11 August 2007

Have you ever forgotten the feeling of....hunger?

For the past two weeks, my colleagues and I have been heading out of the stuffy and virus-inflicted office for lunches to celebrate birthdays, bid farewells or welcome newbies into the department.

Among others, we've had a pretty good Indonesian lunch buffet spread, luxurious pastas from Menotti (at Raffles' City Shopping Centre), sinful but super delicious Ayam Penyet (literally translated: smashed chicken) with Gado Gado, and a fairly wide range of thin-crust pizzas from Modestos.

And to make matters worse, I've had similarly heavy dinners after work too. I used to be busy trying to balance on one leg, while keeping the other suspended in mid-air at unattainable angles ('trying' being the operative work) - i.e. yoga. But when my contract ended, I decided not to renew it as they seemed to have oversold their membership.

I was no longer gaining peace, and instead had to keep battling with people's arms and legs infringing into my little private space demarcated by the often soggy blue yoga mat. If it sounds gross, you should just try it.

So with plenty of free time, plenty of friends eager to try new places with me, and plenty of new places to try, I discovered quite a few gems but also sadly (and quite frighteningly) forgot the feeling of hunger. A friend, S, who also happens to be my colleague, agreed with me and suggested that we have a 'SALAD DAY' this coming Monday. I could not have thought of a better idea to quell our (or at least my) anxieties that we would soon develop sitophobia - fear of food or eating.

While typing out the email to recruit fellow colleagues verging on sitophobia, I was running through the list of possible salad dressings I could contribute. The one tried and tested dressing that I've made quite frequently for different groups of people, is a miso-based one that is light and uber refreshing. The only problem would be making enough of it to go around.

It can be added to almost anything. I've used this with crisp iceberg lettuce, sweet romaine, and lollo rosso. For one version, I included soba (thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour) and my adulterated version of teriyaki salmon - made from salmon, dark soy sauce and golden syrup in equal proportions.

For another, I simply grilled some store bought shishamo (the Cold Storages at Takashimaya and Bugis Junction stock a few of these) and served it with the salad leaves gently but thoroughly tossed through the miso dressing, a wedge of lemon and a sprinkling of bonito flakes (pictured above).

Its great as a tantalising starter, to get the tastebuds moving and eager for more. But double (or in my case, quadruple) the quantity for a healthy, and surprisingly comforting dinner for 1. Just salad, a fork and you're good to go! The following recipe is just a guide, and should be adjusted to taste. To try, just dip a piece of salad leaf into the dressing and taste.

With so little exercise in my schedule these days, I'm only more than happy that I've found such a great tasting dish that won't go straight to my thighs! Woohoo!

Miso Dressing for Salads

1 tbspn miso paste
2 tbspn mirin (omit if you have Muslim friends, though this would affect the taste quite significantly)
juice from half a lemon
2 tbspn sugar
1 tbspn light soy sauce
5 tbspns olive oil (or water, for an even lighter dressing)

Mix miso, mirin, lemon, sugar and light soy sauce until well combined.
If using olive oil, trickle in slowly while whisking vigorously.
Mixture should form a brown, homogeneous dressing.
If using water, simply add in tablespoon by tablespoon until you attain your perfect dressing.


faith said...

i get hungry all the time, half the time its the lust of the eyes rather than actual hunger. :) btw, managed to bake brownies for family. made 'em v happy people for a day. thanks for inspiring me to enter the kitchen even though i work long hrs.

Anonymous said...

Dear Faith, thank YOU for making my day! It makes me very happy to know that I moved you enough to get back into the kitchen even after a long day.

lawrence said...

tsk tsk a touch on the lips a lifetime on the hips

Anonymous said...

Lawrence> You are horrible!

Stephen said...

Better than not remembering what it's like to feel full! I totally understand though. Once in a while after food binges I have trouble reigning it in. After all, what's more fun than eating beautiful food? ;)

Anonymous said...

stephen> It didn't occur to me how insensitive this post might seem until you said that! I am indeed grateful for all the beautiful food I get to eat, but I find I can't have it day after day after day!

daphne said...

hehe.. it certainly feels funny adressing someone with the same name as you BUT we are the special few that "owns" the name daphne! Lol. My friends call me daffy/daf too. hahha.

I love a good miso salad. I usually make mine using miso paste, mirin and toasted sesame on blanched or steamed green beans. Going to give yours a go soon too!

Anonymous said...

I hope you'll tell me how it went then! =)