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Friday, December 23, 2011

another holiday finger foods menu

a last minute call for another holiday party and these are the finger foods we will present.

Root vegetable knishes
socca with julienned vegetables
homemade pita with red lentil spread and olive tapenade
potatoes stuffed with spinach spices and tamarind sauce
black bean tart with green salsa
mushrooms stuffed with lentil pilaf
smoked tofu wrapped with yuba and homemade mustard

Friday, December 16, 2011

tonight's menu

Small holiday party we are catering this evening in San francisco

appetizer finger foods
-knishes (pumpkin dough filled with roasted/mashed potato, celery root, parsnip and leek)
-socca (chickpea flat bread) with julienned vegetables and herbs

buckwheat, sauerkraut soup with red beans and purple cabbage

pumpkins stuffed with wild rice pilaf, heirloom beans and greens
cranberry sauce
brussel sprouts roasted with capers and hickory smoked tofu

pecan pie
vanilla ice “cream” (i make ice cream out of cashews)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yang Jing dinner/concert March 12

We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to host yet another one of the world's greatest musicians. This time our special guest is Yang Jing, visiting from Beiing/Lucerne, arguably the greatest pipa player of our time. Known for her adventurous approach, collaborating with musicians and composers from many genres, here she will play a rare solo concert in the United States and in a very smll, intimate space.

5 course menu will be accompanying the concert and the menu will be published soon.

Monday, March 12
7 pm
limited seats for 18
for more information or to make reservations, 510 393 6096 or vegshaku8 at gmail

rice noodles in tamarind - lemongrass broth with asparagus, purple carrots and thai basil

cara cara oranges, roasted fennel and watercress with orange hazelnut dressing

small plate
fried dumplings (homemade dough stuffed with taro, tofu
sea weed salad
homemade spicy mustard

flat tofu noodles with spicy sesame sauce
tofu marinated in shaoshing, shoyu, star anise and oolong tea, smoked with plum wood
asparagus with black bean sauce
sichuan lotus root pickle
burdock pickled in white miso
jade pearl rice
black forbidden rice

buckwheat waffles
chocolate pecan raisin ice "cream" (cashew based)
maple glazed apples

Tofu and flat tofu from our friends at Tofu Yu in Berkeley.

Daniel Hoffman/Jeanette Lewicki dinner/concert February 11

Saturday, February 11

8 pm



a celebration of Jewish food and music featuring, Visiting from Tel Aviv, violin player Daniel Hoffman and from Berkeley, accordion player, Jeanette Lewick

5 course menu details, coming soon


lentil patties in horseradish stock

roasted beets with cara cara orange salad with walnut dressing

small plate
buckwheat knishes with mustard
homemade tempeh roasted with pears
homemade sauerkraut

collard rolls stuffed with chickpeas and wild rice baked in tomato-pomegranate sauce (from our own dried tomatos)
cauliflour kugel

apples stuffed with dried fruit and nuts, baked in chardonnay and spices
rosewater-saffron ice "cream" (coconut based)

Violinist Daniel Hoffman and vocalist/accordionist Jeanette Lewicki have been playing and recording klezmer and Yiddish music together for 15 years with the acclaimed Bay-Area group The Klez-X. Since Daniel moved to Israel in 2005, their performances together are a rare event not to be missed.

Jeanette Lewicki, vocals and accordion

Orphaned at an early age, without a dowry or family background, Jeanette Lewicki did whatever she had to do to learn to sing Yiddish & play accordion. Her first steady gig was at a vegan commune in San Francisco, where she played weekly in the soup kitchen band. Having apprenticed briefly with performance artist Jack Smith, she studied at Columbia University (through a YIVO scholarship) and in Oxford, England (with the New Jewish Music ensemble Brave Old World).  Madam Lewicki now performs with various klezmer groups and has led numerous Yiddish song workshops in New York, in San Francisco, and at Yiddish Summer Weimar, directed by the innovative music educator Dr. Alan Bern.

Jeanette Lewicki's many recordings include "Mayn Shtetele Soroke" (which she produced for 77-year-old Bessarabian singer Arkady Gendler), "Fli Mayn Flishlang" (for which she arranged childrens' songs by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman), "Harbst" (with the Klez-X), & "the gonifs break out," a new release on Porto Franco Records. Ms. Lewicki is the editrix of the zine "Yiddish Tango Illustrated" and a founding member of Accordionists Against the Death Penalty. She strives to combine folk tradition with Yiddish modernist style, & to make announcers and paramours pronounce her last name right: "Levitsky.”

Daniel Hoffman, violin

A descendant of a long line of Bessarabian furriers, Daniel was born and raised near Los Angeles. After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, he quickly began un-learning most of what he'd been taught and turned his attentions to Eastern European Jewish music and formed several klezmer bands in San Francisco. In 1992, he co-founded Davka, combining Ashkenazi music with jazz and Middle-Eastern rhythms. Davka has released five CDs of original music, including four on the Tzadik label. He also founded the Klez-X in 1996 and has developed a reputation as one of the foremost experts of the Yiddish violin style, recording and performing with the top players in the field.

Daniel has received numerous composition grants, including from Meet The Composer and the NEA and has written new scores for the 1920s silent films “The Golem” and “Jewish Luck”. He composed music for “David in Shadow and Light,” a new musical (with librettist Yehuda Hyman) based on the King David story which premiered at Theatre J in Washington DC in 2008. In Israel he performs with Trio Carpion, Andralamoussia, Echo 3, Yehuda Katz, Keren Friedman and the Jazzraelites, and in the new Jerusalem Theater Company comedy “Are You Happy Yet?” He currently teaches at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and recently began producing the pilot episode of Violin Around the World, a 36-part documentary film series which explores the role of the violin in diverse cultures worldwide.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Real Madrid 1 FC Barcelona 3 while menu planning

I decided to invite 10 of the biggest supporters of the dinner/concert series over for a meal.  And i promised to blog every time Real Madrid lost this season. Well, they won their last 15 games; all 6 European champions league games and all 9 la liga games since they got beaten by poor boys, Levante.   I am not sure i believe in the idea of Satan and evil incarnate but if such a thing exists, Satan's minions are quite obvious; the republican party, Monsanto, Burger King, Microsoft and of course, Real Madrid. But yesterday, they lost and lost bad in front of their home crowd to a team that represents a very different world than the fascist agenda of what was once General Franco's team. Yeah, the Madristas, once again were embarrased by FC Barcelona!

Sunday's dinner is a  small token of a way of saying thanks to those people who have been incredibly supportive of a small aspect of my business, the 6 year running dinner/concert series. In this absurd economy, not many people can afford or are willing to splurge on excellent food and music, so on Sunday, we are offering a small token of appreciation to those who continue to come back to many many of the dinner/concerts that In the Mood for Food present. Although the quality of food and internationally renowned musicians are an amazing deal for the prices we offer, we still exist in the Bush-Obama economy, where most of the people are downwardly sliding and thus have to watch their spending.

 A fairly simple, mostly family style meal so that Cori and i can also sit and join the rest of the guests.

Meanwhile, The biggest club rivalry in professional sports is between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.  Besides being the 2 finest futbol teams in Spain for many decades, they represent far opposing political and social viewpoints and when it comes down to it, this rivalry has little to do with futbol. Real Madrid represents Spanish fascim and nowhere is this more apparent than in Catalonia. During General Franco's dictatorship, this rivalry grew rather brutal and intense with smoke filled stadiums becoming the norm. And the Catalans are still pissed, rightfully so. The collectivization of workers in Barcelona and throughout Catalonia was a success till Franco's military from Madrid came in and well, Real Madrid represent this dictatorship....STILL. Any good hearted anarchist knows this team represents the worst in humanity, making Manchester United seem like friendly ol' chaps.

For the last few years, let us face it, FC Barcelona, under coach Pep Guardiola has beaten the living crap out of Real Madrid on and off the field with victories last year 5-0, and 2-6, the year before. No competition as the current, anarchist collective approach of the Catalans simply devours the selfish, superstar, Ayn Rand inspired Madristas who, on the field appear to be all out for personal glory and riches.  The Barcelona passing game simply overwhelms the egomaniacs.  (Note: workers in collectives work harder than heirarchical structured work environments) The most dispicable person in the sport today, Real's coach,  JosenMaurinho, smugster extraordinaire, sort of reminds one of Dick Cheney or Karl Rove, in a way. The kinda guy who makes a non violent person want to walk up to him and bitch slap him upside his ugly pretentious head. And no matter what tactics this fascist coach comes up with, the Catalans run him through the dirt. And once again, yesterday, well Barcelona ripped Real Madrid apart in front of 90,000 Madrid fans.
Started off rather bizarre with a really awful pass from goalkeeper Valdes that ended up with a Madrid goal only 24 seconds into the game. And that was it for goals for the right wing team, appropriately dressed in all white uniforms. 20 minutes later, Messi did his magic and let through an unreal pass to Alexis, who put it past Casillas to tie it up.  A rather funny goal from Xavi in the second half followed by Fabregas' first goal in his first game againts Madrid back in a Barc uniform (he looks good in red and blue, far better than in his all red arsenal jersey of days gone by). And damn, what a goal it was, coming on a header off a great cross from Dani Alves, who was constantly raising trouble with his runs down the right.
On defense, Puyol and Abidal were unbreakable. El Capitan Puyol, now 33 is slowing down after recent injuries. He no longer turns the way he used to and has lost some of hte balance but the drive and technique are still able to stop any attack from Ronaldo or Kaka or Ozil that came his way.

So what does this mean? Well, Barcelona is back in 1st place which is a good thing since that means Real Madrid is now in second. And symbolically, the team that represents fascism losing is a good thing, especially to a team that once represented anarchists. In a time when a quasi anarchist uprising is taking place in the US and elsewhere with these rather "interesting" so called occupations, well, any good symbol of hope for the destruction of the current global capitalist fiasco is a good thing.
The ports of the west coast will be shut down tomorrow, so any encouraging symbolic gesture from Spanish futbol is appreciated. Besides it was an entertaining game and once again watching coach Pep celebrate while coach Maurinho looked ready to commit seppuku was a joy.  Someone hand Jose a short sword and let him out himself out of his misery, please.

So tonight we celebrate with some good food and drink.

Menu for tonight
socca with hummous and olive tapenade
homemade potato chips with sage-rosemary-salt
knishes (pumpkin dough stuffed with potato/celery root/parsnip/leek/sweet potato mash)

lentil pumpkin

chickpea-wildrice loaf with sundried tomato-miso glaze
roasted brussel sprouts with hickory smoked maple marinated tofu
cranberry yuzu sauce
brocolli baked with cashew sauce
maple roasted fennel and carrots
beet salad
homemade mutli grain rolls

pumpkin pie
apple almond tart
pecan pie
cranberry walnut sorbet
vanilla ice "cream"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thai veg class, January 22

Sunday, January 22, 2012
limited space for 8
for more information or to make reservations: vegshaku8 at gmail or 510 393 6096

Hands on class. Learn about creating your own thai food. Make your own curry pastes, coconut milk and many dishes including:

lemongrass mushroom soup
laab Lettuce wrap salad made of tofu, herbs and spices
panang curry paste and panang curry
pumpkin fritters with peanut sauce

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lily Storm/Dan Cantrell dinner/concert Dec 17, 2011

Very delighted that this wonderful duo will return to our dinner/concert series!! Stunningly beautiful music from 2 bay area musicians i greatly admire.

Lily Storm - voice
Dan Cantrell - accordion

Saturday, December 17
  8 pm
loft in oakland
$55/person, byob
for more information or to make reservations, vegshaku8 at gmail or 510 393 6096

buckwheat, red bean, sweet potato, sauerkraut soup

roasted beets with romaine and yuzu poppyseed miso dressing

small plate
knishes (pumpkin dough filled with roasted/mashed root vegetables;potato, celery root, parsnip, turnip and leek) with mustard
brussel sprouts with hickory smoked tofu and capers

dumpling squash stuffed with heirloom beans, sauteed greens, wild rice pilaf, cranberry - yuzu sauce

pecan rosewater pie
cranberry walnut rosewater sorbet

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

fried food class for chanukah

And the lord said, fry it up in some fat. Well, not exactly. But an interesting myth about some oil burning for a long time after the Jews got their asses kicked and the temple destroyed. Personally, i would prefer a supreme being to help out in ways beyond long burning oil....nonetheless fry we shall!

Tuesday December 20, 2011
7 pm
limited space for 8
for more information or to make reservations vegshaku8 at gmail or 510 393 6096

all hands on class
we shall make
potato chips with rosemary salt
latkes (potato pancakes) and applesauce
lotus root tempura
pumpkin pakoras

and much more

bread baking class, january 15

Saturday, January 15
limited space for 8
for more information or to make reservations vegshaku8 at gmail or 510 393 6096

hands on bagel shop style baking class. Knead, roll, twist, turn, top, bake

pumpkin bagels

and to go with it
red lentil spread
basil walnut pesto
faux cream "cheese"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

thanksgiving menu, 2011

Serving thanksgiving dinner at our favorite clients in the Berkeley hills. Prefer to think of them as friends, actually! Always a fun time at their events and dinners!  The friendly atmosphere the amazing view, the wonderful wines, always inspire us to present serious dishes.

November 24, 2011

homemade potato chips with rosemary salt
knishes: potato-semolina dough filled with roasted potatoes, parsnip, celery root, leeks, chives and parsley

Matsutake mushroom soup served in yuzu "cup" garnished with nameko mushroom and chives
side of yuba drizzled with yuzu and shoyu

dumpling squash stuffed with goat’s eye  beans, chestnuts, sage, and collard greens
cauliflower steak with basil-walnut pesto
wild rice pilaf
cranberry madeira sauce
homemade multi grain rolls
pan seared brussel sprouts with smoked tofu (smoked with apple, pecan and alder wood)
green salad with lemon poppyseed miso dressing

dessert to include:
kafir lime truffles
cranberry-walnut sorbet

Thursday, November 17, 2011

i would like to be minister of food

As the occupy wall street movement grows and evolves, it appears that there will be some changes coming in the future. What these will be, is highly unpredictable. Will marshall law and a massive police state be the rule? We are already seeing insane amounts of police brutality with marines being hospitalized, 85 year old women being pepper sprayed and so on. Or will a more sane form of government actually come to fruition, somehow. Seems rather remote but perhaps there is a chance.
If so, i would like to be considered for the position of secretary of food. For decades, this position has been filled by someone from Monsanto or Conagra or some other absurd huge corporation. My first item of agenda if i was appointed this position would be to close the doors of Monsanto. Then close the doors of Conagra and then ADM, Dupont, and move down the line and utterly remove those corporations who have worked so hard to destroy our food sources.
I would then redistribute their wealth, land, resources (including the many brilliant (though without ethics) people who work for them) to small (25 acre or less) organic farmers.
People voted for change when they gave Obama the presidency. In terms of food (and most other things) we got status quo as he appointed a Monsanto lawyer as the food czar. In other words, the fox is guarding the chicken coop and having a field day. We need real change! Is occupy wall street going to be the answer? I have no idea but am enjoying watching the revolts begin and develop through the country and will continue to observe in person what is happening in the San Francisco bay area!

As minister of food, i wont offer any miniscule, tiny, ridiculous baby steps. Baby steps are for babies and well, apparently, also for the democratic party.  I will offer great strides in real food being grown to feed our country by closing the doors of  the corporations who have worked to destroy our food sources. And opening doors of truly sustainable agriculture and distribution

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

old client returns

Very glad to have an old client return the bay area. After a VP position at google, he then had an under secretary position with the Obama cabinet and is now back in the bay area about to start up his own company.  I first met him and his wife when they were looking for food for their wedding a few years ago. That wedding was the first of many times we have prepared food for them and their friends and family. This time we are catering a party of 75 for a fundraiser for the circus school that his wife is part of.
All finger foods that we will be passing around.

-kaifir lime sorbet, served in the limes and spiked deeply with rum
-socca, chickpea flatbread topped with julienned vegetables
-tofu smoked with tea and apple wood, wrapped in yuba, steamed and served with cranberry mustard.
-cranberry-pumpkin muffins
-kascha knishes. Pumpkin dough wrapped around buckwheat filling.
-ruggelach, our take on the classic jewish pastry, filled with fig jam, walnuts and raisins.

interesting note that at their wedding, i realized i had seen her father pitch against the mets a couple of times back when i was a young child.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

chinese dinner in San Francisco

A last minute call for a Chinese dinner in San Francisco that we will be serving on Saturday, November 12.
-watercress soup
-Smoked tofu and snow peas wrapped in yuba with cranberry mustard.
-tofu stir fried with peanuts and brocolli
-sichuan hot pot. Spicy broth at the table with tofu, flat tofu, eggplant, choy sum, bok choy, homemade noodles
-fried dumplings; homemade dough filled with taro, leek and sprouts
-jade pearl rice
-green tea ice "cream"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

menu for David Murray dinner/concert, November 10

It is official! David Murray, the amazing tenor saxophonist and bass clarinet player is performing solo on the dinner/concert series! The tentative date was nov 14 but it is now officially Nov 10 and is sold out!

 Reservations limited to 20 and this will sell out easily.
vegshaku8 at gmail for reservations or more information

dal with pumpkin and pumpkin pakora

arugula-radicho salad with roasted pumpkin and beets with baby greens and lemon poppyseed miso dressing

New York course
pumpkin dough filled with potato and kascha
cranberry mustard
roasted acorn squash puree

Thai sour yuzu curry with tofu, potato, eggplant and served in pumpkin bowls
jade pearl rice
black forbidden rice
lotus root pickle

apples baked in wine and spices, stuffed with pumpkin puree
spiced pumpkin rum sorbet

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Menu for tonight's dinner/concert with Kaoru Kakizakai performing

Once again, Kaoru Kakizakai returns from Tokyo to the bay area to teach shakuhachi lessons and while in town will perform on the dinner/concert series. Already sold out so please no calls about wanting last minute seats.
On the evening of a general strike in Oakland, one of the great shakuhachi players of our time will be performing some very old Japanese Buddhist music. Cori and i will be busy all day preparing a 5 course menu featuring 2 of our favorite fall ingredients; pumpkin and yuzu!

yuzu sorbet served in yuzu cups, spiked with brandy

roasted pumpkin soup with sage-yuzu potatos

small plate
pumpkin gnocchi with roasted brussel sprouts walnut yuzu sauce
tofu smoked in tea leaves and apple wood
raddichio salad

Red curry in pumplin bowls.
small pumpkins willed with a coconut based red curry with long beans, tofu, flat tofu, long beans, eggplant and lotus root.
burdock pickled with sake, sesame, shoyu and sichuan peppercorns
jade pearl rice
forbidde rice

pumpkin cranberry yuzu cake
spiced pumpkin sorbet

Note: tofu and flat tofu made for us, today by our friends at tofu yu, a wonderful, small organic tofu maker in berkeley

The kitchen at occupy Oakland is mocking the city

I have been spending all my free time at the occupation of Oakland, recently. In addition, every day i bring with me an 8 gallon pot of hot soup and drop it off at the kitchen where the occupants, homeless and anyone who walks by that is hungry is offered a free meal.  As a chef, this is what i can offer to the occupation. Using leftover ingredients from my catering gigs along with donations from friends, clients and the occupation kitchen, i prepare hearty "peasant" style soups but from the finest local, organic ingredients. Same standards for ingredients apply as if i am catering a 125/person meal, the highest quality and only from small local farms and food purveyors.  Everyone has to eat, daily and we are doing a very small share of helping with the food needs at the occupation. The 8 gallon pot we bring disappears in an hour!
Yesterday for the first time, i did not drop off the soup and wander around but i stayed and served the pot to about 100 people. Quite a mix from some of the main organizers i have seen on stage to many of those i am seeing and meeting around the occupation as well as many homeless people and even a few that just got off work at one of the city buildings came by. The homeless have found a haven in the occupation with food, bathrooms and for the most part an environment that does not cast them out, completely.

It occurred to me yesterday, while i was dishing out some borscht a few feet away from the steps of city hall....the occupation kitchen is completely mocking the city and its approach to social services. Here we are, all volunteers, using all donated ingredients to prepare food for people and volunteers are dishing it out. No beaurocrats needed, nothing wasted. This is direct action! Food from farms and stores to cooks and chefs to the people.  There is a model to be looked at here, folks! It is working. True, it is a small scale but it is working and fairly efficiently.   This is democracy in action, everyone participating and creating and developing. I am blown away by the "free improvisation" nature of the occupation. Literally, much is being made up as it comes along.  And, so far, it is working.  Except for one "minor" glitch of police from 17 cities and counties showing up, last Tuesday and tearing the place apart, confiscating everything and wounding many in the process. However, anyone with half a brain can only see how the occupation grew from the police brutality. More people realized the importance for real change. This is not a joke, this is not some silly hope for change vote for a guy who is a moderate (i am being generous) who suddenly spoke like a progressive to get elected. This is direct action, directly taking responsibility for our future.  Me and my catering business will help feed the occupation as many days a week as possible. What are you doing to help or contribute?

One of the organizers who i see on stage often,  and who had 3 or 4 bowls of borscht, said, last night, "i do not know about all of you but i am going to just keep staying here and keep trying to create the closest thing to utopia as possible".   Very lofty goal to say the least. But it makes a lot more sense than doing nothing and allowing the status quo to remain or even, get worse.

Tomorrow the city of Oakland will try to take this to a whole new level with the first general strike to be called for in this country since 1946, when incidentally it happened in Oakland, as well.

A black flag is starting to rise in the city of Oakland.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Egyptians marching for Oakland? Levante is in first place? Michael Moore is coming?

what is going on in the world? Ok, i grew up in a world that made no sense whatsoever and i have always been labelled a freak for bringing up the simple fact that well, this shit is wrong and needs to be dealt with. And now In Egypt, they are going to march on the US embassy in solidarity with what is going on in Oakland, California. Arabs, many of them Muslim, marching in support of American protestors! After 9 games in Spain and Levante is in first place? And Michael Moore, the hero of the liberals and some progressives is apparently going to show up at the General Assembly in Oakland's occupation tomorrow or Saturday. I am used to, but never accepting of things not making sense. But now they are not making sense but in a good way!
A marine survives 2 tours of Irak, comes home a changed person and joins Veterans for Peace. He and his ex marine vets from Irak stand in the front lines at the Oakland Occupation, right in front of the armed riot cops and one of them gets shot in the face by a tear gas can for it. An Oakland police man shot a Marine in uniform, who was standing there, unarmed, while his friend stood next to him, waving the veterans for peace flag.  Survive 2 tours against a made up enemy and come home and get shot and hospitalized by oakland police. Does this make sense to anyone?

Was down at Occupy Wall Street-Oakland for several hours, tonight.  The mayor, for some reason, assumed she could march out and on to the mic and do her thing. Well, sorry "old woman", but we are trying to evolve beyond the bullshit. Your money and position mean absolutely nothing, here and you have to deal with that. This is what some call anarchy and others call democracy; we are all equal here. Perhaps you have learned in history class of those pesky anarchists in Catalonia in the early 20th century? Same as everyone, your presence and opinion are wanted and expected and will be heard.  But why did you show up with a huge media entourage? most of the media had left long before your arrival, thinking the spectacle for the evening news was over. They were in the vans waiting for an instigator to go off or the cops to go ballistic so they can entertain on the evening news. Why not come out in the middle of the GA and not expect a special spot of your own? However, you are simply going to have to wait in line like anyone else who wants to speak at the general assembly at these occupations. And you must accept that you, and every politician, democrat and republican,  work for "us" and that is not negotiable. Sadly and stupidly, some people at the plaza did not understand this and rushed the stage scaring you and you left, running back to your office. Will you send your police back on the crowd, now? Or perhaps you are just a puppet and while in DC, orders from above were sent to 16 different state, city and county police to take the occupation out, earlier this week. You are a pathetic mayor and must stand down, either way, whether you gave the order or you had your strings pulled, you must go.

Our constitution demands that we take you out when you are corrupt and do the wrong thing and we are simply doing what we as Americans can do, tear down a tyrannical government and amend our constitution with a separation of state and bank and state and corporation!

When i got home, i heard Mayor Quan give a well written speech about how liberal she is. Please, you are a democrat, you love to talk nice and then make pathetic apologies like "i did not know" for your fascist actions. Your time is coming for your kind to get out of the way and let the rest of the planet evolve. Remember the french revolution and how it spread to end feudalism in Europe.  Hopefully as an elected official you know of political systems and how they have evolved and how some have been destroyed in order for the planet to move forward. As a college student i watched on TV as walls were knocked down in Eastern Europe. Now, Mayor Quan and all those democrats and republicans in power; those of you who have done nothing, and especially to  those of you who are the reason for the banks and corporations to have their way, raping and pillaging the planet,  we are coming to your walls, here in Oakland and all over the country and planet.  This non violent movement will metaphorically tear your walls apart in ways Napoleon could not have imagined as he tore apart Europe, smashing the old code of feudalism apart, destroying many of the old kingdoms.  The more violent your police  get on us, the more our numbers are growing. The police will not help you for much longer.  The rain and cold will not deter the change that must happen. This version of capitalism has utterly failed us and we are at your walls, ready to take us to the next step!

Ironically, she did mention she was in DC when the whole fiasco went down. OK....who was she with in DC?

At the Oakland occupationtonight , the General assembly met in sub committees, then voted on various actions. Not as big a crowd as yesterday where over 1600 people voted to general strike on Nov 2 to about 100 against and another 200 not voting. (numbers not exact but was way in favor and at least 1600 said). Several actions and marches to take place this weekend including an anti police march on the main station that is bound to get "interesting".
Finally, 11 years too late, yet still welcome,  a general strike is planned on Wednesday! How many unions and other workers and students will partake remains to be seen but there is huge union representation at the GA! They are wearing their colors, AFL-CIO, City workers, EBMUD, Sanitation, restaurant workers, nurses, transit, teachers unions, longshoreman (i overheard the head of the longshoreman union say to one of the main organizers of the occupation that their executive committee voted unanimously to strike, and are waiting for the general members to vote. Stop bringing in the cheap chinese crap is ideal and shut down the docks).  There is a big list of unions voting on whether to join the strike at least to start. American workers deciding for a general strike? The same workers who allowed a stolen election in Florida in 2011 and went to work as if nothing happened? The same workers who went to work the day the war in irak started and chanted support our troops? The same workers who allowed the tax money to be handed to corporations to "bail them out" and went to work the next day as if it was no big deal. Finally, American workers are thinking of actually dealing with the problem shutting down the system! The resounding sound of over 1600 people voting and shouting STRIKE STRIKE STRIKE, this is Oakland, not Egypt, not Greece. Who would think an american revolution, or more hopefully evolution would start in Wisconsin? And then get tremendous impetus and taken to a whole new level in Oakland, where i have lived and taught and cooked for 14 years?

Still, I  reamin livingin a world that makes no sense. As a chef i have to go out of my way to avoid Monsanto products.  I hve to spend way more than most chefs in order to only consume the finest grown ingredients from the finest nearby farmers and hook up with other local pasta, tofu and other purveyors who share my commitment to iingredints of the finest quality. At the same time i watch people with their mythologically local and organic menus and see their kitchens which are loaded with processed crap and monsanto products. Yet they are praised for their words of local and organic, woohoo. Meaningless baby steps get praised.

Maybe next spring, Levante (who heard of this team before last year when they showed up in the Spanish first division) will be back in the middle or bottom of the table while fascist's Real Madrid, or more hopefully FC Barcelona  are back on top. And Michael Moore will make a movie about oakland and by then  most of the occupations are either dead or in jail or many american cities are turned into civil war zones. Or perhaps we are evolving to something that can make a lot more sense than what we currently are dealing with. Can Americans have what the Czeks had, a "velvet revolution", where sides comes to agreements. I and most occupants are more than willing to offer up several red states to the republicans and democrat wannabees so they can have a place to retain their primitive ways of thinking and acting.  There they can have a puritanical world based on their myths and values and let us evolve beyond thinking profit/greed is the motivation of all.

What i have seen first hand at the general assemblies in NYC and Oakland is far more inspiring and encouraging than what i see in the US Congress and Senate. Tomorrow i will cook up an 8 gallon pot of potato soup to bring to the newly revived occupation in Oakland. Despite the police brutality, the tents are going back up and will be in bigger numbers than before. Temperature is dropping and that hearty potato soup will help warm up at least 50 people, occupants, homeless and anyone else who comes by with a smile and an empty stomach.

Philip Gelb

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 3, San Francisco World Music Festival

for lunch we served:
dal with eggplant
Tofu salad with herbs, lime, shoyu

While prepping for dinner, i had the pleasure of hearing the Azerbaijani musicians rehearse with 3 of the Kyrgystani musicians! Truly delightful and they can easily communicate through their imperial language, Russian from when they were part of the Soviet Union.

For dinner
dal with eggplant and zucchini soup
Garbanzo beans stewed with pumpkin, carrots purple cabbage, sumac, tahini, lemon
roasted sweet potatos and potatos with herbs and spices
choy sum stir fried with garlic and ginger

Sunday, October 23, 2011

SF World Music Festival, day one

We served dinner for 18 for the visiting at the San Francisco World Music Festival.

rice noodle soup with kabocha, herbs and tamarind stock
Rice with sweet potatos
Tofu and eggplant roasted with almond-miso-yuzu sauce
zucchini stir fried with onions
seaweed salad

After dinner, a serious treat as 3 musicians from Azebarjan pulled out their instruments. What a sound!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

San Francisco World Music Festival

Pretty excited about this one! We will be feeding master musician from several continents 7 lunches and 5 dinners and one reception for the San Francisco World Music Festival

Each day we will present menus of international flavors to 18  from India, Azerbaijan, Taiwan, Kyrgystan, and the United States. Will post the menus as we present them

Friday, October 7, 2011

eve of Yom Kippur thoughts

On the eve of Yom Kippur, 5773
may next year be the year that we finally not only pray for peace but all actually go out there and make it happen!

I stand in solidarity with this occupation and most certainly with this statement they issued which i copied at the end of this post. I am most impressed that the collective in New York City is actually running under anarchist principles. These folks are appearing to have studied their Bakhunin, their Spanish Civil War history, they have read their Thoreau and Debord!  Their actions are hinting at the Situationists at times or am i misreading things?
I look forward to meet them, next week as i will be in my hometown, New York city for a week to attend my awesome niece's wedding and Cori and i certainly plan to show up at wall street during our visit.

Can the same intelligence and commitment to change via non-violent, civil disobedience and commitment to de-centralized leadership remain as the occupations spread throughout the country. Is the working class of the United States actually going to rise up against the banks and corporations that have done so much damage? Can this movement stay completely away from the absurd democratic party and libertarian parties attempts to confiscate it as their own? in Situationist style, occupy wall street have literally told the democrats, the libertarians and others to "fuck off" in their attempts to claim the movement as their own.

Occupy Oakland starts on Monday. In the Mood for Food will help feed occupy Oakland! We are offering time to help cook food for those who plan to camp out in Frank Ogawa plaza beginning on October 10. I will be out of town for their first week but when i return plan to cook daily soups and stews and if time allows, more. The occupation needs donations and food is one of them. Donations of organic vegetables and fruits, grains, beans, herbs and spices will be needed to help out. It is a small gesture that i as a chef can to help.

As a chef and a person with a daily eating habit, it is most obvious that corporations like Monsanto, Conagra, ADM and others have literally destroyed the overwhelming majority of  our food sources. And it is most obvious they have done this with 100% approval and assistance of the republican and democratic parties. These are crimes against humanity, poisoning our food and water to put it plain and simply. There are no excuses for our politicians allowing these actions. And there are no excuses for us citizens allowing our politicians to allow these corporations to do this. Zero excuses for no action from my parents geneartion or grandparents generations as these diabolical actions started to take shape. And no excuses for a lack of action by own generation and the ones younger.  i am always bewildered by how people not only do not take action but actually, on a daily basis, buy and consume food made by these corporations.

So needless to say, i am inspired by recent actions i am seeing in New York and around the country! And very inspired by what is now appearing to be a true anarchist nature of the wall street occupation collective and this very wonderful first public statement they have made. At the same time seeing the police brutality against unarmed, unaggresive American citizens is appalling! The police are part of "the 99%" and hopefully many of them will start to figure that out as these occupations grow exponentially in coming days and weeks.

This is the statement from occupy wall street.
As we gather
together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must
not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people
who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we
are your allies. As one people, united, we acknowledge the
reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of
its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon
corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their
own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government
derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek
consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no
true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic
power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit
over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality,
run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right,
to let these facts be known. They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage. They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the
workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity
and sexual orientation. They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel
treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these
practices. They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions. They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right. They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay. They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for
ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance. They have sold our privacy as a commodity. They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit. They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce. They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them. They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save
people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a
substantive profit. They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit. They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media. They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt. They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas. They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.* To the people of the world, We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space;
create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions
accessible to everyone. To all communities that take
action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer
support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal. Join us and make your voices heard!

Monday, October 3, 2011

wedding menu for October 22

Really excited about this catering event as the couple are 2 incredibly friendly, dynamic and talented individuals! We are expecting a very fun time simply because of the personalities of Jinju and Nova. Hoping for good weather so we can hold this outdoors but with good backup plans to take it inside as we will offer 130 people a very deilightful fall spread.

passed appetizers
zucchini cups with hiiki and almond miso dressing
spring rolls with fresh herbs, fried tofu, rice noodles and sesame sauce

buffet table:
-seaweed salad
-kim chee
-lotus root pickles
-brown rice, jade rice, black forbidden rice
-panang curry with tempeh, tofu, lotus, eggplant, long beans, herbs  (Homemade curry paste)
-fresh noodles with peanut sauce, flat tofu, sprouts, pickled cucumbers, pickled carrots

Thank you to Karine Brighten for the referral that led to this event!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

pumpkin and yuzu dinner for 10, October 8

Once again we are hosting a dinner for 10. Gourmet, handcrafted cuisine in an intimate setting. We will feature 2 of our favorite autumn ingredients, pumpkins and yuzu in this menu! Please join us.

Saturday, October 8, 2011
7:30 pm
$45/person byob
for more information or to make reservations, vegshaku8 at gmail or 510 393 6096
limited seating for 10

yuzu sorbet shot

Roasted beets and roasted pumpkin with baby greens and yuzu miso poppyseed dressing

small plate
homemade pumpkin noodles with peanut sauce

spicy sour red curry with tofu, long beans, thai eggplants served in a pumpkin bowl (home made curry paste using yuzu)
ong choy stir fried with garlic
black forbidden rice
jade pearl rice

pumpkin yuzu cake
spiced pumpkin ice "cream" (cashew based)

Friday, September 30, 2011

private cooking class October 1

Thank you to my friend/colleague Jesse Miner for this referral, a last minute private cooking class has come up.

Going to help 2 enthusiastic beginner cooks learn several new skills, techniques and dishes.  They will be learning to create their own Thai curry paste, a couple of simple desserts like carrot oat cookies and an apple walnut tart, a wonderful Spanish style bean salad using many kinds of fresh beans and more.
They will be discovering new ingredients such as lotus root, yuzu and perhaps touch a mortar and pestle for the first time.
These private cooking classes are always a blast for me and the students. Quite fun to share knowledge and techniques to help people eat better in their own homes and they can then share and inspire their friends.  It is really nice to see the demystification of how dishes are created occur on the faces of students while showing them how to prepare what once seemed like "exotic" food.

I am always available for private cooking classes in addition to the public ones i offer, $50/hour plus cost of ingredients and travel

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

black bean corn salad while Racing Sanandar Ties Real Mdadrid !

We are having a late summer here in the bay area with scorching temperatures showing up. So today on the equinox of fall i am still thinking of cold dishes. Ironic since most of the summer the low temperatures had us making more warm soups than usual.
Black beans are wonderful! Native to Mexico and thus familiar in numerous traditional Mexican recipes. There are actually many varieties of black beans, turtle and midnight beans being the 2 most common types. Rancho  Gordo farms provides us with these and other varieties, rich in flavor, texture and nutrients!

Just finished a couple of shakuhachi lessons and it is lunch time.  And there are Spanish soccer games on today and thanks to the time difference, their night games are about to begin. Racing Santandar vs Real Madrid. 19th place Santandar vs the richest team in the world. Many people predict a bad season for Santandar and they are favorites to be one of the three teams to be releagated.
 however....the Santandar players are at home and they are obviously up for a fight!
I recently promised a friend, after his reaction to the pancake recipe/madid game post the other day that this season, every time the team that represents fascism, Real Madrid does not win this season, i will blog about it. And since this is mainly a food blog and about my offerings as a chef, i will include a recipe with it.

Soak a cup of beans, overnight. then pressure cook them for 5 minutes (more may be needed, depending on the variety and how old they are). If you are not familiar with the beans you have, it is safer to simmer them instead, this way you can check on them. You do not want the beans to become mushy, which happens if you overpressure them. Most black beans take about 40 minutes, simmered, covered. Drain your soaked  beans, put them in a pot with a bay leaf and 3 cup water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer.

Missed much of the first half but what i saw was BORING! come on, owners of Real Madrid, are you not bored to tears watching what this coach is doing with your team? Historically you  did all your ugly business behind the scenes and gave the world great futbol to watch. Now it is ugly boring and vicious crap and you are not even winning. I do not expect a team that had a 4 plus decade affiliation with General Franco to have any decency to why am i asking. 0-0 at the half and i want to turn on a different game but i did make a promise which means i have to watch a lot of madrid games this season. One of the only benefits of not having as much employment as i desire, is i get to watch a lot of games live.
getting hungry, it is noon and the beans are done. Now to make the salad!

Meanwhile, prep the following:
1 red torpedo onion, diced
1 serrano chili, chopped
1 anaheim chilip, diced
1 gyspy pepper,diced
1 flamingo pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 ears corn, shucked (if possible, use one white and one yellow to give more color)
2 green  onions, chopped
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
3 limes, juiced and zest

75th minute. Wow, Maurinho looks out of his gourd on the sidelines as his team is not able to score for the second game in a row. Here comes Kaka on as a sub. Got to feel sorry for a guy with a name lke that but he plays for madrid so he could be called much worse. And Racing Santandar continues to defend!

heat up a skillet and add 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 and 1/2 sea salt and the onion. Stir to coat and cook, low heat about 15 minutes, till well caramelized, stirring often.
add 2 tsp coriander powder and the chilis, peppers and corn, garlic, carrot and celery. Mix well, cover, over medium low heat, cook for 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so.

87th minute. Have you ever seen desparate young millionaires? Here it is in action as Madrid is attacking but like the other day, they cannot connect. Immense overpaid egos do not make a great team, and how apparent is it right in front of my face.  Sanrandar is defending like crazy and it is working! We are in stoppage time and Madrid looks like they are lost. Yeah, for the second week in a rown they are not going to win.  5 minutes of stoppage time to go and Madrid, when having to defend is pulling their thug tactics out and the usual stoppage of the opponents attack is done with fouls and yellow card moves. This is not a pretty game to watch and is not needed when you have as much talent as this rich team has! Coach Maurinho is about to have a stroke on the side as his face reddens and veins are emerging. As much as the guy turns me off, i hope he does not keel over on the field

Remove the vegetables from the heat and add the cooked black beans, lime, cilantro and green onions. Stir gently season with more salt or lime if needed.

game over, Racing Santandar 0 Real Madrid 0 lunch is good and 2 of the great teams are about to hit the field as Barcelona FC takes on Valencia CF!

Monday, September 19, 2011

pumpkin class october 30

Sunday, October 30, 2011
limited space for 8
for more information or to register, vegshaku8 at gmail or 510 393 6096

a hands on class, cooking up an international array of delightful dishes made from the classic fall vegetable, pumpkin!

from Italy, pumpkin gnocchi with walnut sage sauce

from Jamaica; spicy pumpkin soup

from the United States; pumpkin pie

from Japan pumpkin tempura

from Thailand red curry with tempeh and curry

Sunday, September 18, 2011

berry pancakes recipe while Real Madrid loses

 This is my idea of a great Sunday breakfast.

First find a link online to watch  the Levante-Real Madrid game. If you know me, you know of my love of European soccer and disdain of all things connected to fascism. Thus my least favorite team in the world is Real Madrid, formerly the official team of General Franco and thus a symbol of fascism.  Real Madrid is also the richest team in the world, buying absurd amounts of players year after year, struggling the past few years to try to attain the level of team that their arch rivals FC Barcelona have reached under Pep Guardiola.

Levante is a team from Valencia i know little about as they are rarely in the first division in Spain but last year they were quite impressive. But any team that plays Real Madrid, especially this current version under the despicable coach, the pompous Jose Maurinho is a team i am cheering for, wholeheartedly!

ok, breakfast is needed.

And we happen to have blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries leftover from the last 2 nights of catering gigs! Pancake time!

 first i mixed up the dry stuff:

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt

to this i added: 2 tsp grapeseed oil and 1 and 1/2 cups soymilk (no sweeteners, gums or stabilizers, of course in the soymilk!!) and whisked it together gently Never overmix your pancake batter or it will develop gluten and become rather not pleasant textured. Fold in the berries, again, do not overmix! Let the batter sit a while. Meanwhile....

halftime and it is 0-0. Levante is defending like crazy and the zillionaire players working for the fascists are showing they are overpaid bozaks, looking confused. Pepe is the usual thug, hijacking any player who dares to come near the Madrid penalty box, using his usual by any means necessary tactics, highly encouraged under coach Maurinho.  Gone is thug Khedira as he already took 2 yellows and Madrid plays the second half with only 10 players! Interesting to note that thugs often get  a lot of work for fascist regimes. What is up with this crap under this coach? This stye of play did not happen under Pellegrini and never while Raul was still captain (says wonders how Maurinho wanted Raul off his team as soon as he became coach). Even when Barcelona trounced Madrid in Madrid's, own gorgeous stadium 3 years ago 2-6, Raul and Barcelona's captain, Puyol, walked off arm in arm, talking like old friends! For the sake of the sport, fire Maurinho and play some beautiful futbol! Let us go back to hating Real Madrid because they are rich and connected to Franco (and all the payoffs and cheating that entailed), not because of ugly tactics! :)

Time to cook!
i heated up a pan. Cast iron skillet under a low flame for 15 minutes. The secret of pancakes is a very hot skillet!

Watching  Levante pull off some unreal samurai style defending. Damn, this is good stuff to see! Even though they are a man up, they are still getting attacked intensely yet not allowing Madrid to get shots off!

in goes a spoonful of batter. let it cook till bubbles appear through the top of the pancake and flip it over. 60th minute and it still 0-0! Ole, Levante, Ole!

Universal rule of pancakes, flip once! Never twice or more. Again it is a texture thing. There is simply no way around this. When cooking pancakes, flip once and do not flip too early. or too late..

Cori eats the first one and is loving it.

65th minute and still 0-0. i get the second pancake ad oh this is good stuff (to taste and to see) . Covered in maple, of course! So many different flavors. each bite is a different berry!
75th minute, breakaway, go Levante! Damn, the wing held it too long and shot goes inches wide.
76th, another break, GOAL, Levante scores, 1-0. Best part of the goal is it takes place right in front of thug Pepe who is on the ground, having been spun around and tossed like a ragdoll. Stunning passes to create this goal and a fine finish that sent Pepe flying and Casillas (perhaps the world' finest goalkeeper) was stunned as the shot went out of his reach.
14 more minutes of great defending, Madrid barely gets any shots the entire game and it is 1-0, game almost finished!

  And right at the end, while falling to the ground, a Levante defender clocked  Christiano Ronaldo.  Is this guy a master of drunk monk style kung fu?!? Not full contact but he stunned him, good! And no foul, no yellow, nothing. Just a good shot to the precious chin of pretty boy Ronnie. I told Cori, i bet this guy just fulfilled a dream, punching Ronaldo in his home stadium as his team wins!  4 years ago his friends laughed at him a he said, "One day we will beat Madrid in our own stadium and i will punch Ronaldo in the process".  Levante was a mid level 2nd division team and Ronaldo played for Manchester United, but tonight he is the man as he decked Ronaldo and Levante took home 3 points while Maurinho walked off the field as if he was about to go rape a goat or some other drastic move that overpaid fascist idiots do when they are pissed.  All that money down the drain as a low budget team beats Madrid while i eat some of the best pancakes ever!

game over, Levante 1 Real Madrid 0. how sweet these pancakes taste!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

return to our fave clients for a dinner this Friday in Berkeley

About a year ago, i received a phone call from a friend, Nikolay Georgiev, an amazing landscape architect. He had just started a project for a couple in the Berkeley hills and said the client were vegetarians, wonderful people and wanted food for their garden opening party. A day or 2 later a phone call came in from a very friendly woman with a delightful New Zealand accent asking if she and her husband can come over and meet and talk about food for their party.  Apparently Nikolay had been raving about me and they seemed rather excited about this meeting as was i after such an exuberant call.   Couple of mornings later, 2 very friendly faces showed up for a lunch tasting. Within minutes i felt like i was among friends, not just a potential client. Obviously they were enjoying the samples we were offering them and the 2 of them and Cori and i were having a lot of fun talking about food and many other things. At one point he asked me about my shirt i was wearing (FC St Pauli's 100 year anniversary shirt) and it turned out he was also a huge soccer fan, a former left back and a serious follower of Arsenal FC, an English team i also admire.   The look on Cori's face when he said his team was Arsenal was hilarious as i could tell she was afraid he was going to say Chelsea.

Not only did we get hired for the garden party as they came over to talk about but they also hired us for another party that would take place a couple of weeks from this first meeting. Both of which were truly delightful events! They have a beautiful home in the Berkeley Hills, with a stunning panoramic view of the bay from their main room and balcony. The kitchen is small but designed by someone who knew how to cook and they have a great stove oven and griddle! The serving areas are very spacious as the main room is quite large with no beams or poles, thus a large open space with high ceilings  overlooking the bay. Sunsets are absolutely spectacular!  And like performing music on stage, one truly feels the energy of the audience....

Every time i cater or work as a chef at a party, i know fully well that i am the hired help. And often one is treated like the hired help as soon as they arrive, being put in their place with class distinctions pointed out relentlessly, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes not. Other times i show up and my staff and i are treated with great respect, showing  appreciation for our skills and artisan approach.  There is a huge difference! Sometimes we are never allowed to see or interact with guests or obviously it has to be kept minimal.  (Sometimes we want it to be minimal as well in some situations). And other times guests are in the kitchen observing, joking and checking us out, enthusiastically, particularly if they are cooks themselves. And on unique situations as with this client (i think of them these days as friends more than as clients!), it is insisted that you interact with their friends and family, to the point where as soon as your work is complete you are in the party, 10 year old glass of wine in hand, enjoying the company of friendly people from around the world. Not often i find mysef on a balcony overlooking a winter sunset with a British Parliament member talking to me about his hometown of Bolton.

So i am always enthusiastic to cook for these 2 wonderful people and their friends!

here is what i am preparing this Friday, somewhat inspired by their recent trip to Catalonia and Spain.

chilled roasted corn soup with saikyo miso, saffron and red shiso pesto (my latest blog post is this recipe)

fresh beans (cranberries, garbanzos and purple string beans) marinated in olive oil, sherry vinegar, oregano, thyme with fennel, carrots and baby romaine
-Apple cornbread cooked in a skillet

small plate
smoked tofu plate
3 kinds of tofu, marinated and smoked 3 ways (Japanese marinade -apple smoked, sichuan marinade - cherry/oolong tea smoked and italian marinade- hickory roasted) with 3 dipping sauces (rasperry mustard, blueberry mustard and regular mustard)

paella a variety of late summer veggies cooked with saffron rice in seaweed stock
mushrooms, ajillo syle
homemade seitan, smoked with apple wood, simmered in romesco sauce

pistachio cake with blueberries and raspberries
blueberry sorbet
blueberry port sauce

to put it simply, the kindness and generosity from Erin and Anthony this past year has been tremendous and truly appreciated!! Much love and thanks to 2 great friends!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

dinner in Marin, September 17

Another purple inspired menu

beet nut pate with homemade pita bread
apple smoked tofu with blackberry marinade

chilled beet with dill pesto and cashew cream

purple potatoes, okinawan sweet potatoes, purple string beans with fennel and blueberry mustard dressing

purple cabbage leaves stuffed with Rancho Gordo Farms Goat’s eye beans, forbidden rice with tahini sauce and mushroom sauce.
roasted corn salad
roasted purple kale with garlic and green olives

blueberry cake
blueberry sorbet
blueberry port sauce

Sunday, September 11, 2011

recipe: chilled saffron corn saikyo miso soup w/ red shiso pesto

This is a recipe i developed this summer and have served it at several parties this past month, to very rave reviews. And many are asking for the recipe for this incredibly beautiful, yet easy to make soup.

Step 1: the roasting
4 ears of corn, shucked
1 russet potato, chopped
1 onion, quartered
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp grapeseed oil

place the above ingredients in a roasting pan, toss well, cover and roast at 425 for 40 minutes.

put the roasted veggies in a high speed blender (a regular blender will not give you the silky texture that this dish requires), add 2 tbsp saikyo miso, 1/2 gram saffron and 3 cups seaweed/mushroom stock. Puree for 2 minutes or till silky smooth. Chill before serving!

in a mortar and pestle, pulverize a small bunch of purple shiso. Add 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted and
1 tbsp olive oil and pulverize down. Add sea salt to taste.


serve chilled soup with a small bit of shiso pesto in the middle.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

party in Walnut Creek, September 9, 2011

Thank you to Gustavo Fernandez for the referral for this gig!

passed appetizers

-sope (homemade tortillas shaped into bowls, fried and filled with black bean puree, guacamole, tomato salsa

-tofu marinated in shaoshing, mirin, homemade chili oil, star anise, smoked with cherry wood and oolong tea leaves. Wrapped in yuba w/ snow peas and served with raspberry mustard sauce

chilled roasted corn with saffron, saikyo miso and opal basil pesto

eggplants sliced and roasted and filled with homemade almond “ricotta”, baked in heirloom tomato sauce
sauteed rappini with garlic and olives
homemade fettucini
romaine hearts with sherry dressing

pistachio cake with blueberries and truffle frosting
raspberry sorbet
blueberry port sauce

Thursday, September 1, 2011

if i was Arsenal's chef

What a scary start to the season for a team i really admire, Arsenal FC! First they lost 2 of their finest players as Cesc Fabregas returned home to Catalonia to play for his home team, FC Barcelona while Nasri went off to big $$ at FC Ejihad (Mancheter City). Then on the third game of the season, they were totally trounced by one of the rich evil teams, Manchester United, 8-2, the worst defensive showing in a century. However awful that beating was, it  seemed to awaken the board and they went out and bought some new players.  So along comes the cavalry with players coming in from South Korea, Germany, Israel and Spain. The kitchen must respond to accomodate!

So if i was the chef at Arsenal, i would be fermenting cabbages to welcome in 2 of the fine new members of the team. If you want to keep a happy Korean player, the kitchen better be pumping out some high quality kim chee on a regular basis! And for Pers Metsaecker, the imposing German defender, a milder Germanic version of kim chee is of course, sauerkraut, simply cabbage and salt and some caraway seeds to keep him happy with tastes from home.

And Arsenal now has what every team always needs, an old Jew! With 31 year old Israeli Yossi Beanyoin coming in from crosstown rival, Chelsea we better whip out some potato dough, fill it with buckwheat and mushrooms and bake up some knishes for the Israeli newcomer to the team. Serve it up with some of Pers' sauerkraut to help unify the team!

And since young Japanese player Ryo Maichi is now playing in London for Arsenal and hopefully around for the long run so let us get some 2 year miso crocks fermenting to help keep him satisfied.

Yeah, lots fermenting in the Arsenal kitchen for what appear to be a most interesting and long season.

Of course, if i was Arsenal's chef, i would be wondering why the kitchen did not add these new ingredients back in June! :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

apple cornbread recipe

Gravenstein apples have hit the market recently! The first local taste of apples, coming in from Sonoma County are delightful in flavor and texture. Wonderful to eat raw or to bake or to juice, this is an amazing local heirloom.

And here is a simple recipe using them.

Preheat a 9 inch cast iron skillet in 425 oven for 1/2 hour.


1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt

wet mix
1 1/4 cups soymilk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 gravenstein apples, cored

whisk together the dry mix, put aside.
Put all the wet mix ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.
Add wet to dry. Mix easily, do not overmix!

pour batter into oiled hot cast iron pan. Bake for 30 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

dinner for 10, september 9, oakland

Been a while since we presented a dinner only event, without live music. This allows us to offer a less expensive evening, still showing off our handcrafted cuisine; an international menu showcasing the finest local ingredients.

Friday, September 9, 2011
8 pm
limited seating for 10
for more information or to make reservations, vegshaku8 at gmail or 510 393 6096

chilled, silky saffron corn soup with red shiso pesto

apple corn bread with roasted corn salad

small plate
sope: Homemade tortilla bowls filled with black bean puree, guacamole and 2 salsas

eggplant rollatini (eggplant slices filled with our renowned almond "ricotta", baked in heirloom tomato sauce)
homemade fettucini
rappini sauteed with capers

baked apples, stuffed with walnuts and currants
roasted corn sorbet
blueberry sauce

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stuart Dempster's 75th birthday party, August 19, 2011

Whenever someone asks me to prepare food for an event, i am honored! Food is an essential part of any gathering and the quality of the food will have a tremendous impact on any occassion. This time, i am particularly honored as the request came from a musician who i hold in the highest regard, Stuart Dempster!
I first heard a recording of Stuart Dempster's in College, a solo trombone performance inside a very reverberant space. The sound of Stuart's horn is so crystal and clear, the control is so far beyond what i had heard on this instrument before. And he was playing the room! Literally, the room was part of the composition/improvisation/performance as the reverb was lasting several seconds. At the time i was messing around with tape loop and reverb machines and here was someone doing this in real time with only a horn and some incredible architecture.
Several years later, my good friend Matthew Sperry moved to Seattle where he met and sometimes collaborated with Stuart Dempster. Stuart had been teaching at the U. Washington school of Music since the late 1960's and was a major part of the new music and improvisational music scene in that town. At the same time, another close friend Dana Reason moved to California and began studying with Pauline Oliveros (who was an old friend and College classmate of Stuart's). Through these friends i started to meet Stuart and Pauline and eventually became friends and collaborators with them.
When i first met Stuart, i was struck by how warm, kind and friendly he was! Besides being, perhaps, the greatest trombone player of his generation, he had a childlike playfulness that was immediately welcoming.
A few months ago, Stuart called me and asked if i could cook for a small gathering of old friends of his while he would be visiting the bay area in August, celebrating his 75th and his wife of many decades, Renko, 70th birthdays. The gathering of his friends would of course also include many other renowned musicians and artists who i know and admire, making this a truly enjoyable and for me, important evening.
Stuart's influence on me and countless other wind players is immense. His approach to sound, the way he examines every nuance of timbral possibilities of his instrument, the extension of possibilities of what the instrument can produce and of course, just the gorgeous results that enrapture your ear and inner being while he is performing. So i need to come up with 5 special courses in gratitude to a brilliant musician/teacher/mentor and very fine human being whose career and life has contributed and generously shared so much with so many.

endive cups stuffed with beet nut pate and red lentil pate

roasted corn puree served chilled with red shiso pesto

heirloom beans with fennel and mizuna and umeboshi-sesame dressing

small plate
tofu/corn/snowpea wrapped in yuba with blueberry wasabi sauce
(tofu marinated in shaoshing, mirin, tamari, ginger, homemade sichuan chili oil, garlic, oolong tea then smoked with cherry wood and ooolong tea leaves.. Snow peas steamed. Corn roasted whole and then sliced off in sheets. yuba freshly made locally by Hodo.)  fresh blueberries and fresh wasabi root to dip, served with
daikon pickled in shoyu and kombu
lotus root pickled in homemade sichuan chili oil
cucumber pickled with yuzu

eggplant rollatini (roasted eggplant slices, stuffed with homemade almond "ricotta", baked in tomato sauce)
sauteed brocollini with olive, capers
homemade fettucini

peach walnut tart (peaches, halved, coated with sea salt and palm sugar and star anise placed in each half then roasted and placed in a crust made of walnuts, dates and vanilla)
roasted corn sorbet
blueberry port sauce

Saturday, August 13, 2011

return to one of our regulars for a dinner on Sunday

Summer, Southern European menu

soup: Gazpacho; heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lime, cilantro, spices..served iced cold

salad: bean salad: fresh cranberry beans, fresh dragon tongue beans, fresh garbanzos, romaine, olive oil, sherry vinegar, herbs

small plate:
roasted corn salad served in zuchini bowls with romesco sauce

entree: eggplant rollatini stuffed with homemade almond "ricotta" and basil, baked in heirloom tomato sauce. sauteed rapini with garlic and olives.
homemade fettucini

blueberry pistachio cake
peach sorbet

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kaoru Kakizakai returns to the dinner/concert series November 1

Tuesday, November 1 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm


Created By

More Info
Tuesday, Nov 1
7 pm
$55/person, byob
for more information or to make reservations, 510 393 6096 or vegshaku8 at gmail

We are excited to have our friend from Tokyo, the brilliant shakuhachi player/teacher Kaoru Kakizakai returning to the dinner/concert series.

a 5 course fall menu will be developed for this.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Glutenpalooza III: Italian style; pizza, calzone, stromboli Sunday, October 2

Sunday, October 2 (note the date change!)
loft in west Oakland
limited space for 8
for more information or to register vegshaku8 at gmail
or 510 393 6096

Another in our series of classes celebrating the rising of wheat doughs. This time, Italian style or to be more specific, Brooklyn style.

Hands on class, all participants will be creating all the dishes.

We will learn and make 2 different pizza doughs, marinara sauce, basil pesto, almond "ricotta, sauteed eggplants, peppers, mushrooms and other toppings to create:
calzone filled with almond cheese and mushrooms
stromboli filled with almond cheese, mushrooms and marinara
pizza topped with eggplant and peppers and marinara
pizza topped with corn, jalapenos and pesto
and more....

Amy X Neuburg dinner/concert with purple menu August 20, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011
8 pm
limited seating for 20
for reservations or more information vegshaku8 at gmail

Returning to our series is the incredibly talented vocalist, electronic musician and composer, Amy X Neuburg!
and by her request, tonight's menu will be purple.  I always ask the performer for some input on the menu, most usually say what some of their favorite ingredients or styles of food are. Amy simply came out and said "purple, i want purple foods". I also love the color as does Cori and some amazing summer ingredients come in that delightful color.
here is the tentative menu we are working with and developing from....

Red beets roasted and pureed with dill pesto and cashew cream

purple potatos, okinawan sweet potatos roasted and marinated with a blueberry wasabi olive oil dressing served with  purple string beans and other purple heirloom beans

small plate
purple peppers stuffed with roasted corn salad, cranberry
purple cherokee tomato salsa

steamed purple cabbage rolls stuffed with red lentils
sauteed purple kale with garlic and olives
tahini sauce
mushroom sauce

blueberry cake
blueberry ice "cream"
blueberry sauce

Sunday, July 24, 2011

peach rosewater cake

rosewater peach cake
chop 5 peaches
place peaches in a bowl with 1/4 cup orange juice and 1 tsp rosewater and let marinate for a while

dry mix
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar

wet mix

2/3 cup soymilk
1 tsp rose water

mix the dry and wet in separate bowls.
add wet to dry.
drain the peaches well and add the peaches to the mix
combine well, place in baking pan and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

corn class August 28

Sunday, August 28 · 12:00pm - 3:00pm

Created By

More Info
Sunday, August 28
limited space for 8
for more information or to register vegshaku8 at gmail
or 510 393 6096

International corn dishes. Hands on class with the students preparing all the dishes.

United States: skillet corn bread with fresh corn
Mexico: roasted corn salad stuffed in pasilla chiles
Thailand: corn fritters with cucumber peanut dressing
Sichuan: spicy corn/tofu/watercress soup
Japan: roasted corn with miso/yuzu dressing

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

roasted corn salad

Roasted corn salad
4 ears corn, shucked off the cob
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapano, seeded and chopped
1 pablano, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 limes juiced and rind
2 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
6 sage leaves chopped
2 tbsp cilantro chopped
crushed black pepper
place corn, peppers, garlic, salt and olive oil in roasting pan. Roast at 450 for 20 minutes or till it starts to caramelize (but not burn!). Add other ingredients and blend gently so as not to create a starchy texture from overmixed corn.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rich O'Donnell dinner/concert, July 30

Saturday, July 30
8 pm
seating for 20
for reservations or more information vegshaku8 at gmail

We are quite happy to present a friend visiting from St Louis, the brilliant percussionist and amazing inventor, Rich O'Donnell in a very rare bay area appearance.

And as we do every summer, we present a 5 course menu using the amazing heirloom peaches from David Mas Masumoto's family farm. Sun Crest peaches are in season and in the house!

gazpacho: peaches, heirloom tomatos, heirloom peppers; heirloom cucumbers, lime, herbs, spice, olive oil

peach endive walnut salad

small plate
round zuchini stuffed with roasted corn salad, fresh cranberry beans and peach chipotle sauce

homemade tortillas, shaped into a bowl, fried and filled with Rancho Gordo Tiger's eye beans, Jade Pearl rice, guacamole, peach salsa. Sauteed garlicky lolly rosa

pistachio blueberry cake with peach walnut sorbet

SunCrest heirloom peaches from The Masumoto family farm.

Rich O’Donnell’s career as a professional musician spans a half century. In addition to his virtuosity as a percussionist, O’Donnell is a prolific composer, innovator and inventor of percussion and electronic instruments, a teacher, and a writer. He is currently director of the Electronic Music Studio at Washington University, St. Louis. He co-founded in 09 HEARding Cats, a 501(c)(3) arts collective with Anna Lum, Mike Murphy, Ryan Harrris. Though O’Donnell grew up loving and playing jazz in the bop-era, his talent led him to a career with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at the young age of 22. Never finishing his degree at North Texas, he went on to play with the SLSO for 43 years, spending most of that time as principal percussionist before retiring in 2002. Throughout his professional career, O’Donnell has been a mainstay in helping promote, produce, and perform modern music in the United States as a board member and long-time Music Committee Chair of New Music Circle. Through the years, constantly reinventing, O’Donnell refined his own craft in extended percussion techniques through timbre exploration and instrument-building (acoustic percussion instruments, analog synthesizers, and digital gestural controllers). He has been directly involved as a professional performer, composer, and inventor in many of the major musical movements of the modern era: bop/hard-bop; free-improv; improvised chamber; analog and digital synthesis; tape music; minimalism. More recently, O’Donnell’s innovation and vision in percussion led him to create SeeSaw Drumming—a revolutionary playing technique using a new type of sticks and pedals. SeeSaw Drumming is based on reciprocal motion and makes use of two beaters per hand (and foot). Using two beaters per appendage gives O’Donnell the ability to create complex layers of polyrhythms and hemiolas that provide new insight into rhythmical structures. He no longer thinks in terms of downbeats and bars, but rather convergence, overlays, and cycles of the various layers. This technique can be fast and dense, but it can also be elegant and in the pocket. On May 1, 2000 he premiered SeeSaw Drumming at City Museum in St. Louis under the auspices of New Music Circle, and on May 11, 2000 the New York premiere at Merkin Hall by World Institute of Music. O’Donnell has completed a book entitled, 3:4:5 with accompanying CDs illustrating the technique. Through the years, many compositions have been written especially for O’Donnell by the following composers: Jocy d’Oliviera, Eleazar de Carvalho, Walter Susskind, Robert Wykes, Carlos Santoro, Tom Hamilton, J.D. Parran, and Michael Hunt. Recently O’Donnell has performed with the following individuals (among many others): Leroy Jenkins, John Butcher, Vinny Golia, Gino Robair, Thomas Buckner, J D Parran, David Wessel, Denman Maroney, Peter Zummo, Tom Hamilton, Morgan Guberman, Min Xiao-Fen, Andre Vida, Davey Williams, Robert Dick, Carol Genetti, Mike Murphy, and Anna Lum. In the distant past, he has appeared on stage with: Igor Stravinsky, Iannis Xenakis, Aaron Copland, Elvis Presley, Yo Yo Ma, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, John Adams, Imrat Kahn, Chet Baker, Luciano Berio, and Jocy d’Olivera.

no class this Sunday

due to my cycling accident, i will not be hosting the peach class this Sunday. My apologies to those who were interested in attending! 

The pain and discomfort is not subsiding and has gotten worse the past 2 days, unfortunately.  Cannot do much of anything but lie here which i not much fun!

Friday, July 8, 2011

my recent bad cycling accident

5 weeks ago, i purchased a new road bicycle, a Trek 2.1. In the first month i put over 500 miles on the bike; using it for local errands and deliveries as well as going out for long rides, tackling the Berkeley and Oakland hills on some amazing rides.  It has been wonderful getting back into something i have loved so much in the past. I used to ride all the time back in College and when i first moved to California it was my main mode of transportation. Then when my great friend Matthew Sperry was killed on his bike, i had difficulties getting back on and riding. 8 years after Matt's accident, partly in honor to him, i picked up this new, amazing bike.  Interestingly enough, getting back into riding also brings back wonderful memories of my sister Barbie who was killed in a car accident many years ago. Barbie was a truly generous person; when i finished community college, she gave me an amazing present of a Bianchi road bike, one that i then put thousands and thousands of miles on while back in College in Florida.

Well, Monday morning, July 4, Cori and i went out for a great ride. We hit tunnel road and took it up to Skyline to get to the top of Oakalnd hills, turned right on Grizzly peak and then a left on Pinehurst, descending down the other side of the hills. This led to an amazing, very fast descend through a redwood forest that was stunningly beautiful and in many ways defined why riding in Northern California is so desirable. The views, aromas and the feeling of wind flying past you at 25-30 mph! Then back up the hills, onto redwood road for a climb back to the top of the hills and back down and descend all the way back home to West Oakland, about 30 miles and over 2000 feet of altitude climbing in total. Fairly typical of the way riding has been developing; making longer and longer rides with higher and higher climbs. Not feeling any danger at all except for the idiots in SUVs who honk their horns and ride right next to you and scream at you while they are on their cell phones.

Later that evening, we decided to ride to Alameda to see fireworks. Ironic in many ways since i totally despise my government and cant stand the hypocrisy surrounding holidays like this. Frederic Douglas' speech about July 4 always comes to mind on this holiday to me!  Nonetheless fireworks are beautiful and there is a Chinese noodle shop in Alameda we wanted to have dinner at.
7 miles into this ride, i was on unfamiliar roads and came flying around a turn at about 18 mph and my front tire got caught in an old railroad line, one of the most dreaded things to happen on a bicycle with thin tires! I tried to maneuver out of it, caught an old railroad tie and went down, hard. Of course i had my helmet on so no worries about that. I immediately got the bike off me, Cori, who was riding behind me came running over to me. I sat up, said, "i feel lightheaded" and fell right back down. I think it was the second fall that did me in. Apparently i was out for 2 seconds or so and i remember hearing myself breathing really strangely before snapping out of it. Cori said, she tried to flag a car down but they looked over at us and ignored us and drove on. I got to my knees and sat there, looked at my bike and saw damage and was wondering how i was going to get home as we were 7 miles away at this point. 2 cyclists rode by, saw us and immediately stopped. The guy threw his bike down and ran over to me asking what was up and if he could help. Wish i got their contacts as i would like to thank them again and cook some great food for them as a way of appreciating their concern for an injured stranger. They sat with us for a few minutes, making sure i was not blacking out. He had paramedic training in College and checked out my eyes but i had no fear of concussion but still, i greatly appreciated his concern and what he was doing!

They wanted to call paramedics but i explained i am underemployed in this economy and cannot get insurance due to having leukeima as a child and was not interested in developing thousands of dollars in debt for this accident. Especially since i already was pretty sure what my problem was and knew from friends who experienced it, that there is nothing to be done except wait for it to heal itself.

Eventually Cori and i made a very long walk to the Fruitvale BART station and then took that to the 19th street station and then walked home. It was insanely difficult as i could barely breathe and the pain was intense. I pretty much knew i cracked or damaged some ribs, judging by the area of the pain and the way i could not fully breathe. Over 20 years of training as a flute player really came in handy for this i have to say as i was able to adjust my breathing in different ways to make it more bearable.
Got home, washed up all the cuts and sores and somehow, very painfully got to lie on my back. Once on my back, i was finally able to take full, deep breaths and that made life much less scary!  Got out the computer and started reading about cracked ribs.  Sent an email to a friend of mine who studied shakuhachi with me for a decade before moving away to start his own MD practice.  Explained to him what happened and what i was going through and he wrote back saying, yeah sounds like cracked or bruised ribs and all that can be done is pain management.

So here i was lying, in massive pain, wondering what to do about my shakuhachi lessons, the next morning and some cooking gigs coming up.  Losing income is never fun, but especially during a time when the ruling class is doing everything they can to destroy small businesses makes it even more difficult.  i cancelled tuesdays lessons. Then tried to teach on Wednesday but could not blow a note, could only talk through lessons. Cancelled thursdays lessons as i realized it was not fair to students for me not to be able to demonstrate what i am showing and sharing with them. Not fun! Besides losing income, i love teaching and have some amazing students who i always look forward to seeing and working with. Obviously, they are all totally understanding and have been very supportive.

To put it simply this is the worst pain and discomfort i have felt in my adult life. As a child i had leukemia so physical pain is not exactly unfamiliar. The worst part of the chemotherapy treatments were the spinal taps and bone marrow biopsies and what i am going through is pretty close to that lvel of unpleasantness. The aftermath of spinal taps meant 24 hours of lying around, sleeping and puking before snapping out of it. And the bone marrow biopsies were insanely painful, made worse by a rather twisted, sadistic and downright stupid doctor named Barry D. Gordon. I say this guy was insanely stupid as for some reason an aunt made me see him years after my chemo was over and he told me i would die in 9 months since at that time i just became a vegetarian. Sadistic as the bastard would insist on taking these biopsies from the most painful place and always did it with a rather wicked smile on his face; when he was absent, his colleague, Dr Fersco (sp?) would take it from a much less painful place with a very concerned look on his face. I would love to see Dr Gordon to ask him some questions about these smiles and his methods. Fortunately for him, he was nothing of a doctor, made zero impact on the field of hematology and not a single hit on google ever comes up. Even though he would be an old man,  now, i would have difficulty not kicking him in the face and pummeling him over and over again after asking him questions... but i digress :)

So i want to shout out to a few people in particular that have been very kind and helpful these past few days!

-Bob Garcia, a student of many years and a great guy in general came by with some pedicularis tincture that he said was good for muscle relaxing. And some vicodin for pain.
The vicodin made me totally out of it but all the pain remained, not what i was hoping for or expected! The pedicularis did not offer any noticable change, oddly.

Allan Cronin. I met Allan 2 years ago when he came to one of the dinner/concerts that i host. Pamela Z was the performer. Since then Allan has attended a rather large percentage of the dinner/concerts and we have become friends, sharing our mutual interests in food, music, beer and more. Out of nowhere, there was a knock at the door and i managed to get up and answer it. I forgot Allan is a nurse! and there he was with lidocaine patches and some painkillers. Incredibly kind of him to go out of his way to bring these over. The patch certainly helped a bit but the painkillers again, did nothing.

Tara Green (her pseudonym)! She saw my post on facebook about the accident and pain i was in and asked me to send her my address. I was not aware that Tara was in the medical marijuana baking business! She offered to send me something that i would eat that would heal the pain. I enjoy my weed very much and know of its medicinal (as well as recreational values), all too well. And have some in the home but was afraid to smoke any as if i cough, it would be brutal to say the least. So in the mail came a package of "medjool", small treats made from coconut, agave, dried fruits and nuts and some serious indica. I am not sure if she is using a tincture as there is no oil in these. Usually marijuana, is cooked in fat to get the THC out of it and then the fat is used to cook with. Not sure of her methods but i know that 30 minutes after eating one medjool, the pain was going down! It did not disappear by any means, but for the first time since Monday, i could get up and lie down without excruciating agony.
her website is

Seth Katz. On my first tour to the west coast, i was performing 2 concerts in the San Francisco bay area and Seth and his then roomate, Bill Hsu offered me a place to stay those 2 evenings. Been friends since then!  Seth has shown me how to forage chanterelles and that alone puts him high on my list of humans but in general, Seth is just a good hearted, smiling kind of guy who goes out of his way for many people. He has offered numerous times to drop off some painkillers but someone already brought me some (and it did not work, sadly).

and the countless people who have called or emailed or left messages asking if they can do anything! Way too many to mention but i will not forget by any means.

and of course, Cori, my girlfriend. What can i say? What more can i ask for. She is an incredibly generous, loving woman who has been there for me since i hit the ground Monday evening. She wanted to take the following day off work to stay with me but i insisted she go. Nonetheless she came back home halfway through her shift. I pretty much cannot do anything, right now so am not much fun to be around. All i can do is read and write and watch videos. Cannot cook my own meals (nor do i have much of an appetite) and yesterday she came home from cooking at work a full shift and then made us an amazing meal of homemade tortillas, cucumber salsa, tomato salsa, beans, rice and avocado.  Damn that plate tasted and looked amazing! And before she left for work, she filled my bicycle cambelbak with water and left it right next to where i was lying in bed with all of the painkillers and such stacked up in reach. A small but amazing gesture on her part that really moved me. And she is drop dead gorgeous on top of it.

I do not know when i will be back on my feet again. I have 3 cooking gigs, next week, one i was informed this morning is already cancelled; Francois Houle the brilliant clarinet player from Vancouver was supposed to play the dinner/concert series on Wednesday as part of the annual Matt Sperry memorial festival. He is now going to play solo at Tom Duf's house instead (no food, i assume). i hope i will be able to produce the cakes for the Marin vegetarian society meeting on the 16th and host the peach class on the 17th as is on the schedule. On Monday i will see how thing have progressed before talking to the folks in Marin.
Ironically to some (not to me!), i am constantly thinking of getting back on the bicycle and continue the rigorous training i started. I was really getting stronger, losing weight and developing the interest to start doing longer and longer rides, planning a 90 mile ride to friends in Guerneville in August and hoping to start training for the AIDS ride (a week long ride from San francisco to Los Angelos, next May).  And dear lord it is peach season and i want to be cooking/grilling/roasting peaches into some of my favorite summer dishes!  Basically i want to be doing anything besides lying here, at this point!

i think the bicycle is ok. When i can ride i will take it over to Missing Link, where i purchased it and have them bend the hoods back in shape and look it over to make sure nothing is damaged that i cannot see.

i look forward to not having to lie here all day and night long!