Reviving the Archives

It is amazing how time works. I felt inspired to make a menu containing the first two entrees you see below. When I went looking back in my files for the links and photos for these recipes, I was surprised to see that the last time I had made the Sweet Potato & Lime soup was very nearly a year ago. I ended up using two other recipes from that old menu, as they just seemed to fit. I was also surprised to read the first two lines of that 2015 newsletter: "This morning I wanted to be my classy, inspiring self, and yet somehow, I couldn't find that self. I peeled my body out of bed, feeling like reluctant Velcro that hadn't been pulled apart in over a year..." Those sentences seemed to perfectly fit me this morning, although they had been written a year ago. Granted I was more tired on that morning, according to the rest of my description, yet the irony is still notable. Today my exhaustion is all for fun reasons. It has been a music-filled weekend for me, with kirtans on both Friday and Saturday nights. (Thanks to all of you who came out in support!) I have also been spending some late nights working on some new developments for Govinda's Catering, which I will share with you, as soon as the details solidify. For now you will just have to wait with bated breath. (I know, I am SO bad!) ;-) I can tell you though about some things to look forward to in the very near future. By a special request, next week will be Southern week with a menu of Hoppin' John, Succotash, corn bread, and mo.' And by another special request, the following week will be an Asian menu, featuring General Tso's Chickpeas, Asian Coleslaw, and a bangin' 9-Vegetable Soup that I have been dying to bring back again. Please do send me your special requests, for they have a way of creating fun thematic menus around themselves. This Week's Menu: Entree #1 - Heavenly Sweet Potato & Lime Soup I had a blast going through my archives this morning. (In fact this week's theme is "archive week" - with a Middle Eastern twist) For several weeks I have been passing up the photo of this soup, scrolling past it while looking for photos of the other soups in the current menu rotation. I couldn't figure out why it had been so long since we last made it. This soup has so many wonderful combinations of flavors - the richness of sweet potato, the tropical creaminess of coconut milk, the bright sunshiney spike of lime juice, the chewy crunch of a green pea and toasted coconut topping. Why has this heavenliness been missing from our menu for so long? Oh yeah, now I remember! There have just been so many fabulously exciting entrees happening, that I simply forgot to give this one a turn. *GF, soy-free

(photo food52.com)

Entree #2 - Saudi Chickpeas with Spinach Who doesn't love chickpeas? After all, chickpeas have had such illustrious offspring as hummus, falafel, chana dal, besan flour (used to make everything from pakoras to sweet ladoos) and so many other delicious foods. This recipe from the Australian super-chef, Kurma Das, combines hearty chickpeas with the freshness of tomatoes, parsley & spinach. The stew is then topped with a distinctive Middle Eastern spice mix called Baharat. Like Indian garam masala, baharat is a blend of spices added at the end of the cooking process, for a final kick of flavor. We are going to make our own baharat blend using this oh-so-simple recipe here. *GF, soy-free

(photo kurma.net)

Entree #3 - Pumpkin Toor Dal This recipe is a well-timed archival blast from the past. It actually happened to be on the same menu from last spring that showcased both the Sweet Potato & Lime soup and the Falafel Salad. How convenient, since I have two gallons of newly cut pumpkin in the freezer! Last week, when I was at my favorite Indian grocery store, Little India, the owner implored me to take his last two pumpkins. He offered me a deep discount, as they were aging quickly. He said fresh vegetable sales have dropped off for them because less and less people are cooking for themselves. Well, there he went, appealing to both my inner bargain hunter and my red-caped rescuer... Naturally I had to take the pumpkins, so they could be saved and fulfill their lives' purpose of being made into beautiful food. Pumpkins also pack a nourishing punch - full of fiber, potassium, copper, and vitamins A, C & E. Thus I felt like I had to find the right recipe to give these healthy orange beauties their due. This South Indian dal is perfect, as it is tangy and slightly spicy all at once. *GF, soy-free

(photo archanaskitchen.com)

Side Dishes: Brown Rice - $1/serving (1 cup) Persian Rice Salad - $3/serving (1 cup) I found a thoroughly exciting rice recipe that I wanted to use. It is a traditional rice called Al Kabsa. Apparently no one has felt the urgent need to make a vegetarian version of this rice, although it would be super easy to veganize it by substituting jackfruit for the chicken. I was all psyched to try it out...but I couldn't find a photo of the dish that wasn't graphic in its omnivorousness (meaning big, recognizable pieces of deceased birds). I just couldn't go there. However I do promise that when I find a veg-friendly photo or take my own (gasp!), I will put this dish on the menu. In the meantime this Persian rice salad looked perfectly delish. It comes from a food blog run by a guy (a young Persian/Aussie one), which makes it even more unique! *GF, soy-free

(photo thebigmansworld.com)

Falafel Salad -$6/lb. How on earth to sift through all the possible Middle Eastern side dishes? There were just too many good recipes to choose from. I had to cut several runners-up in order to create this menu of finalists. I have had trouble in the past making falafel that behaved properly and did not fall apart during the frying process. Now that I have discovered the Minimalist Baker's recipe for baked falafel, my life has changed! Look for this salad to wake up the taste buds and the body to the lighter fare of spring. *GF, soy-free

(photo flourishngfoodie.com)

Banana Bread - $6/lb. Banana bread is back, oh yeah! The banana bread is back! Why are we so excited? This is no fluffy, white flour 'n' white sugar bread! No way. This bread is crazy healthy. The "flour" part of it is made up of 1/3 rice flour, 1/3 ground oats, and 1/3 almond meal. You really wouldn't know that it had so much good nutrition in it because it just tastes so moist and sweet, just like Grandmom's. *soy-free

(photo minimalistbaker.com)

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