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Posts Tagged ‘tamari’

S&M Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe on February 9, 2015 at 2:04 am

“Life itself is the proper binge.” ~Julia Child

s&m soup

In honor of Valentine’s Day and the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, I’ve masterminded a soup that is for the brave, wacky, and tad bit suicidal parts of all us (oh, come on, don’t play coy with me). I haven’t read the Fifty Shades of Grey book (heard the writing was terrible but that’s not the point, right?) and I’m not sure I’ll watch the movie since I’m not convinced the acting will be very good. But I do recommend watching Secretary with James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal for a bit of uncomfortable but fascinating entertainment in a sexy, disturbing way. Kind of like this soup.

Speaking of sexy. It didn’t used to be sexy to speak about your colon and it’s functions or contents. And while it’s still not exactly sexy, it does seem to be the hippest new topic out there. The registered dietitian’s mantra has always been “The road to health is paved with good intestines.” And now it seems that everyone else cares about their colon as well. Now it’s totally hip to eat – and make your own – fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, kraut, and kombucha (this blog post brought to you by the letter “K”). Kimchi has a powerful, sour-spicy kick and I love it with fried eggs so I thought this soup was worth a try.the joy of food

Since it consists mostly of kimchi and gochujang with some tofu and scallions thrown in, this soup is kind of dark and dangerous. If the Korean spices aren’t intense enough then wait until the end when you top your bowl with a raw egg yolk. I freaked out at the last minute and tried to soften the blow by adding avocado. This soup has an oddly addictive quality to it but I’m not sure that I actually enjoyed eating it. Hence the name of the soup.

All of the gut-friendly benefits of fermented kimchi are lost in this soup recipe but that shouldn’t stop you from taking pleasure from this spicy, broth-y, brooding soup. All encounters with food need not be transactional. You are allowed to eat for pure pleasure from time to time. Stand down from the vigilance around “being healthy”. Treat yourself with kindness. But, if you want more info about maintaining a healthy gut, read on or skip to the recipe below.

Traditional fermented foods like kimchi (and miso and kraut) contain live bacteria (if not super-heated) essential for a healthy gut which in turn positively affects your immune system, endocrine system, and nervous system. For a quick summary on your gut and mental health, read Happy Gut, Happy You and for a more in-depth look at how our gut affects our mind (with links to interesting research), read this article and podcast from NPR.

Fermented and Pickled are not the same thing. Pickling often involves vinegar and sometimes sugar. Fermentation only requires water and salt and the fermentation occurs spontaneously with naturally-occurring bacteria found on the vegetables – well, really, it’s airborne and found on many things, even the glassware used during fermentation. kimchi ingredientsAdditionally, pickled products are shelf-stable through high-heat pasteurization so, even if they did have some beneficial bacteria (which they don’t), it would be destroyed by this process.

To find authentic, fermented products they must be located in the REFRIGERATED section of your market and will most likely have the words “raw”, “live cultures”, or “probiotics” somewhere on the front of the label. Read the back of the label as well for the ingredients list. Avoid sugar, MSG, and preservatives.

S&M Soup Ingredients:

1lb. silken tofu, cubed

1 TBSP raw sesame oil

4 cups cabbage kimchi, gently squeezed and chopped, plus 1 cup liquid

2-4 TBSP gochujang (what can you handle?)

8 scallions, sliced thinly

2 TBSP tamari (I used reduced-sodium)

1 TBSP toasted sesame oil

6 large egg yolks (or 1 per bowl)

a shake or two of toasted sesame seeds

kimchi and gochujangHeat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Pour liquid off jar of kimchi (reserve) and coarsely chop. Add kimchi to the heated oil (first!) and then add gochujang (or it will start popping and sizzling and splattering everywhere!). Cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 5–8 minutes. Add kimchi liquid and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until kimchi is softened and translucent, 35–40 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat, carefully add tofu cubes, and simmer about 4 minutes. The original recipe stated that the tofu will be slightly puffed and firmed up. I saw no such change in the tofu. I simply waited for them to rise to the top like ravioli. This might have been a tofu-cooking-failure but tofu doesn’t actually need to be “cooked from a food safety perspective. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tofu to a medium bowl.

Add scallions, soy sauce, and tofu to kimchi broth; simmer gently about 20–25 minutes. Add sesame oil. Ladle soup into bowls; top each with an egg yolk and sesame seeds. Attempt to enjoy.

Bold Dressings for Bitter Greens

In Nutrition on November 23, 2014 at 4:12 am
salt farm

Wasabi Sesame, Black Truffle, Uni and many more spiked salts from Salt Farm at Little Italy’s Farmer’s Market

I spent this beautiful Saturday with a dear friend strolling through the farmer’s market in Little Italy buying holiday gifts and catching up on our complicated lives. We bought vials of gourmet salts from Salt Farm and sugar scrubs and muscle rubs from Holistic Science. When we’d had enough of the crowds and sunshine, we stopped for a lunch of caesar salad and mussels at Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar.

kale salad ironside

Kale Caesar at Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar in Little Italy

This place never disappoints and their yummy, fishy, kale caesar salad was so perfect it challenged me to step outside the predictable avo/sea salt/lemon dressing that I consistently massage into dinosaur kale. Sure, it’s delicious but it’s not very inspired. Plus avocados are kinda dicey right now since they aren’t in season.

It seems to me that hearty, bitter greens like kale require equally bold dressings to balance all that dense healthiness.

Both of these dressing have a nice kick to challenge that strong kale flavor.

Lemony-Caper Dressing (more work but worth it)

2 lemons – supremed

3 TBSP shallots, coarsely chopped

2 TBSP Dijon mustard

1-2 TBSP capers, drained

1 tsp superfine sugar (regular sugar works fine too)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

lemony-caper dressing

Lemony-Caper Dressing

Segment the lemons using this technique (watch the short video!).

Use a hand blender to thoroughly blend all ingredients EXCEPT THE LEMONS. Massage the pureed dressing into the kale and then, after marinating for up to hour (or less), toss lemon segments with kale.

This is definitely not for the faint of heart.

It’s strong. And salty. And lemony.

Try it with a scoop of warm brown rice or grilled fish to temper the flavors.

If the idea of supreme-ing a lemon is just too much work (Yuwei – I’m talking to you), try this one:

Carrot-Ginger Dressing

This one is bold for different reasons – mainly the ginger and cayenne.

Use a hand blender or food processor to puree the following:

kale bouquet

Dinosaur kale bouquet in grated rainbow carrot water.

1/2 cup carrots, peeled & grated

3 TBSP sesame oil

2 TBSP peeled ginger, chopped

2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

1 – 4 garlic cloves

1 TBSP tamari

2 tsp honey

 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)

Both dressings will be infinitely tastier if you MASSAGE (yes, with your bare hands) the dressings into the kale. As my sister says, massaging makes the kale taste like it is loved.

In addition to tossing with a grain or protein, consider adding something sweet to balance the bitter-sour-spicy. Peaches or strawberries (in summer) or dried currants or cranberries (in winter) work beautifully. Creamy goat cheese or crunchy sunflower seeds will also round out these bold salads nicely.

Check out the little guy who got caught in the steam pot with our mussels! He was probably just as surprised as we were to see that he met this fate.

crab in mussel

Teeny tiny crab hanging onto the mussel!