May 14th, 2015
Recipe: miso soup
As some of you know, we will be welcoming a little friend into the house in a few weeks. Once she gets here, Jeremy and I shall be puppy bound for a little while. Our plan is to work (and play) with her intensively in the early months to get her off to a good start. We feel that Kaweah was really great in some ways, and really really not good in other respects. We fault ourselves for that, although Kaweah had a blast regardless. It’s the rolling-gleefully-in-poop that I’d like to avoid with the next pup. Oh, and perhaps having her come when called. But to do all of this, we’ve doubled up on our workloads for the past couple of months to clear the summer for puppy. In doing so, Jeremy kinda ran himself ragged and for the last week has been fighting off a sore throat, congestion, and basically – The Man Cold. Since May has been acting like March (and March totally pretended it was May), a nice pot of hot soup has been perfect for both of us.
One thing I look forward to whenever I sit down at a sushi bar is a bowl of miso soup. This is particularly true after a day spent in the snow (on skis, of course!). I can feel the heat travel down into my belly and radiate out toward my cold hands, toes, and nose. But it’s rare that we get to hit up a sushi bar after getting some turns, because 1) we live in the sticks and 2) we aren’t made of money. That said, it is so simple to make your own miso soup at home and it tastes every bit as delicious as the restaurant version.
green onion, dried wakama (seaweed), shiro miso, hondashi, water, soft tofu
I can find all of these ingredients in my local Whole Foods store, with the exception of the hondashi. The hondashi requires a trip to the Asian market, where you can find all of these ingredients – but maybe not organic. Shiro miso is white miso paste. You can also use yellow or red miso, depending on the flavor you want to achieve. The darker the color of the miso, the more intense the flavor. I prefer the more delicate flavor of the white miso – and I also happen to have a ton of it in my refrigerator. Hondashi is instant bonito (skipjack tuna) soup stock. I keep a jar of the hondashi granules in my refrigerator. You only need a little bit to make dashi, but it is the bulk of the soup. Without dashi, the miso soup tastes rather flat and uninspired.
slicing the tofu into little cubes
measured and prepped
**Jump for more butter**
May 10th, 2015
There’s no recipe today, because… puppy!
We went to meet our puppy over the weekend. Actually, we got to meet her and her six brothers – seven little chunksters in total. At six weeks old they were ridiculously adorable, stumbling clumsily over one another, drunk on puppyhood. I’m amazed that the universe didn’t implode from this ultra concentration of cuteness.
jeremy and puppy get acquainted
holding our little girl
checking out what the other littermates were up to
this little guy came up to investigate (and taste) my shoe
Everyone has been asking if we have a name yet. We have a name. We have several names. I’ve been keeping a running list of all the puppy names that came to mind in the last three months. Jeremy believes it’s best to name the dog after you have met her and gotten a sense of her personality. So for now, she’s “puppy” until we bring her home in a few weeks. She’s a very sweet girl – calm and curious and so, so little! She isn’t a fearful dog, which is good. And she’s just as rough and tumble as her brothers, but they are all pretty gentle with one another (as puppies go).
they flopped down frequently, because they’re puppies
jeremy got her attention
she’s got the right idea
hanging with her brothers
I’m excited to bring puppy home, but it’s not the same as when we first met Kaweah. I think back then, all I knew was the joy of getting a puppy of my own. Now, I know the joy of puppy, the sadness of watching her grow old, and the heartbreak of letting her go. Don’t get me wrong, I would not have it any other way. I promised Kaweah I would be by her side until the very end and I make that same promise to this pup. And on this journey together, we will have ourselves plenty of adventures and yummy snacks and cuddles and friends and lots and lots of love.
five minutes later, they were sleeping in a pile
except this one passed out before he could get across the pen
May 6th, 2015
Brioche is my absolute favorite bread. It’s not just because of all that buttery, fluffy deliciousness. The first time I tried a brioche was on my very first “date” with Jeremy. I had asked him if he was free and he said he was. He lied. He skipped math recitation. Jeremy never skips class. Never. We went to the bakery in Old Town Pasadena on a Friday afternoon and shared a brioche. It tasted so heavenly. Or maybe my memories are biased because I was really fond of this shy, polite fellow with a sweet smile. Fast forward to now – in Colorado. It’s hard to find good brioche (one could say the same for finding a good fellow). Sure, they sell it here and there, but it tastes like sawdust and crumbles apart before it reaches your mouth. The only way I could find that butter-rich, delicate brioche was to order it in some restaurants or cafés. It’s about time I remedied the problem. All I really want is the perfect hamburger bun.
The ingredient list is short, but the process is on the long side. It’s worth it, people. We swears it on The Precious. So let’s get to work.
eggs, flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter, milk – that’s it!
mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together
add eggs and milk
mix with the paddle until clumpy, then switch to the dough hook
Honestly, I don’t know how people made brioche before stand mixers existed. Maybe they just had enormous arms from all of the kneading. A stand mixer will make this process so much less painful for you, but you can’t walk away from the mixer while it’s running. Mine had a tendency to walk itself around and I’m sure it would have walked itself off the counter only to bash its brains in if I hadn’t held it in place. There is a lot of mixing and scraping and the motor will get hot. When the dough comes together, start adding the softened butter a little at a time. At first it looks like the butter just spins around and around the dough, but eventually it will smear out and become incorporated into the dough. Have patience and wait to add the next pat of butter only after the previous one has disappeared.
scrape down the sides of the bowl and the dough hook
add butter one pat at a time
half of the butter has been mixed in
knead the dough a few times by hand
**Jump for more butter**