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Are Two Heads Really Better?

Certainly you have all heard the saying that two heads (or more) are better than one. You must have also heard that too many cooks spoil the soup. Which saying is correct? Can both things be true? And as far as practical application, what does that mean for us? Should we remain rugged individualists, refusing to work with others for fear of spoiling our soup? Or should we open our doors wide for assistance, allowing multiple people to be able to contribute their gifts to us? Sometimes we are working on a project and need to make a decision whether to continue to work solo or to branch out and involve others.

Those of you who have been with me for a while must have surely guessed that I am not just speaking theoretically. I am contemplating these questions because of a real-life crossroads that Yours Truly has come to. The great news is that Govinda's Catering is doing well. We are gaining a reputation for making tasty, sanctified food, and people are coming forward who value that. The not great news is that my solopreneur m.o. is not effective in dealing with the increased demand. This past week, after three additional catering jobs and a helper who called out sick (!), I had to ask myself all these questions. More importantly, I started asking other people these questions. And you know what happened? More brains were really better than one. I got some great pieces of advice and suggestions from other seasoned businesswomen - paramount of which was to involve other people. Duh! It hadn't occurred to me that the reason I was having an existential crisis in my life was because I was exhausted from trying to do everything all by myself - a perfect recipe for disaster.

So, that means...Govinda's is looking for a few good interns! Do you know anyone who wants to learn more about vegan, gluten-free, and/or Indian cooking? Do you know someone interested in starting a business in food service? If so and you think said friend (or you) would be interested in seeing how we work behind the scenes, please reply to me at this email address. Duties will include cutting vegetables, washing dishes (many, many dishes), cleaning floors, and packing orders. Interns will be paid sumptuously in food, with an opportunity to move to a paid position in the future. Gee, thanks for letting me run that classified ad; it actually wasn't as hard to ask for assistance as I had thought it would be. :-)

Our grain choices this week are brown rice and Lemon Rice. Please specify if you would like Lemon Rice, and add $2 to your order. Regular orders with brown rice are $8 per 2-cup serving.

This Week's Menu:

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Entree #1 - Dal with Panch Phoran Spicing. This is one of those recipes where I look at my watch, wondering if enough time has passed that I can make it again. I found the package of panch phoran spice in my pantry the other day, and realizing a good three months had passed since we made this dal last, I decided it was that time again. My love affair with this dal began on Susan Voisin's Fat Free Vegan. I will just go ahead and copy and paste Susan's introduction to this dal here: "Sometimes a recipe comes along that's so spectacular that you feel compelled to climb your way up to the top of the nearest alp and sing like Julie Andrews, giddy and overflowing with such love for the world, that the power of your emotions threatens to send you skidding down the mountain on the backside of your lederhosen. Or you could just blog about it. Either way, this is one of those recipes." Well, y'all, nuff said. *GF, soy-free

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Entree #2 - Zuppa Italiana. While deciding what to make this week, I wanted one recipe that was non "spicy," meaning not hot & spicy. We got such good feedback from our Greek menu, and it made me start thinking about recipes that use herbs rather than spices. As you might guess from the name, this soup is flavored with Italian herbs like oregano, basil, rosemary, fennel, and a touch of crushed red pepper. The baby potatoes, and the kale, together with the grounding protein of the beans, make for a perfectly filling, yet light meal. It also has the amazing quality of satisfying the elusive Picky Eater. The last time we made this, my son asked for it many times after the first tasting. This was kind of surprising because he is usually says something like "No thanks, I already ate that Mommy. Did I hurt your feelings? Really, it's good. I am just kind of tired of it." Even though I kept waiting in suspense, it never happened with this soup! Which I guess elevates it to the level of mac & cheese. *GF, soy-free

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Entree #3 -Lauki Chana Dal. I was searching my internal files for a third entree to make this week. Since it has been several months from the last time we made this, and since I love lauki, this recipe won the lottery. Lauki is also known as "bottle gourd," not surprisingly, because the mature vegetables develop a hard skin, making it a prime choice in past ages for a water-carry vessel. Bottle gourds come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The round varieties are used all over the world for musical instruments - everything from shakers to resonators for stringed instruments like sitars and veenas. However, if you go looking for lauki in an Asian grocery here, you will find a long, cylindrical squash that looks kind of like a short baseball bat with pale green skin. The flesh of the squash is soft, succulent, and mild-tasting. lists a variety ofhealth benefits from eating this tasty veggie, the most surprising of which was that it acts as an anti-compulsion nerve tonic for improving the symptoms of OCD! Even if you are not prepping for your debut on Jeopardy, I would recommend checking out the link for the medical application of lauki. It's just that interesting. Plus you may find yourself braving the unfamiliar territory of an ethnic grocery, just to bring some of this delicious "medicine" home for yourself. *GF, soy-free

Side Dishes:

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Vegetable Rice Cutlets - $2 ea. I was browsing Manjula's Kitchen for the Lauki Chana Dal recipe that I have used before, when I saw this recipe. I had been contemplating what kind of fried yumminness I would be making for this week, and this seemed to hit the spot, idea-wise. The recipe calls for white rice. I think I will live dangerously and use short-grain brown. ;-) If all goes well, they will be crisp on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside. *GF, soy-free

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies - $2 ea., $10/ half dozen. I was in the mood for cookies, and hesitated to make those chocolate chip ones again so soon. I remembered these cookies that haven't made a trip through our oven since the fall. They are made with gluten-free flour, everything that is in the title, plus oatmeal and walnuts. They are kind of like trail mix in a cookie. Healthy yum! *GF

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We look forward to serving you!

Tastefully yours,

Rangadevi Hernandez

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