Monday, August 25, 2014

Miso Paste - The Sequel

OK, OK I have slacked a bit and then went off on my Parts Unknown tangent, but as promised here is the second recipe that came out of my experimentation with red miso paste. On the side of the miso paste container I got, there was a recipe for miso barbeque sauce. As you might have noticed by now, I only stick to a recipe when there is actual chemistry involved that needs to be heeded in order to prevent culinary disasters. Otherwise, I pretty much try to challenge the norm. I was not particularly happy with what the ingredients in the recipe noted on the container yielded (to me it came out a little too acidy), so I adapted it and made it a little more me. Noted below you will find the ingredients list broken down into what the recipe called for and then what I chose to add to it. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Miso Barbeque Sauce
Base Ingredients:
2 Cloves of garlic - minced
1/2 Cup of onion -  minced (vidalia will probably work best if you want your sauce to be sweet)
2 TBSP Sesame oil
1/4 Cup of mushrooms - sliced (the thinner the better)
6 oz tomato paste
1/4 Cup red miso paste
3 TBSP Vinegar
3/4 Cup of Water
Extra ingredients:
1/2 Cup Packed brown sugar
1/4 Cup dry white wine
1/4 Cup maple syrup (in honor of Nadia G, one of my favorite Canadians)

In a nice, deep pan, saute your garlic and onions in the sesame oil on medium heat. Let them get nice tender and fragrant. Add the mushrooms and saute until those are nice and soft too. Add in the remainder of the ingredients and mix with a whisk, making sure to break down the lumps from the miso paste and brown sugar. Once everything is nicely incorporated, cover and allow to simmer for five to ten minutes. Uncover and let simmer on low to reduce and thicken to your desired consistency (some people like their sauce a little runny. I prefer mine a little thicker because I like it to grab on to whatever I am putting it on). Voila! You now have barbeque sauce with a little twist. Now what to do with it?

I chose to use my sauce to coat a beautiful NY Strip I had been trying to figure out what to do with. I first coated the steak in olive oil, sea salt and garlic and let it rest in that mixture for abut 5 minutes. I placed the steak on a rack and put it in the broiler for 5 minutes on each side, then I took the steak out and coated it in the barbecue sauce and broiled it again for 4 minutes on each side. It was delicious. The picture below might not do it justice but I can assure you it was wonderful (and no, I did not eat that humungus piece of meat in one sitting. I still have some self control left).

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Food and Politics - Why Anthony Bourdain is More Than Just a Chef

If you have read my blog for long enough, you may have realized by now that I have a tremendous amount of respect if not affection toward Anthony Bourdain. Maverick, rebel, non-conformist, etc.. probably some of his most endearing qualities and the fact that the man can cook doesn't hurt my image of him as an Adonis of sorts. However, the quality that I have come to appreciate most about him is the fact that he is not affraid to discuss and present difficult political issues in his shows. This has perhaps put him in the unique position of being able to humanize issues that the news shows talking heads merely dissect and skew with their constant nonsensical jabber. There is so much of a difference in showing a political situation from disected facts and then seeing it presented from the point of view of people who are sharing good food and showing a side seldom seen. The side of people inside the conflict sharing their fears and hopes over the food that represents their daily living.

The particular reason for this post is regarding the very unsettling situation taking place in Jerusalem and the fact that is was not until a few days ago that I got to see the episode of Parts Unknown that was filmed in this region. It is, in my point of view perhaps one of the best he has done and one that I feel anyone who wants to see the human side of the conflict should be required to watch. Here is part of it that I managed to get from You Tube. Thank you so much Mr. Bourdain for doing this show and for presenting both sides so eloquently. No one could have done a better job. You are more than just a fantastic chef. You are perhaps the best journalist out there right now.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Week With Red Miso Paste

I have been in a culinary rut for a bit. I decided that the rut had to end and decided to get myself out of it by challenging myself to use an ingredient that I had not used before. As you might have guessed by now that ingredient was red miso paste. What is is? Well in essence it is fermented soybeans with some rice or barley thrown into the mix. Red miso is usually fermented for over a year and has a very robust and salty taste. If you want a little more in-depth information about miso check out this Wikipedia link that really gets into the knitty gritty of this awesome and very versatile Japanese staple.

I will start off with the first of two dishes I made with my challenge ingredient. I call it Tilapia in Red Miso Maple Glaze. Since I am flying mostly solo these days I made this recipe that is supposed to be for one but really could feed two.

1 Tilapia Fillet (usually about 3/4 lb)
1 TBSP Red Miso Paste
2 TBSP Maple Syrup
1 TBSP Olive Oil/Sesame Oil
1 Garlic clove - Minced
Optional Ingredient - Black figs

Preheat Oven to 380 degrees Fahrenheit. mix your miso paste and maple syrup together. Take your tilapia filet and spinkle the oil and garlic over it and massage them on the fillet. Add the miso maple syrup mixture and coat the fillet with it. Let the fillet rest in this nice mix for about 10 minutes. As an option I got some black figs and sliced them thinly and placed the slices on top of the fillet.

On a baking dish place a piece of foil large enough to wrap around the Tilapia fillet. Place your fillet right in the middle and fold the foil over it to contain the heat and allow the fish to sort of poach in all the wonderful liquid it was marinating in. Bake for about 20 minutes. As an added step, since I like a little crispiness, I placed the fillet under the Broiler for about 4 minutes which caramelized those figs nicely.

To serve you can either accompany your fillet with some rice and a steamed vegetable or like me you can place it on top of a nice massaged kale salad garnished with some dried cranberries.


I will give you the other recipe on the next post. I am tired and need my beauty sleep.