Thursday, December 30, 2010

miso bad at beans + chopsticks

I really need to stop doing that.  I mean, really, there are only so many times you can turn "miso" into a culturally insensitive pun before it's not funny anymore.  Or, maybe it was never funny and I'm too much like my father.  Regardless, I couldn't resist, so forgive me this one last time.

In case my wretched title didn't give it away, tonight's dinner was Miso Udon Stirfry with Greens and Beans from Appetite for Reduction.  I was a little hesitant by the time I started prepping because it seemed like a lot of work.  Somewhere in my pondering, though, it appears I started combining the ingredients lists for two separate recipes because after I had washed my plum tomatoes and pulled out the ginger, I realized they weren't a part of this recipe and back in their chilly home they went. 

Once I set about prepping the ingredients that actually are a part of the recipe, everything went pretty quickly.  Once again, I must attribute my new-found speed with my handsome new knives.  Whenever someone says "size doesn't matter," I've become convinced they don't know how valuable an extra couple of inches are.

I'm talking about my 6" utility knife.  Get your mind out of the gutter.

Anyway, I burnt the broccoli, just like Isa said to and laughed to myself about a memory it evoked: [put on your flashback glasses and watch the screen] Many, many years ago, between becoming a vegetarian and learning how to cook, I moved into my first apartment in the city all by myself.  It was a terrific apartment - about twice the size of the one I moved into with my husband (yes, logic took a vacation in that decision-making process), with a bigger kitchen and a designated area to be used for dining.  I relied pretty heavily on frozen broccoli and "stir-frying" it in an old aluminum skillet as part of one of the only dinners I could make: veggie lo mein.  One night, I was doing my best impression of "making dinner" for Mister and I and he had the nerve to interrupt the rapt attention I was paying to the broccoli to give me hugs and kisses.  In the moments that followed, I burnt the broccoli and did not recognize this could be spun into a culinary delicacy.

So, after I purposely burnt the broccoli tonight, without Mister's help, I sauteed the garlic and chard while the udon boiled, and then completely forgot to steal a 1/2 cup of the pasta water to mix with the miso until I was watching the steam rise as I was pouring it down the sink.  Oh well.  This is another one of those things that always happens: If I make a fast-paced meal, like a stirfry, and especially if that meal includes broccoli (for some reason), I will inevitably forget something important and end up slowing myself down as a result.

I had two moments which gave me pause.  The first was the addition of the black beans.  I thought to myself, "how is this going to work?" while glancing at the table I set with chopsticks.  The second moment was when I was whisking the newly heated 1/2 cup of water with the 1/3 cup of miso and noticing how thick the sauce was.  As I poured it over the udon, beans, and greens, I wondered if I was missing something - tamari, oil, something.  I couldn't believe the entire "sauce" was just miso dissolved in water...but it was.  And it was delicious.

And Mister and I both had a pile of beans at the bottom of our bowls, because beans and chopsticks do not match.

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