Macrobiotic Knife Skills

This past week we started our study of macrobiotics. The Natural Epicurean started over 10 years ago as a primarily macrobiotic cooking school and although it has changed ownership since then, it retains the much of the spirit that it had back then, including the focus on healing diets. We have about three weeks of macrobiotics study – both theory and cooking styles.

What is macrobiotics? Well, you can read one of my prior blog posts on the topic, and/or you can wait a day or two where I will recap some of our macrobiotics lecture content from this week. How about doing both! 🙂

We started our study of macrobiotic cooking with knife skills practice, which also gave us more exposure to some of the cooking methods used in macrobiotic cooking, or “macro” as we use for shorthand.

Below: Set up for an afternoon of vegetable prep.

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Below: Some finely sliced cucumber I did. Note the scalloped knife below, which is not my usual knife. For some reason, this style of knife is the preferred one in macrobiotic cooking. I need to find out why…

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Below: A large pot being used for a nishime cooking preparation. We have spring onion, squash, burdock root, carrot, and one or two other things I can’t recall. In nishime, the vegetables cook slowly for about an hour with the pot about half full. The vegetables’ sweetness becomes intensified and they become more digestible. A bit of wheat-free tamari is added (similar to soy sauce) for flavor.

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Below: Some sliced burdock root.

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Below: My fellow students and I made a pressed salad during class. This involves making thin cuts of vegetables – in this case, cucumber, fennel, apple, and I want to say…radish? Anyway, you rub a bit of salt into the vegetables, which helps to draw out the water and enhancing flavor. You then put a plate or bowl on top of the vegetables to help press out the moisture. The result is a tender, yet crunchy, salad that is delicious and simple.

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Below: Our plate of macrobiotically prepared vegetables.

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