Miso Hungry

If you’ve never had anything with miso in it, it’s an amazing, beautifully umami, easy to use miracle-food that’s chock full of all kinds of healthy stuff. Japanese have been making it for millennia. If the only way you’ve experienced it is as an accompaniment to some yummy sushi, then you’d do well to know that this odd looking paste can elevate just about anything you cook.

The ingredients that give the following recipe its name, miso and maple syrup, are strong characters, but they play well with each together. Their flavors are warm and satisfying, mellow and not immediately knowable at first, hovering in that space between sweet and savory. Coarse-crumbed and sturdy, easy to slice, easy to serve at both breakfast and to pick up and nibble in the afternoon. Good with butter and jam or with a little cheese. And it keeps well: It’ll hold at room temperature for about 4 days.

Miso-Maple Breakfast Cake

Miso and Maple Breakfast Cake

Makes one 8.5-inch loaf

Ingredients:
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup granulated sugar 

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 

 Finely grated zest of 1 orange or tangerine 

1/4 cup white or yellow miso 

1/4 cup pure maple syrup 

2 large eggs, at room temperature 

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 

1/3 cup buttermilk (well shaken before measuring)

1/4 cup orange marmalade or apricot jam (optional)

Directions:
Center a rack in the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 1/2-inch loaf pan and dust with flour, or use baker’s spray. 

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Put the sugar, salt and zest in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl that you can use with a hand mixer. Reach in and rub the ingredients together until the sugar is moist and fragrant; it may even turn orange. Add the butter, miso and maple syrup to the sugar. If using a stand mixer, attach the bowl and fit it with the paddle attachment. 

Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl and beater(s) as needed, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. One by one, add the eggs, beating for a minute after each goes in. Beat in the vanilla. The mixture might curdle, but this is a temporary condition. Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredients all at once and pulse to begin the blending, turning the mixer on and off in very short spurts on the lowest speed. Then, beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated. With the mixer still on low, pour in the buttermilk and blend well. Scrape the batter into the pan, working it into the corners and smoothing the top. 

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, checking the loaf after 40 minutes and covering the top loosely with a foil or tented parchment if it’s browning too fast. The loaf is properly baked when it pulls away from the sides of the pan and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the bread rest for 5 minutes, then run a table knife around the edges of the loaf and unmold onto the rack; turn it right side up. 

If you’d like to glaze the loaf, stir the marmalade or jam with 1 tablespoon water and heat the mixture in the microwave or over low heat until it comes just to a boil. Using a pastry brush or a spoon, cover the top of the loaf with the glaze. Allow the loaf to cool to room temperature before slicing. Wrapped well, the cake will keep for about 4 days at room temperature. If it becomes stale — and maybe even if it doesn’t — toast it lightly before serving. If you haven’t glazed the cake, you can wrap it airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months; defrost, still wrapped, at room temperature. 

This recipe is off-the-charts killer good. Unlikely combination, easy to make, and an incredible condiment to roasted fish or meat. I’ve even whizzed it up to make a savory sauce. Trust me, you’re gonna want to try this. From m y very favorite chef, Yotam Ottolenghi.

Miso Butter Onions

Miso Butter Onions

Serves 4-6

8 small onions or 8 large shallots (about 5 1/4 ounces / 150 grams each, 2 2/3 pounds / 1.2 kilograms total)

1/4 cup unsalted butter (100 grams) melted

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (100 grams) white or other miso paste

1/2 quart warm water

Directions:
Heat the oven to 500°F (240°C fan).

Halve the onions or shallots lengthwise, discarding the papery skin, as well as the layer beneath if it is tough or dry. Trim the tops and a little off the bottom (not too much—you want to ensure the onion halves stay held together at the base).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, miso, and warm water until fully combined.

Place the onion halves, cut-side down and spaced apart, in a 9×13-inch (23×33-centimeter) high-sided baking dish or pan and pour in the miso water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and turn the onions over so they are cut-side up (take care to ensure they remain intact). Baste the onions very well, then return to the oven, uncovered, for another 45 to 50 minutes, basting every 10 minutes, until the onions are very soft, deeply browned on top, and the sauce has reduced to a gravy consistency.

Carefully transfer the onions to a platter, pouring the sauce over and around them, and serve at once.

ON THAT NOTE

The Other Favourites

First time I posted about Joshua Lee Turner was February in 2018. He was already an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and busy guitar teacher. He and his main music partner, Carson McKee, started their own indie music company called The Other Favorites.

From their website: After meeting at their 8th grade talent show, Turner and McKee began performing together in their former hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. They self-released their first full-length album, Novelty, in 2011, followed by Naysayer in 2018, and Live in London in 2019. Their next album, Unamericana, will be released on November 19th, 2021.

I love their style. Their musicality can’t be beat, but the vids below show off their amazing writing talent, as well. Below are four originals from their newest album which drops November 9. I especially like Have Mercy.

Have Mercy (Official Video)

Roses & Gloom (Official Video)

Harbinger (Official Video)

BONUS TRACK

Some of Josh’s virtuosity. Here he does a 12-string cover by Leo Kotke (geez, I played his albums to death…in the mid-seventies).

Vaseline Machine Gun – Leo Kottke (Josh Turner Guitar Cover)

TAKE TWO

I probably posted this one already, but it’s so good.

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Acoustic Blues in D

=CTH=

Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at www.hippkitchen.com

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