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Hi folks,

I have been lurking for a while and enjoying the list.  Thanx for the good hints
and recipes.  I am a newby on Dean Ornish's LifeChoice Diet (veggie, VLF) and
really love it.  I haven't eaten food this good in years!

I have waited several days for someone to answer the inquiry about miso but
nobody has.  I like miso a lot so am delighted to share it with you.

Miso is a seasoning made from soy beans and comes in many many varieties,
usually obtainable at health food stores and always at Oriental groceries.  Each
variety has a different flavor.  It is common to put a teaspoon in a cup of
something instead of salt or soy sauce.  In Japan, miso soup is drunk instead of
coffee at breakfast. The Japanese traditionally make a different miso soup for
every day of the year (with seasonal vegetables). Miso is high in protein and
sodium and contains some fat (from the soybeans, not added fat).  BTW "rice
miso" is made from soybeans *and* rice.

"A spoonful of miso whisked into a soup or stew will give it depth and
richness.  Add at the end of cooking time to preserve its flavor, and use it
sparingly as it is high in sodium and does contain fat.  Miso keeps in the
refrigerator for several months after opening." (Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean
Ornish, 1996).  Also find a couple of recipes in "Eat More, Weigh Less" by
Ornish, 1993.

A wonderful reference book with everything you could ever want to know about
miso is The Book of Miso, William Shurtleff & Akiko Aoyagi, Ballentine Books,
1976 my copy).  This book has about 100 pages describing miso, including home
preparation, and about 500 pages of recipes.  Miso is used in Dips, Spreads,
Salad Dressing, Soups, Stews, Sauces, Desserts, Pickles, and w/Grains, Beans,
and Tofu, w/Vegetables, w/Eggs.

But since you who asked the question have a carton of miso already in your
fridge, here's the way I used it most recently in a version of miso soup.  You
can make miso soup out of anything, varying all ingredients to make different
soups.   The amounts here are approximate because I didn't measure anything. 
It'll turn out tasty no matter what you do!  I used my microwave but stovetop
works just the same.


*Chopped onions (6 scallions?)
*Chopped garlic (4 buds?)
*Chopped celery (2 stalks?)
*Stock, broth, or water (1/3 cup?)

Saute veggies in small amount of stock, broth or water until onions caramelize
and liquid nearly evaporated (about 12 minutes in my microwave - check often). 
Use a 2 quart pot.

*1 head Napa cabbage, chopped in big pieces (2" x width of leave)
*thin diagonally sliced carrots (10 tiny ones?)
*4 oz can of button mushrooms, sliced (fresh ones like shitake would be much
better but I didn't have any)
*4 cups stock, broth, or water

Add these to sauteed veggies and simmer until cabbage is not quite done (you're
going to cook some more in the next step and want it a little crunchy when
you're all done).

*8 tablespoons cornstarch
*water as necessary to dissolve it

Mix till smooth, add a little hot liquid from soup, and return to soup pot. 
Simmer until it thickens.
(I think I could have used more cornstarch here so it would have thickened more
quickly.  Maybe I used more liquid that I thought.  You don't have to thicken it
at all really.)

*2 big tablespoons miso (I used Mellow Red Miso, but I bet any salty or mellow
miso would be good.  If you are unfamiliar with the intensity of your kind of
miso, you might start with one tablespoon!)

Thin miso with water, gradually stirring until you have a liquid (no lumps!),
then stir into soup.  Cook one minute.

*Add a jolt of balsamic vinegar (or something else! or nothing) and serve this
with fresh bread or cornbread - unbelievable!

Makes 4 good-sized servings with under 1 gram fat each.  

(The only fat in this recipe is from the soybeans in the miso.  My miso carton
says 1 tsp has 0 fat.  That could mean nearly 1/2 gram.  So 2 big TB (eg 8 tsp)
could have as much as 4 grams.  4 grams/4 servings = 1 gram each.  Use your own
miso package for similar calculation.)

This was so delicious I ate a whole bowl immediately, even though I'd had dinner
an hour before!  "Bad Riki"
Hope you enjoy it too!

Riki Darling