Saturday, August 25, 2012

where I find some soy-free miso paste and eat pasta on Friday

Scroll down for recipe for very quick, Cry-Baby Cucumber Pickles.

If you ever are in a grocery store and you see a person with a foolish grin on her face cradling a bottle of something in her arms as if it's a precious and fragile as a baby chick, then you probably saw me yesterday.

I've looked everywhere I could think of in town for No-Soy Miso.  I'm surprised by how little miso is for sale in town these days, soy or otherwise.  Finally took a long shot and went across town to one final health food shop.  Thought I would have to beg for them to order it in, but nope.  As soon as I got inside I saw a huge double fridge full of miso, with one whole shelf dedicated to South River non-soy Miso paste.  Absolutely thrilled.

I choose a chickpea miso as it's the one everyone seems to talk about.  There is no soy in it.  It's made with salt, rice, koji and chickpeas.  It smells and tastes a lot like I remember white miso paste and tastes relatively mild.  It has a chunky texture with the occasional whole chickpea in it.

Once I got home, I realized that it's been over a decade since I've used miso.  I stopped cooking with it even before I knew I had a soy sensitivity due to the stomach ache.  I couldn't remember what to do with it.

I took a small taste and the first thing that came to mind is that it would taste good with popcorn.  It's the oddest food intuition I've ever had and I don't know if it is something I want to try, but there you have it, first reaction.

Instead of popcorn, I took a spoon full in a small mug, finely chopped some chives and added boiling water.

It was Okay, but tasted a lot like I remember miso tasting.  Since my body is use to getting sick from eating traditional, soy based miso, it was difficult to get over the negative physical reaction my body has to miso soup.

The South River's miso is very chunky in texture and I don't think this is the best way to eat it as it tasted like hot water, with flavourful chunks in it.  I think if I wanted to make an 'instant' miso soup I would mash this up quite a bit more.  Might add a pinch of Shio Koji if I were to make some miso balls.

I don't know if it's a function of his age, but The Ancient has a bit of a mean streak and usually takes it out on me.  I call this the dinner of tears as I needed comfort food after one of his insensitivities.

Chick Pea miso soup I talked about before, some anise bread, salami, garlic pasta (because it's Friday) and  cry-baby cucumber pickles.

Cry-Baby Cucumber Pickles

Half a young cucumber
small pinch of salt
1 drop sesame oil
pinch of sesame seeds

  • Thinly slice the cucumber in half moon slices.
  • In a bowl, massage cucumber with salt until they start to weep.
  • With your hands, squeeze out your frustration and excess moisture from cucumber.
  • Gently massage one or two drops of sesame oil in with the cucumber slices.
  • Top with tear drop shaped sesame seeds.

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