Miso Soup with Tofu and Mushrooms

Serves 4 to 6

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Ingredients:

  • 1 piece kombu seaweed, about 4 inches long
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup loosely packed dried bonito flakes
  • 1/3 cup red or white miso
  • 1 Tbs. mirin or sake
  • 2 oz. fresh enoki mushrooms and/or fresh¬†shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 lb. soft tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 green onion, including tender green portion,¬†cut on the diagonal into thin slices

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Directions:

  1. Using a damp kitchen towel, wipe, but do not wash, the kombu. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the kombu and the water. Slowly bring almost to a boil, then remove and discard the kombu. Return the water to a boil and add the bonito flakes; do not stir. Immediately remove from the heat and let the flakes sink to the bottom of the pan. Pour the stock through a very fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Discard the flakes.
  2. Return 1/2 cup of the stock to the saucepan, add the miso and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the remaining stock and the mirin. If using enoki mushrooms, cut off the lower portion of the stems and discard. If using shiitakes, cut off the stems and discard. Thinly slice the caps. Bring the stock almost to a boil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and tofu. Remove from the heat.
  3. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, garnish with the green onion and serve immediately.

Steamed Eggplant and Mushrooms with Peanut Sauce

Serves 4

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Ingredients:

  • 6 Japanese eggplants (about 2 pounds total), sliced into 1-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps halved
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated, peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • Cooked rice, for serving (optional)
  • 4 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths and thinly sliced lengthwise

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Directions:

  1. Fill a large pot with about 1 inch water; bring to a boil. Add eggplant and mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium-high; steam until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place peanut butter in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in vinegar, then soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt until smooth.
  3. With a slotted spoon, transfer steamed eggplant and mushrooms to a large bowl. Add scallions and peanut sauce; toss gently to coat. Serve with rice, if desired.

Lemon Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Serves 6

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  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  2. Place the olive oil in an 8x8 glass baking dish. Place the chicken breasts in the dish, coating each side with oil. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon over all. Slice the rest of the lemon and place a lemon slice on top of each chicken piece. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until brown.
  3. In a large skillet, melt the 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Add the sliced mushrooms. Cook and stir until the mushrooms are brown and have exuded their juices, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and blend. Add the chicken broth, stirring to make a medium thick sauce. Allow to reduce, adjusting with a little more broth to make a creamy sauce. Add fresh parsley at the last minute. Spoon the sauce over the lemon baked chicken breasts. Delicious!