The eye of the storm -or- Mexican miso soup

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As I mentioned before I have a few things going on here. Family visiting, ridiculous deadlines at school (i.e. I procrastinated and am now paying the price), and of course the biggest obstacle, moving. So, please forgive me if my posts have been and will be few and far between until June. Thanks. I really appreciate your understanding (I think one of my favorite things about writing this blog is that I get to make up whatever responses from my readers that I want. If only it worked that way in life....).

In between turning in yet another draft of my proposal and the arrival of my family, not to mention all the packing that would come after their departure I had an afternoon. I decided there was no better way to spend it than cooking. And so I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks, Fresh Food Fast, by Peter Berley.

This book is one of those that I find myself turning to frequently. It is arranged by season and menus, which I find very useful, especially because shopping by season always saves money at the grocery store. Another added bonus about the use of this book is that it lends itself really well to substitutions. I haven't made one thing from this book that I didn't like. Not all of the recipes in this book have accompanying pictures and I still find them just as enchanting. To me, it says the world about a cookbook when one can read it without any picture in it. After all, how can one possibly read a book without any pictures? Twenty points for the reference (must be left as a comment to this post).

Oh, and the last thing that I love about this book is that it's vegetarian, but you won't notice anything missing. It is full of delectable recipes, intriguing combinations, and filling meals that satisfy everyone.

The only thing to look out for in this book is that some of the recipes are faster than others, especially if you prepare both things in the menu. Also, some of the methods involve extra steps or work that I find unnecessary. Therefore, due to the ingredients available in my kitchen at the time and some of my own tweaking the recipe below is a bit different than what you will find in the book. If you want to see the original you will have to buy it. You won't be disappointed.

Mexican Miso Soup with Rice and Beans
adapted from Fresh Food Fast

As I mentioned before I have altered this recipe according the the ingredients I had available. I have also eliminated a couple of steps I thought were unnecessary as well as eliminating a lot of the oil and butter originally called for. I highly recommend prepping all of your ingredients first. Unless you have a sous chef on hand.

-For the Soup-

This is one of those soups that looks best right away so if you are serving it to people you want to impress try to do everything up to adding the vegetables and save the rest until you are about 10 minutes away from wanting to serve it.

One head of garlic, smashed
One handful cilantro leaves, chopped
The stems from those cilantro leaves
1/4 c light oils such as sunflower, canola, or grapeseed
6 corn tortillas, halved and cut into small strips or the equivalent of blue corn or other tortilla chips
1 avocado, sliced
2 limes
2 c broccoli florets and stems
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced thinly
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 c (or more to taste) or white or mild miso paste
6 c water

Place the water, crushed garlic, and cilantro stems in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the head and simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain out the garlic and cilantro stems and return the broth to the stove over a medium heat.

While the broth comes to a boil heat 1/4 c oil in a non-stick pan over a medium-high heat. Once the oil becomes hot, place the tortilla strips in the pan and fry until they are as crispy as you want them. This should take at least five minutes. Once they are done place them on a paper towel and sprinkle them with salt. Come to think of it a little cayenne might be nice on these too if heat is your thing. Also, if you want to skip this step entirely, I think that broken blue corn tortilla chips would fit the bill just fine.

Once you have finished the strips and strained the broth, place the broccoli, carrots, and jalapenos into the broth and cook them for 2-5 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your vegetables. While these are cooking, try the tortilla strips...they are amazing!

Once you vegetables are almost cooked turn off the heat and remove the pot from the hot burner. Place the miso in a small bowel with some of the broth and mix it thoroughly. Trust me, skipping this step does not save any time. Once it is mixed return it all to the soup and stir. Add more to taste. (It is important to not add the miso when the water is boiling. Apparently, it kills all the stuff in the miso that is good for you. I read it on the internet, so it must be true.)

In each bowel squeeze in about one quarter of a lime, ladle in the soup, top with some cilantro, avocado slices, tortilla strips, and a lime wedge to squeeze over the soup and rice and serve immediately.

-For the rice and beans-

1 c basmati rice
2 1/4 c water
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 onion, diced
1 can black beans, no salt added
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c grated pepper jack cheese, optional

Bring the water and rice to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and let it simmer for approx. 15 min, until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.

Meanwhile, head the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and red pepper flakes and cook for about a minute. Then add the onion and cook until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes.

Once the onions are done add the beans with the liquid, corn, and salt and pepper. Continue to cook for another couple of minutes then remove it from the heat.

When the rice is done stir it into the bean mixture.

Serve with the grated cheese on top.

About leftovers. This soup really doesn't look so pretty the day after, but still tastes fine. I wouldn't trust the miso after that. The tortilla strips don't last past the evening either. But, I recycled mine in my scrambled eggs for two days and it was delicious (just throw them in the pan and pour the eggs over it). The rice and beans of course, will last much longer.


  1. how many servings of the soup does this recipe make?


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