Friday, April 19, 2019

Hearty Miso Stew with Potato, Leeks and Tofu

I don't know how you are faring, but my family has had a rough season of illness. The calendar tells me it is mid-April so I am hoping it lets up soon, but in the meantime I am craving nourishment and defense in the form off immune-boosting meals.

This stew boasts hearty root vegetables rich with antioxidants and trace minerals. The broth is spiked with probiotic miso, which helps the gut remain inhospitable to bacteria and viruses. The wakame seaweed offers up some much needed iodine, calcium and iron to round it all out. You could even replace some or all of the criminis with shiitake mushrooms if you wanted to get super serious.

It's not the quickest stew, but it is well worth the trouble. You might want to make a big batch and enjoy it all week long. To preserve the live probiotics in the miso, avoid letting the stew come to a simmer, you might even want to leave it out of the big pot and instead add it to taste after heating each portion throughout the week.

Hearty Miso Stew with Potato, Leeks and Tofu

Serves 6

1 small onion, chopped
1 leek, sliced
1 tbs. unrefined sesame oil
2 medium carrots, in ½ inch half moons
2 celery ribs, sliced on the diagonal
6-inch piece of burdock, in half moons
2 cups criminis, quartered
1 medium garnet yam, chopped
2 red potatos, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. grated ginger
2 tbs. dried wakame, soaked and chopped
1 lb. extra-firm tofu, in small cubes
¼ tsp. sea salt

¼ cup brown rice flour
3 tbs. grapeseed oil
1 tbs. toasted sesame oil
2 ½ cups vegetable stock
tamari to taste
5 tbs. miso, dissolved in ½ cup stock
hot sauce to taste

2 cups cooked brown rice


Heat sesame oil over medium heat in a large stock pot. Add onions and leek and sauté for 10 minutes, until beginning to brown. Add the remaining vegetables along with the garlic, ginger, wakame, tofu and salt, turn down the heat to low and cook for 10-20 minutes, until root vegetables are soft, adding stock as needed to keep from burning and stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, toast brown rice flour in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until aromatic, stirring frequently. Add the sesame oils and stir to combine. Gradually pour in the stock, stirring to combine between pours. Cook for 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

Pour thickened stock into vegetable mixture and stir gently to combine. Return to a simmer. When you have reached desired heat, add diluted miso and season with hot sauce and tamari to taste. Serve over brown rice.

* If reheating, keep diluted miso mixture separate and add to each bowl just before serving, to preserve it’s probiotic qualities.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Baked Sweet Potato with Crispy Chickpeas and Spinach

This is a simple mid week dinner, for those nights when you want to nourish your body without getting too fancy. Well, maybe just a little fancy. 
The sweet potatoes take some time in the oven to roast until sticky sweet, but it is well worth it in the end. You just can't get those results with any other method. 
The chickpeas are simple yet bursting with flavor and texture, and help round out the meal with protein and an extra dose of fiber. Don't skip the basil, it adds a freshness and flavor punch that you'd sorely miss. Likewise, don't skimp on the olive oil and use the most flavorful one you have- it is integral for the crispy coat on the chickpeas, and adds a bright note when paired with the fresh basil.

Baked Sweet Potato with Crispy Chickpeas and Spinach
Serves 2 
1 large sweet potato (1 lb.)
1 tbs. oil
1 small red onion, minced
15.5 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
4 cups baby spinach, ¼ lb.
½ cup basil, finely minced
1 tbs. sesame seeds
¼ tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and drizzle with oil. Place cut side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, rotating after 20, or until very tender when pierced with a fork, and golden brown on the bottom.  Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile. place olive oil, red onions and chickpeas in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas are golden and beginning to split, about 10 minutes. Add spinach, sesame seeds and salt continue to cook for 5 minutes, covered, until spinach is completely wilted. Stir in basil. Serve crispy chickpeas over sweet potato halves, seasoning with additional salt and pepper to taste.