Miso Soup

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I always thought miso soup was a Japanese soup that is made from a blend of spices. Well, the Dr. Oz Show proved me wrong! It is actually a paste that is produced by fermented soybeans. This was a shocking and exciting revelation to me. I began scouring the internet to figure out where I could buy it and what the benefits were.

  • Miso paste may decrease cholesterol and prevent cancer.
  • It contains living enzymes that aid in healthy digestion, but it is important to never boil the paste, as it will kill the beneficial living enzymes.
  • Contains significant amounts of zinc, manganese, and copper.

I found it at Earth Fare in the refrigerated section.

Miso paste can be made from rice, barley, and chickpeas also. The paste can range in color from light to dark. The lighter the color, the more mellow it will taste while the dark paste will have a more intense flavor.

To make miso soup, boil some water with your choice of vegetables and tofu. Some choices could include:

  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • wakame
  • scallions
  • cabbage

Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Add 2 teaspoons of miso paste to your bowl and stir until dissolved.

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December Dinner at the Dairy

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As a Christmas present, my sister and I decided to go to a dinner at Goat Lady Dairy  together with our husbands, instead of buying gifts.  My sister and her husband had never been, while Vee and I had only been once before in May.

We started off with an (unpictured) appetizer on the porch:  Giacomo’s Salami Toscana with Smoked Sweet Potato Mousse and Caramelized Sage Onions.  It was really interesting; I never would have thought to put sweet potato and salami together, but it worked really well.

After a few appetizers, we took a tour of the farm where the owner, Steve Tate, explained that it was breeding season for the goats.  He said they set up a buck in a pen by himself to um (ahem) get the doe’s in the mood…. he is appropriately called the Teaser.  I tried to take a picture of him when we first got there before the tour, but he was stomping around like he was mad, so I didn’t take the picture.  Little did I know why he was mad at the time!  My sister got to the farm before me and said he was talking to her and told her his name was Billy.  I think what he was really saying to her was “Hey baby, what’s yo name?”  The sound they make sounds like Chewbacca!

After the tour we went inside to enjoy the company and our meal, which was prepared by Chef Scott Carter.

GLD Artisan Cheeses served with with a Spicy Fall Cabbage Salad avec Mustard Vinegrette
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Yoghurt and Roasted Seeds
Fresh greens with blanched carrot sticks, radishes, toasted Pecans, and a Smoke Onion & Garlic Aioli
Smoked Pork Loin with sage infused Gravy, Mixed Brasied Greens & Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potato Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel and a Blue Berry Reduction
Coffee & a Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffle

sisters!

Everything was delicious as expected.  If you are in the Greensboro, NC area, I encourage you to experience dinner at the dairy!  Their 2012 dinner dates are ready for reservations!  Goat Lady Dairy is also offering a new casual dining event called Sunday Supper.  It includes a tour of the farm and a three course buffet.

You can read about my first experience at the dairy here.

Wise Up

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This is a sample of what I’ve been eating lately:

Baby food, yogurt, soup, mashed potatoes….thanks to having all of my wisdom teeth taken out last week.  One thing I am enjoying and taking fully advantage of, is frozen yogurt and shakes.

I’m already plotting what I hope to eat sooner than later….A way-bigger-than-my-mouth FAT juicy burger from the local neighborhood grill, a SPICY chicken sandwich from Chik-Fil-A (even though it gives me heart burn) and some sweet, sticky, CHEWY-licious chocolate covered caramels from Trader Joe’s (eat some for me Becca!) and some HARD @$* nuts….just because.

GUM AND GET IT

BRING.IT.ON.SOCKETS!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Who would ever think that these green veggie things would make such a wonderful dessert?

zucchini from Barbee Farms

My go to recipe is from The Better Homes and Garden Cookbook.  The recipe is actually for zucchini bread, but they make great muffins too.

I only change a few things from the original recipe.  I use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat, and I use raw cane sugar instead of white sugar.  The raw cane sugar gives the tops of the muffins a bit of a crunch, while the inside is still soft.  I’ve used raw cane sugar in brownies and they didn’t turn out so well.  They tasted gritty, but it seems to work for these muffins.  I also replace the nuts with semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from the The Better Homes and Garden Cookbook)

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup finely shredded,  peeled zucchini
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a muffin pan with 12 muffin liners and spray with a non-stick cooking spray.

2. Mix together in a large bowl:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix together:
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup finely shredded,  peeled zucchini
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
4. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture.  Stir until just mixed (do not over mix).  The batter will be lumpy and that’s OK.  Fold in chips.
5. Fill cups 2/3 of the way full.  Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
The best way to eat zucchini in my opinion.

Vegged Out

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I think a more appropriate name for this blog would be “Veggie Queen.”

I managed to cook turnips, yellow squash, butternut squash, and bok choy tonight from my Barbee Farms CSA.

I’m not really familiar with cooking turnips, but I have had them raw.  They’re OK.  I figured I couldn’t go wrong with roasting.

To Roast Veggies:

  1. Peel the butternut squash and turnips.
  2. Chop the butternut squash and turnips, along with the yellow squash.  
  3. Toss them with olive oil in a bag to coat, and spread them on a non-stick coated baking sheet.  
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and Garlic Gold and bake at 425 degrees for 30  minutes.

In the meantime, I prepared the  bok choy.

Bok Choy

  1. Wash and chop one head of bok choy.
  2. Pour about 3 Tablespoons of soy sauce in a non-stick pan, and cook the white part of the bok choy for about 5 minutes on medium heat (since they take longer to soften).
  3. Add the rest of the bok choy and cook until the leaves are just wilted.
  4. Take off the heat and drizzle a little bit of toasted sesame oil and sprinkle with red pepper.
So, the yellow squash turned out beautifully.  It melts in your mouth and the Garlic Gold gives it a slight crunch.  The turnips were a little bitter and firmer.  Maybe they needed to cook longer…I don’t think I’m a fan.  Maybe I just don’t know the best way to cook them.
The bok choy was awesome.  I can’t believe it cooked down so much.  To give you perspective, what is on my plate is the whole head of bok choy (with the exception of a few stems).  This is probably about a cup of bok choy.
I made soup with the roasted butternut squash.

Butternut Squash Soup

serves  4

Ingredients

  • 2 small butternut squash – peeled, chopped and roasted.
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter or Earth Balance
  • 2 Tablespoons of 100% pure maple syrup
  • 32 ounces of chicken or vegetable broth, or Trader Joe’s butternut squash soup.
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 dashes of nutmeg
  • pinch of white pepper to season
  1. Saute the onion with the butter for 5 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Add the maple syrup to the onion and cook an additional 5 minutes on low heat.
  3. Add the black beans, corn, roasted butternut squash, and seasonings.
  4. Add the broth and water and turn to medium heat.
  5. Wait for the soup to come to a boil and then turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
I ate one bowl and then froze the rest in freezer safe containers, so that I can take them to work for lunch next week.
I promise something sweet tomorrow!

Pineapple Cashew Quinoa

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friends

So this is day three of sharing what I do with the veggies in my CSA box from Barbee Farms.  Tonight’s highlight are these colorful bell peppers.

Bell peppers are high in vitamin C and A.  Did you know that paprika is dried powdered bell pepper?!  I just found that out from whfoods.com.

I made Pineapple Cashew Quinoa with my lovely bell peppers.  I recently found this recipe from Meganerd Runs and it is now my favorite way to make quinoa.  It is a mix of quinoa, pineapple, cashews, basil, peppers, garlic, and soy sauce.  You can also add in other veggies if you like.

Meganerd Runs found this recipe in the cookbook Veganomicon.  I’m not vegan, but I don’t discriminate!  Quick – go to her website for the recipe!!!  You will love it!

Sweet Potato Fries

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Say hello to the sweet potatoes from Barbee Farms.  Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables, and I made these babies into some delicious fries.

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

  • sweet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • plain panko bread crumbs
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • salt
1.  Peel and cut your taters.
2.  Pour about 3 Tablespoons (or more if needed) of olive oil in a plastic bag.  Put the taters in the bag and shake to coat.
3.  Put about a cup of bread crumbs on a plate and mix with 1/2 Tablespoon each of oregano and basil.  Then roll a couple of taters around the plate at a time to pick up the mixture, pressing the crumbs in if needed.  These will not have a heavy coating.
4.  Place on a baking sheet that has been coated with a non-stick spray.  Then generously sprinkle with sea salt.  I like to use Trader Joe’s Smoked sea salt.
5.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Enjoy!
P.S.  I would also like to take the time to gush about my $10 apron that I found at Target.
Happy Halloween!