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Thursday, March 31, 2011

another buffet of finger foods for our favorite client in the berkeley hills on April 4

Always delighted to return to the beautiful home of Erin and Anthony. Gorgeous panoramic view of the bay, a really nice kitchen to work in and 2 wonderfully warm, kind and fun people to work for and with!
Another work party for his colleagues and we will present a variety of finger foods for about 20 people

-Sope, a very popular item from our menu. Homemade tortilla bowls with black bean puree and mango salsa
-our homemade tempeh marinated in tamarind, thai chili, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, palm sugar and shoyu, fried to a crisp and served on skewers
-socca; chickpea flatbread with asparagus, red onion and sun dried tomato
-polenta grilled with black trumpet and yellowfoot mushrooms and basil
-buckwheat and mushroom knishes
-mini vegan quiches with caramelized leeks, roasted garlic, black olives and arugula
-tangerine sorbet served in tangerine cups

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

June 10 dinner/concert with Barre Phillips and Mark Dresser!

Sold out but taking a waiting list

Friday, June 10, 2011
8 pm
Loft in Oakland
Limited seating for 19

We are so honored to have Mark Dresser return for the 4th time on the series. And this time, we are absolutely thrilled as he will be joined by another of my very favorite musicians, Barre Phillips!! Barre is native to the bay area but has lived in France since the 1960's thus rarely performs in California. This is a very unique and special occasion; arguably 2 of the most important bass players of each of their generations in an intimate space in a very rare duet contexts.

cold infused sakura karigane will be served through the evening, a
delightful Karigane tea infused with cherry blossom. We source this tea from Proceeds  of this tea are used to help feed people in the areas in Japan hit hardest by recent earthquakes and tsunami.


cherry cabernet kanten (made with 2005 Wild Hog Cabernet, Amber Knolls)

romaine hearts, roasted  beets and fennel, cherry balsamic dressing

third course
black bean patties
roasted rainbow kale with morels
homemade anadama bread
cherry chipotle sauce
cherry relish

4th course
cherry roasted tempeh (homemade tempeh), roasted sweet potatos, wrapped in cabbage leaf
daikon pickled with  sencha

5th course
cherry roasted tofu and snow peas wrapped in yuba with cherry wasabi sauce
mizuna salad
lotus root pickled with homemade sichuan chili oil
jade pearl rice

6th course (for during the concert)
brandied cherries stuffed into truffles

Barre Phillips - bass
Mark Dresser - bass

dessert (after the concert)
chocolate cherry cake
cherry walnut sorbet

finger foods for 40 in Palo Alto this Saturday

This should be a fun party! Hardika, a very friendly woman and her sister  Khyati, came by for a tasting last month.

A handful of finger foods to celebrate Hardika's 40th birthday.

Fried fried dumplings w/ peanut mint pesto 
-homemade dumpling dough rolled out and stuffed with a mixture of walnuts, lotus roots, choy sum and sprouts, fried up and served with a spicy mint-cilantro peanut sauce.

collard rolls
-collard leaves steamed and stuffed with our famous homemade tempeh (which will be roasted with apples, pomgranate mollases, red miso and spices), wild rice pilaf and roasted butternut squash. Then steamed and served with a roasted garlic sesame sauce

bean tart with mango salsa
-Small tarts, prepared with a spicy pie crust filled with flavorful black bean puree made from Rancho Gordo black beans and topped with mango salsa.

socca w/ asparagus and sun dried tomato
-the  classic french flatbread made from chickpeas and topped with asparagus , sun dried toamtos and herbs

polenta w/ mushrooms
-some italian flavors for the spread

potatos stuffed with greens, indian flavored
-we will take some of the wondeful dry farmed potatos coming out of Sonoma county, cut them in half, and steam them. Remove the flesh of the potato and fry up the shells.
Then prepare the potatos with some mustard greens with cumin, tumeric, coriander and other spices and herbs and stuff it back in the potato shells

Sunday, March 27, 2011

asparagus experiments part 2. donuts

Funny how people are reacting to this idea very negatively but those who are tasting these are LOVING them.
perhaps this should be called a fritter so as not to bother people :)


wet mix
1/2 cup roasted pureed asparagus
1/2 cup soymilk
1 tsp cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg replacer (1.5 tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 tbsp water)
tbsp oil

dry mix
2 cup flour
1/2 cup palm sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch sea salt
1.5 tsp baking powder

mix dry in one bowl.
Mix wet in another bowl.
Combine the 2, being careful NOT to overmix.

drop in hot oil and fry till brown

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

asparagus experiments

For the first time i am putting together a 5 course asparagus based menu. Always loved this vegetable but never fully explored its potential. For example, the idea of using asparagus for dessert never really crossed my mind. Recently while exploring asparagus recipes i watched some old Japanese Iron Chef episodes. Of course the ice cream maker came out which led to this recipe which i recently churned out.

1 cup soymilk, unsweetened with no additives of any. Just beans and water
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup maple syrup
dash sea salt
1 tbsp kudzu

Place the above ingredients in a high speed blender. Blend on high till it thickens, getting hot enough to activate the starch.
Add to the blender:
1 cup roasted, pureed asparagus
2 cups soymilk, unsweetened with no additives of any. Just beans and water
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
2 tsp vanilla extract

blend till smooth. Transfer to ice cream maker and churn away.

What better to serve ice cream with than with something hot out of the frier! Asparagus donuts.... to be continued

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

upcoming dinner/concerts, and classes easy to navigate

here is our upcoming list of dinner/concerts

Only a few seats remain for Diana Rowan, Al Ramos and Michael Manring already. Contact vegshaku8 at gmail for reservations or information

March 25
April 16
April 9
May 1
May 6

upcoming classes
March 27
April 3
April 24

Thursday, March 10, 2011

interesting reasons people do not want to pay for dinner/concerts

Do not get me wrong! We receive tons of praise, numerous regular attendees and rave reviews.
 However, I decided to share with you, some of the rather “interesting” responses from people who want to come to the dinner/concert series but do not want to pay for various reasons or have other "suggestions".

My wife and i are not vegetarian, let alone vegan, so do not feel the need to be forced to eat a vegan meal just to so we can hear a musician we adore. So we will bring our own food. Save us 2 seats and please, right next to the performers. Do not worry, we will still throw a few bucks at the musician

Why do you charge so much for these?
me: i do not!

But the price is high
me: but the cost of producing these events is very high. I pay the musicians a nice fee, though far lower than they deserve”

(cutting me off) why do you pay the musicians? You can find musicians to pay for free
me: that is not very respectful to ask someone to work for free, especially an artist who has dedicated a lifetime to developing their skills. Besides i bring in musicians with global reputations, many on tour from Europe or Asia or elsewhere in the US! What i am paying them is already far less than they deserve or get in many other venues.

(cutting me off) my cousin has played guitar and sang for well over 2 years, she would do it for free
me: No thanks. besides i pay my 2 assistants a living wage since it is quite expensive to live out here and i hire talented assistants who earn their pay.

You can easily cut costs by paying them less.
me: no i cannot!! As that would be treatting my workers with total disregard for their abilities, skills and what they deserve.  i do not pay minimum wage.  And the cost of ingredients, especially high quality, organic ingredients, is not inexpensive.

you should use cheaper ingredients, then you can charge less. and get volunteers to help you and not have to pay workers.
me: Perhaps you are really missing the point of what i am class musicians paired with gourmet, hand crafted cuisine in a very intimate setting. I need talented assitants to help me produce these not so simple dishes and besides since i work all day and the day before to make these happen, i expect to make a small profit, too.

Well, there is another problem, you do something you love, isnt that enough reward.
me: what do you do for a living?

i am a receptionist
me: love your job?

hate it actually
me: so i should be penalized for having a career that i love? i need to go. take care

i really want to come and hear x but am not sure i can make it. Save me 2 seats and give me your number and i will call you the afternoon of the dinner to let you know if we can make it

i hear you are hosting x on x date.
me: true,  very much looking forward to this and a few seats are open. are you interested in making a reservation
yes, but i do not want to pay so much. So i will bring a salad and share it with a couple of others, ok. save me 3 seats
me: this is not a potluck, we are serving 5 courses
yeah, but i want to bring a salad instead and as i said i will make enough to share with a couple of others, why is that a problem?
Me: never responded to that last email....

Why are these dinner/concerts so expensive?
Me; They are not!

But 55 dollars is a lot of money.
Me; For a concert by a world famous musician and a 5 course gourmet meal made from the highest quality ingredients, we are charging far less than we should and making a joke of a profit for the amount of time and effort in producing these events.

Well, why not get lesser known musicians and just put out a simple buffet of simple dishes or make it a pot luck and then we can simply donate what we want to the musician.
Me: Please feel free to start your own series based on your own standards of cuisine and art and charge what you feel is adequate and treat your musicians with as little respect as you desire. 

why do you host so many avant garde musicians. Who would want to hear that kind of stuff?
me: i host brilliant musicians of many genres from many countries. We have hosted traditional music from Japan, Ireland, China and elsewhere along with some of today’s cutting edge composers and performers.  Of course, not everyone will be to all these musicians styles. From the full houses, apparently quite a lot of people want to hear that avant garde “stuff” as well as more traditional forms and many of the performers on the series are engaged in both approaches.

why do you cook so many dishes with tempeh, miso  and tofu. Don’t you know how bad soy is for people?
me: Sorry but i am not a believer that soy is bad for you. Please do more research and examine who is funding the studies. Look at the societies in Asia that traditionally eat a fair amount of traditional soy foods (tempeh, tofu, natto, miso for examples) and you will notice they do not have the problems you are being warned about by research funded by the dairy and meat industry and supported through institutions such as weston price.
But soy is bad for you!
me: Believe what you want but please do the research!  if you look at the studies you are getting this from, there is no distinction between traditional foods such as tempeh, miso, natto and modern industrialized processed soy such as tvp and other things that never exist in my kitchen nor in any pre-indstrialized kitchens.  Of course, highly processed foods made from soy are bad for you.

But all soy is GMO
Me; i use only organic, non gmo soybeans to make my own tempeh and tofu and miso and i only purchase miso  or tofu made from non gmo, organic soybeans. I never purchase tempeh as there is no need to have packaged, pasteurised, frozen shipped tempeh in my kitchen when i can easily make it myself.

But they are cutting down the rain forests to grow soy.
Me; True! that soy is then used for manufacturing purposes including the manufacturing of animals for slaughter. The soy i use comes from the US so no forests are destroyed for my tempeh making.

But soy is bad for you.
me: You keep saying that like a mantra. Perhaps you should ask who planted that mantra in your head? :) please keep researching, you may be surprised at what you find out.

i love 2 of the dishes for the next dinner but am not so sure of the other 3. So while you are making those for everyone else, perhaps i can request you to prepare the following for me and then sends me page numbers from one of Isa Moskowitz’s books.
me:  Thank you for your interest but the menus are set for that night.  For these events we offer a fixed price menu. For some dishes, i can omit something from a dish for someone, if necessary.  I am open to suggestions for dishes to make in the future but to be honest, those recipes that you requested are far below the standard of what we present on this series.

i cant stand pumpkins, why do you always have a pumpkin menu in the fall.
me: obviously i and many others love pumpkins. and i mean i LOVE Pumpkins. Not everyone loves peaches but every summer, i will present peach menus (thank you Mas Masumoto and your awesome family peach farm!!). Offering an asparagus menu later this month and realize not everyone loves asparagus and assume they will not be showing up that evening.

How do i know the food is really vegan?
me: Not really sure how to answer that. I have been vegetarian since i was 17 and vegan the past 7 years. Everything i create in my kitchen is vegan.

How do i know all your ingredients are vegan”
me: (laughing) want to look through my pantry and fridge?

Are all your workers vegan.
me: no! That is not a pre-requisite for working for me. Some of my workers, including my sous chef, are though most are not. What matters to me is they are great at what they do and take pride in what we are creating and serving.

But if they are not vegan, we vegans cannot trust them as they will be bringing non vegan ingredients to your kitchen.
me: This is not exactly a problem since i do all the purchasing of ingredients and noone shows up with a piece of meat asking to cook it here.

So you have that problem in the past?
me: no, of course not. i hire people who respect what i do, whether they are vegan or not. it is not a problem to me, nor should it be to you. I realize there are restaurants who say they are vegetarian and vegan but in reality use processed ingredients that contain animal and fish products in their dishes so i can see why some people ask these questions.

Why are you so adamant about cooking only things local and in season.
Me: This to me is a very odd question to answer.  Common sense is the real answer, actually. We are in one of the few places on the globe with 12 months of local harvest. And we have amazing farmers nearby supplying us with amazing, high quality, beautiful ingredients. To me it is a crime to ignore this and fight it. Why fly ingredients in from south america, waste all that energy and have an ingredient that is ultra low in quality since it was harvested early, shipped, gassed and who knows what else was done to it before finally arriving on a supermarket shelf. I prefer to go to local farmers markets and shops who recieve shipments from local farmers.
I prefer to wait till it is in season, support our wonderful local farming community and get the freshest possible ingredients.

Are you racist? What do you have against South America and their farmers?
me: Wow, that was an odd attack! South American farmers should supply their local communities with food. How is that racist?  And are these giant farms in South America actually owned locally? Of course not! These are multi national corporations engaged in the worst labor practices (thus the cheap price), the worst agricultural practices and producing very low quality ingredients and calling it "food" is sometimes a misconception. Due to the growing and shipping practices, the ingredients often arrive devoid of flavor and texture which means their nutritional content is dramatically reduced.

Well you said you wont support South American farmers, that sounds really racist to me.
Me; i think you are missing the point of why i use local ingredients and also what those farms actually are. Many of the California farmers we support are Japanese American, Mexican and other Latin American as well as hippy-back to the land Americans but i see no reason to further defend myself against this ludicrous attack and misconception.

I wish i could afford to come to this week’s dinner/concert but the economy is so bad, can you charge half the price?
Me; if i charged half the price, i would lose a lot of money on this event.  My own economy is rather bad too so i cannot subsidize these events.

But since the economy is bad you need to lower your prices.
Me; food prices are going up! energy prices are going up. My rent and my assistants rents and bills have gone up.  Please do not blame me for the economy as i did not support the politicians and corporations who bankrupted us. i am simply trying to get by in this absurd situation just like you and the rest of us. And of course, i know not everyone can afford these dinner/concerts. But many people still love going out to eat and listen and realize we are offering something unique and worthwhile.

Well if i wash my own dishes, can i pay half price.
Me; Sorry but my 2 assistants take care of the dishes.

Why are these dinners so expensive, it is not like you are serving fancy meats, it is all simple vegetable dishes.
Me; Thank you for your inquiry but have you seen the menus, photos and reviews? Simple is not exactly the word that often is used. Besides, have you noticed the rising costs of local, organic produce and other ingredients?

But vegetarian food should be cheaper than meat since meat is expensive.
Me: personally, i will be totally honest,  i have no clue as to the cost of various types of flesh since i never look at it in stores and do not consider those things to be food.   However i do know that the ingredients i use are not inexpensive, sadly. Labor costs are not cheaper because of a lack of a dead cow or dead pig or bird, etc. Nor are musician costs.

Pay your workers and musician less to keep the costs down.
Me: You are treating my skilled workers and the brilliant musicians, that i am fortunate to host with total disrespect.  All workers should be paid a living wage!

Friday, March 4, 2011

April 24, Thai Tempeh class

Sunday April 24
limited space for 8

hands on class. Learn to make fresh homemade tempeh (it is easier than you think!). And then a variety of delightful Thai dishes using tempeh:

salad: Laab: Tempeh stir fried with garlic, chilis, ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and mixed with mint, cilantro, a variety of types of basils and served in lettuce leaves

tamarind glazed tempeh skewers
asparagus wrapped tempeh w/ chili sauce

Thai Masamam curry: we will pound out a curry paste from spices, herbs and other wonderful ingredients in a mortar and pestle and make coconut milk from a coconut to create a rich, delightful curry. This curry will then be filled with fried tempeh, lotus root, long beans and sweet potatos

and more

Chinese style dumplings, steamed buns, noodles and onion pancakes class

Sunday, May 15 · 12:00pm - 3:00pm


Created By

More Info
Sunday, April 3, 2011
limited space for 8
for more information or to register, vegshaku8 at gmail

hands on class, get your hands in the dough, kneading, cutting, rolling, stuffing, shaping, steaming, frying, stir frying, stocks, dipping sauces, and more.

Diana Rowan/Daniel Berkman dinner/concert and asparagus menu, March 25

Friday, March 25 · 8:00pm - 11:00pm

Loft in Oakland

More Info
Harps from 2 continents!
Diana Rowan returns to our series after spending several months in Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria and this time is joined by Daniel Berkman, also returning to our series! Harp and Kora duets!

Friday, March 25, 2011
8 pm
limited seating for 19
for more information or to make reservations, vegshaku8 at gmail

"cream" of asparagus soup garnished with asparagus pakora
homemade chili oil

iced shredded asparagus
roasted asparagus tips
wild arugula, radicchio
cara cara oranges
orange herb vinegaraitte

Small Plate
asparagus ravioli w/ Rancho Gordo Yellow Mountain Beans and black trumpet mushrooms.

our famous homemade tempeh stir fried with asparagus in tamarind sauce
green jade rice with fresh bamboo
daikon and tokyo turnipspickled nukamisozuke style
spicy lotus root pickles

asparagus donuts
asparagus ice "cream"

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos Shakuhachi Honkyoku Dinner/Concert

Saturday, April 16 · 8:00pm - 11:00pm

Loft in Oakland

Created By

More Info
Saturday, April 16, 2011
8 pm
limited seating for 20
for more information or to make reservations: vegshaku8 at gmail

Cauliflower miso chowder with peas

roasted beets, cara cara oranges, mizuna with orange walnut dressing

small plate
Potatos stuffed with mashed potatos and greens with mustard and cumin seeds.
tamarind chutney

tempeh in wasabi broth.
our renowned freshly made tempeh fried to a crisp served with sauteed seasonal vegetables in a broth made from fresh wasabi roots.
rice w/whole oats
nukamiso style pickles (daikon, tokyo turnip, long choy sum)

Fried dumplings filled with truffles and brandied dried cranberries.
Pistachio-rosewater ice "cream"

Performer will be shakuhachi player, Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos visiting us from Vancouver

Koten Honkyoku Dinner

Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos wil give a performance of shakuhachi koten honkyoku (solo sacred shakuhachi music)

Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos

Born to Filipino parents in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan in 1969, Ramos moved with his family to the United States, at the age of six. Ramos became interested in Shakuhachi while attending the University of California in Santa Barbara. He returned to Japan and studied Shakuhachi under several teachers including Katsuya Yokoyama, Kaoru Kakizakai, Teruo Furuya, and Atsuya Okuda. Under them he learned the instrument’s varied repertoire, honkyoku (original zen pieces), sankyoku (secular chamber music), and gendai kyoku (new style pieces.)

In 2001, he received a shihan (master) license from Katsuya Yokoyama, the head teacher of his school and leading exponent of the instrument, and founder of the International Shakuhachi Training Centre. In 2000, Ramos took the runner up spot in the under 40 all-Japan Shakuhachi Competition in Tokyo.

In 2008, in recognition of his skill and spreading Shakuhachi around the world, Alcvin received an honorary Dai Shihan (grand master) license from another one of Japan's greatest players and teachers, Yoshinobu Taniguchi, taking the new name, "Ryuzen" (Dragon Meditation) making him the first Canadian and one of only a handful of non-Japanese to receive this esteemed honor.

Ramos also studied the Satsuma biwa (Japanese lute) intensively for a year with Yukio Tanaka to deepen his understanding of Japanese music and aesthetics. He is also a composer and player of a variety of instruments including the shinobue, hichiriki, guqin, and has been experimenting with new ways of playing traditional instruments as well as with synthesized and electronic music. But keeps koten honkyoku the basis for all his music.

Ramos now lives in Canada, where he is the director of the Bamboo-In, a Shakuhachi retreat centre on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.

Ramos is a craftsman who produces finely crafted hocchiku flutes (a less refined Shakuhachi). With an intimate knowledge of the koten honkyoku (traditional solo zen-inspired pieces) and the structure of the flute, each of Ramos’ flutes is made especially for honkyoku playing. Ramos believes that honkyoku expresses and utilizes the total spirit-sound of the Shakuhachi.

Every few years, Ramos takes students of the Shakuhachi to Japan where they harvest bamboo for making Shakuhachi and visit sacred places around the country in order to deepen their experience of the instrument. Then in the summer, Ramos teaches how to craft hocchiku for honkyoku playing. He believes that making one’s own hocchiku gives the student a more holistic and intimate experience of the instrument.