Friday, February 19, 2021

Cuisine & Screen: At Home, Part 34

Has everyone thawed from yesterday's icing? The icicles that formed on my trees and back deck were quite beautiful, if not a bit menacing. Knock on wood, I'm surprised (and relieved) that we haven't had more aggressive winter weather this year. Here's hoping spring is just around the corner.

I'm calling this entry "An Ode to Miso". It's one of my favorite ingredients because it works in both savory and sweet dishes. It's salty, funky and major umami. Most people are familiar with Miso Soup, but this fermented soy bean paste works wonders in some of my favorite go-to recipes. *For the purpose of these recipes, I used White Miso (but you could try yellow and red too!)

Miso Cod - Once again, my sweetheart and I were inspired by the one and only Chef Curtis Stone to make this dish. For a 1 pound cod loin, stir together 1/3 cup miso, 1/3 cup mirin (Japanese rice wine) and 1 TB sugar in a double boiler, over simmering water. You just want the sugar to dissolve, and it will only take a few minutes. Then spread this mixture all over your cod, and broil (not bake!) until the internal temp is 135. It's crazy tender and flavorful. Serve alongside roasted broccoli, sauteed bok choy, cooked rice - whatever you like. This recipe would also work well with salmon, sea bass or any other thick, flaky fish.

Miso Banana Bread - This is my absolute favorite way to use miso. I use this recipe from Food & Wine Magazine and it's a hit every time. I cover the pan with foil towards the end of the bake time, and check it with a toothpick around the hour mark, so as to not burn it. It's insanely moist and utterly addictive. 

Miso Chocolate Chip Cookies - The only thing better than regular cookie dough? Miso cookie dough. This is the ultimate salty-sweet flavor combination that I love in desserts. Check out this recipe.

Some readers may remember me using Miso to make the caramel topping for my Butterscotch Budino a few months ago, and I would be remiss if I didn't link it for you again here.

Judas and the Black Messiah - I'm finally getting around to watching some of the films that are getting awards show buzz. There's a lot of talk surrounding this one, and rightfully so. Daniel Kaluuya is superbly charismatic as real life Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton. I'm calling it now - go ahead and give the man his Oscar. Fans of LaKeith Stanfield will be excited to see him in this film, but Kaluuya's role is far juicier. Jesse Plemons and Martin Sheen make appearances too, as an FBI agent and J. Edgar Hoover, respectively. I was captivated by this story, one that has been clearly swept under the rug and largely kept out of history books. I found it quite fascinating and encourage you to give it a watch.

Little Children - I first saw this when it came out in 2006 and loved it. I recently read the book by Tom Perrotta, and thought it would be fun to revisit the film. It's hard to believe that Kate Winslet was only 31 when she made this movie - her maturity and complexity in this role earned her a deserved Oscar nomination. She plays Sarah, a bored housewife who has an affair with Brad, a bored stay-at-home dad. The storyline of a child molester lurking in the neighborhood brings an underlying sense of unease, with Jackie Earle Haley mastering this role. It's definitely not a feel good film, but it's got a great score and it's an interesting character study.

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