Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that as we grow older, eating becomes more tiring? First world problems I know but whew! After this past weekend I still feel like I’m in a food coma. In general, I eat pretty healthy throughout the year so I think my body just shuts down when affronted with so much fat and sugar. I love pigging out over the holidays, but I was really craving something healthy. This Japanese-inspired Asian Sesame Sweet Potato Squash Soup was just what I needed after an overly indulgent weekend.
Over the years I’ve made every variation of sweet potato and squash: roasted, mashed, baked. This holiday season, I really wanted to try something new. Butternut squash soup is popular, but I decided to add sweet potato, to bring out the sweetness of the squash. I had to keep this soup dairy free, so I used a bit of miso instead of cream for a richer taste. Building on this Asian-inspired flavour, I included some mirin (sweet cooking wine) to add acidity to the dish. For the garnish I topped with toasted sesame seeds and nori (dried seaweed) for a bit of salty crunch.
Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup
Festive and easy to prepare, I loved this healthy, hearty soup on a cold, winter’s night. The nori, mirin and miso can be found in the Asian aisle of a big chain supermarket, or at any Asian grocery store. If you don’t want to buy a whole bottle of mirin, you can substitute for sake and keep on drinking this holiday season!
This year I embarked on one of the most important trips of my life: Japan. I was off to find my people. I was also traveling with my boyfriend and his family. The ultimate goal of the trip was to climb to the top of Mt. Fuji, and since we were climbing a little off season, we had to pray for good weather. We toured Tokyo, Nikko, Hakone, Kyoto and Hiroshima with GAP Adventures and then spent the last couple of days on our own in Osaka. Now what can I say other than this was the most amazing trip EVER. I absolutely love Japan and felt at home. I loved the big city vibe and style of Tokyo, the quiet shrines of Nikko, the food in Kyoto, the history in Hiroshima and the youth of Osaka. We made it to the top of Mt. Fuji, where my boyfriend proposed by the crator. The journey was surreal to say the least. I found my people, and I can’t wait to go back.