Ota, Japan

18.09.2014 § Leave a comment

In Japan, my sister and I visited the hot spring place called Ota. Ota is in the countryside and was beautiful. It’s well known for its miso too, so we had miso ice cream there, and it was delicious! « Read the rest of this entry »

Kyoto, Japan

05.09.2014 § Leave a comment

More photos from my trip to Japan in and around Kyoto.

Golden Pavilion

Golden Pavilion Golden Pavilion

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Kaiseki Cuisine

03.09.2014 § Leave a comment

Kaiseki (懐石) or kaiseki-ryōri (懐石料理) is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. The characters literally mean “stone in the bosom”. The idea came from the practice where Zen monks would ward off hunger by putting warm stones into the front folds of their robes, near their bellies. Kaiseki has since evolved into a sumptuous feast of 14 items including an appetizer, sashimi, a simmered dish, a grilled dish, and a steamed course in addition to other dishes at the discretion of the chef. We had a full-fledged Kaiseki dinner at Rangetsu Ryokan in Kyoto.

The nine Japanese-style servings took two hours. Here are the pictures. « Read the rest of this entry »

Day Trip to Matsumoto City

15.08.2014 § 1 Comment

My sister came to Japan to visit me, and we went on a one-day visit to Matsumoto city. It was a two and a half hour train ride from Tokyo to the foot of the Japanese Alps mountains.

The area is well known for its miso and buckwheat noodles. So, for lunch, I had wasabi leaf noodles with grated radishes. My sister had deep-fried burdock noodles with field greens. They were refreshing and delicious—and beautiful.

Matsumoto lunches

DDRC Retreat

08.04.2014 § 1 Comment

Last year I volunteered as a chef at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center in Pine Bush, NY, to cook vegan meals for 40 people during a 10-day retreat. DDRC is a beautiful place to be. I have been to over ten retreats there, but last year was my first time volunteering as a vegan chef.

DDRC imageDDRC image « Read the rest of this entry »

Lactose Intolerant

24.01.2014 § Leave a comment

A few years ago, I was surprise to hear my gastroenterologist tell me that 100% of Asians are lactose intolerant. So I have been drinking soy milk all this time. Today Brentano’s intern introduced me to Lactaid, a milk that is lactose free. She said she has been drinking it for two years. Really? I got curious and immediately started reading the carton.

I don’t know when I started this habit of reading labels. I grew up in an era when we bought food by weight or by pieces from local markets. If you bought pork, the butcher would weigh the meat and tie a string of raffia on it so you could carry the meat without touching it. The packaging material included large leaves, like lotus leaves. Old newspaper was a luxury since it cost money to buy newspaper—although come to think of it now, that would have been the most toxic packing material you could have in those days. We would go to the deli next door to buy our daily supplies with our own bowls, go to the produce market to buy vegetables and put them in our baskets without any packaging. No plastic bags, no labels, nor would we know where the food was produced. My mother told me about how she bought sesame oil in her youth: They would bring their own bottles to the oil shop with its big drums of oil, and the shopkeeper would weight the sesame oil and shoot the oil through a funnel into her narrow necked bottle. « Read the rest of this entry »

Staying Healthy

06.01.2014 § Leave a comment

The information and news we get about the horrors of the food supply chain have been affecting the way I choose food. I try to cook at home and eat unprocessed food as much as I can. I always thought grains and dried beans were safe, especially rice; it is so pure and delicious—but even rice, which has been my main carbohydrate source, carries concerns. The only safe thing to do is keep a balanced diet. It was true in ancient times but is so much more true now. « Read the rest of this entry »

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