Here’s an incredibly easy soup I made as a late afternoon snack at work today. Before leaving the house, I broke off a 3″ piece of dried kombu to take with me and put a tablespoon of miso (use white or red), 1/2 teaspoon of wakame, and 1/4 cup julienned chard in a small Tupperware container. (If I’d had any, I’d have taken 1/4 cup diced tofu and/or a tablespoon of chopped scallions.) When I got into work, I put the kombu in a microwave-safe bowl and filled with about a cup of water, maybe a little more. Then I let the kombu soak while I went about my job:
This made a kombu dashi. When I was ready to make the soup, I removed the kombu (you could also snip it into bite-sized pieces with scissors and return it to the soup to eat, but I don’t like the texture). I stirred in the miso, wakame, and chard.
Then I heated it in the microwave for a minute and a half – you don’t want it to come to a boil.
And that was it: miso soup with no effort. Satisfying on a dreary, rainy, cold day.
I also got home pretty late tonight and wanted something very quick and easy for dinner. More soup, of course. It’s really a soup kind of day here. (I think every day is a soup kind of day.) I bought a huge bag of these frozen “kimchee vegetable dumplings” at the new Lotte Plaza the other weekend. I just threw about ten dumplings (for me and Mark) into a pot of simmering veggie broth (any flavor; I used “chicken” tonight), added some julienned carrots, the currently ubiquitous rainbow chard, and a splash of sesame chili oil, and heated the dumplings through, which takes about 5 minutes.
Notice the pretty bowl I also got at Lotte! And, uh, the chopsticks I also got at Lotte. I have a compulsion to buy housewares in Asian markets. I can’t stop myself. I really have more chopsticks than a person needs to own in a lifetime. In my defense, I prefer them to forks, even for non-Asian foods. Also, they cost a whopping dollar a set. Cut me some slack!
Anyway, the dumplings are pretty good. The first time I had them, I thought I had misread the ingredients label because I thought they might have pork or something in them, but I have checked it carefully and it’s all soy: “soybean curd” and “soybean protein”.
Then I had a run-in with a carrotsquid:
(Mark and I actually keep a huge stash of googly eyes in the kitchen for just such emergencies as this one. Is that weird?)