Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pottery and Miso, Mostly

Good Morning, Kittens.

Everyone back to work today? Workin' hard for the money? So hard for the money? Workin' hard for the money but they still don't treat you right?

I know, right. It's a difficult life, but we're relying on *you* to keep our economy strong (and if I don't get a job soon to send me cash)!

Pottery class last night was interesting. I required lots of instructor assistance. Fortunately, there were several people absent so I didn't feel like I was monopolizing the instructor's attention.

I had to trim three oddly-shaped urn-like things (which will be made into sort of spouted water jugs). The instructor had to throw a chuck, which could hold them in place while I trimmed the bottoms. I liked how the first two turned out, but the third one is still too heavy. Oh, well. Then, the instructor trimmed the lids for me, because I "take too long to trim things." Sorry. I'm careful. If I am motivated today, I may go back to the studio to attach spouts and handles to the urn-like things. We shall see. I also have to go to the post office to send a package.

Since Marathon Mom requested the Miso Soup Instructions, this is how I learned to make miso soup when I lived in Japan (slightly modified to make it vegetarian, but I'll include info for non-vegetarians too).

Miso Soup (4 servings)

In medium saucepan, add

4 cups water
1 piece of konbu (dried kelp, I think)
[Non-vegetarians can also add 1 tsp of dashi (dried fish powder) per cup of water].

Bring to a boil and boil for at least 10 minutes.
Remove and discard the konbu.

Next, add the vegetables (or whatever you want to have in the soup).

This time I used:
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 small kabocha (japanese pumpkin), seeded, peeled, and cut into chunks
1/2 package of assorted fresh mushrooms [if you want to use dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstitute them for 30 minutes or so in warm water first. Then, use some of that water in the broth above]
1/2 package of firm tofu.

After the vegetables are nearly cooked, reduce the heat to low and begin adding the miso paste. The proper way to add the miso is to smash it slowly through a sieve partially submerged in the soup. Do this until the soup has the flavor you like. Some people like their miso soup thinner than others. I like it fairly strong. I think I used about 4 heaping tbsps of miso.

Things you should note:

-Never boil the soup after the miso has been added. I don't know why this is. It's just what I was told.
-Don't make more than you can eat. Miso soup does *not* keep well. It is usually OK for breakfast the next morning, but after that it tastes weird.

Any questions?

Oh, and I finished reading The Inheritance of Loss last night. It was wonderful ... here's an excerpt which resonated with me:

Biju stood there in that dusty tepid soft sari night. Sweet drabness of home -- he felt everything shifting and clicking into place around him, felt himself slowly shrinking back to size, the enormous anxiety of being a foreigner ebbing ... He looked about and for the first time in God knows how long, his vision unblurred and he found that he could see clearly.
More later. *smooches*


  1. That is a really cool recipe. I will definitely try!

  2. vtknitboy5:06 PM

    yummy! good recipe. i substitute the onions and put in scallions at the end, and put in fresh ginger at the start. in spring i use sweet white miso, in fall i use white and red or barley-heavier!

    the reason not to boil after adding the miso is cuz it's a live fermented 'culture' like live bacteria. the boiling water kills it. yum.

  3. i forgot. i cook macrobiotic too. i use snow peas in the miso soup in the spring, and the squash in the fall/winter. acorn squash is also good with adzuki beans and kombu. i make my own shiitake dashi! yum. we should talk....

  4. Boiling the miso not only kills it, it makes it taste bitter.