Sukiyaki on National Television – Watch Vegan Mashup!

How do you like my new “do”? Okay, so it’s a wig. But filming Season 1 of Vegan Mashup put me in such a happy mood that I literally burst into song and dance. And then I got hungry, so I made some Japanese comfort food, sukiyaki. Of course, all of this was done on set. Sukiyaki is a savory concoction invented after the Japanese figured it was okay to eat cows (for centuries, it was considered savage to eat 4-legged creatures, almost as uncivilized as wearing shoes in your house). Traditionally, it features thinly sliced beef simmered in a sweet soy broth with tofu, vegetables, and that miracle zero-calorie noodle, shirataki. Luckily, it’s not really about the beef, and a […]

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Game Day Fare – BBQ Ribs

I hate being typecast. Because I’m Japanese, some people once thought I only cooked Japanese food, especially as I had written a Japanese cookbook. Now that I’m known for Artisan Vegan Cheese, people think I gorge on cheese all the time. But I don’t. I eat mostly fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Fresh, simple, everyday stuff, from juices and smoothies to salads and stir-fry. Like a lot of other vegans. Still, when I cook for others, my leanings are Italian and French, and I’ll tinker in the kitchen creating the perfect repast. I’m not your veggie burger and vegan bufflao wings gal.  But Super Bowl Sunday is coming up, and my husband likes his grub. Yesterday, smiling sweetly, he put in his order. To me, not the […]

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Duxelles for Everything – even Truffled Seitan

Oh, dear. I fear that I rushed to post the Truffled Seitan recipe, and in doing so, left in a mention of the “mushroom juice from the duxelles” that I had meant to delete. Naturally, several people have already asked me about this. What are duxelles? They are among one of the most wonderful things in the world. And we have the French to credit for this. Finely minced mushrooms are squeezed dry, then sauteed with shallots and herbs, and maybe even a splash of brandy or sherry, to yield an intense mushroom flavor that will serve as a filling for all manner of things from crepes, lasagna, tarts, potstickers, or how about Truffled Seitan? The extracted juices also pack […]

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Truffled Seitan is Angelic

It’s been a month or so since I posted my recent favorite cheese recipe, Truffled Brie. And now, I introduce you to an old-time gastronomic delight, Truffled Seitan. This one is tried and true – the “meat alternative” that gets omnivores asking for more (I know; I have served it to hundreds of meat eaters). They have described it as akin to certain things I dare not repeat here, but it is succulent, tender, flavorful, deeply delicious. And did I mention versatile? You can serve it thinly filleted, in large chunks in stews, or grind it for Bolognese sauce or stuffing mushrooms – or even better, Duxelles. Most recently, I’ve been serving it either as an entree or appetizer as […]

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Still Time Yet for the UnBird

So…perhaps you’re not quite ready to attack making the UnTurkey.  Or maybe you’re not into all that seitan and would prefer roasted veggies instead? But how do you make veggies into an appealing – even amusing – centerpiece guaranteed to please vegans and meat-eaters alike? Meet the UnBird. Roasted veggies are enrobed in a herb cashew cream sauce, then rolled up in filo dough with wings and tail feathers to boot. It’s a fun presentation, and ever so easy to put together. Even if you’ve never worked with filo, or dread the amount of fat between the layers, this video will take the fear out of filo. Filmed as a segment of Vegan Mashup, it’s been rendered just in time as a […]

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Noodles for a Long Life and a Book Give-Away

First of all, I’m giving away a copy of my Japanese cookbook. Read on!          There’s only hours left before the start of a new year, and I’m doing all I can to catch my breath as I come down from the holiday frenzy of the past few weeks. I’m exhausted and looking forward to a quieter, fresher, newer beginning.  The crazy pace between Thanksgiving and Christmas in America is a vast contrast to Japan – there, Christmas is but a token holiday when people eat Christmas Cake but plug along at work in anticipation of a big bonus.  The real big holiday in Japan is New Year’s, and much work and excitement lead up to that. I remember as a child counting […]

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Filo Pouch with Veggies and Mushroom Thyme Sauce

The Musing: I was reminded that the “special time of year” was fast approaching when, the other day, my daughter created a Pandora station with Christmas music. I’m not going to write anything pithy here about the holidays or their true meaning; I’ll let that debate go on elsewhere. For me, the only contemplation I do at this is the time of year is about food and menus and gatherings. A bountiful table is a good thing, and I love to have them surrounded by friends an family. But I also like to enjoy the holiday without killing myself while creating the feast. Over the years, I have spent many holidays too tired be able to taste anything when we […]

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Of Figs and Tempeh and Fancy Culinary Terms Like “Sear”

In some pools, you swim up to the bar. In my pool, you swim up to the fig tree.  The Musing: Seared ahi or some other sea creature – a delicacy on so many menus. Do you know that according to scientists there will be no fish left in the sea in 50 years if we keep eating them at this rate? True — and truly frightening. Hard to enjoy that tuna after reading this, huh? Luckily, there’s a bounty of other things — of plant origin — that can be seared to delicious heights. The Recipe: When we moved to our house about 6 years ago, I was delighted to find two very prolific fig trees. Every fall, I am […]

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Will the Real UnTurkey Please Stand Up?

For years, when I had Now and Zen Bistro, and then later when The UnTurkeys were flying out of our facility to stores nationwide,  I had no time to plan my own Thanksgiving.  During the restaurant days, we’d get started on our multi-course UnT-day feast weeks in advance.  UnTurkey with all of the fixings – it didn’t get better.  One year, I even had a customer seated on a five-gallon bucket in the kitchen – he had driven up to San Francisco from Santa Barbara without reservations and didn’t care where he sat as long as he had UnTurkey, so he munched happily away in the bustle and  madness of the kitchen. Now that I have the luxury of planning […]

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