I was fighting a nasty cold recently and got my hands on a huge reference volume called “Prescription for Nutritional Healing” by Phyllis A. Balch. The author is a certified nutritionist who offers drug-free remedies like whole foods, herbs, vitamins, and mineral supplements for ailments like the head congestion, sore throat and annoying cough I’d been dealing with for too many days.
In the common cold/sore throat section, there was a suggestion for easing irritation by using herbal tea with lemon and honey. “I have lemon tea and honey in the pantry,” I thought to myself. In the chapter on bronchitis she recommended shitake extract for its immune boosting and antiviral properties. “Got some dried shitakes in the pantry, too.” Along with a hot mug of tea, a nice bowl of miso soup with sliced shitakes sounded utterly soothing.
Inspired, I decided to start a pot of lemon tea in my coffeemaker. Oh, I know it sounds unconventional, but I brew tea with my countertop coffee pot. So, using a ratio of one tea bag to three parts water, I put two lemon tea bags into the carafe and filled the water reservoir with enough water to brew six cups. (I used the coffee pot’s measurements, not an actual one-cup measure.)
Then I got to thinking: what about making lemon-miso-mushroom soup? I could reconstitute the dried shitakes in the lemon tea and add some mild white miso after the brew had steeped. Well, twenty minutes later I pulled the spent tea bags out of the carafe and put the softened shitakes on a cutting board. I added about three tablespoons of miso to the lemon-mushroom tea, then sliced the shitakes while the mellow yellow soup base was heated by the coffeepot’s warming plate (you don’t want to boil miso). I stirred the mushrooms back into the broth and gave it a taste.
The light, lemony brew needed just a dash of kosher salt and a few leaves of basil leaves, cut chiffonade, to round out the flavor. The result was soothing, refreshing, and delicious. My husband agreed that if he didn’t know I’d used tea as a base, he would have thought he was eating miso soup and meaty shitakes lightly seasoned with lemon juice. And he would have never guessed I made it in the coffeemaker.