Learn Eight Elegant Dishes In Our Japanese Vegetarian Cooking Class



As much as I love giving cooking classes (and I do), I only seem to get around to it about once a year. This year, as last, I’m teaching a class jointly with Fumiko Arao.  Fumi, born and reared in Tokyo, cooked with her mother and grandmother from an early age. My exposure to Japanese food is more superficial, but I did live in Japan back in the 1970’s and was an apprentice in a vegetarian restaurant in Osaka.

Our upcoming class is a mixture of traditional and contemporary influences. I’ll begin with a modern soup, a purée of fava beans and sugar snap peas, and we’ll end with a light but rich almond mousse based on agar agar, a sea vegetable much used in Japan and other parts of East Asia. Fumi will show us three ways to prepare diakon, including a condiment made with nori and daikon leaves. She’ll also prepare kinpira salad with arugula, and together we’ll make stuffed tofu pouches simmered in a broth of dashi, soy sauce and mirin.

These classes always attract an eclectic group of enthusiastic cooks, and you’ll likely learn as much from the other participants as you do from Fumi and me. Of course, we complete the class by sitting down together to eat the meal we’ve prepared.  If you live outside the Bay Area and can’t attend in person, email me to register and I’ll send you the recipes after the class. Complete menu and registration information, after the jump.


Photos: Top–Soup which is the essence of spring, a purée of fava beans and sugar snap peas. Above:  condiment made with daikon leaves and nori.



Location: Kitchen of the First Baptist Church, 305 North California Ave., Palo Alto, CA.

Date and Time: 10 a.m., Saturday, May 5, 2012. The class will end about 1 p.m. Please arrive early, so we can begin promptly at 10 a.m.


Email Gary at alindersf@aol.com, then send a check to:  Gary Alinder, 626 B Maine St., Vallejo, CA 94590, or see Gary after one of the Monday night dinners in Palo Alto. Cost of the class is $50, including lunch and recipes.

Recipes only are $10, send check to address above.  Recipes will be emailed after the class.


Spring Fava Bean and Sugar Snap Pea Soup

Stuffed Age Tofu with Dashi, Soy Sauce, Mirin Broth

Ginger-Short Grain Brown Rice

Daikon Prepared Three Ways ( a sauté with carrots and shiitake mushrooms, raw in a small salad, and the leaves cooked with nori as a condiment)

Kinpira Salad with Arugula

Agar Agar Almond Mousse with Tofu Cream and Strawberries


Fumi prepares the daikon leaf-nori condiment.


4 responses

  1. I have been fortunate to attend two classes with Chef Gary; one on soups; and the one on Japanese cooking. Even though the classes are above my cooking level, I find great inspiration from observing and participating in Gary’s classes. This year’s class, with the addition of Fumi, will prove, I am sure, to be wonderful and very authentic in the Japanese tradition. And of course, the class gets to partake of the wonderful menu offerings with a lovely lunch. Yes, please join us, and yes, please arrive early! There will be lots cooking in the kitchen on Saturday, May 5th, and will be a wonderful way to usher in Spring!

  2. I am here to report that Gary and Fumi’s class on Japanese cooking was wonderful! I really thought the class would be far ahead of my abilities, but I was very pleasantly surprised at how uncomplicated and straightforward these recipes were, and they turned out to be truly delicious! A perfect spring or summer lunch or dinner. These recipe offerings are true treasures, and I feel very blessed to have participated. I hope you can do another class sooner rather than later, Gary. I find you and your classes to be very inspiring!

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