Archive for the 'Asian-Inspired' Category

I Heart Ann


July 8th, 2012

ann curry
Well, in case you haven’t noticed by my flurry of outraged tweets, I’m a little bit upset about this Ann Curry debacle. Can I just tell you how much I love Ann Curry? Ann Curry is amazing. She’s intelligent, poised, hard working, beautiful, a world class journalist, classy, and in my opinion the best thing that’s happened to the TODAY SHOW. Needless to say, I was less than pleased when they announced that Ann Curry was being replaced for not being FLUFFY ENOUGH FOR MORNING TV.

ann and mattThis picture says a thousand words. Apparently, a lot of people didn’t think she had good chemistry with Matt Lauer. Rumor has it that Matt has a lot of chemistry issues with people on the show. But we don’t need to go there. There is always google. Suffice to say that Matt’s ego has gotten pretty healthy since Katie left. And I think it’s always hard for people to have good chemistry with big egos. Especially for a person who is as accomplished as Ann.

ann curryAnn clearly has very good karma. And she has a lot of supporters. And I’m sure that she will find a better situation where she is more appreciated. But it’s always disappointing to see someone you respect and admire get the shaft. I think that NBC’s reaction to this situation was pretty telling about the internal culture there. And I have to say, I don’t think it bodes well for the future of the Today Show. I know that I, personally, will be switching to GOOD MORNING AMERICA.

annI just want to put this out there. Ann Curry, you are great! I have looked up to you forever. I am half-Japanese, and I have to say that there aren’t a lot of half-Japanese role models out there in the public eye. But you have definitely set the bar very high. And I love you for that. I appreciate you for your work. And for your grace in handling this situation. You ARE a groundbreaker. And the finish line doesn’t matter. It’s how you play the game. And you played fair. With style and grace. You put your truth out there. And your fans are still here. We haven’t gone anywhere. THANK YOU for everything that you do!

cheese
I know what you’re thinking. I like Ann Curry, but what does this have to do with raw food? Isn’t this a raw food blog? Yes. It is. I digress. This happened once before. You doubted me over my LOVE FOR YOKO. But if you recall, it was related in the end. As is this. It’s a little tangential. But last week, I admit that I was obsessing about Ann. I was mad. So mad in fact, that I was even trolling TMZ looking at articles about her. And guess what I found? I found a VIDEO OF ANN ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK CARRYING A ONE LUCKY DUCK BAG! Can you believe that? One Lucky Duck! One of the stores in NYC that CARRIES MY CHEESE! No wonder she looks so good. She obviously knows a thing or two about good food. :) So there. Related. See?

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I Heart Yoko


January 14th, 2012

wayne megaphone
Happy New Year! This post is a little delayed. Forgive me. For I have been BUSY. But I had to take a moment to absorb this because it was so inspiring to me on so many levels. How did I ring in 2012? I spent it watching THE PLASTIC ONO BAND and the FLAMING LIPS in Oklahoma City. (Thus, the visit to my ALMA MATER).

yoko ono band
The show did not disappoint. It was so thrilling. I really struggled to be there (due to my MYSTERIOUS LUPUS-LIKE AILMENT). But I fought for it and one (this was a typo which I decided to leave as is). They really went all out. The lights and the balloons were incredible. No expense was spared. It was absolutely breathtaking. Yoko is an artist of the highest caliber. She is amazing. I can’t say enough nice things about her. She is such a rare gem. Intelligent, fierce, intuitive, compassionate, and actualized. Most people go through life living from the outside in. Only very rarely do you encounter a person who is truly actualized. From the inside out. Like Yoko. She is a woman who was so far ahead of her time that a lot of people still don’t get it.

ballons
The show opened with Yoko singing, ‘It happened at a time in our life when I least expected…’ followed by the most gut-wrenching, raw, painful wail you have ever heard. It was abrasive. And it came out of nowhere. And just blew you away. So much pain. Transformed into art. Truly incredible.

yoko sean nels
The band was super tight. But also loose. In the best possible way. One of my favorite moments was watching Nels and Yoko going off on each other. Nels also plays in the band, Wilco. But he’s really versatile. My boyfriend has toured with him a couple times. So I’ve heard a lot of his more experimental stuff. And I’ve seen him play quite a few times. He can be pretty out there. The first time I saw him play, I was bowled over by this bizarre sound. I couldn’t figure out what it was. It was out of this world. So I started looking closer at what was going on. And I noticed that Nels was literally playing his guitar with a springed coil. Instead of a pic. The guy can get wacky! But Nels with Yoko is a very interesting combination. Yoko introduced this crazy noise jam by saying, ‘This is a song that I first played with John. And then Sean. And now Nels…It’s about my childhood or something.’ (Who knew that Yoko has such a dry sense of humor. I am particularly fascinated by this because my mother is Japanese. About the same age as Yoko. And I had always assumed it was because of the language barrier that she didn’t have a sense of humor. It’s not that she doesn’t have one exactly. But something like this would definitely fly under her radar. That is making a connection to another culture that is very unusual for a foreigner). She then proceeded to rock this jam with Nels.




She almost sounds like a guitar. She’s just fully out there. No holds barred. And Nels gets in there and juices it up. It’s unbelievable. She just has no fear. She’s just out there. No safety net. No predictable structure. She’s so fearless that it’s beautifully poetic. Not in a contrived way. But just real. And raw. And present. And truly her own. I feel like this was the reason I needed to be there. I needed to see this. And I needed to draw inspiration from it. This is supposed to be my mantra for 2012. ‘No fear’. It’s like when a person gets sick, they inevitably encounter all kinds of overwhelming situations where they don’t measure up. And I think that in response, a person naturally develops a sense of fear. Of being in situations where they will be overwhelmed. And this is protective and helpful to a point. But in order to rejoin the world of the living, you reach a point where you have to release that fear. I am at that point now. And I think this is why I needed to see Yoko. And why she resonated with me so much.

glasses
The show was hard for me. Mostly the crowd. It was a very packed room. And I often felt overwhelmed. Like the air was too thin. And I might pass out. And I kept going to the back of the venue. To get more air. But I wasn’t leaving. No matter what.

The Lips set was also amazing. Wayne came out in his bubble again. My boyfriend shot this FOOTAGE OF HIM (For some reason, this drat computer won’t let me embed this video. So you have to click to it. Definitely worth it). Truly surreal. The amazing light show and the bubble plus the lips. It was like being in an alternate universe. It was so great that we went two nights in a row. I paid for it though. I spent the entire next day with my head in a garbage bag. But hey! That’s the price you pay sometimes.

moi
This is 2012. No more living in the protective bubble of being sick. It’s time to pop the bubble and get out there and rock. Just like Wayne. And Yoko. I am going to live my life on my terms. And that’s all there is to it. If I allow myself to live in fear of my illness, I will be defined by it. I don’t want that. I am the definer here! And guess what? No illness is going to hold this girl back. Watch out world. Because HERE I COME! Thanks for the inspiration Yoko!

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Day 90. We Are All Connected


March 14th, 2011

japan flag
Well, if I was gonna be a stickler on technicalities, this would actually be day 92 of my BIKRAM YOGA CHALLENGE. I’m a couple days late. I’ve been obsessed and distracted by current events. I feel very connected to what’s going on. Not just because of all this yoga (though I think that it is heightening the connection). I have relatives there. My mother is Japanese. I am half-Japanese. My mother comes from a very large family (ten brothers and sisters), and they are spread out all over the country.

As of right now, we are still waiting to hear from one of my Aunts. We haven’t been able to get in touch with her. The first day after the quake, you would dial her phone and a message would answer in Chinese. As if the phones were getting rerouted. Now it is just dead.

boat
One of my cousin’s house was washed away. Into the ocean. The footage of the water is just unbelievable. It’s like a movie. It’s hard to believe it’s real. This cousin, in particular, my heart goes out to. She has had a rough row.

radioactive
She is only in her mid-thirties and already her husband and father were killed by previous unreported leaks at the Fukushima Power Plant. Now her house is gone. That is too much for one person. It seems so unfair. The situation at the Fukushima Plant makes me very upset. All the nuclear experts on TV and on the radio who claim that it is safe make me so very very frustrated. I know they are wrong. From the bottom of my heart, I know.

rowing
I am so very afraid of what the impact of all of this will be. I so hope that thousands more people will not be harmed by the radiation. I hope that my Aunt will call. The Japanese are resilient and stoic people. They built themselves up from scratch only a generation ago (after World War II). I know they are strong, and they will persevere. But right now, I am so unspeakably sad for them and for everyone affected.

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Feeling the Love


July 26th, 2010

sam cartoon
Look at this lovely cartoon that came on a package in my mail recently. It’s from non other than Sam, my half-Asian soul sister out West.

recovery
Being a BROKEN HIPSTER does have it’s perks. It affords a person time for philosophizing and getting lovely packages in the mail.

snacks
Look at these yummy snacks I got in the mail for DEBBIE DOES RAW!! The raw cheeze-its were featured in this VIDEO on RAW MODEL ANTHONY’S page.

I can tell you that mine didn’t last long either. You should try some…

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Back to Reality


April 11th, 2010

windmills
The movie always ends when the main character rides off into the sunset. My boyfriend took this picture driving home from Oklahoma. Seemed apropos. You have to know though that this movie has a sequel. What happens to the girl AFTER SCHOOL? Well, that’s a good question.

wheatgrass car
This was the tray of wheatgrass that we set in the back window of the car. It got a little dried out back there. But it did alright…

tray grass
I feel like I worked through a lot healthwise while I was at school. My first order of business is to continue that trend. WHEATGRASS is definitely part of the plan.

juicing
I’ve been keeping up with my wheatgrass program pretty well using my Healthy Juicer (though I definitely have a Hurom on my wishlist).

wheatgrass smoothie
So, I’ve been starting most of my days with one of these while I contemplate my next move.

benefits
My boyfriend has definitely been appreciating the benefits of my professional chef status.

more noodles
This is an Asian noodle dish served on a bed of wilted red kale. It’s really a bastardization of the sesame noodle appetizer that was on the fall menu at 105. Even my ROOMATE, who doesn’t really like raw food, liked it!

goji plant
I had another surprise this week too! Remember the goji plant I STARTED last year? It grew into quite the bush. My boyfriend’s mom cut it back at the end of the season. So I was a little anxious to see if it would come back.

goji bud
Well, it’s back!! It takes three years to bear fruit, but I’m on my way now…

threesome
I definitely am missing all the companionship and support I had in school. But I’ve been getting a pretty warm reception here. Lots of interest so far. More on that later…

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Asian Station


March 1st, 2010

pho
Things have been heating up in the raw food kitchen here. I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time to post. So hopefully, the next few days will be a barrage of sorts. I just finished my rotation in the Asian station. Pictured here, is the pho (one of the top sellers in that station). It was my favorite dish when the new menu came out. I’ve been finding since being here that my favorite dish doesn’t seem to last long. It’s hard to stay committed in this environment.

kimchee dumplings
My nemesis on this station has definitely been the kimchee dumplings. I was definitely grumbling under my breath over these things. Here you can see my less than perfect dumplings. They’re persnickety little buggers.

dumpling
As the week progressed, I started to get into a flow with them. Once we accepted that we didn’t like each other, our relationship evolved.

coconut curry
The coconut curry is another hot seller on the Asian station (also a former favorite dish).

close up
On my last day, I was dubbed the ‘Dumpling Queen’ by Kelly Lee (the General Manager) here. She DID NOT like my nascent dumpling attempts, and she let me know. So, it was kind of nice to rise above the ashes of my dumpling failure and triumph. Well, at least it sounds good on paper.

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Sunday Supper: Alissa


February 23rd, 2010

entree
Well, my Sunday Supper went off without a hitch. I was much more prepared than I anticipated (though part of that might have been that not many people came). The weather was bad, and business was slower than usual.  RUSSELL brought his camera though and took some really nice pictures (He took all of these except the one below).  I WANT one of those cameras.

parents

photo by Helen Castillo

I did have two very important guests…my parents! This photo was taken by my classmate, HELEN, who sat with my parents at dinner and was apparently very charming. You can read all about her experience on her BLOG.

menu
My parents have been a bit skeptical about raw food. So I was really looking at this dinner as an opportunity to bridge the gap. After all, food brings families together. My mother really appreciates traditional Japanese cuisine. Though for the most part, she hates Asian fusion or any kind of bastardization of what she considers ‘real’ Japanese food.  My father has not liked much of anything I’ve made so far.  So, I would have considered getting him to eat anything a success.

gyozaThe first course was gyoza. Traditionally, this is served as a fried or steamed dumpling filled with pork, cabbage, and garlic. The raw version featured applewood smoked tofu, cabbage, green onion, and bean sprouts. To my surprise, my mom LIKED them! My dad was a little reluctant. But once he saw that everyone else was eating them, he went for it. I was really surprised that they liked them! The flavor profile on this dish was probably the least traditional of the three.

sushi
The main course featured this green spider roll. The roll was filled with asparagus, avocado, red pepper, sprouts, cucumber, and a ‘tempura battered’ eggplant. It came with an arugula salad garnished with shiso, hijiki, crispy fennel, sprouts, and a sweet miso dressing. I thought I was really pushing boundaries with a sweet arugula salad but NO! When I saw that my dad cleaned his plate, my face started turning red! I was so excited.

dessert
The dessert was a ‘zen trio’. It featured a green tea mochi ice cream bite, bubble tea pudding with chia seeds, and a raspberry wasabi truffle. I made white chocolate garnishes with candied ginger and sesame seed accents that spelled my name in Japanese (or so I thought). This was especially for my mom. She was SO HAPPY when I brought it out to her (even though I spelled my name wrong – DOH!!). My parents enjoyed it so much that they even called an hour after they left to let me know how much they like it again. It was truly a wonderful success (for me). My dad said that this meal was much better than the LAST ONE they tried. To which I replied, ‘I guess I must have learned something then.’

The rest of the night went pretty well, I think. There weren’t a lot of orders, but I noticed that everyone who did order the feature cleaned all three plates. One table told their server to send me a message…’Domo Arigato’! So overall, I think it went well. I was happy with it, and I learned a lot from the process. HOORAY!

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Menu Planning


February 20th, 2010

matthew and russell
This week has been BUSY. We started a new project with MATTHEW. But since he’s been out of town, RUSSELL has been meeting with us too. Basically, we were each assigned a menu item from the spring menu to develop. I was assigned the green spider roll which was kind of cosmic given that this week is also my SUNDAY SUPPER, and I had planned on doing a Japanese themed menu (my mom is coming and I’m trying to impress her).

arisa garnish
This was the garnish for the dessert dish. It’s white chocolate with candied ginger and sesame seeds. It says ‘Alissa’ in Japanese (It’s the only thing I can remember how to write). Russell gave me a hard time about it. He said that on his next dessert, he’s going to write Russell on the plate in English. Har Har. :)

filling chocs
The dessert plate also features these little chocolates. They’re raspberry wasabi flavored. Matthew said, ‘They’re really weird, but I can’t stop eating them.’ I’m really racking up the bonus points with my instructors this week. Maybe I should have figured out how to write ‘weird’ in Japanese instead. :)

gyoza
If you’re in Oklahoma City, you should come to my Sunday Supper tomorrow. Here is a sneak preview. Russell took some really nice pictures of the practice meal I made for the class on Friday. He also gave the class a little demo on taking good food photos. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pics he took. This is my appetizer. It’s gyoza featuring SMOKED TOFU.

sushi
This is the green spider roll (my spring menu assignment). It features tempura battered eggplant and asparagus.

dessert
The dessert is a trio featuring a green tea mochi bite, bubble tea pudding, and a raspberry wasabi truffle. Wish me luck! I’ve been working way too hard on it. Kind of bordering on obsessive. EVERYONE kept telling me to go home today, but there’s always one more thing. I’ll let you know how it goes…

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Sunday Supper: Sonja


January 26th, 2010

soup
This week’s Sunday Supper featured the lovely SONJA (who has made a COUPLE of APPEARANCES on my blog thus far). Sonja is originally from Switzerland (did I mention that we had a very international group?). Her first course was stupendous. She actually made bowls out of coconuts. She cut them with a hacksaw, literally. Then, she cleaned them out meticulously and dehydrated them. AMAZING PRESENTATION! The soup was delicous too!

menu
This was the evening’s special menu insert. The Sunday Supper feature is served as a package for the lucky participants.

noodles
The entree was a Pineapple Curry Noodle dish featuring everyone’s favorite…kelp noodles! I have definitely developed an addiction to kelp noodles since I’ve arrived here. They do some amazing things with kelp noodles around here. My boyfriend came to visit me a few weeks ago and ordered a case of them when he got home.

mango cascade
This is the mango cascade. Look at the beautiful wafers she made. Sonja is the resident expert with coconut wraps and wafers. You should check out her BLOG and see what else she’s up to…

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Appetizers and Special Guests


November 18th, 2009

appetizers
This is an appetizer tray that we served to one of our special guests today. We have started menu planning for our final. So we did some examples of appetizers. Here we have some hummus with walnut toast, kale chips, and cream of celery soup. I gobbled the kale chips down. Though I have to say that I think I prefer my RECIPE. This one uses red bell pepper, and I think I prefer mine spicier.

shitake pagoda
The other appetizer we made turned into an entree. We had intended on making shitake dumplings. But after dehydrating overnight, the wrappers were too brittle. So we made a shitake pagoda.

fungal
Jackie Morton from OM GARDENS came to talk to us about mushrooms. She is a local grower who specializes in mushrooms. She brought several varieties to show us.

maitake
The beautiful maitake mushroom.

golden oyster
This is a golden oyster mushroom. Everyone kept commenting about how much they look like underwater coral.

lion's mane
This is lion’s mane. It looks like a little hedgehog.

shitake
The biggest shitake mushroom I’ve ever seen.

matthew kenney
Finally, Matthew Kenney came to speak to us about the new menu and the business aspects of raw food. They change the menu here once every three months to stay in sync with the seasons. The new menu sounds pretty fabulous. I’ll keep you posted on that. In the meantime, I need to try everything on the current menu. Because once it’s gone, it’s GONE.

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