It’s not always an easy lesson. But we know that incorporating balance wherever possible can improve our well-being and even our health. It can moderate stress and boost our immunity to disease. Apparently it can help our cooking taste better, too.
I learned this while preparing for my class on Macrobiotic Cuisine, which I taught last month with Yuta Tsunoda, the spirited and visionary owner of the popular M Café chain here in Los Angeles. In macrobiotic cooking, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and fish form the basis for a holistic, unprocessed diet. Only natural sweeteners are permitted, but dessert is encouraged a few times a week. As Mr. Tsunoda explained, “Balance trumps everything.”
There’s a delicious equilibrium to macrobiotic cooking. Take this creamy corn chowder, for example. Completely vegan, it’s a perfectly calibrated mix of salty and sweet, land and sea, light and luscious.
Fresh lotus root is worth hunting for at your local Asian grocery or farmers market. The starchy tuber adds a crunch of the unexpected…especially when deep-fried into chips. I like to sprinkle mine with truffle salt…a big improvement on oyster crackers, for sure!
I also discovered dulse, a type of seaweed that comes in granules. A sprinkle adds natural saltiness and a briny twist to soups, salads, even pasta.
One glance at the glowing young beauties that frequent M Café and you’ll be tempted to give your life a complete Macro makeover.
Or you can just take it one slurp at a time.
4 ears fresh corn on the cob
6 cups organic rice milk (make sure it’s the plain, unsweetened kind)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Earth Balance or olive oil
1-1/2 cups diced yellow onion (from 1 medium onion)
1/2 cup diced carrots (from 1-2 medium carrots)
1/2 cup diced celery (from 1-2 ribs)
2- 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup thinly sliced lotus root or diced potato
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 -4 tablespoons light miso paste (non-GMO and organic, if possible)
Dulse granules or smoked paprika, lime wedges and chopped chives, for garnish
1. Cut the kernels from the cobs, reserving 1/2 cup for garnish.
2. In a large soup pot, combine the rice milk, bay leaf, and the remaining corn kernels. Drop in the cobs. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the kernels are very soft.
3. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the Earth Balance (or olive oil) and sauté the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and thyme until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lotus root and reserved corn and continue to cook until softened, about 5 more minutes.
4. Remove the corn broth from the heat and discard the cobs and bay leaf. Add the miso paste and, using an immersion blender, purée the broth until smooth. Add the sautéed vegetables and simmer another 10 minutes, adjusting the seasoning to taste. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with dulse and chives. Serve with lime wedges.
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Here are some more slurp-worthy soups for Spring (all vegan):
- Chaya’s Japanese Minestrone Soup
- Wild Mushroom-Leek Soup
- Spinach Soup with Chickpeas and Indian Spices
- White Bean, Leek and Potato Soup
Photo credit: MyRecipes.com
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