October 07 Journal » Notes From The Tenzo
Autumn Menu for Three Bowls

Bill Seizan Ewing

1st bowl: Lemon Pepper Rice

2nd bowl: Roasted Fall Vegetables with Tamari Glaze

3rd bowl: Squash and Apple Soup with Leeks

Condiment: Gomasio

A change in weather brings forth the bounty of late summer and fall. This is a menu which I think is well suited to the variety that this season offers.

First bowl ingredients

1 to 1 1/2 cups zest from 1 lemon Juice from one lemon 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small onion, finely chopped.

With a sharp paring knife, cut away the zest or thin outer skin of the lemon, making sure not to take any of the white part or pith. You could also use a lemon zester for this. The zest should then be minced or cut into the smallest possible slivers. Next, juice the lemon, and remove the seeds and pulp.

In the rice pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil until softened. Add the rice and stir to mix the oil and onion evenly. Add water, lemon juice, pepper and half the lemon zest. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until the liquid has just been absorbed. Before serving, add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with the remaining lemon zest.

Second bowl ingredients

2 lbs. of assorted fall vegetables.

I used carrots, parsnips and small new potatoes, but you can use acorn or butternut squash, sweet potatoes, yams, or beets. Wash, clean, scrub, and peel where appropriate. Cut as you would for french fries in ½" to ¾" wide strips, then into 2" lengths. This size makes them easier to handle.

Prepare a rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan, lining it with aluminum foil or parchment.

For the Tamari glaze/ marinade and dressing: 2-3 tablespoons Tamari sauce. (I like to use an organic, wheat free, reduced sodium brand.) 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon coarse salt 2 tablespoons rice or apple vinegar 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil a few scallions or chives, thinly sliced

In a large bowl combine the Tamari, vegetable oil, and salt. Mix or whisk well. Add the vegetables and toss to coat them with the mixture. With a slotted spoon, transfer them to the baking sheet. Reserve the rest of the tamari marinade.

Heat the broiler, place the pan at least 4" from the heat, and broil the vegetables until tender. Turn or toss them occasionally, and more frequently towards the end of their cooking time -- about 30 to 40 minutes. The time will vary depending on the softness or density of the vegetables you use.

The vegetables should brown a little, and even slightly blacken. The blackening is a result of the natural sugars caramelizing in the broiler heat.

Note: You can do this glaze-roasting process with tofu. Just make sure you use extra firm tofu. Cut it into slightly larger pieces than the vegetables, and use extra care in handling them when turning during the cooking.

To create a dressing which is a nice finish for your roasted vegetables, take the reserved marinade and add the vinegar, sesame oil, and scallions. Mix or whisk thoroughly, pour over your roasted vegetables and toss and serve.

Third bowl ingredients

1 pound leeks, cut in half length wise, then crosswise into ½" pieces. Makes about 2 cups. 1 pound yellow summer squash, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1" pieces 1 medium baking potato, peeled and cut into 1" pieces 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1" pieces 2 cups vegetable broth or bouillon 2 tablespoons of olive oil or margarine

3/4 cup soy creamer, or soy milk thickened with tofu sour cream salt and pepper For the third bowl I chose a cream soup which is slightly sweet. I think it is a nice finish for this meal and a good foil for the tart taste of the lemon and the tangy taste of the tamari glaze.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil or margarine over a medium heat. Place 3/4 of the chopped leeks in the pot and cook till soft, about 5 minutes. Add the squash, apples, potato, vegetable broth and 3 or 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 to 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.

While the soup is cooking, sauté the remaining leeks in a small skillet with a little olive oil or margarine over a medium high heat, stirring continuously until they are golden brown. This should only take about 3 or 4 minutes. Set them aside for garnish.

When the soup is done, remove the pot from the heat. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot. Gently heat the soy creamer to about the same temperature as the soup and then stir it in. (If the creamer is added cold to the hot soup, the difference in temperature may cause it to separate. Because it is soy, it doesn't spoil or taste bad, but it will look a little strange, so be sure to heat the creamer before you add it in.) Garnish with the sautéed leeks, salt and pepper to taste.

I encourage you to try these dishes with different vegetables. Experiment, try your favorites, test, taste, and let me know how they turn out.

Until our next meal together, eat well, practice good, and accomplish our Buddha way.

     Seizan

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