Saturday, February 04, 2006

Greenjeans Recommends: David Smith & Miso Stew

David Smith: A Centennial
Guggenheim Museum
Feb 3 - May 14, 2006

On Thursday night, I had the privledge of attending an opening party for the David Smith retrospective at the Guggenheim with my friend R.G. Walking into the museum I was admittedly not a huge Smith fan -- I thought he was only about those brushed aluminum cubes that float in every lousy sculpture garden on the planet -- and had really come to see the crowd, drink free wine, and get a little bit dressed up. But as R.G. and I circled up the ramp looking at Smith's "drawings in space," I was taken by surprise at how appealing and interesting the work is. I have a thing for airy surrealist sculpture from the 1930s of the what I call "stick and ball" variety -- strange tall things by Max Ernst, early Alexander Calder, some of Joseph Cornell's boxes, Giacometti's The Palace at 4am -- and Smith's work falls into, then surpasses, this category. Moreover, I have never seen an exhibition better suited for the Guggenheim's curvy, glowing space than this one. It is incredibly handsome. Writing about it now makes me want to go back and see it again, which I will with Jae, who has always liked David Smith's work, though maybe not so much the aluminum cubes.

Macro Miso Stew

My second recommendation today is this recipe for a macrobiotic miso stew, which I adapted from a recipe by Alexandra Jamieson. I've been making it frequently this winter and Jae and I love it. It's clean, flavorful, hearty, and terribly good for your body. We don't follow a macrobiotic diet -- I just had a good old fashioned New York bacon-egg-and-cheese for breakfast which is about as far from macro as it gets -- but it is my favorite food to make and eat at home (or at Angelica's Kitchen). Enjoy!

Macro Miso Stew

2 tablespoons arame (dried seaweed)
3 1/2 cups water (preferably filtered)
1 quarter-sized bunch of soba noodles
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced into 1/2” thick pieces
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (1-inch) piece kombu (dried kelp)
1/2 lb firm tofu, cut crosswise into 6 slices and each slice quartered
1 small carrot, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons miso (white or yellow)
1 cup very thinly sliced bok choy or Napa cabbage
1 scallion, thinly sliced
tamari or soy sauce to taste

Place arame in a small bowl, cover with 1 cup filtered water, and set aside.

Cook soba noodles as per package instructions or until al dente. Rinse under cold water and set aside.

While noodles are cooking, prepare rest of ingredients.

Cook onion in oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.

Add kombu, tofu, carrot, shiitakes, and remaining 2 1/2 cups filtered water and simmer, covered, until carrot is just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Put miso in a small bowl and add 1/4 cup stew liquid, whisking until miso is incorporated, then stir mixture into stew.

Add bok choy, stirring to combine. Remove and discard kombu.

Divide soba noodles between 2 bowls. Divide stew over noodles. Top with arame, and sprinkle with scallion. Season with tamari to taste.

Makes 2 main-course servings.

Eat well, and see good art!

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