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Celeriac & Carrot Soup - with kombu dashi

I've been debating what recipe to post first on the dainty pig's new blog home. You see, I've done a lot of baking recently. But this soup was just SO good. I mean the kind of good where you plan for leftovers but end up eating the whole pot of soup in one go. Wait..that's happened to you before, right?  

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This creamy, slightly sweet, completely comforting soup is surprisingly simple, quick and easy, but tastes beyond delicious.

I'm also rather embarrassed to say that it's my first time trying celeriac. This lovely & fragrant root vegetable made it's way into my kitchen because it happened to be included in the organic vegetable box we get delivered every couple of weeks. I took it out of the box, and it looked pretty yucky...gritty, dirty, and shaped rather weirdly. But I had faith that it would turn out to be an ugly duckling kind of situation. Looks like I was right.

Carrot & Celeriac Soup

*largely inspired by this recipe @ the nourishing gourmet

Ingredients

  • 1-2 TBSP vegetable oil -- I used olive oil
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced, most the white part
  • 4 small-medium celery roots, peeled & diced
  • 4 giant carrots (~6 medium carrots), cut into chunks
  • 8 cups of veggie broth (I used kombu-dashi, kelp broth, see directions at bottom of post)
  • few pinches of sea salt
  • parsley & pumpkin seeds for garnish, if desired

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan, over medium heat (making sure oil doesn't smoke)
  2. Sauté green onions for a few minutes
  3. Add carrots & sauté for another couple of minutes.
  4. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top, and put lid on. Let the veggies "sweat" for a few minutes (adding a tiny bit of water if necessary, to prevent burning)
  5. Gently pour in the broth, give a quick stir.
  6. Add in celery root, and let soup come to a boil.
  7. Simmer with the lid on for 20-25 minutes, until veggies are tender (mine took only 20 mins.).
  8. Very carefully puree or blend soup, to create a creamy & thick consistency. If you are in no rush, then I recommend letting the soup cool for a bit, before spooning it into a blender. I personally used an immersion blender in the big pot I cooked it in.
  9. Pour back into saucepan and reheat. Taste and add a bit more sea salt if necessary.
  10. Serve immediately, garnishing with some parsley and pumpkin seeds, if desired.
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Kombu Dashi

  • Take a few 2" squares of dried kelp (kombu). Wipe off excess salt if desired, and then place in the bottom of a large bowl.
  • Pour 8 cups of boiling water over top.
  • Put a lid or plate on top of the bowl, and let sit at least 30 minutes. The longer the better.
  • Remove kelp and use liquid as a very quick stock for any soups / sauces.

* My favourite restaurant in Japan used kombu dashi in lots of their cooking.  Another version is to simply let the kombu soak in room-temperature water (or in the fridge) overnight. The longer soaking time with cooler water does the trick.

We ate this soup with a side of steamed greens, and some leftover brown rice. It was so good I would have eaten it for breakfast, had we managed to keep leftovers.

Have you ever eaten celeriac? How do you enjoy it?

How to Make Carrot & Burdock Kinpira

Hey macro-friends ♥

I made a new dish---new to me, that is. Actually, I've been meaning to make it for years! I've tasted it before in Japan, eating out or from the supermarket. But I haven't ever actually made it myself. I suppose it was the call of my fresh supply of burdock that finally beckoned me to put on my creative pants and step into the "new dish" zone. 

In any case, it's about time that I tried a kinpira dish. According to wikipedia, "kinpira is a cooking style that can be summarized as a technique of "sauté and simmer". 

That works for me.

Carrot & Burdock Kinpira

Step 1: Shave the burdock --- just like you would do to sharpen a pencil with a knife. I didn't really measure, but used about 1 whole long burdock.

Step 2: Cut carrots into matchsticks.

To do this, you start by slicing thin diagonals, then stack a few on top of each other, and slice into skinny rectangles, or "matchsticks". I used 3 large carrots. Basically from all the various recipes I have seen, usually carrot & burdock are in equal proportion (so for example, 2 cups of each).

Step 3: Sauté the burdock in a bit of toasted sesame oil for about 3 minutes until some of the liquid starts coming out. I used 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, and stirred the burdock aroundquite often.

Step 4:  Layer in the carrots on top of the burdock, & add a very tiny sprinkle of sea salt, and
sauté another few minutes, no stirring this time.

Step 5: Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the sauté pan.

Step 6: Cover, and simmer on low heat for anywhere between 15-40 minutes depending on how soft you want the veggies, and which veggies you use. I simmered for about 15 minutes, but I checked to make sure there was still some liquid coming out so the pan wouldn't burn. You can add a tiny bit more water as needed, if you prefer to cook it a bit longer and all the liquid is gone.

Step 7: Add in tamari or shoyu to taste, simmer for 3 more minutes. I did 1.5 tsp of tamari.

Step 8: Garnish with a few toasted sesame seeds (optional). Serve.

YUM!!!

We enjoyed this dish with freshly cooked rice, and some steamed greens to balance out all the concentrated yang energy of salt & root veggies. Overall, a very satisfying dish!

*There are many variations on this dish, some recipes call for matchstick cutting both veggies. others use entirely different veggie combinations. They all look really great to me.

UPDATE: As of right now, October 2015, this dish has become a regular. I've made it with turnips, and also with daikon, in place of burdock for a few different variations. Lately I have been cutting both kinds of veggies into matchsticks, rather than shaving the burdock. Both styles work equally as well. :)

Have you tried kinpira before? What is your favourite method, or which veggies are your favourite to use?

Do you juice?

I don't have a juicer.
It's sad, because I really love fresh carrot juice.
We swung by a cute juice bar for some fresh yummy delights:

You can choose from a whole bunch of things.
Mixed Juice (OJ base plus 3 fruits or vegs, blended).

Or you can try one of their lovely concoctions.

And at the bottom, they have fresh juices.

I chose my regular:   carrot! 

My guy got his regular:  
"Refresh Peach" 
-- Peach, OJ, and Grapefruit





Such pretty colours!





Do you drink juice?
What kind do you like?

Some Eats This Week

Hello hello.
As promised, some food from this week:
Lentil and Veggie Soup
This one had burdock, carrots, green lentils, onions, and parsley.

Served with some yummy brown rice (cooked with wakame), and topped with shoyu toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Mixed Veggie Soup
I believe this one had cabbage, daikon, celery and carrots, and kudzu for thickening.
Topped with shredded nori, and green onions.


I have also been enjoying one of my favourite vegetables: Kabocha Squash.
So so so yummy.
I just steamed it, and then blended up a bit with some homemade almond milk and cinnamon.
3 minute pumpkin pudding!
I also saved some and cooked it into steel cut oats in the morning.

I am just LOVING soups! Thanks to my new cookbook I am experimenting with different vegetable combos, and cooking styles. The soups are all fairly simple, cutting up the veggies, layering them according to yin and yang, adding water, bringing to boil, them simmering.
Yesterday I made a delicious red lentil soup...it turned out more like red lentil dhal with chopped up veggies in it, and I was ok with that. Mmmm.
What's your favourite soup?
I tend to enjoy creamier thicker soups, with pumpkin, or chickpeas or lentils. But I am definitely enjoying experimenting with brothy soups.
Happy Weekend to you all! I am off to go on an adventure in the car, through the mountains to a delicious macrobiotic restaurant I have heard lots about. Can't wait!

Today's Dinner

As a nice summary of my huge (sorry, I cannot be concise) entry below, here is my yummy macrobiotic dinner for tonight:

Soaked brown rice, cooked with ginger and wakame, topped with flax oil, dulse flakes, kelp powder, shitake mushrooms and a few sunflower seeds.
Lightly boiled: daikon, carrot, collard greens, and black kale, all topped with a bit of Udo's oil and celtic sea salt.
A half of a baked Kabocha squash (the most delicious squash ever!!)
A bowl of the remaining veggie broth.

Mmmmmm!!!! Soooo satisfied. Definitely don't need anything else today (even though my my mind is trying to trick me into going back to that cocoa bliss jar....damn cocoa).

Typical Macrobiotic Day


So I'm always talking about Macrobiotics. But what is macrobiotics? At least...what does it mean for me??
Well, there are plenty of books (I've got most of them kickin' around) that outline the philosophical principles behind macrobiotics, as well as what you can and cannot eat. I want to do a post really soon describing some of these things.
For now, to ease your curiosity (if you have any, that is), here is what it means for me:

A whole lotta whole grains (mostly short grain brown rice, quinoa, and whole oats--although sometimes i get a bit crazy and mix it up with some kasha, or toasted buckwheat, millet, and barley).

Also, a whole lotta veggies. Think greens (kale, collards, sometimes chard), daikon radish, carrots, shitake mushrooms, and squash if I have some.

My ideal breakfast is a serving (a really big one...haha) of whole grains topped with seaweed, with steamed or quick boiled greens, carrots, shitake and daikon radish. Well okay, my ideal MACROBIOTIC breakfast consists of these foods. I am a breakfast gal. My absolute favourite snack / meal at any time of the day was cold cereal. But once I tried macrobiotics, I realized how much BETTER I felt eating WHOLE grains...and have thus been transformed into this kind of breakfast lover.

And vegetables for breakfast? wtf mate? well...I wouldn't knock it till you try it!
They make you feel so lovely and balanced! (even though sometimes I gotta sneak in a bit of sweet at the end, via grains with brown rice syrup and cinnamon, or maybe a squeak of cocoa...shhh...don't tell anyone).

Don't even get me started on SEAWEED. I frickin' love it. I probably crave it the most out of any food now.I top ALL of my grains with a bit of seaweed. Even at breakfast. Dulse flakes are my best friend. I also cook wakame in with my rice...and would gorge every single day on seaweed salad if I could afford it.

Soup is also a major part of the macrobiotic diet. While most meals start with miso soup (1-2 times / day)I usually just sip the vitamin filled water that remains after I quick boil my veggies. I love miso soup, but generally seem to find soy upsetting to my poor little tummy, so I just have the veggie water/soup/stock with my meal (that is what is in the blue mug in the picture above).

The hardest part for most people on a macrobiotic is satisfying the sweet craving. I am a FRUIT LOVER, and this is where I used to get all my sweet satisfaction from. Since switching to a mostly macrobiotic diet, I try to not have that much fruit. They (the "macrobiotic gurus") recommend only having fruit 2-3 times per week--which is probably better for my easily-bloated tummy anyways. Instead, grain based sweeteners like amasake (fermented brown rice drink that is actually delicious), brown rice syrup and barley malt are recommended, and of course even better are sweet vegetables like squash or carrots, or sweet grains like oats! I usually stick to fruit for my fixin' (as little as my greedy little taste buds can make do with), and brown rice syrup. I use brown rice syrup to top off whole grains like brown rice, whole oats and quinoa, or even the less preferred rolled oats or the not so macrobiotic oat bran (not-so-macrobiotic because it is just one part of the grain, and not whole). I also sometimes make desserts using grains, and fruit with kuzu powder (japanese arrowroot)for a pudding like substance, or fruit and agar flakes (like gelatin, but a seaweed!) to make kanteens. If I make one again, i'll post pics. Check out the saladgirl's amazing blog for some macrobiotic dessert photos: http://www.thesaladgirl.com/2009/02/27/unsweetened-dessert-jelly-jell-o/

Another part of my typical macrobiotic day consists of:
chewing...REALLY REALLY well. I have a tendency to scarf down my food, always thinking of what to eat next, and I usually end up with a not-so-happy tummy and a burned tongue. Chewing starts the digestion process, and is SOOO important. It is a continuous goal of mine to chew more...up to 50X per bite!

Also, not eating when i'm not hungry....aka not mindlessly snacking...which I LOVE to do...a big challenge for me. I often end up failing at this *cough*my food dedicated blog with photos of glorious snacks*cough* but i'm trying...and i'm getting better at it.

What do I drink on a macrobiotic diet??
Well...not coffee, that is for sure. I do sometimes sneak in a latte made with almond milk...but that is rare...or rather, SHOULD be rare. teehee. Seriously though: I drink a lot of water, because it's free, and good for you. Kukicha tea (twig tea) is wonderful at balancing the body after a meal, and is a nice substitute for black tea and coffee. I also drink green tea! Dairy should be avoided on a macrobiotic diet, and it upsets me anyways, so that's okay. Sometimes I use unsweetened almond milk, or rice milk.

Fermented Foods are not part of a typical North American diet...but they are certainly important in a Macrobiotic one! Even though they make me a bit gassy (haha...because i'm sure you wanted to know) I try to eat some whenever I can. For me, this usually means a bit of naturally fermented sauerkraut, some pickled daikon radish...and miso occasionally.

And lastly...but what about seasoning, flavouring, and oils?? Well: I usually sprinkle some flax oil on my grains, and some Udo's 3-6-9 oil on my greens (or vice versa). Other oils I use are sesame, toasted sesame, and occasionally olive oil. Toasted nuts and seeds are a great topping as well: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds. Roasted sesame seeds, and sesame salt (gomaisho) are delicious too! And of course, to give your food a bit of a zing: lemon, umeboshi vinegar, ume paste, rice vinegar for sushi, and tamari or soy sauce in cooking (although I have been avoiding it as per soy-tummy-trouble). And of course SEA SALT. I use a pinch when cooking grains, and sometimes sprinkle some on my steamed veggies.

Whew. That was a lot to digest....sorry guys. Make sure you let your mind chew it over really well ;)

Maybe I'll post some photos from tonight's dinner...this is all for now...but there will me more to come, and any questions are welcomed!