Posts Tagged ‘Ming Tsai’

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Miso into Miso Soup

Friday, April 25th, 2014 by Shelley

I was recently watching public television when my pal Ming Tsai’s show “Simply Ming” came on.

He was traveling in Japan for this episode, visiting a Miso factory and preparing some home cooked traditional Miso-centric dishes with a local Japanese mother and daughter. He toured a traditional factory and highlighted the ancient and fascinating traditions of making Miso. They ferment the soybeans and then place the soy mixture in 50 to 100 year old vats, then the rock masters (yes I said rock masters, whose job it is to precisely place rocks on top of the vat of soy beans) place the rocks atop the vat for perfect weight distribution. They then let the soy ferment for years, the exact length of time depends on what type of Miso they are making.

misoMing made a few temping Miso based dishes that prompted me to take a trip to the Asian market and to prepare my own Miso inspired meal. I thought I would share my Miso Soup recipe because it is truly one of the simplest, most satisfying and healthy soups you could ever make. It is also a soup for all seasons, so whether it’s spring, summer, winter or fall, this soup will hit the spot.

Dashi

soupDashi is Japanese stock and it’s a thousand times easier to make than the beef and chicken stock that we are accustomed to. For Miso soup the traditional Dashi is made with Kombu (seaweed) and Bonito Flakes (dried fish). The first step is to take 6 cups of water and add 1 large piece of kombu to the water, bring that to a boil and turn off the heat. Add about a cup of bonito flakes to the water and let sit for 2 minutes. Drain the liquid and discard the seaweed and fish flakes and you have your dashi. Note if you cannot find the bonito and kombu, you could also make a mushroom Dashi, all you do for this is take 6 cups of water and add 8 dried shiitake mushrooms or other dried mushrooms to the water and boil for about 3 minutes, turn off the water and let the mushrooms step for 5 minutes and drain. The mushroom dashi also serves as a great quick vegetable stock.

Miso

smallbowltofuTake your Dashi and stir in your Miso. I used Shiro Miso or Yellow Miso which most grocery stores in the city carry. Sometimes it is refrigerated and sometimes not, but always refrigerate it after opening. I add about a half cup of Miso and it is okay to add more or less to your taste. I garnish with a few scallions and about a tablespoon of diced soft tofu, but you can omit that if you chose.

plateThere are lots of other applications for Miso. I love to mix a little sesame oil, agave nectar, ginger and mirin in with it, brush it on fish or tofu and pop it under the broiler. You can use this same mixture and stir in with sautéed vegetables as nice side dish for some steamed fish.

I would love to hear how you are using Miso at home, so please share your ideas in the comments.

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Shelley has been teaching people to cook since she opened The Chopping Block in 1997. She spent 17 years as a professional chef, working in busy restaurants and private homes but realized her calling was to get other people to cook. Shelley’s unique concept of a recreational cooking school, gourmet kitchen store and private event business provides Chicago with over 300 cooking classes and private events each month. Shelley loves to garden and entertain for family and friends in her Lincoln Square home.

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Simplify to Satisfy

Monday, November 15th, 2010 by Tulie

I recently was part of a team at The Chopping Block that hosted a cooking demonstration and book signing with celebrity chef Ming Tsai. It’s not often that I am part of such events, but I was nonetheless surprised at how the evening opened my eyes and senses to new ideas for simple but satisfying cooking in the months ahead.

Having recovered from the sugar buzz of Halloween treats, many of us no doubt are eagerly anticipating the feast of Thanksgiving and the parties throughout the year-end to celebrate the holidays. This excitement for me is also tempered with a dose of reality—just how much time will I have to cook the major meals, bake for family and friends and participate fully in all the festivities while keeping up with everything else?

Enter “Simply Ming One-Pot Meals,” or really, any other one-pot/comforting style of cooking. I use Ming’s new book as my own example here, as several of the recipes resonated with some of my childhood favorites, but with an Asian twist: Sloppy Joe’s with Hoisin, Mushroom Chicken Fricasee with Edamame and Cranberry-Hoisin Chicken ‘n’Rrice. These are straightforward to prepare but truly have a refreshing element of interest with the change-up in seasonings or sauces. Simple as they are, they also lend themselves to experimenting with other ingredients that may come to mind as you prepare them.

One doesn’t need Ming’s book only to help with simple cooking through the months ahead, though. The Chopping Block is offering some fantastic classes, like Cold Weather Soups and Stews and the ultimate comfort food class: Chicago Stuffed Pizza. With the holiday festivities soon upon us, I know I look forward to taking some nights easy and preparing some of the simplest but no doubt satisfying one-pot meals while also knowing I can indulge a bit for Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays.

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Tulie O’Connor is a part-time Class Assistant at The Chopping Block where she loves the creative outlet of helping people learn more about cooking and learning from the chefs as well! In her “full-time” life she focuses on business publishing—helping/encouraging authors to write books, articles or other publications. When not working, Tulie is usually expending energy in a pool or at a Pilates class and of course planning or cooking her next meal with friends or family nearby.

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We Appreciate You

Friday, October 22nd, 2010 by Andrea

It’s been the party of the year at The Chopping Block for the past 13 years. Our Annual Customer Appreciation Day is our chance to officially thank you for your continued support of our local business. It’s a day full of gourmet product sampling, delicious hors d’oeuvres, wine tasting, plus you save 20% off the entire store.

I remember my very first Customer Appreciation Day as a Chopping Block employee way back in 2002. It was a small, intimate gathering in our first location on Webster Ave. in Lincoln Park with lots of familiar faces. Since then, we’ve grown to two locations, including our Merchandise Mart space. Things have changed since those Webster days, but the atmosphere of Customer Appreciation Day remains the same. It’s a time for people who have similar interests in cooking and food to gather together. It’s your chance to meet our staff and reallly get to know us. Hear about our favorite classes, our must-have products and the latest hilarious story from one of our private events.

This year, we are excited to have celebrity Chef and cookbook author Ming Tsai join us for a cooking demonstration and book signing from 5pm-7pm at our Merchandise Mart Customer Appreciation Day on Monday, November 1. You can reserve your copy of his latest book, “Simply Ming One Pot Meals: Quick, Healthy & Affordable Recipes” here. Come earlier and spend part of your day with us. The festivities begin at 10am.

Ming won’t be with us on our Customer Appreciation Day at Lincoln Square on Thursday, November 11 from 11am-6pm, but you’ll enjoy the same amazing discounts, food and wine.

So, get ahead in the holiday shopping game and save 20% off your favorite cookware, ingredients and tools while sharing a laugh with our staff. You just may go home with a few cooking tips as well!

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Andrea has been with The Chopping Block for over 12 years in every role from Chef Assistant to General Manager to Private Event Coordinator and now Public Relations. Her journalism background and culinary school education from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago give her the know-how to spread the word about The Chopping Block's mission to get people to cook. She'll never shy away from a music festival, hot yoga class, beach read, dinner out with friends or a good glass of Pinot Noir, especially when cuddling on the couch with her terrier, Bosworth.

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Ming Tsai is Back!

Monday, October 18th, 2010 by Shelley

Chefs blow air into the Peking Duck

Through the years, I have been fortunate to meet and work with hundreds of talented chefs, all artists unique to themselves and their vision. One of my all time favorites is Ming Tsai, cookbook author, host of Simply Ming, and owner of Blue Ginger in Waltham, MA. Ming is an amazing chef: bold, creative and a master at mingling authentic Asian flavors with Western cuisine. Beyond his culinary prowess, Ming is a down-to-earth guy, easy to talk to, humble, funny, and oh, so charming.

Ming's pep talk to staff before dinner service

I called Ming last year and asked him if I could stop by and hang out in his kitchen for a day. Keep in mind, I gave him about five minutes notice as I had planned a very last minute trip out East. Ming said “Sure! Come on over. My guys will show you around and you can be queen for a day.” Needless to say, that is exactly how I felt! I ended up not doing much cooking that day, but I certainly got a behind the scenes look at his kitchen along with a private lesson in Peking duck!

Getting the line ready for dinner service at Blue Ginger

Please stop by during our upcoming Customer Appreciation Day at the Mart on November 1st for a brief demo by Ming and a chance to have a copy of his newest book “Simply Ming, One-Pot Meals” autographed. Discounts, drinks, demos and dishes from Ming’s book will be served all day, but the highlight will be from 5pm-7pm when Ming takes the stage. Make sure to reserve a copy of the book with us here to ensure your own autographed copy.

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Shelley has been teaching people to cook since she opened The Chopping Block in 1997. She spent 17 years as a professional chef, working in busy restaurants and private homes but realized her calling was to get other people to cook. Shelley’s unique concept of a recreational cooking school, gourmet kitchen store and private event business provides Chicago with over 300 cooking classes and private events each month. Shelley loves to garden and entertain for family and friends in her Lincoln Square home.