Monday, May 12, 2008

Zen food

Watching How to Cook Your Life, a documentary with Zen cook Ed Brown--a lovely gift from Dharmonia--my hero and the author of the seminal Tassajara Bread Book and Tassajara Cokkery Book, books which I used to read and re-read, just for sense of calm that emerged from his commentary, his recipes, and the wonderful line drawings. I learned to cut vegetables from this book. I learned about Zen from this book. I learned about Shinryu Suzuki Roshi from this book.

My debt to Ed Brown is incalculable.

Here's tonight's menu:

Pre-heat oven to 390 degrees.

Spinach salad:
Wash, stem, and whirl the spinach (preferably fresh, preferably local). Pat dry with a piece of paper towel. Dress with either vinaigrette (1 part red wine vinegar to 7-8 parts high-quality olive oil) or (one of our commercial favorites) Annie's Green Goddess dressing.

Vegan quesadillas:
Heat olive oil in a large iron fry-pan. Add some kind of crumbled tofu, tempeh, "soysauge" or other textured vegetable protein and brown. Add 1 can black beans (without packing water). Warm gently, then add juice of 1/2 lemon and a good shot of garlic (and cumin if you want a more authentically Mexican flavor). Cook gradually until the balance of the liquid is reduced. Add a small quantity (maybe 1/4 the volume of the beans) of tomato sauce or paste. Cover and keep warm.

Warm 4 flour tortillas, either on a a warm cooktop or in another iron fry-pan set on "low" heat, until they are malleable.

Cover a baking sheet with a couple of the tortillas. Spread the beans/TVP on the tortillas. Slice, and layer-upon the beans, soy kase (e.g., soy-based cheese-like substance). Cover with the top layer of tortillas.

Bake for around 15 minutes, until top tortillas are crisped and beginning to brown.

Serve with a decent sauvignon blanc. Pretty nice.

Thank you Ed. Thank you Suzuku-Roshi. Thank you Shogan-Ji. Thank you Dogen Zenji.


No comments: