This 3-course meal can’t get much easier


By David Tanis, The New York Times

It’s trite, but it’s true: After the excesses of the holiday season, January is the time to venture into more moderate territory. It’s just as well, but it needn’t feel restrictive. And something festive isn’t out of the question, either.

When I’m cooking light, I tend to rely on some Asian pantry ingredients, which can enhance flavor in lean preparations. I add miso to a soup, for instance. Ginger and garlic bolster a fish dish, and toasted sesame oil finds its way into cookies.

To start, I wanted a simple vegetable soup, one that could be prepared quickly. When I make vegetable soups, I really want to taste the vegetables. Some cooks want to add canned chicken stock or shelf-stable vegetable stock. Not necessary. The fact is, when leeks and carrots are simmered in lightly salted water, the result is a lovely flavorful vegetable broth. Then, the vegetables and broth are puréed together. A little miso is stirred in just before serving to add depth, and a final squeeze of lime gives brightness.


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