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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Miso Sick

Uploaded: Jan 29, 2014
I'm sick.

Not that "down and out for a month" sick that some of you have; more the "sore throat, no mojo-sick."

OK, who got me sick? Was it a wild blues jammer at the Pioneer in Woodside? Or maybe a more gentile coastaler at San Gregorio Store? (Sunday music 2-5PM) Too much boogieing at Tunitas Creek Beach? I don't know, but I'm not kissing any of you, any longer, not at least until flu season is over.

I don't want to cook dinner (don't have anything to cook anyways). Planned to fight my way off the couch to the store, but I just plugged in my new electric C-Max and don't want to interrupt this first charge. Forget the car, I need a charge.

Wait a minute.........

Pushing into the bowels of my refrigerator.....there it is.....way in the back. A container of deep, dark miso, circa 1994, made right after graduating Vega Macrobiotic Study Center. Heal at your own risk, the label says. My masterpiece with a little left.

Miso is that infamous salty paste we dilute into water. Many of us are scared of it, but it's easy to use. It's made predominately from grains and beans, most often soybeans with rice or barley, and a fermentation "yeast" called koji. Making miso takes focus and intent. I liken the process to having a baby - you must be very attentive to time and temperature, and wake every few hours to check on it at night. In five days however, put it in a container and forget about it for 3-20 years. Miso betters with age.

Time gives miso superpowers. Considered one of the "healing foods" in macrobiotics, the darker the miso, the stronger it's properties. Think of it like edible compost. Filed with high-vibe mini organisms, they say it takes a minimum of 3 years to really get powerful.

With my last sickie breath, I took hold of the charge-giving miso and let my inner alchemist emerge. Using kitchen bits of veggies, grains, tofu, and every sick-busting herb or home remedy I could remember, I sautéed and seasoned my way to a 6-minute miracle. I felt better just smelling it.

It's amazing what good food you can put together in the kitchen, even when you think you have nothing around to eat. So get creative and stay healthy this season. Keep your kitchen stocked with super foods and super seasonings like those below.

Let food be thy medicine.

High Vibe Superstar Soup
(makes one bowl)

1 tablespoon olive or peanut oil
¼ onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
¾ cup thinly sliced veggies, whatever you have. I had zucchini, daikon radish, cabbage
2-3 cups water
2 tablespoons barley miso (also try hacho miso ? aged 10 years)
1 umeboshi plum*, mashed into the miso in small bowl
Dash toasted sesame oil, turmeric & cayenne
1"-piece ginger, peeled and grated
Green onion, herbs, nori strips chopped (optional garnish)

In a small pot, heat oil and add onions, sauté a few minutes, add garlic and veggies, sauté a few minutes more.

Add water, bring to a low boil. Remove ¼ cup hot water and mix it into the mashed miso and ume plum until well incorporated. Add back to soup, bring to a simmer (miso does not like to be boiled). Squeeze in the grated ginger juice, or just add it outright. Drizzle with sesame oil; mix in a dash of turmeric and cayenne. Place your hands over the soup, and with intent say, "Ooga booga, heal me, make me well,"** remembering the energy of the cook goes into the food. Garnish with green onion, nori, and herbs. Slurp to health.

*Umeboshi is the macrobiotic antibiotic with a sweet and salty taste that is divine.

** You can leave out the "ooga booga," but not the rest.

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Posted by Steve Rose, a resident of another community,
on Feb 1, 2014 at 11:32 am

Printing out your recipe so I can make this tonight. I'm not sick but this soup sounds like the delicious healthy boost I need. Enjoyed reading your story. Steve from Phoenix, AZ

Posted by Laura Stec, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 1, 2014 at 11:41 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Phoenix, AZ? I am honored! Heal well Steve. Make soup with that water now before it is all gone :) :(

Posted by newbie, a resident of Green Acres,
on Feb 4, 2014 at 11:38 pm

So, how long can I safely use that old container of miso in the back of the fridge?

Posted by Laura Stec, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 5, 2014 at 7:43 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Newbie, Mine has been there 20 years! So at least that long!!

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