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archive for good cause

just back from japan

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Recipe: agedashi tofu

[A Fund for Jennie Raffle Update: Kaweah has done her job and picked two winners. I’m waiting to get confirmation that the winners made donations. I’ll announce the winners in my next post! And again, my sincerest thanks for your support and generosity to help Jennie.]


While most people who maintain a blog fancy themselves writers and/or photographers, I don’t necessarily equate blogger with writer or photographer. I’ve never considered myself a writer, just someone who never shuts up. And even though I am not any flavor of good writer, I know what I like to read. A favorite blog of mine happens to belong to one of my favorite people. Certainly you’ve heard of Tea & Cookies? Tea (Tara) is a friend of mine and she paints scenes, feelings, stories with her words that flow so naturally. I’m there with her in her writing, or at least wishing I was. She recently released an ebook on her time spent in Japan – a country, culture, and people so dear to her:

I’m sending the little book I’ve written out into the world. It’s not the full story of my five years in Japan—just the first part (if there is interest, I will continue it). I’m selling it as a fundraiser, to raise money to continue supporting people who have had their lives shattered. A portion of the money will be donated directly to organizations doing work in the earthquake zone, a portion I may use to put in place some morale boosting efforts. There will be more information about that in the next month or so, along with some creative ways you may be able to participate (this could be fun!). They have to do the hard work of rebuilding, but we can cheer them along, remind them of hope and kindness.

you can read tea’s entire post here

You can purchase Tales from High Mountain in PDF or for Kindle. The price? A mere $3.99. Funds go to Japan and so do you. You travel with Tea to the mountains and explore a wholly different way of life through her young and curious eyes. I’m pretty sure this is going to cost me more than the $3.99 I spent on the ebook because now I want to go to there. It’s a beautiful account of her first months in Japan after college: honest, sincere, naive, respectful. Tea has a way of putting you right there – like a first person shooter game without the artillery. And of course there are the foods, traditions, celebrations, rituals, and several recipes she includes at the end. A truly delightful read that transported me across the Pacific. I highly recommend it.

In honor of Tea’s book, I’m sharing one of my favorite Japanese dishes with you today. Whenever I would see my late grandma, I would often take her out for sushi at least once during each visit. Knowing that she loved tofu, I’d order the agedashi tofu appetizer from the kitchen for us to enjoy together. It’s a tender, silky tofu with a crisp fried coating in a small pool of dashi-based broth. There would be grated ginger, daikon radish, and bonito flakes served on top. It usually arrived steaming hot and was especially welcome on those cooler winter nights in California.

cornstarch, silken tofu, green onion, daikon radish, ginger, bonito flakes

grate the ginger and the daikon radish

**Jump for more butter**

the beauty of this life: a fund for jennie

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Recipe: vietnamese pickled vegetables

When Jeremy and I were a young couple, we would on rare occasion have dessert for dinner and giggle to one another that this was a perk of being an adult. I defined adult by age. I had no idea what adulthood really meant. I didn’t know loss. I didn’t know illness. I didn’t know that people would disappoint in times of crisis. I also didn’t know that there were those who would carry me through the toughest days with their love and support.

seek the rainbow in the storm

Today, I try to walk through life ever-present… to appreciate the beautiful moments be they the hug of a small child, an exquisite landscape, tucking my hand into Jeremy’s back pocket as we walk, hiking into the mountains, stroking Kaweah’s soft floppy ears, sharing a meal with a friend.

at dinner with jennie in sonoma valley (november 2009)

Sometimes beauty arises where you least expect it – like all of the peanut butter pies that the food blogging community posted per Jennie’s modest request after her husband tragically passed away two weeks ago. Or in this, my favorite tribute to Jennie and Mikey by my dear friends Todd and Diane.

a fund for jennie
Thanks to the efforts of Shauna and Maggy, we can offer some longer term support. Maggy, Erika, and Aimée have launched Bloggers without Borders and one of their first assistance projects is a fundraiser for Jennie and her girls. Many bloggers are participating by holding auctions and sharing the news. As part of this blogging community and as Jennie’s friend, I’m doing my small part to help and to get the word out.

I’m sort of raffling off two of my 12×18 inch photographs (matted to 18×24 inches, all archival materials) to two winners who will be drawn at random. I say sort of because it’s one ticket per person, but you are of course welcome to donate more than the cost of a ticket if you are so inclined. It’s about helping Jennie more than anything else.

Here are the rules:

1) To enter, donate a minimum of $10 to Bloggers without Borders (donate via the button below) AND leave a comment on this post sharing what you find beautiful in life.
2) This raffle is open to everyone.
3) One entry per person, please.
4) Deadline to leave a comment is 12:00 pm (noon) extended to midnight, Mountain Daylight Time on Monday, August 29, 2011.
5) Winners will be chosen at random from the comments and verified with Bloggers without Borders.
6) The winners are to select a photo of their choice.
7) The photos will ship anywhere (at my cost).

Or if you want to donate, but don’t want to enter the raffle – that’s perfectly fine too! Either way, thank you for your kindness and your generosity.

click this button to donate to a fund for jennie at bloggers without borders

Donate to Bloggers Without Borders

a few of the photos the winners can choose from

There is a recipe too since these wonderful people and this incredible community are a part of my life because of food. In fact, I wouldn’t have known about nor made this recipe if Diane hadn’t introduced me to banh mi, the delectable sandwich of her people made with baguette, pâté, cilantro, a protein (pork, ham, etc.), pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, and mayonnaise. I determined that I needed those pickles. So I made them myself a while back (as you can tell from the henna tattoos on my hand). [NOTE: I pickled cucumbers with the daikon and carrot, but I don’t add cucumbers anymore because their excess liquid dilutes the pickling power too much.]

typically daikon and carrots, but i added the cucumbers too


**Jump for more butter**

hunger has no place at the table

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

I’ve been watching my Twitter feed scroll by for the past week filled with descriptions of what people are making for Thanksgiving. When the majority of those you follow are food bloggers, it makes for some delectable tweet streams around the holidays. But I keep my distance from the dinner menu delirium because I’m not a traditionalist and we typically forgo turkey and friends in favor of a simpler meal. I’d rather spend my day outside skiing or hiking than inside preparing a giant meal that makes me sleepy. The thing is, I have a choice. There are a lot of people in this world who have no choice what they eat and even worse if they eat.

hunger is a reality for millions in this world

Last Thursday was my friend, Jennie Perillo‘s birthday. Jennie is so witty, smart, beautiful, hilarious, and kind. The woman has a heart of gold. On her birthday she emailed her friends and asked us to join her in closing the hunger gap – be it locally or globally or anywhere in between. Jennie is supporting Share Our Strength with a donation.

Yes. Yes, of course. For me, with the luxury to choose what I eat on this Thanksgiving holiday and on every day, I also choose that someone else shall not go hungry. My hope is that my contribution to The Hunger Project will help find a sustainable solution to ending world hunger.

And you can join us. Donate to an organization of your choice or one that we are supporting. Visit Jennie’s site to find other participating food bloggers.

Thanksgiving is about what you are thankful for… and giving thanks. Thank you so much for reading.