Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shojin Cooking

I have a couple of pictures of simple plates from The Enlightened Kitchen, Mari Fujii's beautiful book on Japanese Buddhist temple food - shojin ryori. In a nice opening essay, Fujii defines shojin cuisine as free of animal products, in line with the Buddhist ethic of nonviolence. Seasonal ingredients, and simple flavors like soy sauce, mirin, and miso are other hallmarks of temple food. The tradition is to begin the meal with soup, followed by a main course with rice. Shojin tradition has an interesting prohibition on leeks, scallions, garlic, and onion - according to Fujii because this family of veggies promotes certain energies which complicate a monk's training.

I add garlic and onions to almost everything without even thinking about it, and shojin cooking is one of those "less is more" concepts - by removing ingredients we are so accustomed to, it allows the basic flavors of the underlying vegetables to shine through.

I have two of the entree recipes here - above are shiitake mushrooms stuffed with tofu, and below zucchini with a peanut butter and miso sauce. I used zucchini to replace pumpkin in the original recipe, since the garden dictates all zucchini, all the time right now. I made this before with acorn squash, which was a better match for the rich sauce of peanut and miso, but fried zucchini was still pretty good. Most of Fujii's recipes are for lighter soups, salads, and sides, so I hope these heavier dishes don't misrepresent the cookbook. It's worth checking out if you find it, with recipes I haven't seen anywhere else, and tantalizing photos of almost every dish.

Below is a recipe from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Vegan Table. I just added black grapes to canteloupe with a sweet coconut milk-lime juice sauce. Her recipe calls for honeydew, but any melon would be great with the rich coconut topping.

I made this rice salad over the weekend too - it's short grain brown rice, with carrots, edamame, and hijiki, marinated in lemon juice, sesame oil, and tamari. Continuing the parade of cookbooks, this is from The Complete Vegan Kitchen, by Jannequin Bennett.

On Sunday the pups and I went out for a hike on a section of the North Country Trail, through the Sheyenne National Grasslands in southeastern North Dakota. This is a new trail system, running from Lake Sakakawea in ND all the way east to New York, though I'm not sure if the entire length has been linked and marked with trailposts. It's the upper midwest/rust belt's answer to the Appalachian Trail. It was another perfect day, but pretty hot.

Otter took a dip every time we passed a pond or a water hole on ranch land.

Otter and Maya leading the way through the high plains. There were lots of wildflowers still blooming, after a wet spring and early summer. Here's North Dakota's state flower, and one of my faves, the prairie rose.


Sal said...

those mushrooms look awesome. Cute pups too!! :)

Anonymous said...

Okay I want all the shiitake mushrooms stuffed with tofu! I am a very greedy girl and I will need seconds and thirds...honestly Mikey the food is right up my alley...I looooove simple back to basics food....omgawd I am so hungry....such a good spread and I bet it had a refreshing taste...and I bet after eating it you felt lighter!
None of those drown me meals...

Anyway yes cute pups and nice pics of nature as well...I should focus on other things besides food! hehe

Have a good one buddy!

Tara said...

Wow, all your food looks great and it's always nice to see photos of dogs! I'll have to see if I can get my hands on a copy of the The Enlightened Kitchen--thanks for sharing!

kamagra said...

wow excellent thanks for share, I love that food looks delicious, anyway thanks for share I wonder If i could make a trip like that someday.

Buy Generic Viagra said...

This is incredible these meals look so delicious, I've never prepared something like this before, I'm gonna prepare it next week because I'll receive some visits at home and they're so important.Thanks!

Roseann said...

This will not really work, I suppose this way.