Strolling on Commonwealth Ave.

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(photo bosguy.com)

The city of Boston has many things to be proud of. Its architecture is one of them. I came to Boston this weekend to visit a friend and help with her wedding. While here, we spent a good bit of time at the Krishna Temple on Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay area. O.M.G! If I were an architecture nerd, my head would have exploded by seeing the absolute beauty of the buildings. The roof-lines alone were enough to tickle my love of aesthetics into a delirium. This photo of course is of an old mansion, the Burrage House, named after Albert Burrage, the attorney and businessman that built it. Stunning right? Even the "regular" houses in this area of town look like this:

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(photo panoramio.com)

Interestingly, my son and I were walking down an alley (Boston is so cultured that the city even marks the alleys with street signs numbering each one) behind the ISKCON temple. My son has gotten to an age where he is beginning to take interest in cars, and all of a sudden he says "Whoa! There are a LOT of BMW's here! One, two, three, four..." Lol! I had to explain to him that the concentration of fancy cars indicated something about the type of people inhabiting the neighborhood.

Commonwealth Ave. is lined on both sides of the streets with gorgeous brownstones and mansions. In the center of the street is Commonwealth Mall, a sidewalk flanked by green lawn and trees, an oasis in the midst of 4 lanes of traffic. My son and I strolled down the Mall, reading the placards on the various monuments and statues as we went. The air in Boston is thick with a reverence for history, for literature, for equality and freedom. Correct me if I am wrong, but I sense that Massachusetts being one of the original seats of democratic thought, Bostonians are fiercely protective of social equality and independence.

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(photo grayline.com)

And if that is a correct assessment, then I guess that could explain why there has been a Hare Krishna Temple happily co-existing with the BMW drivers of Commonwealth Ave for the last 40+ years - all diversity is protected and embraced here. Boston's opulence lies in its history, academia, and progressive thought - not so much in its food. There are restaurants here, but nothing like the foodie heaven on earth that is Seattle. The best food I had all weekend was at the temple. Seriously, they make a mean halava there! If you are in the neighborhood, I definitely recommend stopping in for a bite.

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Meanwhile back at the NC ranch, we

will be whipping up some of our

favorite recipes this coming week. Our

grain choices will be brown rice and

South Indian Coconut Rice. Please do

specify if you would like Coconut Rice,

and add $3 to your order. Regular

orders with brown rice are $8 per

2-cup serving.

(photo vegrecipesofindia.com)

This Week's Menu:

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Entree #1 - Jagannatha Puri Chana Dal. A mild and slightly sweet dal made with hearty chana beans. Chana dal is a relative of the chick pea. The beans are loaded with protein and naturally low on the glycemic index. This recipe is a traditional dal from the ancient city of Jagannath Puri, in the Indian coastal state of Orissa. Its incomparable flavor comes from the combination of typical dal spices - cumin, coriander, and mustard seeds- with heating spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. Add some shredded coconut to the mix, and you have pure heaven in a bowl! *GF, soy-free

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(photo vegetariantimes.com)

Entree #2 - Cream of Mushroom & Green Bean Soup with Papadam Noodles. This soup is decidedly not from the Indian subcontinent. Inspired by the cuisine of Italy, the original recipe calls for Parpadelle noodles. Since those gourmet noodles are made with egg, I have replaced them with noodles made from Papadams, a lentil-based savory from India. This soup is very mild, creamy, and a favorite with children and adults alike. *GF, soy-free

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(photo anubhavati)

Entree #3 - Rajma. This entree hails from the Northern Indian state of Punjab. Made with red kidney beans, tomatoes, cilantro, and hot chilies,Rajma is India's answer to New Mexican chili. This dish heats you up from the inside and has plenty of protein to keep you fueled all day. If you like cooking videos, this one is my favorite of all time, from chef Sanjeev Kapoor's channel. *GF, soy-free

Side Dishes:

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(photo kitchenpops)

Dhokla - $3 or $4/tamarind chutney. This spongy-soft savory is made from chickpea flour and topped with mustard and sesame seeds. These little "breads" are bursting with flavor and are beloved by all who taste them. *GF, soy-free

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(photo monpetitfour.com)

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding - $4/serving. Okay, so there is kind of a lot of coconut happening in this menu. I guess it is a theme. I didn't plan it that way, there were just so many great recipes that call for this king of nuts. I love this pudding - a vegan twist on the beloved classic of all puddings. *GF, soy-free

We look forward to serving you!

Tastefully yours,

Rangadevi Hernandez