Follow Me on Pinterest

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Creativity - Coming Soon to a Project Near You


[kree-ey-tiv-i-tee, kree-uh-]                     

the state or quality of being creative.
the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts.
the process by which one utilizes creative  ability: Extensive reading stimulated her creativity.
Add plywood, broken tiles, old plates

Take one old iron table - no top

Close-up Ready!
To me, being creative is a large part of what makes life worth living.  You might even say that creativity is one of life's main ingredients.  So today I want you to consider creativity and all of its beneficial nutrients.  Letting curiosity lead you to new places and experiences.  Being as conventional or inventive as you want to be. Expressing your desire to transform or transcend.  To plan or not to plan - the choice is ultimately yours. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mother Knows Best

My mother's been a pretty good sport during "The Vegetarian Years", a.k.a., my life since 1985.  She even requests that we go to a vegan restaurant about once a month.  One of her few vegetarian digs has been to mispronounce tofu as "soul food" and I correct her every time.  I admit that she's in the majority when it comes to mocking tofu, with the general consensus being 1) it doesn't taste like anything and/or 2) it tastes gross and/or 3) what exactly is it?  My response is 1) it tastes like whatever you season, marinate, and/or serve it with, 2) see #1, and 3) tofu is soybean curd, a relative of the very healthy, natural soybean.

My Beautiful Mother and festive sparkler

It may not be nice to fool mother nature but once in a while it's fun to fool my mother.   So when she was over for lunch on Saturday, and while she was waiting for the main course, I brought her a little glass bowl filled with a delicious egg (wink, wink) salad for her to spread on some bread.  "How do you like that?" I asked and she replied "it's very good egg salad" and I said "no it's not" and she said "what do you mean?" and I said "it's soul-food".  She hesitated for a few seconds and with a big smile said "it's still very good!"

Now, therefore, I hereby proclaim that today is Tofu Tuesday and today's special tofu recipe is "Egg" Salad, with a side of homemade Dutch yellow potato chips.  This is very reminiscent of one of my favorite childhood lunches that mommy used to make - egg salad on wonder bread and a bag of chips. Actually, now that I think about it, tofu is soul-food.  Mother does know best..

Better Than "Egg" Salad (Really)
1 pkg. extra firm tofu (water packed)
1/2 cup shredded carrots, finely diced 
1/3 cup celery, finely diced
1/4 cup green onion, finely diced
1/3 cup Vegenaise/mayo (or as much as you like)
1 tsp. turmeric (or more if you like)
seasalt and fresh ground blackpepper

In a medium sized bowl, take a fork and run it through the block of tofu until it resembles diced egg whites.  Add the carrots, celery, and green onion and stir the mixture together.  Add the Veganaise and turmeric and mix until well incorporated.  Season with s&p, mix again, taste.  This makes enough for a bunch of sandwiches.

Dutch Yellow Potato Chips
8 Melissa's Dutch yellow potatoes, medium sized
vegetable oil for frying
sprig of fresh rosemary

water with lemon added for holding the potatoes between cutting and frying

Fill a bowl with about 4 cups of water and the juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon.  Using your Martin Yan kitchen knife ( if you have one or another sharp knife, cut the potatoes into very thin slices then place them in the water until all the potatoes are sliced. 

In a small frying pan add vegetable oil about 1 1/2" deep and heat until sizzling.  Throw a few of the rosemary leaves into the oil, followed by some of the blotted potato slices.  Cook about 4 minutes or so per side until lightly golden, and slightly crisp on the edges.  Remove the potato slices from the oil and place on paper towels to drain.  Sprinkle with s&p.  Repeat with more blotted potato slices.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat. 
This makes a nice pile of chips.

For more potato info go to

For more tofu ideas go to


Monday, August 8, 2011

When Life Hands You Lychees

Recently I was the very lucky recipient of a small bumper crop of fresh lychees.  These rosy red orbs were leftover from my recent participation on behalf of Melissa's Produce Company at Project Sake.  This benefit   for the Little Tokyo Service Center, held at the magnificent Vibiana (the first cathedral in Los Angeles before a newer, slightly larger one was built), is another reason why I have a great job.  I get to do good and I get to eat really good too.

Succulent Lychees courtesy of Melissa's Produce Co.
One of the tastiest of all fruits, Lychees are fantastic just peel-and-eat style, but because there were enough to munch on and also make something with, I googled "lychee recipes" and I couldn't resist a simple one for lychee infused vodka.  With vodka always on hand for infusion opportunities, and an only 5-day waiting period, this recipe looked like, and in fact turned out to be a winner.

To take this to the next level, because it's summer cocktail time and with further inspiration from Project Sake, I created this Lychee Martini.  With sake in place of vermouth, and fresh basil sugar syrup for sweetness, this is a drink for all seasons, but especially for right now.  声援  (Cheers in Japanese.)

Lychees Infusing Vodka
Lychee Infused Vodka
2 lbs. fresh lychees
6 cups vodka

Peel and pit lychees.  Place in glass jar, add 6 cups of vodka, put on the lid, and let stand in a cool, dark place at least 5 days.  Drain infused vodka through cheesecloth, and store in  the refrigerator.

Amazingly delicious Lychee Martini on latest mosaic creation
Sake To Me Lychee Martini
2 oz. lychee infused vodka
1 oz. sake
1 oz. basil sugar syrup

Place the liquids in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake.  Strain into pretty glass, garnish with "pickled" lychee & basil flower.

Basil Sugar Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 basil leaves

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat on medium until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture has come to a slow boil.  Take the saucepan off the heat, add the basil leaves, and let stand for about an hour.  Remove the basil.  Store syrup in the refrigerator.  Right now this is my go-to sweetener for iced tea too.  And try this with other herbs - let your imagination lead the way.

For more on fresh lychees go to