Friday, March 25, 2011

Sweet Potato Salad with Miso

Our St. Patrick's Day Feast!

I am posting a photo of friends. We all came together on St.Patrick's Day. I made my first (and successful..yipee!) corned beef and cabbage. Of course the most wonderful part was spending time with friends. I consider myself very, very lucky in the friends department.

Today I made this salad with sweet potatoes. You could also make it with butternut squash or cauliflower instead of sweet potato.  I have increased our miso intake with the possibility of radiation from  Japan blowing over the pacific. I really love Japan. One of my most favorite places really. All the dishes I have made these last two weeks with miso have been a celebration for my love of Japan. I thought to post a new recipe today so we can celebrate Japan together. I choose to eat my miso raw (never boil or bake it) to keep all its enzyme goodness intact. It contains dipicolinic acid which has been theorized to detox heavy metals and some radioactive elements out of the body. I personally love it like a cup of tea with a squeeze of fresh lemon, or mixed in a bowl of beans or mixed with cultured butter and spread on a cracker.
So, get your miso on. And, if you want to get technical about it, try for 2 tablespoons a day, which is how much has been theorized one needs to get all the wonderful benefits. I searched high and low for all the goodies about miso. This was my favorite: History Of Miso from Soy Info Center.

I had to share this poem. It was in my email box this morning from my friend Christi. Have you been to her blog yet? http://www.christimider.com. I continually go to her blog for inspiration, and as you know I have required a bit more of that lately. She has this amazing ability to post something that is exactly what I need to hear. She is a very gifted healer.
Well, here is the poem...
below that I am posting the recipe.


Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
—Naomi Shihab Nye


Sweet Potato Salad with Miso
makes 2 big or 3 small servings

1 large roasted yam cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes to make 1 1/2 cups worth
2 tbls. toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp umeboshi vinegar
2 tbls toasted sesame oil
1 tbls fresh squeezed orange juice
pinch salt
1 tbls miso
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 tbls extra virgin olive oil

Roast yam on a cookie sheet in the oven. 375 degrees until knife tender (about 50 min). Remove the skin from the yam after baking. Let cool to room temperature then cut into cubes. Try to handle the cubes as little as possible to keep them intact.
In a bowl, mix umeboshi vinegar, toasted sesame seed oil and miso. Whisk with a fork and pour over the yams. Then add 1 tbls of sesame seeds. With your clean hands, gently mix. 

Slice cabbage very thinly (any type you like) and coarsely chop it. Put in a bowl and set aside. Add olive oil, fresh orange juice, pinch salt, apple cider vinegar and 1 tbls sesame seeds. Toss well.

To plate divide cabbage salad into two or three plates and gently top with sweet potato mixture.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

You know how some people have totem animals? Every time they see a wolf or bear it somehow represents them? I do that with food. Some of mine; truffles, tomatoes, goat cheese, olive oil and meyer lemons. I love that meyer lemons are seasonal and when they are gone, they are gone. You have to think and dream about them until they come back into your life again. A bit like a food love story. Meyer lemons are all over the place now. They have a sweeter and muskier smell and flavor than year round lemons which makes them more sophisticated and special to me. I had some friends over the other night and I made a butter lettuce salad with this vinaigrette. It really was spectacular. I topped the salad with baked pumpkin seeds and some shavings of hard parmesean. The next day I made more and drizzled it over some oven roasted asparagus. I think this vinaigrette is so versatile, I would eat it over brown rice or with sliced radishes or even over braised endive. The mustard helps emulsify the lemon juice when adding the olive oil so it does not separate like some vinaigrettes I make. That makes it a great candidate as a sauce or a dressing. I used chopped parsley in this. I would also use tarragon in a heartbeat. I would reduce tarragon to 1 tablespoon because of its strong flavor though. My mouth is watering thinking about putting a tarragon meyer lemon vinaigrette over a warm slice of quiche. Wow!
Either way, the flavor can't be beat. This vinaigrette is like the taste of spring coming, a ode to all the daffodils waking up our gardens right now. A sneek peak of what is to come in a few short months.

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
makes around 1/2 cup

zest and juice of 1 meyer lemon
pinch salt
couple of grinds of fresh pepper
2 teaspoons of stone ground mustard or dijon mustard
1/3 cup good quality olive oil
2 tbls. of fresh chopped parsley or 1 tbls fresh chopped tarragon

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and mustard. While still whisking by hand (I used a fork) slowly drizzle in olive oil and then add tarragon or parsley.

Roasting Asparagus
I trim the bottoms of the asparagus, toss in a small bit of olive oil and sea salt, and bake on a cookie sheet 350 degrees for around 15-20 minutes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

All Moved In!


















I put up a "before and after" photo of my living room. A big transformation took place! I am thrilled with the paint colors I picked and pinching myself every morning when I wake up and realize I can walk downtown in two minutes.  It has been a soft landing. M and I said goodbye to each room of our house before the movers came by recalling a special memory for us both. Our friends came during the move to be with us, and provided a massive amount of support. I needed it that day.
My new kitchen is very small and cozy. I am adjusting to the lack of counter space, and loving the vintage stove. I have been cooking little bits here and there. I made a chickpea salad with an orange tahini dressing. It did not make the cut however to share with all of you. There were chickpeas in my grain csa and I have been thinking about them constantly. I will try again soon though.
Right now I am making old fashioned tapioca pudding. We have been craving comfort foods to ground ourselves and isn't pudding just a sure thing for that?
Next up is my garden. I need serious help with that. Although I have a degree in biology and botany, I have no gardening skills. I know I want to plant lemon verbena, shiso and lots of heirloom tomatoes.

The top photo is a little buddha figurine a japanese translator I met while visiting Japan some years back gave me. It has always sat on my little altar. I love how joyful it looks. I have had Japan in my thoughts constantly. I have been deeply moved by the earthquake and tsunami. I have been sending love and light to Japan constantly. Japan, I am thinking about you. I am loving you.

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