Monday, March 5, 2012

Miso Salad Dressing and Writers Block

Miso Dressing

Sometimes I don't feel like blogging. Even though I don't fancy myself a writer, the fact remains that I do write at least three times a week and more most of the time with corrections and edits. So, I guess you could say I can relate to things "real" writers go through, namely, writers block. I never knew what it was before! I would hear things like a writer went to a cabin to be alone for three months to finish her novel and I would not get it. Why couldn't she just write at home? Why did she have to be alone? Why was she searching for inspiration? I mean, with all due respect, the words that come out are all in the writers head which is really all you need, so why did it matter the location?

I get it now. New experiences, surroundings and seasons breed inspiration. It unlocks and coaxes those words out. Inspiration= easy writing. As for me, I don't have the luxury of getting away to write. Nor would I really want to. My inspiration usually comes to me through ordinary circumstances with a breath of something new. More often than not, a burst of inspiration will hit me while cooking dinner. Something about the smell, a good song on Pandora, the unseasonably warm weather or my mood...any and all could be a trigger. And what do I do when inspiration hits me upside the head? I write. I write like a mad woman and take advantage of every single second, stopping to stir a sauce, take a sip of wine and tend to children in-between. It's then that writing is enjoyable, fun, inspired and cathartic. It also ends up being my best posts. But do I experience this joy every time I sit down to write? No. I wish.

Miso Dressing

It's to be expected though. I blog because I enjoy it. But, I don't enjoy every time I blog. I used to think there was something wrong with this and would only blog if I really felt it. After all it's a hobby and hobbies are meant to be enjoyed. But I have changed my way of thinking. Runners run because they like it, don't they? They love running, but I bet they don't love lacing up their shoes every single time they head out. I love to cook, but I don't enjoy making dinner every night. My husband loves to bike, but he doesn't love it each and every time he sets out for a ride. Sometimes it's a discipline because fulfillment comes after the fact.

I read a blog post recently that quoted a writer as saying

" I hate writing. Hate it. But I loved having written."

What do you know? I love having written too! If I only wrote when I really felt it, I would write a quarter of the time, which means I would be three quarters worse a writer than I am now. I have a feeling that discipline and fulfillment are more closely related than we think regarding most things in life. When we don't do things simply because we don't feel like it, what else are we missing out on?

Sometimes I run across a recipe I get really excited about and end up filing it away instead of making it simply because it sounds too complicated, or it calls for an ingredient I have never purchased before. I did this with miso often over the last few years. I like miso but have never bought it. I didn't even know where to find it. Did it come in a powder? The answer was no, it came in a paste, was refrigerated and right in front of me at my health food store, not expensive, and all I needed to do was ask. If I hadn't have bit the bullet, I'd be missing out on the best, most flavorful salad dressing in the world. This is a very, very small example of what I wrote above, of course, but if you tasted this dressing, you'd count it as important too.

This is another one of Gwyneth Paltrow's winner recipes. She says if her son finds this in the refrigerator he will stick his fist into the bowl and lick it like an ice cream cone. She wishes she was joking. I prefer it tossed in a salad of napa cabbage, red cabbage, cilantro, radish, sugar snap peas, and sesame seeds. Toss in a side of sweet potato wedges and call it dinner.

Cabbage Salad with Miso Dressing

Don't miss out. Figure out how to find miso paste and mirin. Both are delicious and in tons of recipes.

Miso Salad Dressing

1/3 cup peeled and roughly diced Vidalia onion
1 small or 1/2 large garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon white miso
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons water
Large pinch coarse salt
A few fresh grinds black pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Blitz everything but the vegetable oil together in a blender until smooth. While the blender is running, slowly stream in the oil. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.


  1. I am definitely not a writer and find that each post is hard for me. It seems that it is getting even harder as the days go by. For someone suffering writer's block, this was beautifully written, Krysta. I was captivated through the entire post and you ended it beautifully with this recipe. It's a keeper!

    1. I relate to that not-wanting to write feeling.
      But it's so beautiful to finish and fine-tune and set it free.

      The sun is setting on this glorious Steamboat early spring day. Nice to know you're working hard writing this week just on the other end of town . . . thank you for persevering, Krysta!