The blog of the North Bay Macro Group

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NEXT POTLUCK:  Sunday November 2, 2014  (email or phone contact for location)

August 2014: Our August potluck had 11 people. Not bad. We are still a relatively small group. The food was great!

5.4.14: Our May potluck was another great event and meal. The dinner included brown rice, boiled seasoned beet cubes, arame with carrots and peanut sauce, whole wheat noodles with napa cabbage, steamed carrots, navy beans cooked with carrrots, onion, & celery, and amaranth with savory veggies. for dessert we had Dan’s special apple cake and we celebrated two birthdays this month.

4.26.14: The “Gourmet Macro Dinner” was also a great success. The gourmet menu included a lasagna made with carrot-beet sauce instead of tomato sauce., and the topping “cheese” part was made with mocha (pounded sweet rice). The lasagna also had kale in it. On the side we had steamed asparagus cooked with garlic and a wonderful green salad which contained the unique flavor of fennel. For dessert we had a strawberry-poppy seed cake with a tofu cream topping. The topping had strawberries blended in, so the cake was pink! We hope to do this “gourmet macro dinner” again soon!

3.15.14: This was our first “Simple Macro Dinner” night. It was a great success. The dinner included brown rice, a miso-lentil soup, steamed veggies, pinto beans, and an orange kanten dessert.

3.02.14: This was another great potluck. Our dinner included boiled brown rice with millet, Ohsawa-pot cooked brown rice, a vegetable medley with cabbage and carrots, steamed kale, cubed beets cooked with celery and fresh dill, a green salad (all ingredients home-grown) with a wonderful sesame-herb dressing, and steamed yellow squash. For dessert we had apple cake, apple crisp, and peach cobbler!

 2.08.14: Our potluck this month had the best small group and the food was great. Here are some of the dishes we shared: sautéed kale with tempeh and cashews, brown rice, aduki bean sauerkraut casserole, baked butternut squash, a Thai peanut millet dish, baked ginger tofu, and an applesauce upside-down cake.

1.05.14: We had another great potluck. Our menu included an arame seaweed salad with sunflower seeds, brown rice, baked carrots with ginger, cornbread, broccoli miso soup. We also had a Navajo bean stew with Anasazi beans, daikon radish, and acorn squash, a salad with coconut, and baked kabucha squash.

12.01.13: We had another nice potluck. There was a warm fire burning. We hope that is OK now that more people are avoiding wood smoke in the air. In any case our menu included turnip miso soup, wild rice cooked with veggies, baked rice croquets, fresh-picked steamed kale, quinoa, an aduki bean dish and a kabocha squash and arame dish.

11.03.13: Potluck. We forgot to write down what we did for that one.

10.27.13: At least two people from our local group went to a three-day class in Oroville on making fermented foods. I’m sure we will be hearing a lot about their trip, their new skills, and their experience. The instructors were Cynthia and David Briscoe who run their own school “Macrobiotics America.” Not only did our friends get to learn great things like how to make tempeh, amazake, natto, and quick kraut, but they also were fed wonderful macrobiotic meals three times a day, apparently. For example here is a sample of one day’s meals: Breakfast: savory oatmeal with onion, celery, corn, and sea salt; also mustard greens with a dressing of white miso and rice vinegar. Lunch: miso soup with winter squash and daikon, a brown rice penne pasta salad, short-grain brown rice, and hiziki cooked with red cabbage and onions. Dinner: millet “mashed potatoes”, navy beans cooked with celery, onion, and sweet potatoes, a brussel sprout dish, green salad with cranberries and pecans with a creamy white dressing, rutabaga pickles, and amazake parfait topped with chopped raisins and almonds. Some of us will be sorry we missed that class!

10.20.13: Two of us made the trip to the fabulous potluck at Kathy’s in San Francisco. We were so impressed by the variety of food items on the table — Each of our plates had about 12 different and colorful food dishes!  I can’t hope to remember everything on the table, but I remember a delicious seitan dish with a savory vegan gravy. There was a dish of purple cabbage with walnuts; other dishes included millet “mashed potatoes,” pickled beets, millet croquets, and luscious steamed greens. Then we had dessert which offered three more selections of cookies and apple rollups. Talking with the other ten or so people and two friendly dogs was a lot of fun too. Well worth the trip we decided!

10.6.13: We had our first picnic lunch potluck at Spring Lake Park. It was the most beautiful day. We had our choice of picnic tables and we picked the best one. We had a great assortment of foods including “gomaku” which is also called five-veggie rice. we also had a wild rice dish and a dish of pasta with fried vegetables. There was also a nice green salad, homegrown raspberries and homegrown golden delicious apples. For dessert we had a wonderful and sweet chocolate concoction which was also called “dessert pizza.” We also had a gomashio contest and Jessie was the winner! After our fabulous lunch some of us walked around Spring Lake.

9.1.13: This was our first Breakfast potluck. Quite impressive. The menu included overnight-cooked whole oats, miso soup, waffles, home-fried potatoes, and fruit salad, among other great dishes.

8.10.13: Our creative menu this potluck turned up the following: Brown rice, steamed kale, frest ‘cranberry beans’ from Tierra Vegetables, a colorful medly of summer squahes, carrot, and red onion (also all from Tierra), arame cooked with corn,and lemon-coconut cookies for dessert. Pretty nice meal!

7.7.13:  This month’s potluck was at Carrie’s beautiful place. We ate outside. As the sun moved, we moved to, to keep warm, as the fog was rolling in. Here was the wonderful menu:  Boiled brown rice with millet, ohsawa-pot cooked rice, a vegetable medly of cabbage and carrots, cubed beets cooked with celery and fresh dill, steamed kale, a green salad (all veggies grown on the property), salad dressing of sesame oil, rice vinegar, oregano, and black pepper, steamed beets, steamed yellow summer squash, apple cake, and apple crisp, and peach cobbler.

6.8.13:  We have now launced our ‘North Bay’ Macrobiotic Potluck Group Yahoo Group, where our members are posting announcements, recipes, and ideas.

6.2.13: Nine of us feasted on brown rice with gomasio, hiziki with peanuts, green salad with baby radishes, a daikon radish/broccoli stir-fry, bread, hummus, a cabbage /collard /tofu stir-fry, a kale and carrot stir-fry, white beans, strawberries, melon, and two desserts (carob brownies and apple cobbler), enjoyed by many with a cup of kukicha tea.

5.18.13:  We had a  small, five- person potluck. We feasted on adzuki beans with burdock root and carrots, brown and wild rice topped with gomasio or sunflower seeds, collard greens with portabella mushrooms, spinach with fennel and crumbled tofu, arame with green beans, onion, and carrots, avocado slices, fresh strawberries, a rhubarb, strawberry, raisin kanten dessert, and a gluten-free lemon birthday cake topped with a carob glaze and fresh strawberries.

4.07.13:  For this potluck we met at the Yulupa Co-housing dining commons. Ten of us enjoyed a full meal of baked tofu, whole grain buckwheat, couscous pilaf, baked pinto beans topped with cornbread, collard greens and daikon radish, asparagus with tahini sauce, hiziki with tempeh, mixed greens, more baked pinto beans, olives, takuan pickles, and carob chip cookies for dessert.

Restaurant Trip, 3.29.13: Ten of us met at the Abyssinia Restaurant in Santa Rosa. We ordered about six of the big veggie platters to share. These are sampler platters with various bean  and vegetable dishes. For example there are lentils and chickpeas, and a collards dish and a cabbage dish. Some of the dishes are spicy and other ones are mild. They serve it with a teff flatbread which is used to eat with instead of silverware. We had a great time. Some of us ate a lot of food and it seemed like some others didn’t eat much.   –SS

Restaurant Review: The Potala Vegan Restaurant provided the perfect dinner for me on my way home from Berkeley one weekend evening in February. Located on San Pablo Avenue in Albany, this Tibetan-styled restaurant was named after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Once inside, the ambience felt casual, and comfortable with interesting décor that included stained glass, a carved wooden elephant, and a Tibetan musician statue. I was seated at one of nearly a dozen wooden tables with chairs or booth-style seats. The lunch or dinner menu for the day can be looked up ahead of time on their website or observed written on a white board at the entrance. The format of a full meal includes a soup, grain, beans/legumes, mixed vegetables, collards, and a salad.  My meal, cooked by chef Tenzin, began with a creamy kabocha squash/red lentil soup, and followed with generous portions of roasted winter and summer squashes, baby greens with balsamic vinaigrette, steamed collards with shitake mushroom leek sauce, black beans with onions, and short-grain brown rice.  I observed other customers, some sitting on their own, and some with friends or family.  For some, this was their first introduction to Macrobiotic food.  I kept hearing the word “Yummy!” and one comment was, “What are the greens? Mmm…they are good!” I agreed – it was simply delicious, like good Macrobiotic home cooking.  –Jessie

3.18.13 Road Trip: Several of us made the drive to Palo Alto for the weekly “Gourmet Vegetarian Dinner,” an event put on by the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community. We had a great time and had a wonderful dinner there. I highly recommend trying out this dinner if you’ve never been there. This was the menu for our dinner prepared by Chef Gary Alinder and his kitchen volunteers: Rich Mushroom Broth with Chinese Greens, Jasmine Brown Rice Topped with Kung Pao Tempeh, Garlicky Baby Bok Choy and Napa Cabbage Stir Fry, Long Beans with Black Bean Sauce, Asian Veggie-Hijiki Salad with Rich Tofu Dressing, and Sesame-Fruit Crunch Bars. On the car ride there we took an hour to stroll around beautiful Golden Gate Park. On the trip back, we were only quiet for a couple of minutes until one person abruptly said “Can you keep it down?” Then after that we spent a few minutes yelling wild animal noises!   –SS

History of the Gourmet Vegetarian Dinners in Palo Alto (the following is written by Gerard Lum): “We will celebrate our 26th anniversary on May 6.  This is the anniversary of the first dinner that Gary Alinder cooked for the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community, on May 11, 1987, at St. Bede’s Church in Menlo Park.  I was at the first dinner and have attended ever since.  We moved to the First Baptist Church in Palo Alto about 1995. The group actually started and was active before 1987.  A Stanford professor Eduardo Navas, from Guatemala, came down with cancer and found macrobiotics.  He and his wife Ana Maria started hosting dinners at St. Bede’s Church in Menlo Park.  He did well for a while but eventually passed away and his wife, who had been the main cook and driving force of the group, moved back to Guatemala.  There were attempts to get the group going again, but it took Gary’s steady involvement to get it back on track.”

3.3.13 Our potluck this month began with a choice of two soups – A miso soup was made with bok choy, shitake mushrooms, and cubed tofu, and the other choice was a steamy bowl of Adzuki bean soup.  Next, we had great northern beans with shitake mushrooms, carrots, and scallions, as well as dinosaur Kale cooked with cabbage and carrots and seasoned with ume plum vinegar.  Other entrees included baked butternut squash, long-grain brown basmati rice topped with gomashio, arame with peanut sauce, baked herbed mixed vegetables, orange slices, and pumpkin bread for dessert.

2.10.13 At our Valentine’s potluck, nine people enjoyed black bean stew, brown rice, delicata squash, hijiki with carrots and sesame seeds, crunchy kale and marinated tofu strips, steamed beets with a coconut lemon sauce, broccoli, collards, and cabbage cooked with onion and seasoned with ume vinegar, orange slices, and bread with garlic oil. For dessert we had a carob and vanilla heart-shaped birthday cake.

Macrobiotic ingredient of the month: Umeboshi vinegar is made from Japanese pickled plums and its tart and salty flavor tastes especially good with cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, or green beans.  It can be found bottled at your local natural foods market.

1.6.13 At our New Year’s potluck we feasted on gingered black and adzuki beans, brown rice, baked delicata squash, a stew of beet greens, cabbage, and burdock root, arame with onion and tempeh bacon, pasta with red sauce and olives, hijiki with lotus root, burdock, and carrots, bread and apple cider, and gingerbread cupcakes for dessert.

Macrobiotic ingredient of the monthBurdock Root is a strong, long dark brown root often used in stews and long-simmered entrees.  Highly valued for its strengthening qualities, it can be found fresh in health food stores or the Tierra Vegetables farm stand right here in Sonoma County.

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