If you guessed that the reason why I did not send out the newsletter first thing this morning like usual, was that I had a power-packed-weekend hangover, you would have guessed correctly. On Friday I cooked a lunch for 16 people and then traveled to Raleigh deliver it, before going over to UUFR to lead a kirtan. The next day I attended an all-day business seminar, made a presentation there on Non-Violent Communication, and served out said aforementioned lunch. Then the seminar participants and I were treated to a surprise limo ride, followed by a boat tour of Jordan Lake. But wait, there's more! After that I picked up my son and we went to a baby shower (complete with delicious Indian food and some ridiculously fabulous cake). So naturally, this morning I was a little on the tired side.
I spent the good part of the afternoon working on this menu and am pretty dang excited about it. I hope you all enjoy reading about it and ordering from the menu, as much as I enjoyed writing it!
This week's grain choices are brown rice and Pineapple Fried Rice (mix & match with the Thai curry!). Please do specify if you would like Pineapple Rice, and add $3 to your order. Regular orders with brown rice are $8 per 2-cup serving.
Entree #1 - Thai Garden Curry. I am very excited to try this recipe out for you since it is my very own creation. I have linked a recipe from Veg Recipes of India, just so you could have something to look at, should you desire. I don't have my recipe posted anywhere yet, since I just made it up the other day. I was at work the other night (see Summertime blog about my idyllic job site) and needed to make dinner for my client. Her family has a beautiful vegetable garden, and since there wasn't too much in the refrigerator, I went "to market" in the garden. Man, was that garden bursting with veggies! There were tomatoes, eggplant, green & jalapeno peppers, loads of beans, and more basil than you could successfully drool at. They also had ginger and coconut milk in stock. It took me about 20 seconds to see that this combination of ingredients was screaming Thai Curry! at me. Thus the Thai Garden Curry was born. And what a delicious baby it was... Once we get to an Asian cookbook, I am sure we will put this recipe in there. Yum! *GF
Entree #2 - Spinach (Palak) Toor Dal. The other night, as part of my weekend adventure, I stayed in Raleigh with a wonderful Indian family. They had a young NC State grad student over for dinner. I think I surprised him by asking him what I have begun asking most of my Indian friends - "So, what is your favorite dal?" (Not standard small talk, I guess.) He happens to be from Andhra Pradesh, a state in South India where I once spent a couple of weeks. In Andhra the people eat a LOT of dal and rice. Dal and rice are dietary staples there, as opposed to Northern India, where people are completely dependent on wheat products like roti and paratha (rice is only to be eaten when starving). He began listing many delicious dals that his mother made, and then stopped at this one. He said this was his absolute favorite, and that when he ate it, he was "seeing heaven (photo steamingpot.com) before my eyes." (Heaven before my eyes... How cute can you get?!) I was determined that I should find out how to make his mother's magical dal, yet was worried since his mother A) doesn't have a food blog and B) may only speak Telugu. No worries, the mysterious author of The Steaming Pot had me covered! This site is a little no-frills but has decent photos and a recipe index by ingredient. I highly recommend checking out the blog just for that feature. (Ever wonder what you are going to do with that random Ridged Gourd you have lying around?) *GF, soy-free
Entree #3 -Ethiopian Red Lentil Soup. In that special half medtitative, half obsessive compulsive place that I enter when putting together the menu and the newsletter, I asked myself what 3rd entree I should make. This soup came into my mind as a strong answer from the Universe. It has been quite a while since I made it, and although it is not exactly light and summery, it does have a great mix of protein, spice and veggies. This recipe, from over at Fat Free Vegan, uses a homemade Berbere Spice Mix to emulate that North African heat and zing. I can't say exactly why I felt so sure that we should pull this recipe back out of the files... Maybe someone out there has just run out of Berbere spice mix and was craving some more? ;-) We shall see. At any rate if you want to try some of this soup, awesome! And if you just want to try some of the spice mix, you are in luck because I sell it for $4 a (spice) bottle. For those who are wondering, the mix is made with equal parts cardamom, cinnamon, fenugreek, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, coriander, and about 5 other spices. *GF, soy-free
Vegetable Rice Cutlets - $2.50 ea. or 2 for $4. It has been a little while since we made these yummy cutlets. These savories are pretty self-explanatory. They are made from sticky brown rice, vegetables, spices and then fried in grapeseed oil. Watch out, these guys are addictive! *GF, soy-free
Sinless Chocolate Raspberry Tart - $4/slice. I asked our young, guest chef, Courtney if she wanted to make something again this week. She said she had just "whipped up" a Raspberry Torte that her parents were really enjoying. Weh-ell, that definitely sounds like something that we could ALL enjoy too. I encouraged her to definitely make it this week. The crust and filling are made from the Royal Trinity of vegan creamy sweets - Dates, Nuts, and Cashews. Then when you add in Chocolate and Chocolate's glam wife, Raspberry, you get a dessert fit for a king! *GF, soy-free