Tassajara Cookbook

Tassajara (pronounced Tass-a-haara) Zen Mountain Center is a Japanese Buddhist Zen monastery located near Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. The center rigorously practices Zen principles and is open for public for a few months in a year. Tassajara is famous for its vegetarian cuisine and has so far released three cookbooks as found here.

I have never been to this Zen center, but one day I wish to. The photos in the book reached out to my soul bringing serenity and tranquility, true to the institution’s name. If you have visited this center, I would like to hear more from you.

Tassajara Cookbook

Now, I have never been to this Zen center, then how did I come to know of it? This book was a thoughtful gift from our friend M, who happened to be at the Zen center, while the author was signing copies. M, Thank you so much for bestowing me with this wonderful gift. I will make the best use of it.

The book, named “Tassajara Cookbook, lunches, picnics and appetizers", includes an array of spreads, pates, sandwiches, chutneys, salads, dressings, pickles, relishes, cookies and sweets. It focuses on pack-n-go meals, than entrées. And best of all, half the recipes are vegan. As if these incentives aren’t enough, the book, apart from eye-popping pictures, has Zen teachings here and there.

The recipe I chose to prepare from this book is “Sun-dried Tomato Pesto with Walnuts”, because of its simplicity. The recipe as such doesn’t call for any cheese and I find it quite convenient.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients

Sun-dried tomatoes – ½ cup
Walnuts – ¼ cup
Garlic – 1 clove
Lemon juice – 2 to 4 tbsp
Extra virgin olive oil – 4 tbsp
Mixed herbs – 2 tbsp (basil, oregano, dill)
Salt

Method

Simmer the sun-dried tomatoes until soft. Alternately, you can steam the tomatoes with ¼ cup of water for about 15 minutes. Pulse all the ingredients, in a food processor, until smooth.

Refrigerate this in an airtight container with the surface covered by a thin layer of oil. This stays good for at least 6 weeks. With this pesto on hand, the possibilities are endless.

1. Serve with grilled vegetables, like squash and potatoes
2. Spread on a crostini or toast with goat cheese.
3. Combine pesto with chopped basil and parmesan and toss with hot pasta.
4. Serve with pizza.
5. Combine pesto with mayonnaise or cream cheese and spread on bread to make favourite sandwich.

I have showcased the book well enough for Nag’s Show and Tell. This is my entry for Waiter! There’s something in my… Savoury Preserve, hosted by Johanna of The Passionate Cook.

42 comments:

sunita said...

I just want to reach out and grab one of those{I wouldn't mind more ;)} gorgeous dainties...

Latha said...

Hi Suganya,

What a wonderful book to share with us:) I didn't have a clue about Tassajara until I bumped onto a thin book of breads by the author. It's amazing; I'm yet to try any recipe but still the way things are explained is superb.

Nags said...

hey Suganya.. thanks a ton for the entry. The pics are amazing as usual.

musical said...

Gorgeous pictures and great recipe!

Rachna said...

wow... pesto with sun dried tomatoes sounds so yummmy...and love the pics as usual...

Raaga said...

I find sun dried tomatoes too expensive... decided to make my own... but the heat's gone to a great extent... and the oven drying method asks me to bake for 12 hours!! What do I do Suganya? Your preserve looks yummy!

Srivalli said...

wow...thats looks out of a cookbook..excellent work suganya

Cinnamon said...

Lovely Suganya..... Both the pics and the recipe... cant decide which one comes first :)

Shella said...

Suganya - you cook books looks lovely. I am sure you'll be making many more new dishes from it, & sharing it with us all. Look forward.

I am adding you to my blog links.

Happy cook said...

Wow that looks really tasty and so elegant.

Asha said...

Beautiful recipe from a beautiful book!:))

Meeta said...

A lovely cookbook and a fantastic recipe. I love pesto and this really sounds delish!

Padma said...

That looks awesome, Never heard of Zen Monastery. Sun dried tomatoes looks wonderful and so does the Pesto

Laavanya said...

Now that i've run out of my home-grown basil.. I've been envisioning pesto with the pack of sun-dried tomatoes I have. Shall definitely try your recipe.

bee said...

thanks for this book reco, sug.

KayKat said...

That truly looks deelish! And I love the idea of using it as a tapenade on slices of squash instead of traditional crostini or baguette slices.

TBC said...

You take fab pics of everything you cook & your cookbook too. ;-)

Madhu said...

Hi Suganya,
Its indeed a great gift, recipe is so simple and tasty. Thanks for sharing would love to see more...

Grihini said...

B'ful picture again!
Good looking Sun-dried Tomato Pesto ... looks simple and yumm

Shankari said...

I have been to Carmel, but did not know abt this place. The next time I will try to go when it is open ...

thepassionatecook said...

how very inspired! i totally love the idea... that's going on my list for the next finger food party! your photos are stunning as well. thanks so much for contributing to WTSIM!

Sirisha Kilambi said...

Suganya.....The pics are awesome buddy.....And the book seems to be a good read for cooks :-)

Pravs said...

beautiful pics and tasty looking pesto.

Shyam said...

eye-popping pictures are already to be found on your blog, Suganya. You really are an amazing food photographer (not to mention a great cook too).

Roopa(KitchenAromas) said...

Are you a food photographer/stylist by profession? :)

Rajitha said...

the book cover looks so lovely...does it have lots of recipes with tofu??..i think i will buy this one too...

Suganya said...

Sunita, I happily ate them without worrying abt carbs or calories :)

Latha, I know what book you are talking abt. The previous cookbooks seem to be well-acknowledged.

It was fun participating, Nags.

Thank you Rachna, Musical.

Raaga, I wouldn't venture drying tomatoes now. But instead of 12 hrs in a 200F oven, why don't you try 2 hrs in a 400F oven. I am just guessing, though.

Srivalli, Cinnamon, Thanks :)

Am honoured Shella.

HC, Asha, Thanks for yr visit.

Meeta, It was slightly tangy and went well with many cheese combo.

Me neither Padma. But am glad I do now.

Sure do Laavanya.

You are welcome, Bee.

Low-carb, Kaykat :)

Thank you TBC.

Its a wonderful gift, Madhu. I treasure it.

Do let me know if you get to visit, Shankari.

Thank you Johanna. Coming from you, that compliment means so much to me:)

Sirisha, Its a good book.

Thank you Pravs.

Awwww Shyamala, Thanks a bunch :)

No Roopa. But that is an interesting profession!

It does Rajitha. The one featured in the cover is marinated tofu. I have never seen a prettier tofu before :)

Tee said...

Pesto with sun dried tomatoes...yum! I had seen a similar recipe on food network, but they used sun dried tomatoes that were already packed in olive oil and just ran it through the blender. Has been in my bookmarks ever since...now is the time to try :)

Gini said...

Looks fab and thanks for the intro to the cookbook. What a great gift.

Kajal said...

Nice Book my dear.....friend’s gift.:)

Wow...excellent my dear dry tomato is new recipe.....How many day you store dry tomato? Very nice recipe you share with dry tomato......Looks yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vcuisine said...

Sound interesting Suganya. Viji

Cynthia said...

Thanks for the heads-up about this book. It will definitely be in the Amazon shopping cart before the end of the day.

Latha Narasimhan said...

Nice book! All vegetarian? Great!:)) I have heard about Tassajaara for the first time! Japanese who practice meditations strongly recommend vegetarian food!

Bharathy said...

A real classic choice!!So this is the source of many of your yummy yum posts...eh??;)...
Sis is feeling a little too proud to have you around..:)..

Linda said...

It looks like a lovely cookbook Suganya, and the photo on the cover surely is just a taste of the delights it holds inside! Tofu with herbs? Pesto looks lovely on the roasted squash, nice way to serve that :)

Susan said...

Zen food must be as far away from fast food as it gets. Great book to showcase, Suganya, and yet another op to ogle your fantastic photos.

Sig said...

Wow Zen cookbook... I've never heard of Tassajara, that books sounds great... And the pesto with sun-dried tomatoes... looks delicious!

Kribha said...

Gorgeous presentation as usual. Love it so much. Bookmarked to try it soon.

Suganya said...

Tee, Oil packed ones taste great and moist, except for those calories :D

Gini, It was indeed a lovely gift.

Kajal, the sun-dried tomatoes are store-bought ones. They stay good in the pantry for ever.

Thanks Viji.

You will love it Cynthia. Keeping those spreads ready would bring sandwich to the table in no time :)

Latha Maami, It is totally vegetarian. As you said, the recipes are Satvik.

Oh Bharathy, I am happy to participate in the event, yr li'i sis is hosting for the first time :)

You got it right Linda. That is marinated tofu with herbs.

Thanks Susan :)

Sig, Kribha, Thanks a bunch!

Shilpa said...

heh heh, thanks for the idea on how to use the 2 bags of sundried tomatoes i'd bought in summer! i know they keep, but i'll be moving in a few months, so the more i get rid of in the pantry, the better! :)

zlamushka said...

Gosh, what a beautiful blog you have here. I am amazed by the pictures. I would love to try your pesto, it sounds like a very unusual combo. I was wondering... I myself am hosting an event that is dedicated to giving food as a present. I would love you to have a look and maybe you could come up with something? http://www.burntmouth.com/2007/10/spoonful-of-christmas.html

marriedtoadesi.com said...

Love this one, i have a tonne of zucchini and yellow squash. Am certainly going to try this out.
Thanks Suganya!

Kanchana

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