Luckily my friends and family refused to ignore the day leaving me feeling special thanks to cards, calls, texts, e-mails, facebook posts and even flowers and sweets from co-workers. Meg's insistence that I not spend it alone resulted in a low key night watching Boardwalk Empire (gorgeous!) while eating good food, which was further improved when Leslie joined us spontaneously.
Meg made a refined version of her Chilean Sea Bass and I threw together this Not Miso Soup loosely based on Cathy of Not Eating Out in NY's Celeriac Miso Soup. Meg also surprised me with chocolate cake and stout for a finishing touch. It was a delicious evening relaxing with good company and I don't think it could have been better...except if I hadn't gotten sick the next day.
I promise it wasn't the rich soup with hints of the salty sea below that caused the illness though it was a great comfort in making me feel better. It's like potato-leek soup with an oceanic twist and I like that it doesn't require anything other than Miso paste to make the broth (as I'm often too lazy to make it yet don't like buying it). Plus Miso paste seems to keep forever in the fridge so it is easy to have on hand.
Not Miso Soup
6 cups Water
3 tbsp Miso Paste
8 trimmed bunches of Shanghai Bok Choy
3 Scallions, greens only
1/3 cup Hijiki, rehydrated
5 Baby Potatoes, diced (the first time I didn't include these and we decided it needed more heft - tofu, white beans or chicken could also add texture)
Salt to taste
1. Put the dehydrated Hijiki in cold water to rehydrate. Rinse scallions, bok choy and the potatoes' exteriors. In a large pot, whisk together 6 cups of water with 3 tablespoons of miso. Heat over medium high until bubbling a bit.
2. Chop scallions, greens only, into 1/8-1/4" rings. Set aside. Trim ends off of bok choy, contemplate that the wasted bits look like rosettes. Peel potatoes and dice them into small to medium cubes.
3. Add potatoes to the miso/water mixture. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Drain Hijiki and rinse it well.
4. When the timer goes off add half the scallions, bok choy and some salt. Let the mixture cook for approximately 5 additional minutes until bok choy wilts and becomes tender. Potatoes should yield easily to a bite but still have texture. Taste. Add more salt if needed.
5. Remove the soup from the stove and stir in the Hijiki. Add remaining scallions. Serve.
Birthday Night Version
Trial 2 (same week, to make sure this didn't make me sick)
Meg's Delicious Dish