Dancing Towards Ecstasy

You know that I am committed to exploring the Triangle and exploring its culinary and cultural offerings, just so that I can report back to you. ;-) Or perhaps it is more accurate to confess that I have a thirst for newness and variety. And because I have a weekly readership of sorts, I get to satisfy my social cravings in the name of doing research for the blog. I love it! The mind can rationalize just about anything... The other day it actually crossed my mind that The Indy might be interested in a vegan food reviewer. What do you all think? Does anyone have any connections over at our fine local arts paper? If I were getting paid for going out and reviewing local events and restaurants, then it would be definite game over for staying home and engaging in domestic duties...

At any rate, I am not here to report to you about food this week, at least not food that fills the stomach. Last night I found nourishment in something I have wanted to do for a long time - dancing (my extended Latin family are all fantastic salsa dancers). Things were rather hard at my house this week what with receiving the news of the death of a friend. My roommate insisted that we should both go for stress relief and dance therapy. So I turned to my good friend, Google, and lo and behold! I found a wonderful resource in dancegumbo.com. This website is run by Jack Wolf, a Hillsborough resident and dance instructor, and has listings of upcoming and ongoing dance events in the Triangle. There are listings of everything from tango, to salsa, to blues fusion, and more.

Last night's event began with a one-hour tango class, followed by several hours of social tango & blues fusion dance (in separate studios, of course) and was hosted at Triangle Dance Studio in Durham. I highly, highly recommend one of these dances if you are looking to release stress, exercise, meet people, learn new ways of creative expression, and/or are just looking for something fun to do. I thoroughly enjoyed the safety and cleanliness of the atmosphere. By that I mean that there was no smoking nor alcohol, and the people were all very friendly and respectful, so that one could easily just focus on dancing, without having to fend off unseemly drunken advances (ladies, you surely know what I am talking about). In fact, people were so focused on dancing that the snacks out on a table in one of the rooms looked largely untouched at the end of the evening.

My friend and I first participated in the tango class. Boy, is that a sophisticated and complex dance! My deep respects go out to those who become proficient in this art form. The class was taught by Marco Levati and Elise Dorsett, who normally teach in Raleigh. If you are a fan of beautiful movement, you must watch these two. They bring the dance alive and make it look so easy (which it is totally not!). Then after that, you could choose to continue dancing the tango in the downstairs studio or migrate upstairs to the blues fusion dance. Since blues dance is largely an improvisational style, requiring little to no formal instruction, we both spent the rest of the evening up there. Quite a few folks from the contact improv/ecstatic dance community were also there, and they were an absolute joy to watch!

That is about all I can tell you - if you at all like to dance, have fun, and meet kind people, plugging into the Triangle Dance community is a great way to do that. In fact, Jack Wolf is hosting a Hillsborough Dance Series that begins on Tuesday, the 26th. Be forewarned, you too may come home a raving, gushing (and slightly sore) fan of the Triangle Dance Community!

This Week's Menu:

Entree #1 - Sprouted Bean Usal

Back by popular demand! Usal is typically a breakfast food in Maharastra, and is, I think, one of the foods often found at Bombay street stalls. The last time we made this, I sprouted a mix of beans a few days before cooking. How satisfying it was to grow my own little sprouts and then know that the finished usal would be bursting with nutrition and life from those little guys. Sprouts are awesome by themselves, and yet give them a spicy, coconuty, tomatoey gravy to swim in, and they reach epic proportions of tastiness! *GF, soy-free

(photo cookieshutter.blogspot.com)

Entree #2 - Vegetable Lasagna Soup

After making this soup a few times, I have to admit that I am thoroughly in love with it. Lasagna is one of the pinnacles of Italian-American cuisine (especially for children). It is also very expensive and labor-intensive, and thus I hardly ever make it. This soup allows you to have the flavor profile of lasagna in a form that is about 1000 times simpler create. The fresh veggies, the noodles (GF), the Italian herbs and tomato sauce, and beans for extra protein - a sure we have gained entrance into Italian food heaven! *GF, soy-free

(photo ohmyveggies.com)

Entree #3 - Simply Soup-er Cannellini Beans

I wanted to continue on with my Italian theme. This soup is wonderful, and is another kid-pleaser, as it is mildly spiced and has plenty of beans (both pluses for my son). Don't let the simple ingredients fool you. There is some kind of magic in the combination of celery, carrot, and Italian herbs that makes this soup one that you just keep coming back for. *GF, soy-free

(photo fatfreevegan.com)

Side Dishes:

Brown Rice - $1/serving (1 cup)

Quinoa - $2/serving (1 cup)

(photo telegraph.co.uk)

Mustard Roasted Potatoes -$6/lb. I have a couple pounds of potatoes that need to be used this week, so naturally, I went trolling the internet for the perfect new potato recipe. I was intrigued upon finding this one, as I already love potatoes roasted with olive oil and herbs. So adding mustard and lemon juice to the mix, seemed like a no-brainer taste booster. More than one blogger said that they kicked themselves for not making these lovely, crunch spuds sooner. *GF, soy-free

(photo allrecipes.com)

Chocolate Lava Cakes - $3/ea. or 2 for $5. Ever in search of new and fantastic, fantasizeable desserts, I went to the Minimalist Baker for inspiration. I have several go-to blogs, where I am certain to find quality recipes just right for my gf, dairy-free purposes. The Minimalist Baker is one such gold-star blog, especially for desserts. Imagine my thrill then to see these nutritious, drop-dead gorgeous baby cakes! You will have to read the recipe to find out the secret to their special reddish-brown hue. :-) *GF, soy-free

(photo minimalistbaker.com)

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