“Our daily meals mirror our evolutionary development. If we eat foods of the proper quality and in the correct amounts and sequence, we may fulfill our biological potential. We will grow strong in body and mind and pass our vitality, life, and spirit on to the next generation. If our way of eating is unbalanced or chaotic, we will lose our health, and our family will decline.” Aveline Kushi

In Aveline Kushi’s book The Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking, she writes about the importance of serving foods in their proper sequence. The meal begins with a light soup, ideally containing sea vegetables, miso and tamari, which represents the composition of the ocean from which primitive life evolved. From there the meal moves from the more contracted dish’s such as root vegetables and protein towards whole grains, leafy greens and finally raw salads.

One food that is used throughout Japanese cooking is miso, a fermented paste made from soybeans, seasalt, koji (a mold starter) and often combined with whole grains and beans.  The versatility of miso allows for creativity in making soups, dressings, sauces, dipping sauces, marinades, spreads and pates.
You can read more about the benefits of miso on my care2 blog, but for here I have posted some quick and delicious recipes for using miso on a daily basis. Just remember not to over use this salty condiment or you’ll be swinging in the opposite direction and looking for something sweet and liquid.

Tofu Ricotta Cheese
Yield:  4 – 6 servings

1 block of soy tofu
2 large Tbs. mellow white miso
1 Tbs. nutritional yeast

1.  Press a heavy plate on top of the soy tofu to release the excess water.
2.  When all the water from the soy tofu has been completely expressed place the soy tofu into a bowl with the miso and the yeast.
3.  Using your hands, mash mixture.
4.  Cover the bowl and let it sit on the counter overnight.
5.  Use the soy tofu in place of ricotta cheese.

Hummus A L’Orange
Yield:  4 servings

1 can cooked chick peas
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbs. white miso
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice or 1 tbsp. frozen concentrate
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. minced ginger
Juice of one lemon
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1/3 cup soaked almonds

1.  Place ingredients in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.
2.  Serve with raw vegetables or chips.

Tahini Miso Spread
Yield:  4 servings

4 Tbs. tahini
1 Tbs. apple juice or water
1 Tbs. sweet white miso

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

Miso Vegetable Soup
Yield:  4 servings

2 carrots julienne
1 small onion, chopped
4 dried shitake mushrooms, broken into pieces
4-6 cups water or vegetable broth
small piece of wakame sea vegetable, soaked in water
1 tsp. mellow white miso per cup of soup

1.  Combine ingredients in a soup pot (including soaking liquids) and bring to a boil.
2.  Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.
3.  Ladle a small amount into a bowl and dissolve the miso.
4.  Add miso broth back into soup and serve immediately.

Leek Quesedillas
Yield:  2 servings

2 sprouted grain tortillas
½ cup grated soy or fontina cheese
2 large leeks chopped and sautéed in olive oil
2 cups of raw spinach
2 Tbs. peanut butter
1 Tbs. miso

1.  Mix peanut butter with miso and spread on one tortilla.
2.  Sprinkle the grated cheese on top, then the cooked leeks, and finally the spinach.
3.  Top with the second tortilla and spray the top with olive oil.
4.  Spray a round heavy skillet or griddle with olive oil and lay the tortilla into the heated pan.
5.  Cover and cook on med-low for 3-5 minutes.
6.  Remove cover and turn over, re-cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the spinach is wilted.
7.  Slice and serve immediately.