other drizzled on top.

  • Liza June 3, 2010  

    I have Wakame!! I got mine at whole foods. I haven’t heard of the other ingredients. I DEF need the recipe to the pot cooked udon in miso soup… broth yummmmm

  • Liza June 3, 2010  

    @ Summer LOVE the miso salmon idea! I have a lot of miso paste and wasn’t sure what to do with it, but I cook a salmon fillet at least once a week so I’m really excited to try this! Thank you!

  • Liza June 4, 2010  

    Just saw this: Miso-roasted Brussels Sprouts from veg times:

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