tsainola

a vegetarian pop-up for New Orleans

Roadside Eating, Taipei Style

We started TSAI a few years ago talking about how we were inspired by the food and eating habits of the Taiwanese. This is what we were talking about. Park your scooter. Pull up a stool. Order some stinky tofu with a side of pickled cabbage or a quick bowl of noodles. Or maybe grab a few tea eggs, plucked from a bubbling cauldron and dropped into a plastic bag for you to carry away.
roadside eating

tea eggs in plastic

Photos from 6/21 TSAI Dinner

A few pictures from our last house event, courtesy of Ashley Braquet. More hereImageImageImage

Menu for Friday

Louisiana Jasmine Rice

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Roasted Green Bell Pepper and Pecan Sauce with Potatoes + Cucumber and Cumin Beet Egg

Black Bean and Shiitake Mushroom Sauce + Carrots and Spicy Cabbage

Spicy Summer Squash with Tomatillos and Cranberry Beans + Cream and Creole Tomato Relish

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Plum Corn Bread with Tahini Glaze

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Iced Tea

Covington Stawberry Pale Ale

Rum Spritzer with Watermelon and Tomato

20121110_OCH Art Market_menuJoin us this Friday, from 6-9 p.m. for dinner and live music. As always, we’ll be serving dishes made with the freshest local produce. Tom W., Jon S., and Fefe B. will be performing.

We’ll be in the Garden District at 1432 Sixth St., right next to the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. Please let us know if you’re coming on our Facebook event page, or by email at tsainola@gmail.com.

Please check back in later this week for the full menu.

Last TSAI House Event, 6/21

Our last TSAI House event will be taking place later this month, on the evening of Friday, 6/21. We’ll be serving simple fare. Rice bowls, home-made sauces, and fresh vegetables. Live music and refreshing beverages too. Please check back in this week and next week for the menu, event details, and to RSVP.

As many of you have noted, we’ve been quieter than usual over the course of this year, hosting events with lesser frequency than we have in the past. It’s been a pleasure sharing our cooking with you all at our house events and at the OCH Art Market. But as we arrive at the two year anniversary of TSAI starting out at the Dragon’s Den in 2011, we’re transitioning out of doing business as a pop-up restaurant, so that we can take the time to evaluate where we are today, build upon what we’ve learned, and take a look at opportunities for a brick-and-mortar operation that allows  us to retain TSAI’s best qualities, while providing better food, better service, more efficient operations, a chance to be part of a neighborhood, and the ability to bring into play some of our other interests. These include books, music, and art, and a fascination with how those pursuits relate to the changing role of restaurants, coffee shops, pop-ups, libraries, and bookstores as places where people can gather in public and semi-public realms in to dine with friends, to people watch or to meet new people, to buy a newspaper and to read for a morning, to browse magazines or to use free Wi-Fi, to study or to do work, to attend a reading, or take in a concert.

Finding out what this means for us may take a few months. It may take a few years. In that time, you may forget who we are, but you’ll at least have learned a word in Chinese. We’ll continue to post recipes on this website, and to share our approach to cooking and dining with you all. We’ll also be doing a little bit of catering, and have ideas for very small events we’d like to host here and there.

If you’re on our email list, we’ll be in touch about these events and with the new recipes, and possibly to run ideas by you as we work towards the next phase for TSAI.

If you’re not on  our email list and would like to be, just let us know at tsainola@gmail.com.    

tsai5

Recipe: Beets with Lemon and Parsley

At the April OCH Art Market, we served pureed beets on a plate with jasmine rice, fresh greens from the Crescent City Farmer’s Market, and purple carrots and baby radishes.  The beet puree was based largely on this delightful beet salad recipe that we came across way back in 2004 in the The New York Times and have been cooking ever since. We wanted to make use of the fantastic color and flavor of the beets, but to contrast them with the greens and to the other root vegetables that we wanted to serve intact. Pureeing the beets allowed us to keep everything else really simple. Greens could just be greens. Carrots carrots. Radishes radishes. Rice rice. This recipe doesn’t take long to make, and you’ll end up with something that will keep for a week in the refrigerator, and is good with bread, as a garnish for a soup, with eggs and cheese, or pretty much as a fine addition to pretty much any meal we can think of. 

Ingredients: beets, lemons, parsley, garlic, oil, salt and pepper

1. Cook beets by boiling them in water. If you’re in a hurry, a quicker way to handle the beets is to peel and cut the beets before you cook them, so that they take 10 minutes to cook rather than the 45 stated in the NY Times recipe.

2. With a blender or food processor, puree the beets with lemon juice and oil, adjusting quantities to achieve desired consistency and acidity. We served a puree that was thick and a little rough like creole mustard, something that held its shape when spooned onto a bowl of rice, but could also be mixed into that rice without too much trouble. (see picture from preceding post)

3.  Add cloves of garlic, a couple handfuls of parsley, salt, and pepper, and pulse. We add a clove or two of garlic for each beet we blend — a lot —  so that the raw garlic provides a bit of unexpected bite to the beet puree.

 

Pics from the OCH Art Market

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Menu for Saturday

Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings

Pickled Beets with Parsley

Fingerling Sweet Potatoes with Duck Egg

Braised Beans with Mushrooms and Woodland Sorrel

Greens with Carrots and Radishes

Jasmine Rice

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Cinnamon Rolls

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Horchata

Raspberry Lemonade

Mint Tea

Pinolillo

OCH Art Market, Next Saturday

Join us on Saturday, 4/13, at the OCH Art Market. We’ll be there from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and local Central City growers will be selling fresh herbs and vegetables such as dandelion greens, lavender, and kale alongside the arts and crafts vendors. Check back next week for our menu.

Recipes: Rice, Greens, and Pickled Daikon

We had the pleasure of teaching a cooking class at the Grow Dat Youth Farm out in City Park last weekend. These were the recipes we shared, based on produce that’s available from Grow Dat and other vendors at the Crescent City Farmer’s Market this month. These are simple dishes, but using good ingredients and a hearty stock made from vegetable peels and trimmings make for a delicious meal with a full complement of flavors and textures. 

Rice with Black-eyed Peas, Carrots, and Greens

Ingredients: brown rice, black-eyed peas, onions, carrots, greens (kale, collards, carrot tops, etc.), oil, vegetable stock

  1. Heat oil in deep saucepan or pot.
  2. Cook diced onions on medium heat until they become translucent.
  3. Add diced carrots and cook until onions begin to brown.
  4. Add rice and black-eyed peas. Stir to coat grains of rice with oil.
  5. Add stock (or water) so that the depth of the water over the rice is approximately equal to the depth of the rice and the other ingredients below.
  6. Stir in chopped greens, cover, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover, and cook at a low boil for 30-40 minutes, or until the rice and peas are fully cooked.

Chard with Mushrooms and Garlic

Ingredients: chard, mushrooms, garlic, hot peppers, sweet peppers, feta

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan until it shimmers and a drop of water sizzles on contact.
  2. Add sliced mushrooms and cook on high heat so they begin to brown within a minute or two. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add chopped chard stems, diced sweet peppers, and minced hot peppers, and cook for one minute, still on high heat.
  4. Add chopped chard leaves and chopped garlic, and cook for two minutes.
  5. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and serve immediately, with feta sprinkled on top if available.

Daikon with Lemon and Cilantro

Ingredients: daikon, lemons, cilantro, salt, sugar

  1. Cut daikon into thin strips, thin slices, or grate, and place in a bowl with a sprinkling of salt and a little sugar.
  2. Knead for a few minutes, until the daikon softens. Drain the liquid that collects at the bottom of the bowl and rinse with water.
  3. Place drained daikon in a bowl with a few squeezes of lemon juice, salt, and enough water to cover.
  4. Allow daikon to soak in the brine while cooking other components of your meal.
  5. Before serving, remove daikon from brine, toss with coarsely chopped cilantro, and serve alongside vegetables and rice.
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