Sweet and Salty Miso Glaze + iHerb Giveaway Winner!
May 10, 2010

Is it Monday already?

I’m back from upstate, and none too happy about it: I miss the smell of lilacs and the sight of gold-flecked grass under afternoon sun. Sigh.

Sadness over leaving the country was offset by a lovely mother’s day dinner with my mom, who just so happened to be celebrating her birthday yesterday, too! It was our first mother’s day dinner at a vegetarian friendly restaurant (Josie’s, on the Upper West Side), and it was probably one of our best ever. Before I arrived back in NYC, I got to spend a slice of mother’s day with Chloe’s Mom, who is like a second mother to me, so yesterday truly was a celebration of the wonderful women in my life.

On Saturday evening, Chloe’s mother and sister and I set about preparing a quick dinner upstate. I already had it in mind to try some of the tasty looking short-grained brown rice mix that Chloe’s mom had in her pantry: it’s a Lundberg variety, and it looks something like this:

Before I get to the recipe, I’ll say this: try this mix out! It’s extremely chewy and flavorful, and it’s got just a touch of stickiness (which I love for Asian-inspired dinners). Two thumbs way up!

Chloe’s mom also had a lovely selection of bok choy, asparagus, and shitake mushrooms in the crisper, so I decided I’d pair my rice with some steamed veggies. Of course, I needed some kind of flavorful sauce to top it with. Typically, when I make these steamed grain/veggie plates for dinner, I’ll opt for a tahini dressing of sorts–such as my carrotini, tangy tahini, or simple tahini dressings. But we didn’t have any tahini handy. What we did have was a wealth of organic miso paste (mellow white and red), and a pantry stocked with every specialty vinegar under the sun. As soon as I saw that we had mirin–which is one of my absolute favorite condiments–I knew what I wanted to try: a sweet and salty miso glaze.

The nicest thing about staying upstate is participating in the harmonious ballet of simultaneous omni/vegan cooking. Chloe’s mother is a spectacular cook, and she’s passed it down to her kids (Chloe’s sister is a consummate baker; Chloe’s a terrific chef in her own right, and I like to harass her about starting a catering company in New Orleans). Though Chloe’s family is mostly omnivorous (Chloe’s a pescatarian), they’ve always been accepting and gracious about my way of eating, and Chloe’s mother always takes care to have a fridge full of produce when I’m staying upstate. She also gives me space to whip up vegan food alongside the family meal, which is exceedingly considerate of her!

What’s really fun, though, is when we can collaborate a little on dinner. So when I mentioned my idea for a miso glaze, Chloe’s mother immediately perked up and said she might use it to glaze and grill some chicken breasts she was planning on making. One sauce, two dinners–what could be more copasetic?

Of course, I’d never made miso glaze before in my life. In truth, I’d never even prepared miso soup. So with a little trepidation, I decided to wing it, and I came up with this:

Delicate Miso Glaze (yields 1 cup, or so)

1 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp miso
1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp tamari
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional, but the sweetness really deepens the flavor of this sauce)

Bring water to a simmer and add the miso, stirring until it’s dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and keep stirring till the sauce has reduced and thickened a bit — I’d say twenty or twenty-five minutes should do it. Use the sauce on chicken, fish, veggies, or grains.

To recreate my dinner, simply prepare some brown rice ahead of time, and set it aside. While the glaze is reducing, steam 1 small head of baby bok choy, 3 fat asparagus stalks (chopped), 1 medium sized carrot (chopped), 5 thinly sliced shitake mushrooms, and a cup or more of kale. Steam the veggies till crisp-tender, and remove from heat.

To serve, toss the steamed veggies in a tablespoon of the glaze — just enough to coat them lightly, but not enough to mask their natural flavor. Plate them alongside a cup or so of cooked rice, and drizzle the plate with another tablespoon or two of the miso glaze. Bon appetit!

In spite of my inexperience with such a glaze, it turned out really well. I loved the flavor. Chloe’s mom thought it might use a bit more tamari, so if you make this, I’d suggest you feel free to season with more tamari if you like, and to play with your proportions of flavor (I really loved the mustard and sweetness, but you could also amp up the vinegar). This, like all easy recipes, works best if you modify it to suit your own palate.

Check out this earthy, nourishing meal:

Yum!

And since we’re all enamored of nutrient-rich, meal size salads these days, I thought I’d share yesterday’s lunch, which was vaguely Indian in flavor. I paired some of my leftover curried cashew spread with about half a cup of cooked red lentils (one of my absolute favorite legumes — so tasty and fast to prepare!) and some of Chloe’s mom’s signature lemon vinaigrette. I also got a taste of my first ripe and delicious tomato of the season — local and greenhouse!

Such a perfect lunch.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, too. What did you do to celebrate the moms in your life?

And finally, I owe you all a winner of my iHerb giveaway! The winner of a $50 shopping spree to iHerb.com is (drumroll):

#99, Greenbean, who would love to buy some Alba body butter with her giveaway prize. Congratulations, Greenbean! Please email me ([email protected]) to discuss details of cashing in on your prize.

With that, it’s go time. Have a good one!

xo

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    33 Comments
  1. Yummmm…did you know Lundberg rice is guaranteed GMO + Monsanto free??? They earn HUGE points in my book and their rice is awesome.

  2. Miso glaze is one of my favorites! I have a recipe I created for myself back when I ate fish from time to time, but I have never tried it on something like tempeh…I may have to make that the family dinner some night this week 😀

  3. I have a big tub of miso and some CSA bok choy that need to be used so perhaps I will give this recipe a try. I’m sure it’s lovely – as your recipes never disappoint.

  4. I thought you shouldn’t boil miso as you kill the beneficial microbes by boiling? Anyway I love your recipes and your blog, you seem so conversational as if I’m listening to a girlfriend recount her weekend. I’m going to try this on my omnivourous family. Only I won’t tell them until after they lap it up that its miso.
    By the way if any of you live near an Asian market, buy your mirin there or lightly sweeten sake with honey (or agave)to approximate the taste (this is what I do) to avoid the high fructose corn syrup some companies use.

  5. I love that you are a polite vegan houseguest. You didn’t try to convert everyone, huh? I usually try for at least one meal. 🙂

  6. The miso glaze is fabulous. I’m always on the look out for a few more oil-free dressings. Variety is always great. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. I just came from a business lunch at this fancy Asian place which means that I paid $20 for mushy veggies, bland tofu and a questionable brown sauce (aka a side of MSG and a week’s worth of sodium). Your dish sounds so much tastier and healthier, I can’t wait to recreate it! It’s also perfect timing for my current batch of mung bean sprouts that are just about ready to be glazed 🙂 I think I might add some grated ginger and dulse flakes (great flavor, potassium and anti-inflammatory action..score!)
    Seriously, all of your recipes are always a hit, your health info and tips are incredibly useful and your blog is just so welcoming, I always feel like I chatted with a dear friend after I read one of your posts. Thank you so much!!!

  8. I pulled out the mirin this weekend too! I wanted to create original hummus and granola recipes (her fave foods) for my mom’s mother’s day gifts, and I wound up with a really interesting tasting mirin-herb hummus. It’s fun to dig random stuff out of the spice cabinet. 🙂 Your glaze sounds great–like a good sauce to have on hand to jazz up just about anything, eh?

  9. mmm, the miso glaze sounds amazing, i adore everything miso. maybe this is my perfect excuse to buy some mirin and maple syrup i’ve been coveting for a while.

    chloe’s mom’s signature lemon vinaigrette sounds very intriguing – what does it taste like? any way you can share the recipe?

  10. What a lovely weekend! Lilacs are one of my favorite smells! 🙂

    That’s the only brown rice I buy! It is the best, hands down! Love that miso glaze, sounds divine!

  11. Miso intimidates me but I really do love eating it at restaurants. One of these days I may work up the nerve to try buy it and try some recipes at home!

    Glad you had a good Mother’s Day!

  12. i love lundberg rice blends…i like the one that comes in the orange bag…my fave!

    glad you have a wonderful time upstate with your mama!!!

    =)

  13. I love Josie’s! They are also extremely gluten-free friendly 🙂
    This miso glazed dish looks delicious- I’ve put it on my “to make” list. Thanks!

  14. Congrats to the winner! That rice sounds wonderful. And I could go for some cashew spread myself now that I’ve been reminded! 😉