August 21, 2013

European Summer Conference '13

From August 4 through 16, my husband and I spent time in the Netherlands to participate in the Macrobiotic Summer Conference organized by the Kushi Institute of Europe.

We both taught some classes during the two-week conference and, in our free time, audited other teachers' classes and explored the neighborhood by foot to enjoy the breathtaking view of Holland.

It was such a blessing to be able to enjoy yummy macrobiotic food three times a day. Here is one of the many delicious meals offered at the conference.

Now that I think about it, these two weeks were the longest I'd gone without cooking (besides doing cooking demos in classes). I was pleasantly surprised that I did not miss home-cooked meals (which happens when you are away from home for so long!) or have any weird cravings. Kudos to the kitchen staff for preparing such nourishing food and keeping us so healthy!


My first class at the conference was on Japanese cooking.

Photo credit: Kushi Institute of Europe

I presented chirashi rice salad, tofu patties with kuzu glaze and broccoli with walnut dressing (shira-ae). I was happy to see people taking interest in Japanese food and culture.

In addition to a class on salads and spreads (in which I showed how to make sunflower seed pate with rosemary flatbread, quinoa/chickpea salad with pesto and cucumber/wakame salad), I taught a couple of dessert classes.


The dessert classes were very popular. Of course, who doesn't like desserts?!

Photo credit: Julia Goryun

In the "Summer Desserts" class, I demonstrated how to make blueberry/amasake tart with a date/hazelnut crust and strawberry kanten with almond cream.

The blueberries used for the tart were handpicked by the kids in the children's program. I loved the fact that the whole conference was so family oriented. Run by the Nelissen's, Kushi Institute of Europe itself is a family operation and maybe that had helped to bring a relaxed, homelike atmosphere to the conference. As more time progressed, we were, in fact, becoming one big family.


My second dessert class featured some of the sweet treats from my book "THE PEACEFUL DESSERT BOOK."

In class, I demonstrated carrot cake with lemon tofu cream, lemon bars with almond crust and melon kanten. My book has a recipe for a lemon cream frosting made with tofu and cashews but I decided to make a different kind of cream that uses ingredients widely available in the European market.

Here is the recipe for the lemon tofu cream.

1 carton of vacuum-packed silken tofu (250 g)
2 TBS maple syrup
1 to 2 TBS almond paste (or "pasta" as the Dutch call it)
zest of 1 lemon
sprinkle of vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)

The key is to drain the tofu well. Place the tofu in a colander set in a bowl. Drain overnight in the refrigerator. The tofu should weigh less than 200 g. Blend everything together in a food processor or blender. When chilled, the fat from the almond paste helps to firm up the cream a bit. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

The kitchen had these cutest small melons with green flesh. I decided to utilize the skin by hollowing out the halves and filling them with the kanten mixture.

Photo credit: Julia Goryun

The set kanten was sliced it into wedges for a beautiful presentation.

Photo credit: Julia Goryun

Bon appetit!


I got a little sentimental on the last day of the conference. After we came back to the US, I reminisced on our trip while eating stroopwafels. Two weeks went by so quick. Being part of the conference brought me a wealth of drive, enthusiasm and inspiration. I will cherish the fond memories that I shared with my new friends. I look forward to seeing them again.