Simple Recipe: Autumnal Miso Soup with Soba

Autumnal Miso Soup with Soba | Frock Files

Since the mornings and evenings have been so cool here, we’ve been turning to soup to keep us warm. I’ve been trying to incorporate more Japanese food into my diet, mostly because it’s such clean food and with the summer we had we’re due for some purification. Naturally, these two inclinations have led me to miso.

So many of you were enthusiastic about my miso soup for breakfast post on Instagram that I thought I’d share another of my new miso soup discoveries: hearty miso soup with soba. This is my take on Mark Bittman’s recipe, which you can check out in his VB6 book (it’s awesome!). His version doesn’t include soba, but I can’t resist. Since soba is made with the seed of the buckwheat, it’s naturally gluten-free but satisfyingly noodle-y. The butternut squash and cabbage give it a distinctly autumnal flavor.

Ingredients

Miso soup base:
4 cups water
2 handfuls bonito flakes
5 tablespoons white miso paste

The hearty part:
1/2 to 1 pound butternut squash or pumpkin, in 1″ cubes
1/2 Napa cabbage
4 oz. soba

Optional: Green onion, salt, pepper

Instructions

1. Boil the water and add in the bonito flakes. Turn heat down and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Place a strainer over a large bowl and pour the broth through. Place the broth back in the saucepan and keep it on low. Congrats! You’ve just made dashi, which is an integral part of Japanese cooking. Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

2. In a small bowl, add the miso paste and pour a ladle full of broth over it. Whisk the miso and broth together until well combined. Add the mixture back to the broth. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. (Never boil miso soup. It ruins the flavor.)

3. Add the squash to the large pot of boiling water for about 10-15 minutes until tender. Add the cabbage and cook for 3 minutes. Strain over a bowl and reserve the cooking water. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, as desired.

4. Add the cooking water back to the pot. Put the soba noodles in the boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Strain and serve immediately with the miso soup, squash, cabbage, and green onion. Feel warm and cozy–and healthy!

Blog Hop: Behind the Scenes at Frock Files

If you follow a lot of lifestyle blogs, you’ve probably seen this blog hop making its rounds–and today it’s my turn! My friend Tan of Squirrelly Minds tagged me last week to answer these four questions about the writing I do here.

Tan and I met at Alt Summit in 2013 and we hit it off right away. In fact, despite living across the country from one another we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate on a few projects and we even had a long distance blogger date! Thanks, Tan, for always being such a genuine and gracious friend.

Let’s get this blog hop on the road:

Frock Files | Blog Hop: Behind the Scenes of Frock Files

Why do you write?

I find writing to be the way that I communicate best. In conversation, things are moving so quickly that I often walk away thinking about how I didn’t express myself the way that I meant to. With writing, there’s time be more thoughtful about your words.

On top of that, I’ve always been a writer. Until graduate school, I think I had everyone convinced (myself included) that I’d be a novelist. When I was sixteen, I won the Maxine Hong Kingston Award for Young Writers and it seemed obvious that I would continue along that path. But as I got older, I found that I loved combining visual elements with writing. I’m so grateful to have found blogging because it’s given me a place for both of these interests.

Frock Files | Blog Hop: Behind the Scenes of Frock Files

What are you working on?

Blog-wise, I’m working on a big, big, big project with my friend Melissa of Lulu the Baker. We can’t reveal any details just yet, but suffice it to say that it will be something that is infused with the things we love most: genuine friendships, beautiful details, and blogging.

How does your blog differ from other blogs in the genre?

Put plainly, my blog is the online version of me. In the early days, I tried to keep things very light and focused, but it just didn’t feel honest. Since meeting more and more fabulous people in the blogging community, I’ve begun writing in a way that makes it feel like I’m talking to those friends.

Frock Files | Blog Hop: Behind the Scenes of Frock Files

What is your writing process?

Generally an idea is brewing in my mind for several days before I finally sit down to write. Like most writers, I do every possible thing before actually writing–clean my house, do the laundry, walk the dog, schedule appointments, watch a movie. Then, when I finally sit down to write, it just happens. I think the zone I get into must cause me to emanate some kind of zen waves because Kona always falls asleep.

There’s a peek behind my process! What’s yours?

Next week, Heather of The Caterpillar Years will be taking over the blog hop. Heather and I are real life friends, and we’re going to be debuting a collaboration next month! Until then, do visit her beautiful blog, which is full of wonderful parenting advice–and of pictures of her little girls, who are two of my favorite kids ever.

Bookmarked: Practical Magic

Bookmarked: Practical Magic

A funny thing happens whenever fall begins settling in. I begin to crave the same things, almost every time. Not just hot apple cider or pumpkin bread–but, for some reason, certain types of music, movies, and experiences. It’s almost as though I want to surround myself with every bit of autumn that I possibly can.

Practical Magic by Alice HoffmanI re-discovered our town’s little library the other day and I walked out with one of the best fall books: Practical Magic. Witches in New England. Well, reluctant witches would be more accurate. While I’m not a big Halloween person, even I can’t resist a story like this one.

Alice Hoffman’s mystical realism is always enchanting and beautifully crafted, and I can’t wait to curl up with a big, warm mug, a blanket, and maybe a fluffy corgi (if she’ll have me) to dive into this book one more time.

What are you reading these days?

Favorite Fall Recipes

Cozy fall food is my favorite! Here’s a roundup of my favorite simple recipes for the season:

Frock Files | Favorite Fall Recipes

Maple Apple Tart | One of the easiest recipes ever! When people drop by, I can whip one of these up almost as quickly as a couple of cappuccinos.

Frock Files | Favorite Fall Recipes

Pumpkin Mochi | This is a twist on traditional Hawaiian butter mochi! For those who are gluten-free, this recipe is a great way to enjoy a pumpkin cake without missing the wheat flour.

Frock Files | Favorite Fall Recipes

Pumpkin “Pop Tarts” | Using pie crust and pumpkin pie filling, you can have a pumpkin filled breakfast hand pie in just a matter of minutes. Kids love helping out with these!

Frock Files | Favorite Fall Recipes

Mom’s Apple Butter | While apple butter can be complicated, this one is so, so, so simple and delicious. To make it, just cook the apples, mash, and season.

Frock Files | Favorite Fall Recipes

The Easiest Beef Stew | I have two go-to beef stew recipes, but this one usually wins out. Why? Because I can put it in the oven and walk away from it, and when I come back it’s a hot, delicious meal with tender meat and veggies. A winner every time.

What are your favorite fall recipes?

Life Update: Back and Forth

Frock Files | Life Update: Back and Forth

As you may have noticed, I took a little unexpected hiatus last week. Since school started and we’re still dealing with health issues in this family, I got a little overwhelmed and I needed to take a break. Thank you for understanding!

For the first time in six years, I’ve had back-to-school excitement, as the students came back to the university. The energy on the campus completely changes when they’re there. And while, yes, I do deal with a lot of eye roll worthy tweets about parking and cafeteria food, I also have the good fortune of being the first in line to see how excited everyone is to be back. It’s one of the best parts about my job.

And while it would be lovely for everything to continue chugging along with forward momentum, life doesn’t always work out that way. My father-in-law has now been in and out of rehab three times within a week, largely because of lack of decent care at the rehab facility we were using. On Saturday afternoon, we were all breathing a sigh of relief as he was settling back into his room in New Hampshire–at midnight, he was being taken by ambulance to the hospital again. My poor mother-in-law is the most exhausted of all, and tough as she is, even she is becoming wary.

But it is the loveliest time of year to live in New England. Every time I go outside, I get a little reminder to be in this moment because autumn is my favorite and it will go as quickly as it’s come. This past weekend, with its 50-degree mornings, I filled my drawers with sweaters again, pulled out my boots, and even bought a scarf. James and I got to have one dinner together–at a restaurant! outside!–with the knowledge that we have just a few weeks left for al fresco dining. It’s only a matter of time before I give into the giant pumpkins at the farm stand down the road!

So whatever you’re doing, whether you’re having a lovely time or a difficult one, I hope you’ll have a moment to stop and enjoy being alive this week. Treat yourself to a hot apple cider. Sit down and read a book. Laugh with all the air in your belly. There’s time.

Love, Joy

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