I've just spent the most amazing weekend in the mountains of the San Luis Valley ~ and much of it centered around food.
For four wonderful days a group of women writers enjoyed the peace and tranquility of a Buddhist monastery as we polished our word-smithing skills, while our culinary talents were nurtured in the kitchen. One of the monks both instructed and supervised as we sliced and diced the fresh vegetables and fruits that would star later at our dinner table.
My favorite was a Chinese Noodle Salad: Cooked Udon and rice noodles, layered with grilled tofu and eggplant, along with sauteed carrots, diakon (a large radish-type vegetable), steamed sno peas, and chopped red and orange peppers, English cucumbers, and Chinese cabbage.
The dressing was a combination of equal parts of soy sauce, dark sesame oil, rice vinegar, mirin
(not quite as much), and some finely minced ginger.
This whole process was enhanced by gazing out the window at a beautiful little garden with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as a backdrop.