Meal No. 40: Tofu and Scallions in Mushroom Broth: Miso-Glazed Fish Fillets; Sesame Brown Rice and Cabbage; Caramelized Persimmons, available on Martha Stewart’s site. I think she has published nearly everything in Dinner at Home on her site. I guess she doesn’t need the money from book sales.
Although I made one of the fall recipes back in the summer, due to its okra content, this week officially kicks off the Fall Menu section of the book. This menu isn’t the first in the section, but since I saw persimmons at Whole Foods, I decided to make this menu while I could.
Luckily, I only made a half batch. I didn’t want to waste the entire package of dried shiitake mushrooms on the broth if the soup was going to be awful. I didn’t think it was awful, but it wasn’t great. I think it was missing something; it was made with mushroom broth, tofu, scallions, rice vinegar and soy sauce. The Husband actively disliked it. It wasn’t as bad at the soup from the Spectral Beasts post.
I was irritated that the mushrooms were strained out after cooking in the water. So wasteful, that Martha. We are holding onto them–maybe I will throw them in some scrambled eggs or something.
Miso-Glazed Fish Fillets:
This was much better!
The glaze was supposed to be a mixture of rice vinegar, mirin (Japanese sweet rice cooking wine), white (shiro) miso, and sugar. I went to the local Asian supermarket and they only seemed to carry Chinese sweet rice cooking wine. Was it the same thing? I don’t know, and got spooked by the warning on the label: Do Not Use for Beverages! Also, the fact that the ingredients listed “edible alcohol” on some bottles, and “ethyl alcohol” on others. So, I passed. I forgot to look elsewhere so when it came time to cook it I used some sweet vermouth that we had on hand. It turned out fine. I heated the mixture until the sugar melted, then smeared it on some halibut filets and broiled them for about 7 minutes.
This turned out quite well! I think I would use less sugar next time, but I will probably make these again. I have a big tub of miso to use up, after all.
Sesame Brown Rice and Cabbage:
This was also a winner! But you have to disregard Martha’s crazy brown rice cooking instructions, which say the rice will be cooked in 25 minutes. Ha ha ha haha. Anyone who has ever cooked brown rice knows it takes at least 3 days.
Some Napa cabbage was sautéed in grape seed oil along with garlic and ginger, then removed to a bowl. The rice was browned in the oil briefly, then mixed with water and salt to boil then simmer. A month later the rice was done, and the cabbage mixture was tossed back in along with some rice vinegar and sesame seeds. I didn’t think about browning the seeds until just now but I bet it would be tasty.
This had a very nice flavor, and went well with the fish. I could also see using this in a fried rice sort of dealie. There is no photo of it, as it lacked color and visual interest.
The sole problem is that it only used one cup of the enormous Napa cabbage I bought. What to do with the rest of it?
I don’t know anything about persimmons, including how to pick a ripe one. The cashier said the gnarlier they are the riper they are. It didn’t really look gnarly, but there was some black stuff that looked suspiciously like mold on the stem. How appetizing.
These were to be halved, spread with honey and broiled, then topped with a squirt of lime juice. What actually happened is that the honey slid off the slices, ran into the pan and burned under the broiler, filling the stove and kitchen with smoke. Now the house smells like burnt marshmallows.
To serve, a mixture of mascarpone cheese, vanilla and more lime juice was dolloped atop the persimmon. What is mascarpone cheese doing in a Japanese menu?!?! The recipe, by the way, calls for 9 oz of mascarpone but my container held 8 oz. Lucky for me I only planned to make a smidgen.
The flavor was ok, I suppose. I am not one to enjoy hot fruit unless there is some crust or strudel along with it. It kind of reminded me of peaches and cream, without the peachy flavor, but with the texture of an apple. I can’t describe it.
The important items–the fish and rice, were a hit. The soup and dessert were not. I would buy an Asian cookbook from Martha if it were all entrees–they seem to be her best recipes in this cookbook, believe it or not.
Persimmons: D (the score was marked down for execution)