Miso Soup and Cream Puffs

  Yes, this is a rather food-related day.

  Today, after sorting out my pickles, I decided to try something I saw in the 2nd episode of Osen, another drama I am currently watching. (This makes the record for the most dramas watched at one time so far - four.) It involved making miso soup with just miso paste (which I have) without the need for dashi stock (which I have run out of). As I had been longing for miso soup lately, I decided to test my luck today.
  I started off by using the Miso Shiru recipe in "Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking" as guidelines. I used 3 cups water (measured Japanese style, which means each cup = 200 mL), and put it in a thick pan on the stove, turning the flame up on high. While that was on, I took a smaller pan and put my miso in there. Last time I made miso soup, it ended up being way too salty with a 1 tbsp miso paste per 1 cup water ratio, so I cut back and used 2 1/2 tablespoons of miso (1 of akamiso, 1 1/2 of shiromiso) for my 3 cups of water. I then ladled a bit of water out of the pan and mixed it in with the miso to dilute it. I then roughly, but finely, chopped up 1/4 of an onion and put it in the small pan with the diluted miso. (In Osen, they used spring onions, but I didn't have any.) By this time, the water in the other pan was reaching near boiling point. I poured in the diluted miso, keeping the heat up (don't worry about it boiling), and tried "burning the miso against the sides of the pan" as directed by the chef in Osen. Don't know what she meant by that, but hey, I tried. Then, pour into bowls and drink!
  Verdict: It was actually good! I believe it was still a bit too salty, so I'll try cutting back on the miso/water ratio once again; but it wasn't so salty as to be unbearable. It was very warming, very filling - and Moriah drank her bowl all down, which I view as an achievement, seeing as last time she wasn't able to finish hers... probably because of the over-saltiness and the extreme amount of seaweed I put in it. (Yeah, went a bit overboard on that...)
  So yes, you can make miso soup without a stock base. Next time, besides altering the actual soup, I'm going to add a bit of wakame seaweed and some mushrooms into the mixture along with the onions. The trick with adding ingredients in is to make sure they don't get too done - you want them fresh and crisp, only lightly cooked. But overall, success.

  The next food item for the day is cream puffs, known in the UK as profiteroles and in Japan as シュークリーム (shuu kuriimu). Moriah made these this afternoon for church tonight, and I had nothing to do with the making except for helping to fill them with the custard. They were AMAZING. They looked, and tasted, 100% professional. I have obtained the recipe she used and tweaked it slightly using sheer discernment of what would make them better. The things that I would change in what she did are to 1) add a tad of butter and orange liquor to the custard mixture (a hint taken from Zettai Kareshi - what else are dramas for?), 2) double the recipe, 3) make bigger puffs - they were a bit on the smallish side. I plan to make them sometime this week, maybe Tuesday, so we'll see how they turn out. I need my camera!!

  Well, I believe that closes the food reviews for the day. Tomorrow I'll check on my new-and-improved pickles, and post about that; who knows what I'll come up with next. Trying teriyaki chicken is definitely somewhere on the list of things to make in the near future.



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