Two warming recipes to get you through these cold days

11 Jan

The last few days have been really cold in Oakland, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. There are plenty of ways to warm up, but my favorite way to do so is with food. So here are a couple recipes to warm you up on these cold days.

Miso Rock Soup

  • Several cups of water
  • A few tablespoons of white or red miso paste
  • Vegetables of any kind
  • Tofu, noodles or eggs

For a couple of months, my wife and I were both unemployed so we needed to stretch our dollars. One of the cheapest meals was miso “rock” soup. It’s rock soup because you can add just about anything to it and it will taste good.

Just boil several cups of water (depending how much soup you want) and add about a tablespoon of miso paste at a time, stirring until it’s fully dissolved. Taste and add more miso paste until it’s sufficiently flavorful.

Now comes the fun part – raiding your refrigerator. You can put almost anything in miso soup and it will taste good. Steamed vegetables, left over noodles, left over mushu, hard boiled eggs, etc. Get creative. If it’s neutral or Asian in flavor, chances are it will taste delicious in the soup. If you don’t have any leftovers, grab kale, mushrooms, carrots or pretty much any other vegetable that’s new or on the edge, chop it up, and throw it in the broth.

Besides being super cheap and easy, this soup is great because it keeps for several days in the fridge so you can get several meals out of it.

Coconut Quinoa

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • One can coconut milk
  • Handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, or any other nuts you have on hand)
  • Handful of dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, currants, apricots, etc.)
  • Agave to taste
  • Cinnamon to taste

Lately I’ve been really bored with breakfast. Some days I have time to make a hot breakfast, but usually I’m stuck with toast or cereal, which just isn’t satisfying. So last night I made a big pot of coconut quinoa so that I’d have warming breakfasts for the next several days.

First, rinse the quinoa thoroughly with cold water. Next, put the quinoa, water, and coconut milk in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cover. After about five minutes, toss in a handful of nuts. Five minutes later, add in the dried fruit. Five minutes after that (15 total minutes of simmering), the quinoa should be ready. Most of the liquid should have soaked in or evaporated. Taste the quinoa. If you’d like more flavor, add some agave and/or cinnamon to taste and stir. Agave works much better than sugar or honey since it integrates much easier and more evenly.

Not only does this make a hearty, warming breakfast, it’s also a great, healthy late night snack.

I hope these recipes help you stay warm!

2 Responses to “Two warming recipes to get you through these cold days”

  1. Marc January 16, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Miso soup is a great dish to know how to cook because it can also be enhanced with many shelf-stable ingredients from the pantry. For example, dried mushrooms, sea vegetables like wakame (for the soup) and kombu (to enhance the flavor of the broth, usually not for eating), a box of diced tofu from an aseptic box, etc. Also, many items that store well are good in the soup — like Japanese sweet potatoes or carrots — and baby greens from the garden can be a tasty addition (spinach, mizuna, etc.)

    For inspiration, check out Harris Salat’s list of 66 traditional ingredient combinations for miso soup at Japanese Food Report.

  2. loosefemme February 3, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Tried both of these recipes and liked them both. More (gluten free) recipes, please!

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