Meeting Deborah Madison & An Easy Tofu Curry

Stacie, Ria and I recently attended a potluck hosted by 18 Reasons* at Omnivore BooksDeborah Madison of Greens Restaurant fame was there and everyone was supposed to bring a dish from one of her many amazing cookbooks.  We ended up with a beautiful spread of food that would convince almost anyone to eat more vegetables (except Ria!) Deborah has a lovely personality, and was an engaging and gracious “celebrity.”  She is very passionate about eating locally, seasonally and mostly vegetarian (she isn’t vegetarian even though her cookbooks mostly are).  Inspiring stuff!

Stacie made an amazing Chard and Saffron Tart (I admire anyone who can make pie dough) which is shown as part of the mouth-watering buffet below.  I made a Tofu in Coconut Curry Sauce – so much for stepping outside my comfort zone.  The recipe is below – who says curry has to be intimidating and a time consuming dish to make?  Unfortunately, Ria ate only the tofu curry because that was the dish most familiar to her.  It was a wonderful gathering and we love any event that allows children and dogs.  Ria had more fun than I thought she would and as we were leaving she wanted me to arrange a playdate with the owner of Omnivore’s Book’s puppy!  OK, Boss, I’ll get on that!

*18 Reasons is a wonderful non-profit engaging the community through food and art and is part of the Bi-Rite family of businesses. They offer a year-round calendar of unique wine tastings, art shows, community dinners, food classes, interactive workshops, and more in their intimate community space.  We plan on attending several more of their events.  Do check them out and consider getting a membership as they are planning more kid friendly and family themed events like a baby food swap on August 13th.

Tofu in Coconut Curry Sauce by Deborah Madison (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)


1 tbsp peanut oil (I used vegetable oil)

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 small green or red pepper, thinly sliced (I used red and yellow and cut into cubes)

2 serrano chillies, minced

1 to 2 teaspoons Thai curry paste or curry powder (used curry powder)

1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup water

1 lb package firm tofu, cut into cubes and fried till golden

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped (omitted here)

3 tbsps roasted chopped peanuts (omitted here)


Heat a wok, add the oil, and when it’s hot, add the onion, pepper and chillies and stir-fry for 1 minute.  Stir in the curry paste/curry powder, then add the coconut milk, water, 1/2 tsp salt and the tofu.  Simmer for 2 minutes or more or until the tofu is heated through.  Serve over rice or noodles garnished with cilantro and peanuts.

The Great Fort Mason Adventure

We love the idea of taking a vacation in our own city.  With no major spring break trip planned, we decided to have a vacation-like adventure in our own city.

Fort Mason Center and the scenic hill behind it are a San Francisco treasure.  In spite of the warehouse-like feel of the buildings at Fort Mason there are a great many fun activities for both adults and children.  The other day, we took the long staircase at the back of the Center to an expansive park that seems to float over the Marina district.  The glorious spring day meant tremendous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and Marin County.  The kids had fun running around and exploring the meadows between the towering trees.  Simple pleasures that make everyone smile.

Then came the piece de resistance of the whole expedition – The Fort Mason Community Garden which we discovered by chance.  A magical place where we spent almost an hour exploring vegetables, fruits and beautiful flowers in all their spring splendor and playing tag among the beds.  The children were enthralled and I could not figure out why it took us so long to find this inspiring and tranquil little slice of heaven.  It is a great picnic spot, possibly a small celebration place (birthday for a couple of your closest friends) and venue of numerous future play dates.  We will be back for sure now that we have discovered it.

The Gardens are located inside the gates of Fort Mason which is at the intersection of Bay and Franklin Streets in San Francisco’s Marina District.  There are one hundred and twenty-five plots available in the Garden. Organic gardening is encouraged. The use of pesticides is forbidden anywhere in the garden. Plots are assigned by the membership chair as they become vacant and currently the wait is 7 years.  It feels like forever but time does fly, so we may get on the list. I grew up in an urban environment and was not exposed at all to where food came from or any kind of gardening . Ria and I are both enjoying learning together how to grow our own food and what the plants that give us sustenance actually look like before they make it to the stores.

Unwillingly, we left the garden and continued our walk along the edge of the water and discovered a unused canon facing the bay (try explaining to little girls what that is for), saw aquatic park from above and discovered some amazing secret, hidden picnic spots for our next visit.  I couldn’t help but think how fortunate our children are to live in the Bay Area.

All that scampering about made us hungry and we ambled over to Greens To Go.  Mondays are the best day to enjoy the restaurant on the cheap with kids as the main restaurant is closed for lunch. You can buy your takeout lunch and sit anywhere in the restaurant and enjoy your healthy, vegetarian meal and the lovely view from the floor to ceiling windows.  Ria ate her black bean chilli and brown rice with gusto and I loved my vegetable sandwich and white bean tomato soup.  Yummy!

We ended our adventure at the Book Bay at Fort Mason, run by the Friends of the SF Public Library.  They sell donated books for the benefit of the San Francisco Public Libraries.  The children enjoyed some quiet reading time and I ended up buying 3 rather new looking used cookbooks.  So much for curing my cookbook addiction.

Do go on this adventure – it will make a great date, play date or potentially something fun and different to do by yourself.  Though going with the kids is the most fun!

More Reviews for Greens Restaurant:
Greens on Urbanspoon