Quick Miso Stir-Fry and “The 5 Tastes” (or is it 6?)

Quick Miso Stir-Fry and "The 5 Tastes" (or is it 6?)

Crisp-tender vegetables are sauteed in a lively and savory miso-ginger stir-fry sauce that is so out-of-this world you are going to want to eat it with a spoon. If you are stocked with basic Asian ingredients you might even be able to make this tonight!

The 5 Tastes

One thing I love about this dish is that it includes all of the 5 tastes. The 5 tastes refers to the collection of flavors we are able to distinguish. For each of these tastes we have a designated gustatory receptor – or unique section of the tongue that picks up the flavor.

  1. Sweet (bell peppers and, to an extent, sauteed onions and garlic)
  2. Sour (rice wine vinegar)
  3. Salty (tamari)
  4. Bitter (greens)
  5. Umami (miso, tamari)

I find that the more tastes that are represented in my meal, the more satisfied I am and the better I digest the food.

The more elusive tastes – Bitter & Umami

Bitter

Years ago, when I was reading up on Swedish bitters, I learned that the absence of one or more of the five tastes are thought to lead to a digestive imbalance. While sweet, sour and salty abound, the bitter taste is sorely lacking in the typical American diet. This is one reason that many people experience immediate relief from heartburn or bloating with Swedish bitters. This herbal concoction has medicinal qualities as well, but there is often a shift that happens as soon as it hits the tongue or is swallowed.

I’ve personally experienced this when taking Swedish bitters or having a sip of Becherovka (a famous digestif made in Czech Republic) after a heavy meal.

As my diet has become more balanced over the years, I have naturally included more bitter foods.

Quick Miso Stir-Fry and "The 5 Tastes" (or is it 6?) - The Nourishing Gourmet

Lacinato Kale

Here is a list of common bitter foods:

  • kale (lately I’m loving lacinato kale!)
  • dandelion greens
  • bitter melon
  • radishes
  • eggplant
  • dill
  • arugula
  • coffee
  • dark chocolate

Umami (as I best understand it)

 Umami, officially identified  in the early 1900′s, is described as a delicious savory flavor and it can not be made by simply combining any of the other four tastes. It is unique. Umami foods have a common denominator – the amino acid glutamine.

Glutamine is found naturally in many foods, including meats, dairy (especially aged cheese), tomatoes and seaweed.

When food is prepared in certain ways such as microbial fermentation and grilling, the amino acids can get rearranged and some of the glutamine can separate from the other aminos and become free glutamate. This can make food taste really good! And many of these foods have fantastic health benefits. But they might cause issues for some people if eaten in excess.

When the processing gets more severe (even so-called natural processing using enzymes or extremely high heat) the amount of free glutamate increases. When it binds to sodium in the food it becomes mono-sodium glutamate (MSG).

The most common source of umami in the American diet is probably MSG. But for many people, MSG can be unhealthy or even dangerous. When Kimi wrote about the food and behavior connection in children, she mentioned MSG as a chemical to which many children are sensitive. I definitely agree.

When my kids are eating more foods that contain MSG (it slips in from time to time), their appetite gets whacked and they begin craving processed foods. And since MSG can cross the blood brain barrier it can definitely affect behavior, in some people more than in others. A little while back, I wrote about MSG and the blood brain barrier as well as who is vulnerable and how to avoid it (it’s not as easy as scanning the label).

When trying to make a move away from processed foods, finding natural sources of umami is critical for success. The umami taste is so alluring that unless it is in the diet, we might be tempted to seek it out in unhealthy ways.

Here are some good natural sources of umami:

  • seafood
  • sea vegetables
  • miso
  • shiitaki mushrooms
  • savory broths
  • cultured foods such as sauerkraut
  • anchovy paste
  • hard cheeses
  • ketchup (here’s a good homemade one)

A sixth taste?

Now it looks like the 5 Tastes may be bumped up to 6. Good news – the newbie is fat! Research shows that we may have a taste receptor for fat (and I’m pretty sure that mine is disproportionately large).

Why is spicy not considered a taste?

Spicy is not actually a taste – it’s a sensation. A pain sensation. This makes me question my obsession with jalapenos!

Quick Miso Stir-Fry and "The 5 Tastes" (or is it 6?) - The Nourishing Gourmet

This sauce isn’t spicy. It includes a good dose of ginger, but it mellows as it cooks. I like to add crushed red peppers to my own serving.

Pictured above are fresh ginger ice cubes. (The bowl was made by my brother’s lovely girlfriend and artist Maria Lucia Londoño – isn’t it pretty?)

I had a bunch of ginger that was showing signs of turning, so I peeled and roughly chopped it and threw it in the blender with just enough water to cover it, then liquified it and poured it into an ice cube tray to freeze. I happen to have baby food trays with a lid, but regular ice cube trays would work just as well if you transfer the cubes to a freezer bag or Pyrex container once they are frozen.

The last time I made this stir-fry I just popped one of these ginger ice cubes into the pan right before adding the sauce. They also come in handy for green smoothies and soups. For a quick ginger tea you can drop a couple into boiling water and if you have time add a little raw honey and/or lemon.

I also use this technique for saving fresh herbs before they go bad.

I hope your family gets to enjoy this dish soon! Here’s a tip for getting kids to eat it: chop the vegetables small, mix them into rice and call it fried rice.

Quick Miso Stir-Fry (And How to Freeze Garlic, Ginger & Herbs)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Stir-Fry
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 2-4
 
This quick & simple miso stir-fry is a perfect for a busy night.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons miso (red or white)
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or umeboshi plum vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
  • 5 cups of greens (lacinato kale is pictured here)
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil for sauteing
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the sauce ingredients (everything except for the vegetables and olive oil).
  2. Heat the olive or coconut oil a large pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.
  3. Stir-fry the pepper, onion and carrots, stirring occasionally until "crisp tender" (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add the greens and saute until tender to the bite.
  5. Add in the sauce and allow it to heat through gently (about 1 minute).
  6. Serve over rice or quinoa. Add chicken, shrimp or steak if you'd like!
Notes
I like to use olive oil when sauteing vegetables, but oftentimes I'll add a little water to the pan first (1/4 cup or so) to temper the heat since olive oil becomes unstable at high temperatures.

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t want to miss the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. It’s on sale for only 6 days, is less than $30, and gives you over $1000 worth of healthy living resources. It includes eBooks, eCourses, and bonus gifts (like glass straws, lotion bars, herbal supplements, stay at home workouts, and more). One of my eBooks is one of the 73 as part of the bundle, and eCourses cover topics such as essential oils, fitness, and healthy living on a budget, making your own herbs, and a real food cleansing guide. It’s available for 6 days only, and once 30,000 bundles have been sold, that’s it! So don’t wait. Learn more (and buy it) here.

Chai Tea Fauxccino (Paleo-friendly)

ChaiTeaFauxccinoNG2

By Katie Mae Stanley, Contributing Writer

Bold and spicy chai with just a hint of sweetness, it’s icy perfection mingling with creamy milk; the perfect chai latte summer style. I love tea –if you couldn’t guess – but there are some days, like today, with temps reaching over triple digits that I just can’t do it. That’s where this awesome chai tea “fauxccino” comes in. It cools you off while still giving you that rich and delicious flavor of the chai tea we know and love. If you are frappe fan you also might like this Salted Carmel Mocha Fauxccinno or this Peppermint Mocha Fauxccino.

Chai actually means “tea” in Hindi but I think at this point we are so used to calling it “Chai Tea” that I doubt that we can go back to just calling it chai. Most frappe drinks call for ice cubes, I have never liked how diluted an iced beverage would get as the ice started to melt. A new trick I have started doing is making ice cubes of strong coffee or in this case chai concentrate. It is as simple as pouring your coffee/chai into an ice tray and freezing until solid. You can also read about how to make them here. In my opinion it really ups the flavor of my fauxccinos and iced coffees.

This chai tea fauxccino is so simple to make and hits the spot on a hot day! I used my own chai concentrate to make my chai ice cubes but Kimi has a recipe using rooibos that I am sure is wonderful as well. My concentrate already has a bit of sweetener in it so if you are like me you may find that you don’t need any additional sweetener. Feel free to make your drink a bit more “fancy” by adding vanilla whipped cream (or coconut whipped cream, bittersweet chocolate syrup or salted caramel sauce). Drinking it plain is fine too and what I normally do. If you want perfect whipped cream using an  (Affiliate link) ISI Whipped Cream Dispenser is very helpful and fun.

Other chai inspired recipes:

Chai Tea Fauxccino
 
Author:
Recipe type: Beverage
Serves: 1-2
 
Bold and spicy chai with just a hint of sweetness, it's icy perfection mingling with creamy milk; the perfect chai latte summer style.This chai tea fauxccino is so simple to make and hits the spot on a hot day! I used my own chai concentrate to my chai ice cubes but Kimi has a recipe using rooibos that I am sure is wonderful as well.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the chai ice cubes, milk and sweetener into a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
  2. Top with whipped cream, caramel sauce or chocolate syrup if desired.

 

You don’t want to miss the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. It’s on sale for only 6 days, is less than $30, and gives you over $1000 worth of healthy living resources. It includes eBooks, eCourses, and bonus gifts (like glass straws, lotion bars, herbal supplements, stay at home workouts, and more). One of my eBooks is one of the 73 as part of the bundle, and eCourses cover topics such as essential oils, fitness, and healthy living on a budget, making your own herbs, and a real food cleansing guide. It’s available for 6 days only, and once 30,000 bundles have been sold, that’s it! So don’t wait. Learn more (and buy it) here.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Icebox Pie (grain, dairy and sugar free)

Strawberry Rhubarb Icebox Pie (Grain, Dairy and Sugar Free)

By Natalia Gill, Contributing Writer

Luscious strawberries and snappy rhubarb are lightly sweetened with stevia and poured into a salted pecan crust. A bit of pear (undetectable to the taste) bridges the gap between rhubarb and stevia, creating a well balanced pie that is both satisfying and simple – a treat for everyone, not only those who steer clear of grain, sugar and dairy.

This strawberry-rhubarb filling is very fresh tasting since the raw berries are stirred into a hot rhubarb-pear glaze, then poured into a prepared crust and chilled.

The most exciting part? You can use this method to create just about any fabulous fruit combination you dream up! How about raspberry-lemon, ginger-peach or just good old-fashioned blueberry? Simply adjust the amount of stevia you use.

Here are some grain/gluten-free crusts that would make a perfect base.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Icebox Pie

This is the first time I have tried making this pie with stevia. I was pretty sure it would work well since this herb shines in tart, fruity recipes. But I was surprised to discover that I actually prefer the stevia version.

While I’m not a proponent of stevia morning, noon and night, I do think this is a great dessert option for those who are sensitive to sugar (like me.) The protein and healthy fats in the crust help to further curb the natural sugars in the fruits.

I used (affiliate link) Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia and was very happy with the result.

This recipe is approved by and dedicated to my dad…musician, luthier, diabetic and strawberry-rhubarb pie aficionado.

Strawberry Rhubarb Icebox Pie
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
 
This pie is a sweet and tangy summer treat - free of sugar, grain & dairy.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup rhubarb, diced
  • ½ pear, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound strawberries, washed and stems/leaves removed (about 3.5 cups)
  • 4 teaspoons arrowroot
  • 2 - 2½ teaspoons powdered stevia sweetener (the equivalent of 4-5 teaspoons sugar)
  • your favorite crust (I use this grain-free nut crust)
Instructions
  1. Dice two medium-sized strawberries and place in a saucepan with the rhubarb, pear and ½ cup water. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pear is soft (about 10-12 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, quarter the remaining strawberries. Also, combine the arrowroot, 2 teaspoons stevia and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl.
  3. When the pear is soft, add the arrowroot mixture to the fruit in the saucepan, keeping the heat on very low. Gently stir for 1-2 minutes, allowing the mixture to thicken and become more translucent (it won't be a fully translucent glaze because the rhubarb has disintegrated into the mixture.)
  4. Take the pan off of the heat. Taste and add a little more stevia if you'd like. Immediately stir in the fresh strawberries. Pour into your baked pie crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then slice and serve. Or eat it sooner and let it be a little messy.
Notes
For a special touch, top it with a dollop of this paleo-friendly coconut whipped cream. Or the chocolate version - even better!

 

You don’t want to miss the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. It’s on sale for only 6 days, is less than $30, and gives you over $1000 worth of healthy living resources. It includes eBooks, eCourses, and bonus gifts (like glass straws, lotion bars, herbal supplements, stay at home workouts, and more). One of my eBooks is one of the 73 as part of the bundle, and eCourses cover topics such as essential oils, fitness, and healthy living on a budget, making your own herbs, and a real food cleansing guide. It’s available for 6 days only, and once 30,000 bundles have been sold, that’s it! So don’t wait. Learn more (and buy it) here.

15 Freezer Burrito Hacks for Nourishing Cooks + Goat Cheese-Green Chile Breakfast Burrito Recipe

15 Freezer Burrito Hacks for Nourishing Cooks: Wrap & Roll Tutorial (No Plastic!) + Hacks for Allergies, Budget, Speed, and MoreBy Alison Diven, Contributing Writer

Burritos just the way you like them whenever you like them, in minutes. No additives,no plastic, , no iffy oils—just nourishing goodness for no-brainer breakfasts or dinners. Can you tell I love homemade freezer burritos?!

Since I started experimenting with them, my husband has devoured a hot and hearty breakfast every morning with zero fuss, leaving him extra space for his 5 a.m. coffee ritual before work.  He just pops one into the toaster oven to heat while he dresses.

And I, queasy pregnant mama, have an easy lunch or snack for those days when nothing sound good, and I’ve already spent all my energy scrounging for food my toddler deigns to eat.

You know what I mean. Whether you’re tending to babies, stocking the freezer for postpartum life, carting teens around, or just plain busy, we all need convenience food sometimes. These knock the nutritional socks off Evol and Amy’s burritos, can meet your special dietary needs, and are far cheaper to boot.

Wanna know how I’m making it work? Here are 15 freezer burrito hacks to get you started—including ideas for allergy and budget needs—plus my favorite breakfast burrito recipe to inspire you: eggs, goat cheese, and green chiles. You’ve gotta try this killer combo!

Essential Success Hacks

1. Cool all fillings to room temperature or colder before filling burritos. Steam=soggy tortillas. (Thanks to TheKtchn for this tip!)

2. Warm tortillas to room temperature or until they’re pliable for less cracking and breaking, then roll like this:

Classic Burrito Rolling

3. Go easy on wet ingredients like salsa and sauces. Drain extra fluids off sautéed vegetables.

4. Wrap your burritos first in parchment paper, then in foil, then in gallon size freezer bags. They’ll last for months this way and are oven-safe, but you’ll never have questionable materials touching your food. Like so:

Wrapping Burritos for Freezer without Plastic Wrap.jpg

Time-Saving Hacks

5. Mix all filling ingredients together in a single bowl. Any sacrifice in presentation is worth the faster assembly. Plus, you won’t prematurely run out of an ingredient. (Hats off to Tammy’s Recipes for this awesome tip.)

6. Use store-bought tortillas, but check ingredient lists. In my current season of fatigue, this is my biggest shortcut. I’m fortunate to have locally-made organic wheat tortillas at my fingertips, and I’ve chosen Rudi’s Gluten Free Tortillas for my gluten, dairy, egg, and soy-free son.(Kimi notes: We are also a gluten-free family. Rudi’s probably has one of the nicest textures, but it does contain corn products in it for those sensitive. You could also use (affiliate links) these brown rice tortillas , or these these multi-grain gluten-free tortillas).

7. Bake your scrambled eggs in the oven if you’re making a giant batch of breakfast burritos. They can cook and then cool while you attend to other tasks. See this method.

8. Slow-cook chicken, beef roast, or pork roast the day before for hands-off shredded meat. I do it like this.

9. Make just one flavor variety per burrito prep day and keep it simple, only 2-4 components. You’ll dirty fewer dishes and streamline the whole process.

Allergy Hacks

10. Gluten-free or grain free? Don’t despair! GF people can choose non-GMO corn tortillas (blue corn or organic are sure bets), store-bought GF tortillas, or even better, homemade options like these nutrient-dense soaked buckwheat wraps or these egg-arrowroot paleo wraps. The last recipe is grain-free too, high protein, quick, and wraps beautifully with zero cracking.

11. Egg-free? Wheat tortillas, like Katie’s soaked ones, corn tortillas, or Rudi’s Gluten Free are good choices.

12. Dairy-free is a piece of cake. Almost any tortilla will meet this criterion, and then it’s up to you to leave dairy out of your fillings.

*NOTE: Many of these alternative tortillas are more prone to cracking (except the egg-arrowroot paleo wrap), so fold like this instead:

Folding Fragile Freezer Burritos.jpg

Frugal Hacks

13. Use thrifty ingredients like yard eggs, rice, home-cooked beans, or diced potatoes to stretch indulgent items like grass-fed beef, pastured pork sausage or bacon, and cheese.

14. Go pungent with your cheese—think sharp cheddar or goat cheese—so you can use less. Also, check out Costco.. We often get fabulous imported, grass-fed cheeses for much less there.

15. Make your own tortillas. Here’s a soaked whole wheat recipe, Natalia offers a gluten-free buckwheat wrap here, and I can heartily recommend this grain-free paleo wrap.

And now, on to my very favorite breakfast burrito, inspired by Albuquerque’s fabulous Grove Cafe & Market.

Goat Cheese-Green Chile Breakfast Burritos.jpg

Goat Cheese-Green Chile Breakfast Burritos
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: New Mexican
Serves: 6
 
These creamy dreamy Southwest burritos will spice up your mornings! Prepare them for a quick fresh treat or freeze a double batch for later (see blog post for details). Select tortillas according to your allergy or dietary needs (again, many ideas in the blog post). You can find New Mexico, or "Hatch," green chiles frozen in many grocery stores or fresh in late summer. Or, substitute sauteed poblano peppers. It'll still be spectacular! A little sausage wouldn't go amiss either.
Ingredients
  • 12 pasture-raised eggs
  • ¼ cup grass-fed butter (we love Kerrygold)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces soft goat cheese (chevre), separated into chunks
  • ¾ cup chopped roasted New Mexico green chiles, without seeds
  • 6-10 tortillas, depending on size
Instructions
  1. Heat butter in a large skillet on medium-low heat. Gently scramble eggs until soft set, sprinkling with salt and pepper.
  2. Gently warm tortillas.
  3. For a pretty presentation, layer scrambled eggs, goat cheese, and green chiles in tortillas and wrap.
  4. For speed, gently mix goat cheese and chiles in scrambled eggs and divide among tortillas.
  5. Enjoy!

 

You don’t want to miss the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. It’s on sale for only 6 days, is less than $30, and gives you over $1000 worth of healthy living resources. It includes eBooks, eCourses, and bonus gifts (like glass straws, lotion bars, herbal supplements, stay at home workouts, and more). One of my eBooks is one of the 73 as part of the bundle, and eCourses cover topics such as essential oils, fitness, and healthy living on a budget, making your own herbs, and a real food cleansing guide. It’s available for 6 days only, and once 30,000 bundles have been sold, that’s it! So don’t wait. Learn more (and buy it) here.