I’m killing burger week, well more accurately, I’m gang-banging it. I’ve been to Ace Burgers twice in four days and on the second time, I realized that Gus’s has Bridge Brewery beer on tap. For those who do not live in the Halifax area, Gus’s pub is a local dive bar that also is without a website – check out The Coast’s write up for more info. Gus’s is famous around the city for giving up the stage to local metal bands and any medium of fringe show. They also happen to house one of my favorite burger joints, Ace Burgers .
Gus’s carries Bridge Brewery’s ‘Gus’s 65 M’ ale on tap, which is the lighter of the two options that this small, locally owned, zero emissions brewery makes. Bridge focuses on Belgium style ales, and the 65 M was delicious, light in colour and fruity with a short lived hoppy after bite. The perfect accompaniment to my veggie burger and fries.
I had planned to doing burgers four out of the seven days but my stomach can’t handle it. I eat so healthy most of the time that my digestive system has already been thrown out of whack. I’m sure that has nothing to do with all the luring craft beer around the city, it couldn’t be. Whatever it is I’m putting my intestines through the ringer and not about to stop just yet. Last burger of the week is happening tonight at the Works and since tonight is the last night of ‘Burger Week’.
While I day dream about more craft beer and deep fried pickles, I want to talk about something more healthy because as you may have noticed it’s hump day! Which should mean it’s also, What’s the Word? Wednesday. We have hit M folks, that is half way through the alphabet and this week, M is for Miso!
M is for Miso
MMmmmmmMmmmmm miso. Miso is a paste made from fermenting grains and soy products. I know it doesn’t sound appealing peeps, but trust me on this one (I know I say that about everything seemingly weird, just go with it). Obviously, miso is the main flavour contributor to miso soup that you may get with your sushi, but that is not all it’s good for. As I hope to show you, miso is a diverse flavour agent chock full of great vitamins and minerals that we all should be getting just a tad more of in our diets.
What is it?
Miso is usually a mixture of rice and soybeans that is first fermented and then ground into a paste. Other grains such as barley are sometimes used to create different flavours and colors of miso. Salt and the fungus kōjikin are added to preserve and ferment the main components. kōjikin which is sometimes referred to as the national fungus of Japan is also used in beer fermentation as well as other fizzy beverages and of course, miso production. (sourced from Wikipedia)
What does it taste like?
Have you ever heard of the word umami? Sometimes referred to as the fifth taste (i.e sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami) it’s the Japanese descriptor for deep earthy flavours like roasted vegetables and butter sauteed mushrooms, aged cheeses, beer and of course miso. Miso paste is quite salty and concentrated. It has a similar taste to soy sauce, but it’s thick in texture and can range from white, to red, to dark brown in colour.
Where do I use it?
Miso can be used anywhere you would use soy sauce, or even salt. I most often use it to make sauces, gravies, marinades or add flavour to soups and stews. White miso is often used to help re-create an ‘aged cheese’ taste when added to nutritional yeast among other ingredients You can also thin miso with water or syrup for a quick glaze or use it to add flavour to soup and sauces or create marinades.
Are there health benefits?
If you do not have a soy allergy, miso is a great food to add flavour and it is high in B 12. Because miso is generally made with soybeans, it does count towards your daily intake of legumes, adding fibre and protein to your diet. As it’s consumed in smaller quantities it can’t take over much of the daily intake suggested by Canada Food Guide (2 tablespoons is equal to about 1/4 cup of legumes) of 3 cups weekly.
For individuals following a low-sodium diet, please be aware that miso is very high sodium and should be limited, or restricted, if following a specialized diet plan. It is worth noting however that in most clinical studies, the sodium found in miso did not affect our cardiovascular systems like other high sodium foods do.
Soy is a very controversial subject and WHFoods.com (which I have sourced most of this section from) does a great job of talking about the pros and cons of miso in relation to the awareness and under documented benefits of soy products. I really encourage you to visit their page on miso for a full understanding.
Care2.com also has a short article advising on the benefits of including miso in your diet here.
V- Spot Recipes and suggestion using Miso:
- Cheezy Kale Chips V
- Mushroom Bulgur Miso Soup V
- Mushroom Gravy V
- New England Style Baked Beans V
- Vegan Donair V
Miso Inspiration around the web:
- Green Bean Salad with Yoghurt Miso Dressing by Le Delicieux
- Maple Miso Tofu by Use Real Butter
- Miso Cumin White Bean Hummus by Keeping it Kind
- Miso-maple Sweet Potato Tacos by Love and Lemons
- Miso Glazed Eggplant by Daisy’s World