Friday, December 31, 2010

Blueberry Syrup

It dawned on me that some folks might not know what miso is or how you go about purchasing it for soup. I certainly did not the first time I entered the store looking for it.
The photo above is the Miso I have on hand in my fridge, and you do need to go to an organic/specialty shop to find it.

Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made by fermenting rice, barley or soybeans and combining with the fungus koji, also found in soy sauce and sake.  Miso is high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals.  According to Wikipedia, Miso is a living food containing beneficial microorganisms that can be killed by over cooking.  Which is why you mix in after you have boiled the soup.

So now that we have that cleared up, let's move on to breakfast:
Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes from my new Veganomicon cookbook.

I was surprised how runny the batter was.  We followed the recipe to a T, but when we got to the part about mixing in the blueberries we were skeptical it would work in the runny batter.  I considered adding more flour or cornmeal to the mix, instead I decided to go with the runny batter and see how the cakes turned out.  Well, rather than pancakes, we ended up with Flat Cakes!  But both Mr. Kummerow and I mentioned we preferred them this way.  Rather than mix in the blueberries at all, I opted to create a blueberry syrup to top the pancakes with.

Blueberry Syrup (pancake, waffle topping)
Serves 2-4

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tbsp Agar Agar
1 tbsp brown rice syrup

In small pan heat blueberries and brown rice syrup to boiling.  Mash blueberries with a fork while boiling, then reduce heat and simmer.  Stir in Agar Agar and remove from heat.  Let syrup set a few minutes to cool and thicken. 

I am noticing how all the ingredients I am discussing in this post probably seem very foreign to most, as they did to me just less than a year ago.  Now they have all become staples in my home and once you are used to these staples, they will not scare you any longer.  You may be thinking: Miso, Agar Agar, Brown Rice Syrup...huh?  What I do is try one knew ingredient at a time.  I wait until I have items on hand for a recipe that calls for something new that I have not tried yet.  Then I purchase the new item and try the new recipe.  Now I have that item in my pantry and I incorporate it into many other recipes.

Take Agar Agar for instance.  This is a powder that is derived from the sea vegetable Agar Agar.  It also comes in flakes but I purchased the powder for a Kanten recipe (vegan jello) from the Kind Diet.  The jello was very rubbery and I did not like the texture at all!  However, I have now used the Agar Agar in a number of recipes that need a thickening agent.  There are many resources on the internet for how much Agar Agar to use, but mostly I just stir in a teaspoon at a time until I get the results I desire, similar to cornstarch.  However, if you were to put this syrup into the fridge for an extended amount of time, it might become more gel like, so only make as much as you are going to use at the time.

During the drive to Hickory yesterday, Mr. Kummerow and I were reflecting on 2010 and our favorite moments and our biggest regrets.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Tanya's new job with Girls on the Run!
  • Mr. Kummerow being awarded his National Board Certification (and the big bonus check that came with it!)
  • Paying off credit cards!
  • Our vacation to Myrtle Beach, St. Louis and Vegas!
  • My sister's wedding!

Some of our regrets/challenges:

  • Deciding to run a marathon (never again!)
  • Spending too much time worrying about weight (Tanya, not Mr. Kummerow)
  • Mr. Kummerow felt he wished he would not procrastinate as much with work
In 2011 one of the fun things we have decided to do is have themed months.  We gave each month a title with a purpose or task that we should do that month and we are excited for the variety and fun it will hopefully bring!

Jogging January: let's finally finish this thing (marathon on Jan. 16)

Fast Food Fast February: ok, ok, so we don't really eat fast food, but we loved the alliteration- but it really means is no eating out.  We decided we wouldn't even eat out for Valentine's Day!  This will be a challenge!

March Madness: celebrate Tanya (my birthday is a week-long event!)

Alex's Surprise April: Alex is getting a surprise for his birthday but it is coming in April so that's why he gets this month.

Make a difference May: Mr. Kummerow's birthday is actually in May so we will be celebrating him all month long, but we liked this opportunity to do some volunteerism, and lots of it!

Jeep Somewhere June: aka: lots of camping!!!

Journey July: we are going to a wedding in Indiana and we want to use this opportunity to do another mid-west road trip.  We are also planning to stop in Virginia to check out some wineries and trails!

Anything August: Spontaneity will be the name of the game and we will draw out weekly date night ideas from a hat and go with it!  Should be fun!

Social September: Throw a party!  Have friends over!  Hang out!

Outgoing October: Run the Pumpkin Run in Halloween costumes and various other outgoing, unusual events!

New York November: I really want to go to New York for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Decorate December: Our goal is to hang Christmas Lights outside our home next year.  We are going to decorate like crazy people for Christmas next year! Get ready!

Ok, so I know this is kinda cheesy, but cheesy is what you get with us!  It should make for some fun, unforgettable moments!  Do you do anything like this?  Set random month goals?  Date nights drawn out of a hat?

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