waste not: veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric.

    October 15, 2018

    veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

    Waste Not is a collaboration with my friend, Carrie King. The premise is simple: Carrie, a food writer and editor, shares a recipe highlighting at least one particular way that we can curb food waste. I make it at home, take a bunch of pictures, and share it with everyone here.

    I’ll try not to get too carried away with the October metaphors here, but suffice to say, it’s a season where it feels decidedly good to gather your coven. As the days shorten and the news only gets worse, I’ll happily sit over a bubbling cauldron and make an immune-boosting, nutrient-rich brew to help ward off October germs. This week, Carrie gives us the perfect rich broth for healing what ails you—matters of the heart or head or otherwise—and putting to good use all manner of food destined to be forgotten. For my part, I used up the last third of a block of tofu, the leftover tops from a bunch of beets, and two scallions that I’d nearly left to wither in the crisper. veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

    From Carrie:

    Most of the time my cooking is driven by a “what do I have on hand” or “what’s in season” thought process. But, let’s face it, there are also the times where I’ve just got a craving and I go to great lengths to scratch that itch. More times than not, those cravings are feeling-related rather than flavor-related. Exhibit A, this nutritious, warm broth because what I crave most these days is comfort.veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

    Lately I’ve been feeling a little bit like I need a hug, but like, constantly. In spite of best efforts, it’s been difficult to find calm in the midst of the nonstop barrage of distressing (to say the least) political, environmental, and just generally break-my-heart-with-disappointment, make-my-blood-boil-with-rage news (looking at you family separation at the border and the most recent slap in the face to women and assault survivors). It’s so constant and always mounting, it’s honestly hard to know at which issue to throw the small amount of energy I have leftover after making sure I am on point in the rest of my life (parenting, family, friends, work, chores, errands, etc). Then I feel like I am not doing enough, which is inevitably followed by guilt and feelings of inadequacy and anxiety that are counterproductive and that I have to talk myself out of. And thus, a vicious, unhealthy cycle.veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

    It is clear that I’m not alone in these feelings, which is comforting in and of itself. But food can be healing, physically and mentally. We cook it to help cure a cold. We bring it to homes when people grieve. We gather around it to connect. And my hope is that with this humble broth, anyone else who feels the same as I do, can be rejuvenated, warmed up, fortified, and maybe even satisfied, even if only for a few moments.veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

    Kombu is dried kelp, one of the many types of seaweed used in Japanese cuisine. Seaweed is a superfood, brimming over with flavor and good stuff. It’s also, when harvested correctly, a very sustainable source of very nutrient-dense food, which means we should maybe all get acquainted with it in our cooking if not already given the recently published climate change timeline. But, I digress. (Deep breaths. Serenity now, serenity now.)veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

    Kombu is readily available and a pantry staple in my house. So are dried mushrooms of all sorts. Here I use shiitake to get the added glutamate richness (aka umami) that would normally come from bonito (or dried tuna flakes) in a traditional Japanese dashi. But, I went with shiitake to keep it veggie for my girl, Erin, and also because of their good-for-you, immune-boosting properties. I also loaded up on ginger and turmeric for added immunity and nutrient boosters.veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

    Miso is also a staple in my fridge. Like the dried mushrooms and seaweed, it keeps for quite a while. This trio is fantastic to have on hand to make something out of nothing. They have really long shelf-lives and so I never waste them. In fact they are helpful in fighting food waste because they can be thrown together to help use up odd bits of leftover rice or tofu or greens that might otherwise head to compost, like beet, radish, or turnip greens. All big food waste offenders and all delicious when added to this broth.

    Veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric

    2 (4-6 inch) strips of kombu
    2 quarts water
    1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
    3-4 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
    2-inches fresh turmeric, peeled and thinly sliced

    Wipe down the kombu with a damp cloth.

    In a medium pot or large saucepan, combine kombu and water and let soak 6-8 hours (or overnight).

    After soaking- add mushrooms to pot and heat over medium until starting to simmer. Once it just starts to simmer, fish out kombu with tongs and discard.

    Add ginger and turmeric and gently simmer for another 30 minutes.

    Strain liquid over a large bowl or second pot using a fine-mesh sieve.

    Discard ginger and turmeric solids, but reserve mushrooms for serving.

    Miso broths are best when fresh, so if you don’t want to turn all of your dashi into a miso-enriched broth, at this stage you could set aside as much broth as you’d like to use immediately, and refrigerate or freeze the rest for future use. You could also just drink this warming broth alone without the miso addition. You could serve with the same suggested add-ins as below, or just sip plain.

    For miso broth:
    1 Tbsp miso paste per cup of dashi
    Reserved reconstituted shiitake mushrooms, slicedveggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

    Optional add-ins:
    Sliced scallions
    Cubed tofu
    Leftover greens, like turnip, beet, or radish greens, chopped and stirred into warm broth
    Leftover brown rice

    Place miso paste in a heatproof bowl. Add hot dashi and combine with a fork or small whisk until completely dissolved.

    Place sliced mushrooms back in prepared miso broth along with any other add-ins.

    veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves
    // NOTES:

    Use any miso paste you like or have on hand (red, white, yellow). I always make sure it’s non-GMO.

    If using chopped greens as an add-in for the miso broth, stir it into the dashi before the miso step – so they soften. Then proceed with miso steps.

    Miso soup is best when prepared fresh and not boiled as it can lose its nutritional efficacy when subject to high heat. This is why I suggest not turning all 2 quarts of dashi into miso broth unless you will eat it all immediately. Freezing and reheating isn’t ideal for miso.

    Kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms are available at many grocery stores (like Whole Foods) and online. They can also be found at any Asian-specialty food markets.veggie dashi with ginger and turmeric | reading my tea leaves

    Thanks to Carrie King for writing this post and developing the recipe. When Carrie’s not encouraging me in tiny-apartment cooking adventures, she’s a food writer and editor. Her cookbook work includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner….Life with Missy Robbins and The Chef Next Door with Amanda Freitag. She has contributed to Gather Journal and Life & Thyme and works as recipe editor at Marley Spoon and Dinnerly. Thanks to culinary school and lots of time spent in kitchens, both professional and home, she can cook just about anything, but usually just wants a few couple few slices of pizza.

    For the curious:

    Our black enameled cast iron dutch oven is from Crane; I got ours from East Fork Pottery.

    Our checked napkin is from Fog Linen.

    This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links. 

    my week in objects (mostly).

    October 12, 2018

    five little things that made my week.

    1.  these oatmeal cookies. 

    {james made the dough. i burned the bottoms. teamwork, in other words.}

    2. this nightgown.

    {for being the very best gift i’ve given to myself in a long while.}

    3. this deskmate.


    {there have been a lot of dreary days lately, weatherwize and otherwise. i’m told this helps.}

    4. this refresher.

    {especially good when you maybe, might have, possibly have not made time for a shower.}

    5. this necklace.

    {six am crafting with children never felt so good.}

    other things:

    there’s no war on men.

    zig zag.

    everyday people.

    growing conditions change.

    i am a child.

    raincoat envy.

    being only partially but inescapably recognized.

    this question implies that money is at odds with my virtue. (via rachel)

    keeping the fridge tidy (and the food fresh).

    October 11, 2018

    keeping the fridge tidy (and the food fresh). | reading my tea leavesThis post is sponsored by Pyrex and features the Pyrex Simply Store glass storage containers.

    Whither the way to a low-waste kitchen? Is it meal planning? Eating your carrot tops and cooking your corn cobs? Convincing your four-year-old that she adored chili at three and so surely she can muster the same enthusiasm for it at four? 

    Easier said than done, I concede. Despite lots of good intentions, veggies get forgotten in the bottom the crisper. Leftovers promised attention look unappetizing by the time anyone remembers them. The last tortilla gets moldy before it gets eaten. 

    I’m still a believer in changing habits, and for me, the two most important habits to hone for curbing food waste, are keeping the fridge tidy and the food in it fresh. Helpful in our efforts to curb food waste? A set of Pyrex Simply Store glass containers. We use them to organize our fridge, stash prepped veggies and leftover portions, and keep foods fresher, longer. keeping the fridge tidy (and the food fresh). | reading my tea leaves

    But what does tidiness have to do with food waste? For me, a tidy fridge is a fridge that I can scan and get a quick visual on what’s inside it. And, if I know what food I have, I’m simply more likely to eat it. keeping the fridge tidy (and the food fresh). | reading my tea leaves

    In the fridge, we organize our glass containers by general food group and approximate date. Eggs, cheese and other dairy always go on the same shelf. Leftovers go on another. If something’s been around awhile, it sits up near the front. If it’s brand-new, it gets tucked in the back.keeping the fridge tidy (and the food fresh). | reading my tea leaves

    When we buy something that comes wrapped in a bag or plastic wrap, we shift it directly into one of our Pyrex glass containers. Rehousing things like store-bought tortillas, cheddar cheese, or tofu, means less visual clutter in the fridge (tidy!) and a much longer shelf-life (fresh!).keeping the fridge tidy (and the food fresh). | reading my tea leaves

    If I buy produce like carrots or cauliflower, that I know need some amount of prep before they’re ready to be eaten, I try to do this in a quiet moment on the weekend or after the kids are asleep, so that everything is ready to go during a more harried one. The barrier to entry on getting carrots caramelized in the oven is far lower if they’re scrubbed and ready to be quickly chopped on a weeknight. And if the week goes by and the carrots don’t get eaten? As long as they’re kept under cover in an airtight container, they’ll still be fresh enough to enjoy later.keeping the fridge tidy (and the food fresh). | reading my tea leaves

    During the week, we try to make sure we’re stocked with easy basics like cooked beans, lentils, and rice. Like prepping veggies, these things require a bit of advanced planning. So if I take the time to make a large pot of beans, it’s helpful to know I can freeze half and refrigerate the other for two weeks of beans to include in lunches and dinners. (As a bonus, it’s very helpful that Pyrex containers can go from freezer to fridge to pre-heated oven and back again without incident.) Maybe most important, when hanger strikes, there’s something quick and easy that I’m able to put to immediate use.keeping the fridge tidy (and the food fresh). | reading my tea leaves

    Which brings me to timing: Our children are generally ready to eat dinner at the hour when most adult humans are still enjoying their late afternoon snack. At the point in the day where I might have previously been eating the last crumbs of cookie and finishing a cup of hot tea, I now find myself somewhat more urgently trying to pull together components of a balanced meal. Lots of nights we all sit down together for an early bird special, but on other nights, my husband and I know that the only way to combat a full family meltdown is with easy, colorful plates of assorted finger foods to be scarfed by kids before bath time. In both scenarios, having options that are easy to grab and still fresh and tasty means that the food we have actually gets eaten.The end result? Fewer foods that get tossed into the compost at the end of the week and a fridge that’s nice to look at in the meantime.keeping the fridge tidy (and the food fresh). | reading my tea leaves

    And I’m curious: Do you have brilliant tips for curbing food waste that you put into practice in your own homes?

    This post was sponsored by Pyrex. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Reading My Tea Leaves.

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