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Monday, February 28, 2011

First Dinner in Japan

The long flight was worth it for this meal alone! Reflecting on this meal makes me even more excited for all that is yet to come in my time in Japan.

Yuko, my dear friend Naoko's sister, took Danny and me to a restaurant called Washokuya NOPPO
(わしょくや のっぽ)in Shibuya, just a 10 minute walk from her Tokyo apartment. It's on a little windy side street in the basement of a building. It has a cozy and friendly atmosphere and with one bite of their food, you know they use the best quality ingredients. Here's what we had:

oishii = so goooood!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

- Wild Geese by Mary Olivar

When I get caught up in my life in the day-to-day, I love reading this poem to readjust my focus on just how magnificently large our world is and to let go of frantic energy that impedes me from remembering that I too am a part of nature.

As many of you already know, in just a week I will embark on a year-long culinary apprenticeship in Japan. There have been many loose ends to tie up and items to check off my to-do list, so I've been intentionally setting aside to do things like read poems like this one.

Amidst my preparations for departure, I am also excitedly building an even greater web presence so that I can keep in touch and share my experiences with you. Be The Oak will become my travel journal where I will post frequently about all sorts of experiences, not just things culinary. My new professional website, www.rhymeandseason.com is where I'll direct you for recipes and culinary resources.

More good things to come!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Gourmet Graduation

Last Friday we held a tasting at the Natural Epicurean Academy that marked my graduation. Among our guests was the illustrious Lazy Smurf blogger with her super nice camera. She captured some beautiful images of the menu that we designed & prepared as a class.

I played a special part in making the ginger stuffed cherries, risotto a strati with roasted beets, and cremini mushroom soup with rosemary skewers (pictured below).

Photography by Lazy Smurf

Photography by Lazy Smurf

And I must say, of all the elements of the menu, I think the simple combination of ginger and cherries was the most striking. My fellow graduate who conceived this combination was inspired by the compact packaging of garlic stuffed olives. This zippy little bite is a perfect start to a meal because the pungent pickled ginger gets your circulation going and the sweetness of the cherry prompts your appetite to pick up. Hats off Donnalyn, you are the best chef!

To impress guests at your next dinner party, start out with these ginger stuffed cherries. Simply pit fresh cherries and place a rolled-up piece of pickled sushi ginger inside. Brilliance!


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