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 .
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.
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.IngredientsSun-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)
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.