Back to Miso Soup

The holiday season has begun with all kinds of goodies. But after a delicious Thanksgiving and delicious leftovers it feels good to get back to miso soup. I had a consultation with my refrigerator and came up with a soup that included leftover (uncooked) vegetables. It was an odd combination, but strangely delicious.

Today’s miso soupSatsumaimo (Japanese sweet potato), Japanese cabbage (from the Japanese farmer here in Amherst), and aburage (thin deep-fried tofu). In retrospect, a little black sesame seed on top might have been nice.

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Home Sweet Home

Miso soup for lunch seems like such a luxury and is one of the perks I give myself when I am working from home. On a rainy autumn day it can be the most comforting food there is. This month we’re heavy on root vegetables and the essence of the soup itself. When I’ve been working since the early hours of morning it is like saying “Otsukaresama” to myself. This is how you thank someone for their hard work. And even just the process of separating myself from the computer to chop some vegetables and prepare my soup is a blessing.

Today’s miso soup: Hearty is the word. I included atsuage (think deep-fried tofu), carrots, daikon, Japanese cabbage, and scallions. It’s almost like a stew. Also happy to be home to my delicious white miso.

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Okaasan no aji

Long time, no miso. I’ve been traveling for both work and pleasure. I visited my daughter and made a pot of miso soup. Part of the fun of making miso soup for a family member is to ask them to do ajimi or tasting to check if the proportions are right.  When I make miso soup for my daughter I can always count on her to take a taste and sigh that it is okaasan no aji. This literally translates to mom’s taste, but basically means it tastes just like the soup she had growing up. All over Japan people long for okaasan no aji. Perhaps not Japan, but all over the world. Nostalgic food is universal.

It’s frustrating to cook miso soup in a new place. The stove, water, miso, cooking tools and ingredients are all slightly different. And with miso soup that can throw everything off. Nonetheless, my daughter seemed to like it.

Miso soup for my daughter:  Tofu, potato, carrot, onion, and mushroom. Pretty basic stuff!

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