A few pictures from our last house event, courtesy of Ashley Braquet. More here.
Please check back in later this week for the full menu.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Happy New Year! We’ve been busy over the holidays trying out recipes ranging from Taiwanese classics like turnip cakes and sticky rice to a kabocha squash and mushroom stew. Our first event of 2013 will be the 1/12 OCH Art Market. If you’ve been missing Café Reconcile’s cooking, they’ll also be at that Art Market, in anticipation of their long-awaited renovation wrapping up soon. On their menu: White Beans and Shrimp; Eggplant Jennifer; and Corn and Crab Soup. We’re still working out our own menu, but promise to kick the year off right.
The cauliflower at the markets has been superb these last few months, so we put together this soup for our last OCH Art Market of 2012 using some of that good stuff. This recipe acknowledges the season with its ingredients, but results in something light, smooth, and clean in flavor, something more suited to the balmy weather we’ve been having than the hearty stews and squash-based soups that one typically finds this time of the year.
Ingredients: cauliflower, onions, potatoes, celery, clear vegetable stock; vegetable oil, garlic; arugula, salt, pepper
1. In a large pot, place cauliflower florets, roughly chopped onions, peeled potatoes, and celery. Add enough vegetable stock and/or water to cover. Bring to a low boil, and cook for about twenty minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. (Use approximately 1 potato, 1/2 onion, and 1 stalk of celery for each head of cauliflower.)
2. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool until it is safe enough to handle, if pureeing with a blender or food processor. While waiting for the mixture to cool, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan. Do not allow the oil to reach smoking point. Place a couple cloves of thinly sliced garlic in the hot oil, and cook the garlic on low heat until the slices are soft and the oil infused with the garlic.
3. After pureeing the cauliflower mixture, add salt to taste. Reheat and ladle soup into bowls. Before serving, drizzle a few teaspoons of the garlic oil and garlic slices over each bowl. Garnish with small arugula leaves, and a few turns of freshly-ground black pepper.