Hot and Sour Miso Soup

What do you do when you are sick? What do you eat, or try to eat? This is the soup I turn to. Every time. I’ve been making this soup for over 15 years. It is my feel better healing soup.  Everyone needs one of these.

I found the foundation of this recipe in 2000 from the August Chatelaine Magazine. The recipe for Hot and Sour Soup got my attention. Especially the sentence under the title: “This version of hot-and-sour soup skips the cornstarch that makes some commercial varieties of this Asian favourite thick and gloppy.”  I love the flavours of hot and sour soup but didn’t really care for the texture, so I was excited to try this version.  It was amazing.

Miso is a wonderful addition to this miracle soup. Miso adds an extra umami flavour and has many health benefits.  Miso is a source of probiotics which add beneficial bacteria to the gut to support digestion. An even quicker soup recipe is 1 cup of broth and 1 tablespoon of miso.  This makes a nutritious flavourful broth to help you feel better quickly.

Hot and Sour Miso Soup
Hot and Sour Miso Soup

The October Recipe Redux Challenge focuses on recipes to promote a healthy gut. “With cold and flu season upon us, the best defense may be good gut health. Since much of our immune health begins in the gut, show us your healthy, delicious recipe to bolster gut health.” Look for the links at the bottom of the post for great ideas to help keep you healthy all winter long.

Hot and Sour Miso Soup

Serves 4

1 litre vegetable stock*

2 shiitake mushrooms

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

1 tablespoon soy sauce*

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

1 teaspoon honey

100 grams soba noodles

150 grams tofu, chopped into small cubes

1 tablespoon miso

1/4 cup water

3 green onions

cilantro

spicy peppers, minced

shimiji mushrooms

Directions:

Heat vegetable broth and add garlic, ginger and shiitake mushrooms.  When hot, turn to simmer and add soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili sauce, honey, soba noodles, and tofu.  Heat until noodles are soft.

Is a small bowl, combine miso with 1/4 cup water. Stir to dissolve.  Add this to the soup. Heat gently.  High heat can destroy the benefits of the miso.  Add green onions and garnish with cilantro, spicy peppers, and shimiji mushrooms.

*I recommend using lower salt varieties as the miso adds sodium as well.

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Sheet Pan Eggplant Souvlaki

Eggplant is in season and I have been having fun experimenting with new ways to use it and of course enjoying traditional recipes too. My favourite Eggplant dish is Baba Ganoush, often referred to as poor man’s caviar for its silky smooth texture. Lately,  I am finding eggplant is surprisingly versatile and I’m excited by some new recipes I have been developing. I hope to post my Baked Eggplant Unparmesan soon.  What is your favourite way to enjoy eggplant?

Eggplant is a very healthy choice.  Eggplant is very low in calories, is a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals, and contains important phytonutrients.  There is interesting research being done on potential health benefits to the brain and the heart from the antioxidants in eggplant.

Sheet Pan Eggplant Souvlaki
Sheet Pan Eggplant Souvlaki

Roasting eggplant on a sheet pan is a great way to enjoy it.  The unique, spongy texture becomes tender and creamy, and the slight bitter flavour mellows and sweetens. The marinade adds richness along with lively greek flavours.  I used Japanese eggplant in this recipe as the skin is thinner and can be left on, but other eggplant could be substituted. Putting the vegetables on a skewer is nice for serving but simply tossed on a baking sheet would work fine too.

The September theme for The Recipe Redux is Sheet Pan Meals.  “We love throwing ingredients together on a sheet pan and roasting for a simple sheet pan dinner.  They make busy weeknights a bit more manageable (and clean-up isn’t bad either!) Show us your healthy take on a sheet pan meal.” I’m looking forward to getting lots of healthy ideas to try.  Check out the other sheet pan meals at the bottom of this post.

Sheet Pan Eggplant Souvlaki

Serves 4

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

Zest if 1 lemon

1 1/2  teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper

2 Japanese eggplants

1/2 yellow pepper

1/2 red pepper

1/2 orange pepper

1/4 red onion cut in chunks

1 teaspoon oil (for pan)

Cherry tomatoes

Pita bread

Directions:

Make the marinade first.  Combine the garlic cloves, lemon juice, lemon zest, red wine vinegar, and spices. Gradually add the olive oil and mix well. Set aside.

Cut stem and end of eggplant off and then slice the eggplant in half lengthwise.  Cut each half into 1/2 inch pieces.  Add to marinade and toss to coat.  Chop up peppers into chunks and add to eggplant, tossing to coat.  Add red onion tossing again to coat all vegetables. Marinate for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Oil baking sheet with 1 teaspoon oil. While oven is heating, put eggplant and peppers on skewers and place on pan.  Roast in oven for 25 minutes or until eggplant is very tender. Remove pan from oven, add cherry tomatoes and pita bread and return to oven for 5 minutes. Remove and serve the skewers wrapping in pita. Tzatziki, feta cheese and olives are nice additions.

Eggplant Souvlaki
Eggplant Souvlaki

Check out all the sheet pan meals from The Recipe Redux here:
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Poached Pears with Blackberry Sage Sauce

Every time I make poached pears I don’t know why I don’t make them more often.  They are such a lovely, light, elegant dessert, simple to make and gorgeous on the table.  They can easily be made ahead and refrigerated until needed, making them a great choice for holiday entertaining.

Poached Pears with Blackberry Sage Sauce
Poached Pears with Blackberry Sage Sauce

Pears are underrated. When you bite into a perfectly ripe pear, you know.  Bartletts have a juicy, sweet, delicate flavour and soft, succulent texture.  They turn golden when ripe but a more accurate test for all varieties is to press the neck of the pear. If it is still hard, leave it on the counter for a couple of days. It can be a little tricky to check for ripeness, which has probably led to the belief that there is only one day when a pear is perfectly ripe.  Have you heard that?  Luckily this recipe is very forgiving — you actually want slightly underripe pears that are firm but not too hard.

Like many of you, I most often associate sage with savoury dishes, the most famous being dressing or stuffing. Sage is a complex flavour, aromatic and earthy.  I first tasted the combination of blackberries and sage in an ice cream flavour.  The combination is surprising and delightful, and adds depth and sophistication to this simple dessert.

Fresh or frozen blackberries work well. I used frozen wild blackberries that I had picked in the summer, which were quite sweet.  Commercial varieties can be tart so you may need to sweeten the sauce.

Poached Pears with Blackberry Sage Sauce
Poached Pears with Blackberry Sage Sauce

This month’s Recipe Redux is all about trimming the table. “Show us the healthy holiday dessert you will be sharing with family and friends this season.”  I can’t think of a more perfect dessert than these elegant poached pears.  I can’t wait to gather up more ideas from all the recipe redux members to add to my holiday collection. Check out the link at the bottom of this post.

Poached Pears with Blackberry Sage Sauce

Serves 8

4 pears

2 cups blackberries

3 cups apple juice

1 cup water

10 fresh sage leaves

Directions:

In a medium saucepan add blackberries, apple juice, sage leaves and water.  Heat on medium heat.

Poaching pears in blackberries apple juice and sage
Poaching pears in blackberries, apple juice and sage

Peel pears and gently cut out the blossom end.  Trim the bottoms so the pears can stand on their own especially if you are serving them upright.  Add the pears to the poaching liquid and cook on low-medium for 30-35 minutes until a knife easily slides through them.  Turn them occasionally as they start to absorb the colour from the blackberries.

Remove pears and strain remaining liquid through a sieve.  Return liquid to saucepan, heat on medium and reduce for approximately 30 minutes to thicken it a little and concentrate the flavours.  Taste for sweetness and sweeten if desired.

Kiwi Blackberry Stacks with Honey Lime Yogurt

Kiwi Blackberry Stacks with Lime Honey Yogurt
Kiwi Blackberry Stacks with Honey Lime Yogurt

#ad #sponsored I received free samples of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Zespri Kiwifruit and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time and all opinions are my own.

I am quite familiar with kiwi fruits but mostly the green variety and I had not tried Zespri SunGold kiwi before.   When the opportunity came up to participate in the Recipe Redux SunGold Surprise Challenge,  I was excited to be part of it. I love finding new ways to enjoy fresh fruits and if I can find a way to dress them up into an elegant healthy dessert: even better.

Kiwi Blackberry Stacks with Lime Honey Yogurt
Kiwi Blackberry Stacks with Lime Honey Yogurt

This gold variety of kiwi fruit is sweeter than its green cousin.  It is not quite as tangy but has a bright tropical flavour.  When I tasted these delicious gold kiwis I knew immediately I wanted to include lime in my recipe.  I was surprised that complimentary flavours were very easy to find with gold kiwi.  It is very versatile and tasted delightful with everything we tried it with, both savoury and sweet.  Our favourite combination was with blackberries along with a little lime flavoured honey sweetened yogurt. Honestly this is such a healthy dessert it could easily be a snack, breakfast or part of a special brunch.

Reading about the nutritional value of Zespri SunGold kiwifruit is even more surprising.  They are very nutritious;  providing  folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E and fibre. Kiwi also contains enzymes which aid digestion.  Kiwifruit typically has a fuzzy skin and although it is edible many people prefer to peel kiwis.  SunGold kiwis have a smooth skin and eating the skin provides a valuable source of fibre. This also makes kiwi quick and easy to prepare.

Make the Lime Honey Yogurt first so the flavours will blend while you prepare the fruit.

Kiwi Blackberry Stacks with Lime Honey Yogurt

Serves 4

1 cup yogurt

zest of 1/2 of a lime (approx 1/2 tsp)

1 tbsp honey

4 Zespri SunGold kiwifruit

1 cup blackberries

Directions:

Mix yogurt with lime zest and honey until smooth and place in refrigerator while you prepare the fruit.

Wash blackberries and drain well.  Wash and trim ends of the kiwifruit and slice in even slices. Starting with the widest kiwifruit slice, put a small amount of yogurt mixture in the middle of the kiwi slice and add blackberries to mostly cover.   Repeat with the next kiwifruit slice and on the final slice, top with one blackberry.

Check out all the entries to this fun competition here.

Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Ancient Grains Salad

I am so excited to join the Recipe Redux Group!   I have been following some of these blogs for a long time and it is just so fun to be part of the group.  I love that the recipes are healthy, delicious and that we all support each other. The June theme is just that, celebrating each other.

I chose to highlight  Jeanette from Jeanette’s Healthy Living. When I first starting following her blog, I was attracted to the healthy focus, vibrant colourful recipes and learned a lot about ingredients and cooking for people with special diets.  The perfect example is this beautiful Mexican Corn Quinoa Salad.  It is gluten free, colourful, vegetarian and filled with protein and fibre. Thanks for the inspiration, Jeanette.

I made a half recipe of the salad as I had a smaller group to prepare for.  I used a mixed ancient grain blend of red quinoa, amaranth and millet in place of the quinoa but any grain could be used.  I added a little more spice as suggested in this easy to follow recipe. This is a terrific recipe to take to a picnic or barbecue and is great for entertaining as it can be made in advance.

Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Ancient Grains Salad. This delicious, very nutritious salad is vegan and gluten free.  It is the perfect dish to bring to a BBQ or a potluck.
Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Ancient Grains Salad

Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Ancient Grains Salad

2 cups cooked grains ( I used a blend of quinoa, amaranth and millet)

1 1/2 cups corn

1 tsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely minced

3/4 cup black beans, cooked

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground

pinch cayenne

pinch chipotle

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped chives or green onions

1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

salt and pepper

Heat 1 tsp oil in pan on medium heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add corn and cook until lightly golden brown.  Add spices and cook a minute or two more.  Cool.  Combine grains, corn, black beans and dress with olive oil, fresh lime juice, salt and pepper.  Add cilantro and green onions or chives and mix well.  Taste to adjust seasonings if necessary.

I hope you will check out all the dishes to join us in celebrating The Recipe Redux Group.