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Cooking with Miso with Lorraine Fitzmaurice

Monday, 12 October 2009

The population are fast becoming health conscious cooks in search of healthy foods that taste delicious, that's we have Lorraine in to introduce us to the benefits of Miso.

Lorraine Fitzmaurice - professional cook and proprietor of Blazing Salads

Blazing Salads began in 1982 as a wholefood/vegetarian restaurant. The best quality ingredients were used in their whole form, the recipes came out of experimentation and a wide reading of cookbooks and food magazines and a menu that was interesting, tasty and nutritious was created. Word soon spread and it became one of the busiest and popular eating spots in Dublin.

In 2000 we decided that Dublin needed a wholefood/vegetarian take-away, serving high quality, tasty food, full of nutrition to take home or back to the office. Since opening the Deli we see a demand for quality breads, salads and ready made meals. We have now closed the restaurant so that we can meet this demand.

Towards the end of 2004 we opened a certified organic bakery which supplies daily specialised food shops with quality hand rolled sourdough breads was expanded 2 weeks ago with the intention of supplying outside the Dublin area and supplying other baked goods.


What is Miso?

Made from fermented soybeans, miso is a thick paste-like substance. Miso is brownish in colour and tastes extremely salty and tangy on its own. It is traditionally used in Japanese cooking but there are many ways of incorporating it into traditional dishes as Lorraine will show today

How do you make Miso?

To make miso, soy beans and sometimes a grain such as rice or wheat are combined with salt and a mould culture, and then aged in cedar vats for one to three years. The process of making miso is complex and requires a lot of experience, so not something to do at home. It is readily available at health food stores.

What are the health benefits?

Miso is a rich source of proteins, fibre, minerals, vitamins and isoflavones.
Miso provides excellent nutrition for everyone but particularly vegetarians and vegans. Since its base is soya bean, it is rich in protein. It is also a live food that aids digestion and contains small amounts of B12. Anyone on a vegetarian or vegan diet would benefit from eating a small bowl of miso soup daily because of the B12 content and the inclusion of seaweed provides iron and calcium. It can help with anaemia and is a good blood purifier. Children under 18 months old should not be given miso, as it has a high salt content. If giving it to older children half the amount of miso.

Studies have also found that substances in miso help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Note: Miso is high in sodium, so it may not be appropriate for those on low-sodium diets.

What are the different types of miso?
There are 3 basic types; barley (mugi), rice (genmai), white miso. Another hatcho miso (very strong) is generally not widely used. The best everyday and readily available miso is mugi miso. Only use the unpasteurised variety if eating for nutritional value.

Miso Soup with tofu / spring onion
Serves 6

. 1 strip of dulse seaweed or wakame seaweed, 7 ½ cm (3 in) long
. 1 onion sliced thinly into ½ moon pieces
. unrefined sunflower oil
. 1 carrot, cut into julienne strips
. 2 green leaves, (eg. new cabbage, spinach, pak choi, turnip tops etc)
. daikon, cut into julienne strips (same amount as carrot)
. 115g (4 oz) cooked and rinsed noodles (optional)(soba, udon, rice)
. 80g (3 oz) cube tofu
. mugi miso (barley miso)
. finely chopped scallion, to garnish

1. Rinse the seaweed and soak in a little water. Set aside.
2. In a large pot, over a medium heat, sauté the onion in a little sunflower oil until soft. Remove from the heat and add the vegetables.
3. Lightly squeeze the seaweed and chop. Add to the pot along with the soaking liquid.
4. Pour 1 litre (1 ¾ pint) of water into the pot. Place a lid on top and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Dice the tofu into small cubes and add to the soup, allowing it to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
6. Place approx. 1 teaspoon of miso per person into a bowl. Add a little boiled water to blend to a smooth paste. Add to the soup and gently simmer for a further 2-3 minutes.
7. Do not boil the miso as it kills off the live enzymes.
8. Divide the noodles between 6 bowls. Pour the soup over the noodles and sprinkle with scallion (spring onion ).

Miso and Mustard Dressing for Salad Leaves

. 1 tablespoon of miso
. 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
. 1 teaspoon of grated onion
. squeeze of lemon juice
. 60ml (2 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

Place all the ingredients in a screw top jar and shake well to combine.
2. Alternately place in a bowl and whisk until well combined.
3. Use to dress salad leaves.

Fettuccine / Broccoli/ French beans with Miso Pesto
Serves 6

. 6 nests of fettuccine pasta
. 1 large bunch of broccoli
. 1 large handful of French beans
. miso pesto
. Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Wash the broccoli and divide into bite size pieces leaving stalk on the floret.
3. Lightly peel the softer part of the stalk and slice into julienne pieces.
4. Place in a pot. Wash, top and tail the French beans and place in the pot with the broccoli.
5. Add a pinch of salt and ½ inch of water.
6. Place a lid on top, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 6/8 minutes until cooked al dente. Remove the lid and set aside.
7. Cook the fettuccine in the boiling salted water until cooked al dente.
8. Drain in a colander and place back in the pot.
9. Add the cooked vegetables.
10. Toss with several spoons of miso pesto until the pasta and vegetables are coated thoroughly.
11. Check the seasoning and serve.
12. Sprinkle with parmesan if you wish.

Miso Pesto

This is a delicious pesto. It has a great shelf life, as the miso acts as a preservative.
It is vegan but will be enjoyed by everyone. Drizzle over salads, bruschetta, spread on tofu and bake in the oven. Use like any other pesto.

. 55g (2 oz) basil leaves
. 2 tablespoons of mugi miso (barley miso)
. 55g toasted walnuts
. 1 teaspoon toasted fennel seeds, finely ground using a mortar and pestle
. 375 ml (13 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil.

1. Place the basil, miso, walnuts, and ground fennel seeds in a food processor.
2. Pulse into a coarse paste.
3. With the motor running, pour the olive oil slowly into the feed tube of the food processor to make a smooth paste.