eat your vegetables.

After all the holiday indulgences I mentioned before (namely alcohol & chocolate santas), my body is telling me that I should follow FDA guidelines and consume 5 servings of vegetables a day, curb the whiskey drinking, & give my leftover chocolate to people who don’t mind elastic waistbands.

Whether you like it or not, today’s post is intended to help us collectively detox by making dishes in which vegetables are the main stars. [And that’s not the royal “us;” I’m going out on limb and assuming that you didn’t spend your holidays nibbling on brussel sprouts.]

I’m going to make it easy on us because these dishes are good. Cook these (better yet, have someone make them for you), and I’m confident that the post-holiday grossness will dissipate. Happy getting-back-into-the-swing-of-things-post-holidays. xo, m

PS- Who am I kidding? Baked goods recipes will return. Give me a week of detoxing before I head back into the kitchen armed with sugar & a spatula.

Chopped Miso Salad

Serves 3-4 as a main course, 5-8 as a side salad
Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 1/2 cups shallots, skinned and thinly sliced
splash of extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons miso
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard (or a bit of whatever mustard you have around)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or honey or agave)
1/4 cup (brown) rice vinegar
1/3 cup mild flavored extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pure toasted sesame oil (optional)
1/2 of a medium-large cabbage
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
3/4 cup chives, minced
8 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed, room temperature

Stir together the shallots, splash of olive oil and big pinch of salt In a large skillet over medium heat. Stir every few minutes; you want the shallots to slowly brown over about 15 minutes. Let them get dark, dark brown (but not burned). If needed, turn down the heat. Remove them from the skillet and onto a paper towel to cool in a single layer.
Make the dressing by whisking the miso, mustard, and brown sugar together. Now whisk in the rice vinegar and keep whisking until it’s smooth. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, and then the sesame oil. Two pinches of fine grain salt. Taste and make any adjustments if needed.
Cut the cabbage into two quarters, and cut out the core. Using a knife shred each quarter into whisper thin slices. The key here is bite-sized and thin. If any pieces look like they might be awkwardly long, cut those in half.
Gently toss the cabbage, shallots, almonds, red onion, chives and tofu in a large mixing/salad bowl. Add a generous drizzle of the miso dressing and toss again – until the dressing is evenly distributed. Add more a bit at a time if needed, until the salad is dressed to your liking.

Garlicky Greens

Serves 2-3 as a side
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 large bunch of kale, chard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
5 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, optional
crushed red pepper flakes

Note: to make this dish vegan, sub. pine nuts for parmesan

To de-stem each leaf of chard/kale, grab the main stalk in one hand, and strip the leaf from the stem all the way up with the other. I then tear the big leaves into bite-sized pieces, but you can use a knife for this task if you prefer. Wash the greens in a big bowl (or sink) full of clean water, rinsing and swishing to rinse away any stubborn grit and dirt. Drain, rinse again, and set aside.
Hold off cooking the greens until just before eating. Then, in a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add a couple big pinches of salt and the greens. Stir continuously until their color gets bright green, and they just barely start to collapse – two, three, maybe four minutes, depending on how hot your pan is and how much structure your greens have. Then, just thirty seconds before you anticipate pulling the skillet off of the heat, stir in the garlic. Saute a bit, remove the pan from the heat, stir in the Parmesan, and add a big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Taste, add a bit of salt if needed, and serve immediately if not sooner.

Soba Noodles in Broth with Spinach & Shiitakes

Serves 4 generously
From The New York
Times

1 ounce kombu seaweed
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
3/4 pound dried soba noodles
12 ounces spinach, stemmed and washed thoroughly, or 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach, rinsed
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon sake
2 tablespoons mirin
2 to 4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (to taste)
For added protein, add extra firm tofu, chopped

Place the kombu and shiitakes in a large bowl, and cover with 4 1/2 cups hot water. Soak for 30 minutes. Place a strainer over a bowl and drain. Squeeze the mushrooms over the strainer, then rinse. Remove the mushroom stems and discard. Slice the caps thinly.
Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, add the soba. As the water comes back to a boil, add 1/2 cup of cold water to prevent it from boiling over. Allow to come back to a boil again, and add another 1/2 cup of cold water. Check for doneness, and if necessary bring back to a boil one more time and add another 1/2 cup of cold water. The soba should be tender all the way through but al dente — slightly firm to the bite. Transfer immediately to the ice water, and allow to cool for a few minutes, then drain.
Bring the water back to a boil, salt generously and add the spinach. Blanch for one minute, and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain, squeeze out excess liquid, and cut the squeezed bundle of spinach into four pieces.
Divide the noodles, spinach, mushrooms and green onions among four large soup bowls. In a saucepan, combine the soaking water from the kombu and mushrooms, the sake, mirin and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour over the ingredients in the soup bowls, and serve at once.

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