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Korean Temple Food

July 8, 2010 by Chong Go Sunim

An Introduction
One of the major figures in Korean temple food is Seonjae Sunim. She’s been researching Korean temple food for many years now, and I would like to post briefly about Korean Vegan Cuisine….

Modern history
One of the interesting points she made about Korean temple food is that much of the know-how has been lost. She said that before the Japanese occupation (1904 – 1945), there was a lot of accumulated techniques and knowledge about vegetarian cooking in the big temples. But with the Japanese control of Buddhism during the Occupation era, followed by the destruction and poverty of the Korean War and years afterwards (1950-1970 or so), this was lost.

Japanese Era – the loss of the vegetarian tradition
The biggest thing about the Japanese occupation for Buddhists, was the “reforms” forced on Korean Buddhists. Chief among these was the effort to create an acceptance in Buddhism for the monks to marry, drink alcohol, and eat meat. They put this into motion around 1920, when after having centralized all of the temples into one network, they appointed their own people as abbots of the regional head temples. These men drank, ate meat, and tended to be married. The traditional Korean monks were outraged about this, but at first the Japanese government ignored their protests, and then made drinking, marriage, and meat officially accepted.

Through coercion and enticements, by 1945 the vast majority of the men in temples belonged to this system. This was really the biggest blow to the vegetarian tradition in Korea.  For, after 30 or 40 years of this, a lot of the monks and nuns who were masters of the old system of vegetarian cooking had simply died without having passed on their knowledge.

Not helping was the poverty of these years, and the years after the Korean War, when anything at all to eat was gratefully received. So by the 1970′s what you had was temple cooking that was simply ordinary Korean cooking, minus the meat. Which, nutritionally, really isn’t adequate.

The Nature of Plants, and Seasonal Energies
One of the interesting things that Seonjae Sunim discovered as she was re-discovering these old systems of vegetarian cooking, was that just because it was a plant or vegetable, that didn’t mean it was good for you. In the old system, it was very clear that every plant, vegetable, and dish had a season. This didn’t mean merely what was available, but that given the energy of a certain plant, it should only be consumed during the appropriate season. So there are dishes that are spring dishes, and only consumed in the spring. For example, mugwort has certain properties that make it beneficial only during a certain season or two.

Likewise, people’s energies also have seasonal fluctuations, and different seasonal needs. So what’s good for you in the spring, might be harmful in the fall. So traditionally prepared temple vegetarian food is based upon the interaction of the plant, the season, and the person. This is also a very local food, with the cook checking the markets, and hillsides, to see what’s available and appropriate for the season. Thus, if you visit a very traditional temple restaurant, all of the dishes on the menu will be those appropriate to the season.

The Energy of Local Food
This way of looking at traditional food has an interesting parallel with traditional Korean medicine. Rather than following the prescriptions from the great texts of China, Korean doctors realized that the best medicine would also have the energy of the same land as the patient. So instead of focusing on Chinese ingredients, they started researching local plants and their effects on people. That is, they were looking at what was nearby, and seeing what it’s effects were. A lot of traditional temple food is awareness of the energy of local food, and what it’s properties and flavors are, and seeing how this feels.

Thus, food should ideally be made with local ingredients that are fresh and seasonal. So dishes that require expensive, exotic ingredients aren’t really in keeping with this spirit. Rather than exact copies of Korean dishes with Korean grown ingredients, I look forward to seeing people (in other countries) creating their own “fusion” dishes, taking into account the local produce and the Korean techniques and spirit of preparation.

Now the disclaimer: I know good Korean food when I taste it, but I’m terrible at making it. Somehow it always comes out blah. If you’re really interested in Korean food, there are a lot of Korean cookbooks that look pretty good. Likewise, there are also a lot of websites dedicated to Korean food.

If you’ve stuck with me this far, you deserve a treat!
So here’s a recipe for a type of daal that Daehaeng Kun Sunim likes quite a bit. The recipe originally came from Yoga Journal.

Kun Sunim’s Porridge

250 ml (1 cup) of glutinous rice, the Korean variety (chap-sal) works better than Indian rice
250 ml (1 cup) of mung beans these are a small, yellow legume

The rice and the mung beans should be rinsed several times and soaked for at least an hour before cooking (2-6 hours is best, but one hour is okay)

1 ml Turmeric powder – (1/4 teaspoon)
1 ml ground Cloves
1 ml ground black Cardamom
1 ml Salt
1 ml ground Pepper
2 ml ground Cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon)
3 Bay leafs

Cilantro Puree
Cilantro, about a handful –   clean leaves and stalks
30ml shredded coconut – 2 table spoons
15ml minced Ginger – 1 tablespoon
250ml of water – 1 cup

Put the coconut, ginger, cilantro, and water in a blender and pureed.

Sauté all of the 7 spices in 30ml (2 tablespoons)of clarified butter or coconut oil (organic) until brown.
Stir in the drained mung beans, and thoroughly mix with butter and spices.
Next stir in the rice.
Add the cilantro puree and thoroughly mix together.
Add 1.25 liters (6 cups) of water and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Once it starts boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and stir occasionally, cooking for 25-30 minutes. Take out the bay leaves before serving.

Wine Challenge: Korean Cuisine


Though wine is often available in South Korean restaurants—particularly those offering beef barbecue—it’s not something that most people think to order. Beer and rice wine are more common accompaniments.

But Joshua Hall, a wine broker from New Zealand, says that as the popularity of Korean food grows around the world, so does the interest in picking wines that go with it. “Looking at food blogs,” he says, “people are going to Korean restaurants and they’re wondering what wine to take.”

Early last year he started a website,, devoted to the subject. More recently he founded Bacchus, a group of sommeliers, chefs and food writers that promotes wine pairings with Korean cuisine.

Most people tend to equate Korean food with spiciness, but Mr. Hall says texture and saltiness are more important considerations for pairing, while the factor that counts above all is the prodigious quantity of vegetables that are usually part of Korean meals.

“If you’ve got a dish with a lot of vegetables, it’s changing the flavor profile to more earthy flavors and you have to have a wine that can handle earthy flavors,” Mr. Hall says. “Vegetables clash with wines with lots of tannins.”

As a rule, tannic wines overwhelm rather than complement the flavor profile of Korean cuisine; the same goes for punchy, high-alcohol reds. Medium-tannin wines with little or no oak are best, Mr. Hall says. White wines pair well with many dishes, he adds, and the most versatile type of wine with Korean food is rosé.

  • Bindaeddeok. This pancake made from cornmeal and ground mung beans, usually with pork, onions, scallions and kimchi, goes well with a refined Syrah or Syrah blend from southern France.
  • With barbecue beef, look for a Merlot that’s had little or no oak aging.
  • Barbecue pork, grilled and often salted, works well with a medium- bodied Soave Classico from Italy.
  • Pajeon—scallions, onions and sliced chili in a flour batter, fried in oil—matches nicely with the racy acidity of a crisp dry Riesling.
  • Three dishes that go with a crisp, dry rosé: the steamed dumpling mandoo (minced meat, chopped vegetables and glass noodles wrapped in thin dough); japchae (stir-fried glass noodles with vegetables, eggs and meat); and bibimbap (vegetables, beef and rice mixed with pepper paste in a bowl).

David Chang: Vegetarian Korean Dishes

To briefly escape his frantic life, pork-centric chef David Chang heads to South Korea to learn from some vegetarian Buddhist nuns.

David Chang was stressed out.

This was not unusual for Chang, one of New York City’s most driven and overextended chefs. The 33-year-old has been running hard on a mix of daring, military discipline and raw emotion since 2004, when he openedMomofuku Noodle Bar in Manhattan. The tiny East Village hole-in-the-wall quickly became a culinary phenomenon, and in 2006, F&W named Chang one of America’s Best New Chefs. His sudden success, though, has seemed only to heighten his angst.

David Chang in Korea: The chef checks his Blackberry.

David Chang checks his Blackberry. Photo © William Meppem.

On a spring day last April, Chang was testier than usual. His fifth restaurant, Má Pêche, was about to open in midtown Manhattan, but instead of tweaking dishes and micromanaging his staff, he was in Seoul on the way to a remote Korean Buddhist temple, famed for its vegetarian cuisine.

“It’s like your wife is in labor and you’re not there by her side,” he said after climbing into a van parked outside the Park Hyatt hotel tower in Seoul. For the first half of the ride through the city’s industrial sprawl, he furiously worked his BlackBerry. An hour later, when the city’s undistinguished block-style high rises were replaced by deforested hills and flooded rice fields, he put on the Bose noise-canceling headphones he’d purchased with some recent gambling winnings, blasted the Kinks and, almost immediately, started to snore. Really loudly. Even asleep, Chang is a force to reckon with.

If anyone deserves to be tired, it’s him. Chang’s staff has grown from two (including himself) to almost 500; he spends much of his time now as a manager rather than a chef. The stress of it all frequently makes him feel like his head is going to explode. “There are days when I think I should just give it all up and move to Jackson Hole,” he said.

Instead he was taking time out in South Korea, where both his parents were born and raised, to explore temple cuisine, the traditional vegetarian food that has been cooked and eaten by Korean Buddhist monks and nuns for centuries. The trip gave Chang a rare five-day pause from his busy life. It also gave the pork-loving chef, whose menu once read, “We do not serve vegetarian-friendly items here,” a chance to learn more about cooking without meat.

Plus: Related Recipes


The truth is that for the last year or so, Chang has become obsessed withvegetables. He’s been rethinking the now-ubiquitous pork belly, an ingredient he once championed. “Maybe we’ll stop selling belly soon,” he said. “It would be nice to find other cuts of pork that aren’t so played out. You want to be sustainable; you want to use the whole pig, man.”

David Chang in Korea: At the Yunpilam temple complex.

© William Meppem

Sustainability has been at the core of the Korean Buddhist diet for centuries. Korean temple cuisine follows several strict rules: no meat, no fish, almost all ingredients (like mugwort and deodeok, herbs prized for their medicinal qualities) must be grown or picked on or near temple grounds.

During a brief stop at a food festival at Yongsusa, a temple for Buddhist monks near the city of Andong, Chang was jumped by a small group of journalists who ambushed him with questions about South Korea, and it set him on edge. He has a love-hate relationship with the homeland of his ancestors. The country’s strong Confucianist custom of respect for one’s elders clearly rubs him the wrong way. “I have a problem with authority figures,” he said. And then grinned at the understatement.

There’s no denying that Chang is inspired by Korean dishes and ingredients—he combines roast pork with oysters, as traditional Korean cooks do, in his signature bo ssäm at Momofuku Ssäm Bar. But he vehemently dislikes being tagged a Korean chef: “I’m an American chef.” His cooking also shows his respect for Japanese cuisine—a provocative stance given Korea’s complex and often antagonistic history with Japan. For instance, he adds Japanese-inflected udon-style noodles to his supremelycomforting chard-shiitake soup, made with mushroom broth.

What most inspires Chang, ultimately, is envisioning how a traditional dish might evolve in a different culture. “I like to imagine what would happen if, say, a Korean immigrated to the American South in the 17th century. What would the food be like? Or what if the Portuguese came to Korea and stayed?” He added, “I don’t care about authenticity. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. I just want to make something delicious.”

David Chang in Korea: Pagoda-style roofs at Yunpilam.

© William Meppem

Chang finally began to relax after arriving at Yunpilam, a 14th-century temple complex for Buddhist nuns that is an outpost of the Daeseungsa temple near the city of Mungyeong. The drive from Seoul had taken almost three hours. Above us were narrow stone paths leading up to wooden structures with screen doors and colorful Buddhist symbols painted in a strip under the pagoda-style roofs. The buildings were set into the gentle slope of Sabulsan, a sacred mountain blanketed with umbrella pines.

The temple, which at other times of the year serves as a small academic center for as many as 30 nuns, housed only a half a dozen women at that moment. A nun in gray robes with a shaved head greeted us and led us to the temple’s Buddha hall, where arriving visitors are required to greet and bow to the Buddha. The altar was empty; instead of the typical three golden Buddhas positioned grandly in the center, there was a vast window framing the sky and a mountain peak topped by a sacred stone. The peak was said to be formed from an enormous rock carved with four Buddhas that had fallen from heaven sometime in the sixth century.

Outside, behind the kitchen (often located in the center of a temple complex), was a collection of 20 or more enormous black ceramic pots filled with fermenting pastes and liquids. “Korean food is all about the fermentation process,” Chang said. He pointed to a few pots. “This is the holy trinity right here—red-pepper paste, soybean paste and soy sauce. The foundation of Korean cooking.”

David Chang in Korea: With Eunwoo, a Yunpilam temple nun.

David Chang with Yunpilam nun Eunwoo. Photo © William Meppem.

Soon, we were introduced to the mistress of the temple, Eunwoo, a roly-poly woman in her fifties or sixties with a shiny shorn head and a flowing robe of thick gray linen. The Venerable Eunwoo is much respected in the Korean Buddhist world for her dedication to teaching and temple food. She led us to a courtyard surrounded by beautifully landscaped terraces of azaleas and magnolia and cherry trees, all about to explode in spring blossoms. Our guide, Dr. Jeong-Woo Kil, an entrepreneur who founded the Korean Temple Food Festival in 2009, explained that the nuns normally eat only three or fourbanchan (side dishes) at each meal, along with rice. But before us was a spread of at least 20 vegetarianbanchan in copper bowls: cabbage-and-miso soup, kimchi, kong jeon(soybean pancakes with vegetables), baek kimchi (white kimchi with pine nuts), pickled ginseng-and-radish salad, tempura-style mushrooms. These last two dishes later inspired Chang to create his own sweet-sour, soy-and-honey-glazed radishes and turnips to serve with rice cracker–coated mushrooms.

Chang was impressed by the spread. “These sisters got it going on. I’ve got to bring Ferran here,” Chang said, referring to Ferran Adrià, the chef at Spain’s famed El Bulli. Chang couldn’t believe dishes prepared without meat, onions or garlic could have such intense flavor. (Korean Buddhists are prohibited from using vegetables like garlic and onions that are considered “hot” and distracting to meditation.)

David Chang in Korea: Dinner at the Yunpilam temple.

© William Meppem

Chang tried some homemade potato chips—thick, crispy and full of flavor. “Like a Pringle, but better,” he said. The chips were his kind of dish: harder to make than they seem. After much charming on Chang’s part, Eunwoo gave up the recipe: Basically, the nuns soak sliced potatoes in water overnight, then shock the chips with boiling water and fry them.

On our way back to Seoul in the van, Chang reflected on the experience. “I had no idea there were such endless varieties of namul,” he said, using the Korean term for seasoned vegetable dishes usually made from sprouts, roots or greens. “I wish I had the time to find all kinds of edible mountain vegetables in New York.” He laughed, imagining himself in Central Park digging around in the bushes on his hands and knees. He continued, “There’s a big movement in Europe towards naturalism right now. And Asia was doing it before Europe.”

Another afternoon we visited Jinkwansa, a 12th-century temple on a mountain in a national park in northwest Seoul. We changed into light gray Buddhist robes—which, despite Chang’s initial reluctance, suited him well. Our guide, a young nun named Doan, showed us how to bow and pray to the Buddha with controlled breathing and movements similar to yogic sun salutations. Doan was so radiantly enthusiastic, it seemed beams of light were shooting out of her eyes when she urged us, “Open your mind! Fly! Bright! Bing!”

“Done. I want what you’re drinking,” muttered Chang, who stared at her with admiration and wonder.

David Chang in Korea: Tea ceremony with rice cakes.

© William Meppem

Our other two hosts—the temple mistress, Kyeho, and senior nun, Jimyung—were equally cheerful and hilarious, like bald Korean Golden Girls. “I want to put them in my pocket,” said Chang. They served a feast of 26 banchan in his honor (Kyeho had seen Chang on television and said she’d hoped to meet him one day). The nuns personally fed everyone bites from a variety of dishes. Afterward they led us to a cozy little 100-year-old stone-and-bark house in the courtyard for tea.

When Chang asked Kyeho what she thought about Buddhists embracing fame, she replied that it was OK as long as the reason was the greater good of Buddhism. Chang, who often feels both wary of and guilty about his relatively sudden celebrity, was clearly surprised by her answer.

As we left, we bowed to our hosts. Jimyung asked Chang if he would save her a table at his restaurant if she came to New York. She pulled out a cell phone, pretended to dial Momofuku and asked for David as if she was channeling Paris Hilton. It was so sarcastic and surprising, especially from a nun in robes, that everyone howled with laughter, including Chang. It’s rare that he’s beaten to the punch line.

Three months later, Chang was back at Má Pêche. His schedule hadn’t slowed down, but he’d carved out time to experiment with new recipes inspired by his trip. His biggest challenge was to make an intensely flavored vegetable stock that tastes as good as a meat one; he was also working on replicating those potato chips. Chang smiled when he thought about the Golden Girls of Jinkwansa. “For the rest of my life, I’m going to wish that I were as happy as those nuns.”

Gisela Williams is the European correspondent for Food & Wine. She lives with her family in Berlin, Germany.

Korea Travel Tips


David Chang in Korea: Lamps outside a temple.

Temple lanterns. Photo © William Meppem


Korean Air flies direct to Seoul from the US.


Templestay Arranges meals or longer visits at temples.


Banyan Tree Club & Spa Four rooms per floor, all with private plunge pools.

Park Hyatt Seoul Guests rooms have fabulous views of downtown.

W Seoul-Walkerhill W’s first Asian hotel, with egg-shaped chairs in the lobby.


Balwoo Gongyang In the Templestay Center, serving vegetarian meals that might include sweet potato porridge topped with sesame seeds.

Sanchon On the menu: vegetarian dishes paired with home-brewed fruit wine.

Korean BBQ Burger


Korean BBQ Burger

korean bbq
american wagyu patty, braised short rib, kimchee ketchup, pickled veg, crispy tempura onion 14

I hope the picture tells the story: this was an amazing dish! Highest quality ingredients, masterful preparation, and as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate… The combination of Wagyu beef cooked on flat griddle and the braised meat is simply the best of both worlds – complimentary to each other, yet pronounced in their individuality.

All the “fixings”, as they say in the South, are spot-on – nothing to add, nothing to take.


I’m a Beet Princess!

What started as an innocent contemplation of beets, turned into an obsession. I never had a favorite vegetable, and even if I had it wasn’t beets.

During my first encounter with beets, I was enamored by its brilliant scarlet red color… Since then, I used freshly pressed beet juice for natural food coloring in various creations: Velvet cheesecake, Beet Sangria, Beet and Berry Smoothie…… Today I decided my to jazz up my breakfast parfait with some Beets and I named this creation……(drum roll…….)

“Nothing Beets Yogurt!!”

Pretty simple.

The Parfait reminded me of Beet Sherbet but with an added creamy texture from the Greek Yogurt.

Do you see the bright hue of beet juice?? The pure juice of beets is actually a powerful cleanser that detoxifies your body inside and out. They cleanse your liver, which protect the body from aging and disease, but is also has a positive impact on our mood due to is high magnesium content. Speaking of beet nutrition, they are a powerhouse of Folic acid (great for pregnant women), potassium, calcium and antioxidants (betacyanin, which is what gives beets their rich red color.).

I scraped and licked the sides of this breakfast yogurt…  YUM🙂 Overall it was pretty satisfying and I felt I was scooping a potion of elixir..🙂 Nothing Beets Yogurt! Why don’t you try using beet juice in your cooking???

Top 10 Picks for 2011 Trendy Foods

My Top 10 Picks for 2011 Trendy Foods

by JANET on JANUARY 9, 2011

There’s been a lot of talk about 2011 food trends.  In fact, the entire practice of predicting food trends has become a trend.  I know I’ve certainly devoted a lot of space to the topic of food trends.

Food may not be as trend-ridden as fashion but it’s getting close, writes Lisa Gosselin, the editorial director of Eating Well in the Huffington Post – Food Fads: What’s In and What’s Out in 2011. I really liked her take on what’s trending up, what’s trending down and what is so, so over for 2011.

Trending down:

  • Super fruits – Once the darlings of the nutrition world, Lisa says super fruits like pomegranates, acai and goji berries have become the victims of their own hyper-marketing.
  • Cupcakes – We still love you, but it’s time for something new.  Now it’s all about pie, especially fruit pies in all their deconstructed formats (crisps, grunts, slumps and betties).
  • Bacon – It may be the most lip-smacking, tastiest treat on the planet, but do we need it to be candied, covered in chocolate or added to just about everything from breakfast to dessert?

Trending up:

  • Gluten-free diets – Giving up gluten has gone mainstream, and while it’s beneficial for the 3 million Americans with celiac, gluten-free processed foods are not healthier than their counterparts.
  • Street food – First it was hot dogs, then tacos, now food trucks are dishing up everything from Korean barbecue to French crepes.
  • Omega-3 – These fatty acids have some of the broadest and strongest impacts on our health, yet not all omega-3s are created equal; EPA and DHA are most powerful.
  • Probiotics – The jury is still out on some of the claims, but the good bacteria in fermented foods may offer some digestive health benefits.
  • Growing your own – Last year saw an 28% increase in gardening for food among 28- to 34-year-olds. Watch for even more young farmers in 2011.
  • Meatless meals – Meatless is not just the new vegetarian, it’s bigger than that.  Meatless Monday has become a movement — for personal and planetary health.
  • Simpler, more wholesome food – The growth of more “natural” foods with few simple, healthy ingredients.

Here are my picks for the top 10 trendiest foods in 2011 — or at least what I hope will be hot.

1. Chickpeas


Chickpea and Orzo Salad with Piquillo Pepper Vinaigrette by flickr user Bitchincamero

I’ve frequently talked about my love for the humble chickpea — which has now become a superstar among legumes.  We’ve seen hummus become the new salsa and now Subway has introduced falafel in Chicagoland.  It’s only a matter of time before these fried chickpea nuggets will go mainstream.  With Meatless Monday trending up, expect to see more legume-based entrees and I can’t think of a better bean to use.

2.  Kale and other bitter greens


photo courtesy of flickr user: Shauna/Glutenfreegirl

Kale is suddenly every where on restaurant menus. This sturdy, bitter green is wonderful sauteed, used fresh in salads, tossed in soups and pasta, and even baked crisp for kale chips.  It seems America is warming up to bolder, stronger flavors — which helps open the door for kale, swiss chard, turnip greens, broccoli rabe and other bitter greens. That’s a good thing!

3. Freekeh and other ancient grains

5212675235_a896991f1cFreekeh courtesy of flickr user: Lyudavitaya

I’m crazy about Freekeh, an ancient smoked wheat from the Middle East that I’ve written about before.  But I haven’t met a grain I didn’t like.  Expect to see other ancient and exotic grains like amaranth, kamut, millet, quinoa and spelt strike it big in 2011.

4.    Pumpkin and winter squash

291049268_0d3492a20dDouble Pumpkin Risotto courtesy of flickr user Abstract Gourmet

Pumpkin is not just for Halloween anymore.  This beta carotene beauty will become a year-round favorite, along with other nutrient-dense squashes.

5.    Black rice


Thai Forbidden Black Rice Salad courtesy of flickr user Dayna McIsaac

Black rice, often referred to as forbidden rice, was identified as the top side/starch for 2011 in a survey of chefs conducted by the National Restaurant Association.  This nutty, chewy rice is rich in antioxidants and it’s being touted as a new superfood.

6.   Ethnic sandwiches

4597599567_6b898d5e64Bulgogi Burger Wrap courtesy of flickr user TheHungryHungryHungryHippo

We have street food to thank for the sandwich trend.  Last year was all about the gourmet hamburger, now it’s the sandwich’s turn to shine — especially ethnically inspired sandwiches such as the Vietnamese Banh Mi that is one of the featured offerings at Graham Elliot’s new sandwich restaurant Grahamwich in Chicago.  The new hip sandwich shop also sells amped up popcorn and vegetable pickles — two additional trendy foods.

7.   Pies

3501701071_95d7c528e5photo: courtesy of flickr user Mr. Flibble

OK, I think you’ve heard by now:  Pies are the new cupcakes.  I think we’ll always love cupcakes, but pies are definitely hot, hot, hot.  They’re showing up in every size, form and format, from savory to sweet and from deep-dish to individual deep-fried ones.

8. Artisanal ice pops

4520428083_b3bd5dd488photo: courtesy of flickr user SafePlacePhotos

Gourmet, handcrafted popsicles are popping up all over the country.  Check out Travel & Leisure to find out where you can find these high-class, big-flavor treats that are “the most fun you can have on a stick.”

9.  Varietal honey

101694235_5f468904a8photo courtesy of flickr user roboppy

Artisanal, single-source honeys are joining chocolate and olive oils as a new wave in the single-origin trend.

10. Sumac

2918622960_1b9aca1071Sumac coated salmon on braised leek, butternut pumpkin and bacon mash courtesy of flickr user tseyin

Sumac is not always easy to find outside of Middle Eastern markets, but I think that will change as more people discover the wonderful fruity-tart flavor of this deep red spice.  I’ve noticed sumac showing up on restaurant menus and more people are writing about sumac so I think 2011 may be its year.  If sumac is not available in your area, you can buy it online (including Penzeys and The Spice House).

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DROUGHT: Five Sisters Bring Raw Juice to Detroit


At the heart of Detroit’s Eastern Market is a six-block public market that has been feeding Detroit since 1891. Every Saturday nearly 45,000 people are drawn to the hundreds of open-air stalls where fresh produce and locally crafted goods are sold. There is one thing, however, missing from Eastern Market’s diverse list of purveyors: DROUGHT.

DROUGHT is a clan of 5 sisters who are eager to bring organic, raw, cold-pressed juice to Detroit’s expanding urban oasis. Prepared primarily from seasonal, locally sourced and organically grown produce, our juice will be a great addition to the existing, vibrant community downtown. We want good health and nutrition for ourselves and our families, and we are driven to bring these good things to the communities we serve. With a projected launch date of April 2, 2011, our goal is to add a unique and healthful option for Detroiters to look forward to every weekend!

The image DROUGHT longs to translate is that of an oasis amidst the ordinary. Our presence in the market aims to reflect this, featuring a refined display of a premium product – showcasing fresh produce provided by local farmers, best-of-industry equipment and an energetic staff including at least two of the company founders at all times. Reclaimed copper bins, sinks and architectural salvage will accent our operation by way of functional display while preserving the gritty look of the sheds and existing aesthetic of the market.

Inclusion and accessibility are cornerstones of our project. Our strong interest in launching DROUGHT at Eastern Market hinges on the very necessity to make our product accessible to all members of the community. We are in touch with the Eastern Market Corporation and taking the necessary measures to qualify DROUGHT juice to be purchased by the 280,000 Detroit residents eligible for SNAP Bridge Card, Double Up Food Bucks and additional emerging fresh food accessibility programs in the city.

Help make our vision become a reality! Our household juicers and makeshift display need major upgrades to handle the tens of thousands of patrons we will encounter. We intend to use our Kickstarter funds for our Eastern Market vendor stall rental fees, a commercial citrus juicer, two Norwalk triturator hydraulic press juicers, a Vitamix blender, and quality packaging to ensure the freshness of our juice. Furthermore, we hope to surpass our fundraising goal to ensure a steady flow of organic produce for the first few weeks of operation.

We’re down to answer any questions about this project or just to pump you up about life. One of us will always make time for you, so give us a shout out on Facebook or send us a message via the DROUGHT website.

Thank you for your donation! Spread the word!

Banana Chai Smoothie

This is a recipe from Gena Hanshaw…. I better try it out YUMM !


Chai Spice Mix (yields about 1/3 cup spice mix)

2 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 1/2 tbsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. white pepper

IMG_4410 (500x333)

Banana Chai Smoothie (serves 1)

1 heaping tsp. chai spice mix (recipe above)
1 1/2 large bananas, frozen (or 2 small)
4 ice cubes
2/3 cup almond milk
1 tbsp almond, cashew, or coconut butter (optional!)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.

Yogurt Bar?!

Healthy Breakfast Options at Yola Yogurt Bar

Rethink Your Morning Meal

yola store d.c.! Your breakfast — sugary cereal at home; stale, sticky pastry at the office — is hardly one of champions.

Score some healthier grub at Yola, the new yogurt bar and coffee shop serving parfaits and smoothies made from locally sourced (Trickling Springs Creamery, Keany Produce Co.) all-natural ingredients.


A fresh honey-yogurt parfait with peaches and mint will satisfy your sweet tooth without the sluggish side effects. Or wean yourself off schmear-heavy bagels by adding inspired savory toppings like cucumber and tomato to traditional Greek yogurt.

Drink options follow suit — a berry superfood smoothie is so slurpable you won’t notice the kale and carrots.

The Yola yogis will even cater your next work meeting — including The Topless Baker’s tea cakes and muffins for those who simply can’t bear to part with carbs.

Meaning everybody wins.


Today I came upon good post on facebook…

“Let us put it this way; conversation is a shortcut to the truth between two people. Granted, a lot of what passes for conversation—whether it’s on television or at Starbucks—is just talk. Talk is how we Americans tend to fill the empty space between ourselves. Conversation is different. Good conversation is informed, it is spirited and it’s soulful. It cuts through the barriers we construct around ourselves and reveals what is true. It gets to the very heart of who we are, the story of our lives, and what we’re doing with those lives. Conversation reveals courage, it articulates fear, and it confronts us with unimaginable good and evil. And it reveals all this through the spoken word; unedited, unembellished, unpolished. Whatever it lacks for in precision, conversation more than makes up in spontaneity. And that’s the part of an education you don’t get in the library or the lecture hall.”

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