Since I moved from Tokyo to Los Angeles in July, I’ve been particularly paranoid about gaining weight, especially because every meal I’ve been presented with has been twice the scale of every Japanese meal I’ve nibbled on. And, I have a problem with portion control because I barely eat at home with the various work, events, and meal outings I participate in with Yelp, other entrepreneurs, bloggers, engineers, designers. I’ve also been eating out more than ever because I currently have no kitchen! (peek into my LA studio that I’ve designed and settled into here) And lastly, I’ve been testing out and creating dessert recipes for pop up dinners and chefs, which requires me to repeatedly test sweet recipes.
So readers, I am pledging to you all how I am going to valiantly fight in the battle for good health and wellbeing: the fight against my sweet tooth, the fight for healthier recipes so that I can maybe compensate for the years I’ve lost from allnighters and charette from architecture school. Yes, and it’s not just for my own sake – I’m considering my future husband’s and children’s health, and all of you because some of you are my taste testing friends. I figured if I only stick to sweets and desserts, my teammates and family will probably be on the heavier side. I think all of us tend to cringe on how several healthy foods are very bland. Hell, but if you flavor a healthier ingredient with something healthy AND flavorful? Boom! I immediately thought of miso because of my memories of having miso-flavored-almost-everything in my meals in Japan. Miso considerate! eh? hah….. no. miso and mushrooms!
Miso has been a staple ingredient in Japanese cuisine for centuries because of it is this flavorful, healthy paste made from soybeans, sea salt, and koji (a mold starter) The mixture can ferment anywhere between 3 months to 3 years, and produces a ton of enzymes, amino acids, making it a complete protein and additive to your diet. The bonding agent. zybicolin, is also effective in detoxifying and stimulating digestion!
So while I was limited in time/distance, I thought maybe the nearest Albertson’s would have it. I asked this young Albertsons dude in an aisle if they had any miso in stock. He shook in nervousness, avoided eye contact, and brought me to the soy sauce aisle and told me it’s probably there. PROBABLY? Look buddy, it’s probably not. Because miso must be refrigerated. C’mon America.
So I scrapped the hope of Albertson’s being a great alternative store for Asian ingredients, and drove down to Mitsuwa, one of my favorite Japanese supermarkets in Southern California. It felt like being home in Tokyo. seriously. I found a lovely display variety of miso, a pile of plump Japanese eggplants. and roasted sesame seeds. I rushed back home, and made this: Mini Miso Mushrooms.
- 1 Small Japanese eggplant, finely chopped
- 12 Mini portobello mushrooms
- Sesame oil
- 2 tbsp Miso paste
- 6 Cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 Clove garlic, chopped
- 1 Small batch of fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 400 F and align a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Prepare the miso sauce by stirring 2 tbsp of miso paste, 2 tbsp of mirin, 1 tbsp of sake, and 1 tbsp of sugar altogether.
Mince the garlic and finely chop the eggplant. Mix the eggplant and garlic into the miso sauce.
Carefully remove stems from the bella mushrooms.
Spoon a small teaspoon of the miso sauce, eggplant, and garlic into the mushroom caps.
Chop one cherry or grape tomato in half, and stuff it with sesame seeds into the mushroom cap.
Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes, or until filling is lightly golden brown. Garnish with chopped fresh basil and serve warm!